10 Golden Rules of Remote Auditing

10 Golden Rules of Remote Auditing 400 webinar delegates asked for more help With the continued Covid-19 disruption, the use of remote environmental audits is now common place. Remote audits allow organisations to continue with the established audit programme, ensure the EMS works well & staff are properly engaged. This is relevant for internal audits & especially important for third party audits (annual surveillance visits & certification audits). I was recently part of the expert panel on a webinar for IEMA – we gave advice on how to prepare for & conduct remote audits, from the perspective of both auditors & auditees. We had over 400 people on the webinar, with lots of great questions asked. And the feedback was – more help please! So, the panel sat down & wrote a short guide - The 10 Golden Rules of Remote Auditing. Again helping auditors & auditees prepare & get the best out of their audits. The Golden Rules are supported by simple pieces of...
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My Story, My Mission, My Vision

My Story, My Mission, My Vision On this World Environment Day, I wanted to share my story. Much environmental messaging comes across as (slightly) negative – we’ve got to stop doing / reduce / prevent XYZ or it’ll devastating for us / the planet / wildlife / oceans. And yes, this is true. It is important to change. But negativity & fear don’t motivate most people. It can be much more inspiring to focus on the positive… to have something wonderful to aim for. So, I thought I’d share how I got involved in environmental management (My Story), what I’m trying to achieve (My Vision) and how I go about this (My Mission).   My Story My Story begins with me, aged 10, sitting on the floor in front of the TV watching the wonderful David Attenborough’s Life on Earth. This series was so inspirational to me, seeing the beautiful world around us, its diversity & fragility. We are so lucky to live here & benefit from...
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Build Back Better

Build Back Better During the Covid lockdown some positives have come out. Many of us appear more kind & compassionate – people offering to be NHS Volunteers & helping neighbours with food shopping. We consider our health & wellbeing - families cycling down once busy roads & a significant reduction in air pollution (clearer skies with fewer cars & planes). Not just individuals, businesses are making masks & visors for NHS staff, raising money for charities or donating services to local companies or groups in need. Why should we simple return to the 'old ways' as we start to reopen? We have an opportunity now to change things with greater benefits for society, the planet and the economy – to build back better. You may have seen #BuildBackBetter trending. Just think how much better it could be – healthy, clean, just. We will all benefit! This reflects the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – 17 goals to achieve by 2030 for an environmental, social &...
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Jargon Buster

From Access Economy to Zero Carbon – here’s the Jargon Buster Environment A-Z   The environmental industry can seem a little cliquey to the outsider. Maybe we talk in TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms!), abbreviations or just use words that are so outside the sphere of ‘normal people’. For years I have tried to avoid using the term ‘sustainability’ because it immediately turned people off – using ‘environmental’ (even though this is only one of the three elements of sustainability) makes it immediately more understandable. As experts we want to get it right, but we do have to consider our audience. The environmental news site edie has helpfully put together a Jargon Buster. This is a useful tool if you can’t tell the difference between carbon neutral & net zero; can’t get your head around biomimicry or biodiversity; want to get to grips with ISO 14001 & ISO 50001; or to differentiate between supply chain & value chain. This helps you cut through complexity and get straight...
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Nature & Wellbeing

How Nature can Improve your Wellbeing I’m a firm believer of the benefits of connecting with nature, for both mental & physical wellbeing. Since joining the Sussex Wildlife Trust as a corporate member, I’ve been keen to promote this concept to my business contacts. During the Covid-19 lockdown, people are taking the opportunity to explore their local surroundings & enjoy nature nearby. They’ve found that you don’t have to go all the way to national park or nature reserve to connect with nature. Personally, I see a great variety of flowers, shrubs, trees, birds, mammals & insects on my regular walks or runs around the neighbouring roads (see this photo). I love it! Use Nature in your Business to Improve Wellbeing So, once we’re all back at work again in the future, think about how we can help our colleagues to connect with nature – to the benefit of the person & the business. The Trust gives this advice: Daily contact with nature is linked to...
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GDB Diamond May 20

