Risk: Wildfires, Hurricanes & Brexit

New writing… My latest piece for The Hub – the award-winning content platform curated by Mitsubishi Electric – looks at climate risk and extreme weather events, particularly as they affect business. In addition to the tragic loss of over 10,000 lives last year alone, the cost of natural disasters in terms of consumption ran to more than half a trillion Dollars. Furthermore, major ports worldwide are having to factor into their forward planning the threat of disruption from the effects of ongoing sea-level rise. To discover the scary and compelling statistics that tell the climate breakdown story, please read ‘Risk: wildfires, hurricanes & Brexit‘. (If you are interested in learning what business can do to help mitigate this risk, the second instalment in this two-parter – ‘Resilience’ – will follow on The Hub shortly… )

Explainer: How Microplastics Threaten Our Environment

Microplastic pollution is being found everywhere, literally: it is in our rivers; on our gardens; in the food we eat; it is even now in human poop.

Perhaps the worst aspect of microplastic pollution is that no effective and efficient way of removing the full range of debris has yet been found.

The EU has, however, recently proposed a wide-ranging ban on the use of ‘intentionally added’ microplastics, which if approved into law could see a phase-out starting 2020.

Meantime, recovering plastics from oceans and recycling them before they start to break down into small fragments is one way to fight this kind of pollution. When recycled, these plastics are used to create sustainable products.

This excellent infographic below, from Roman Chaloupka and GreenMatch, tells us more about how Microplastics Threaten Our Environment.

You can view the original, also learn about becoming ‘waste aware’ and fighting pollution, as well as the creators themselves here; plus Follow them on Twitter.

Micro Plastic Pollution

Skills & Employment: ‘Future of Engineering’ in The Times

New writing… Pleased to say I have had another article published in The Times newspaper, as part of a special Raconteur report on the Future of Engineering.

Demand for engineering skills in the UK could mean onboarding as many as 265,000 new recruits a year through to 2024, equivalent to the population of Plymouth, every 12 months. That is a lot of engineers. However, locked in the grip of a choking skills shortage right now, the engineering sector faces tough questions about how best to attract those new recruits and equip them for lifelong employment. What combination of soft skills and hard technical proficiency will prove a good fit in the modern working environment? Are UK universities and colleges providing graduates and leavers with the necessary mix? Are employers helping an ageing workforce adapt to the demands of an increasingly digital job spec? Could more be done to assist experienced engineers with transferable skillsets transition from declining industries into new markets? Is the Apprenticeship Levy a stealth tax, or a boon? For expert insights into what skills engineers of the future might need, you can read the full article here:

‘Soft Skills and Hard Truths in Employment’.

The full 16-page Future of Engineering report is available to view/download here.

Circularity: ‘Future of Construction’ in The Times

New writing… Pleased to say I have had another article published in The Times newspaper, as part of a special Raconteur report on the Future of Construction.

BAMB is on a mission: its goal is a systemic shift in sustainable building; its focus, construction waste and material consumption. As the name implies, Buildings as Material Banks (BAMB) reimagines a building as a dynamic repository of value, where tradable material assets can be deposited, data tracked, transferred and withdrawn. Three major changes support the BAMB vision for circular transition: change in design culture, value definition and collaboration. The question is, can a relatively traditional industry such as construction truly embrace the systemic change called for by a circular economy? What would such a shift mean in terms of technology, but more imporantly culture? Furthermore, how might it play out worldwide – across global development markets maturing at different speeds, with different histories of urbanisation? Getting down to project particulars, the article also includes a case study of an inner-city school in Swansea, Wales, which has just set new industry standards, achieving 99.87 per cent diversion from landfill. You can read more about both the scale of the material challenge and the exciting opportunities to close the circularity gap, here:

‘BAMB: Could this be the future for sustainable building?’.

The full 16-page Future of Construction & Development report is available to view/download here.

Changing the word on waste: ‘Future of Food’ in The Times

New writing… Pleased to say I have had another article published in The Times newspaper, as part of a special Raconteur report on Future of Food.

Despite population growth and increasing famine, 1.6 billion tonnes of food is lost or wasted worldwide, every year. With an estimated carbon footprint of 3.3 billion tonnes, this food waste eats up 28 per cent of the world’s agricultural area and drinks enough water to fill Lake Geneva three times. My piece explores some of the many innovations happening worldwide around food waste: from industrial-scale anaerobic digestion, via almond hulls and shells being put to good use in California, to beer made from surplus bread, plus simple sustainability hacks for bartenders that could save over 60,000 limes in London alone. For all the exciting opportunities engaging farmers, manufacturers, entrepreneurs and start-ups, however, policymakers still need to come to the party in numbers and force, if the headline stats are really going to change. You can read more about both the ongoing problem and the emerging solutions, here:

‘Rethinking food waste as a resource’.

The full 12-page Future of Food & Beverage report is available to view/download here.

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