Read my Chairman’s Column in the GDB Diamond My regular column in Diamond - the magazine for GDB Gatwick Diamond Business.   Firstly, I hope you are all well & managing to get through the initial shock of the Covid-19 lockdown. In these fast-moving times, it is difficult to write a piece which may be rather dated by the time of publication. As I write this, it’s a beautiful sunny Monday morning & I’ve been working from home for I don’t know how many weeks. The gdb Steering Group has been meeting regularly to assess risk & plan budgets & strategy. The first difficult decision was the postpone the Awards, without government guidance at the time we wanted to show leadership. I look forward to the ceremony later in the year & at least the entrants can continue to use the ‘gdb Awards 2020 Finalist’ strapline on their emails! Similarly, we have decided to postpone the AGM until September. This way we can have an engaging &...
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Remote Auditing Webinar

Remote Auditing Webinar In response to substantial demand & addressing a significant need in the industry, I recently was part of a webinar put on by IEMA on remote environmental auditing. This was for IEMA’s “Adapting to COVID-19” series, helping environmental professionals adapt to new ways of working during the lockdown & beyond. I was part of the panel of experts, reflecting on my experiences of running remote audits – the benefits & pitfalls, plus also how to prepare. The webinar was chaired by Nigel Leehane, an experienced auditor & consultant. Myself & Neal Barker of WSP gave the auditor’s perspective, and we heard from the auditees: Nigel Sagar of Skanska & Matthew Goldberg of National Grid. We were also joined in the Q&A by Paul Greenwood of UKAS.   Remote Auditing - The Key Points The key points I shared, from an auditor’s point of view included: Test the technology – new systems, connectivity, security restrictions. Firstly – technology: Zoom, Teams, facetime, whatsapp. Does it work (for both...
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The Good Life Goals

The Good Life Goals I’ve written before about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which aim to achieve an environmental, social & economic balance across the world. The aim is to deliver these 17 goals by 2030. It is important that governments, organisations & businesses all work together, to ensure the wellbeing of our citizens in the medium & long term. But individuals themselves may feel disconnected from the SDGs (& the supporting 169 targets). Enter the Good Life Goals. These have been developed to support the main SDGs, but show how we, our families & friends can make a difference. Our own everyday actions have the power to change the world!   I particularly like the environment & health ones. For each Goal, check out what you could be doing: Goal 13 - Act on Climate Learn about climate solutions Call for more renewable energy in your country Eat more plants and cut down on meat Walk and cycle rather than drive Demand leaders...
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Back Garden Bird Race

Back Garden Bird Race Connecting with nature is important, especially during these difficult times of lockdown. If you’re frustrated about being stuck at home, why not get involved with Sussex Wildlife Trust’s Back Garden Bird Race? Happening each weekend, the next one is on Sunday morning. Between 10 and 11 am, they are asking people to sit in their gardens or look out of their windows for one hour and note down all the wild bird species that they can see. Details of your sightings can be entered on their Facebook group, app or on the website. Need help identifying the birds? Check out their Bird ID sheet – click here. I really enjoy the birds in my garden - spring is a great time to sit & watch them gather nesting materials, do their aerobatic displays & sing their little hearts out! For more info on the Bird Race check out the Sussex Wildlife Trust’s website.   _____________________ Liked this post? Sign up for the Eshcon Newsletter.  ...
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Positive Vibes

Positive Vibes during Covid-19 Lockdown I try to give out positive vibes, so here are some thoughts on this Friday morning. I love the wildlife in my garden – the birds are busy gathering nesting materials & food. I was digging at the weekend – accompanied by inquisitive robins & blackbirds. Even the squirrels (previously, my nemesis!) are delightful, bouncing across the lawn. The birds are more vocal too – with the reduced road & air traffic noise. I’m getting better on identifying birds from their song. The spring colours are fabulous – the azaleas are coming out & the rhododendrons will be soon. Plus, the vibrant greens of the new tree leaves, especially the oak & beech, plus the reds of the acer. I’m talking more with my mum – previously we maybe had a weekly phone call. Now we’re touching base every couple of days & just ‘talking toot’. Again, sharing positivity. Similarly with the rest of the family on the Whatsapp group. We’re planning...
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Save Energy when Working from Home

Save Energy when Working from Home With the country battling the Corona virus, many of us are dealing with new ways of working. While I’m sure no-one misses the daily commute, working from home presents its own challenges … & opportunities. Apart of the health & childcare concerns, we’ll also be using more gas & electricity while working from home, so our energy bills will be going up. So, I thought I’d put together some simple tips on saving energy at home whether you’re alone or with the family.   Turn down the heating Over half of a typical home’s fuel bill is for heating & hot water - turning down the heating by just 1oC can save up to £80 per year. Use the programmer to set your heating & hot water to come on when it’s needed & go off when it’s not. Make use of the thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) to control the temperature in each room, especially those that are unoccupied (for...
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Getting the Best from ESOS

After the Deadline – 4 Tips for Getting the Best from ESOS Thousands of companies rushed to comply with ESOS, the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme. Were you one of them? You’re probably thinking… great, I don’t have to do anything until the next deadline. But if you do leave it there, you’re missing out on great opportunities to save energy and money. Now is the really important bit. So, where do you start and how do you keep momentum?   How to Get the Best from ESOS Step 1 - Think about Priorities The report from your energy audit will have given you recommendations for saving energy - including electricity, gas, other fuels and for transport. The actions don’t have to be just technical, you should also be thinking about operational & behavioural changes too. You’ll probably have been given an indication of priority for the actions - the quick & easy ones (the ‘low hanging fruit’) that will give you best return or those that require...
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Remote Auditing

Can Your Environmental Audit be done Remotely? The regular environmental audits are an important part of an Environmental Management System & help to keep an organisation on track in managing its impacts & risks. Usually the audit is done actually on-site, walking around, viewing files, speaking to staff. With many business premises closed down & workers confined to home, you may be concerned about keeping the audit programme up & running. Should you be doing your internal audits? What happens with the annual surveillance visit from the certification body? Rather than everything grinding to a halt, during these challenging times, it’s better to do something & keep up the momentum of your audit programme. Remote audits – which are conducted partially or completely off site, using technology to support the auditor - are now being offered. Who knows, we may find this new way of working may be suitable in the future as well. I can help you prepare for a remote audit.   Logistics &...
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SINC Female Founders

My Business Journey - Talk for SINC Female Founders I was recently asked to speak at the Sussex Innovation Centre’s Female Founders Open Morning. This was a networking breakfast organised by SINC which brought together numerous women who had recently or were planning to set up their business. Included in the morning were 1-2-1 mentoring sessions with the SINC innovation advisers on how to establish and grow the business. SINC asked me to speak to share my story, with details of my business journey, challenges and achievements. It was lovely to be back at the University of Sussex, where I did my 1st degree. However, I was not able to share many of the stories of living on campus at the time! My story begins with me, aged 10, sitting on the floor in front of the TV watching the wonderful David Attenborough’s Life on Earth. This series was so inspirational to me, seeing the beautiful world around us, its diversity & fragility....
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Sussex Community Foundation

My support for the Sussex Community Foundation Many companies, as part of their CSR programme, choose a ‘charity of the year’ to support & involve their staff in fund-raising. Being a single person business, Eshcon prefers to focus on one organisation & build a long-term relationship. Therefore, for over 10 years I have been volunteering the Sussex Community Foundation. I am very pleased to support the SCF, both in giving my time & also through financial donations. The SCF raises funds for and make grants to local charities and community groups across East and West Sussex. Since 2006, they have raised over £30 million to support Sussex communities. The SCF manages funds on behalf of Sussex donors, connecting them to the groups and communities they want to support. Over 4,000 grants have been given in partnership with those donors, totalling £14 million to around 2,000 charities and community groups. £18 million is in endowment – a collective fund of money that will benefit Sussex...
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SECR – Are you In?

SECR – Are you In? Are you prepared for the new SECR carbon reporting regulations? The Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting Regulations require large companies to include carbon & energy information in their Annual Report. This applies for financial years starting on or after 1st April 2019. Does this apply to you?   Are you large? SECR applies to quoted and large unquoted companies & LLPs registered in the UK (as defined by the Companies Act 2006), fulfilling at least 2 of the following conditions in the financial year: >250 employees Annual turnover >£36m Annual balance sheet >£18m.   Quoted? All quoted companies must comply with SECR and will need to include data for both the UK & global activities.   What’s your Financial Year? April-March Your first SECR report will cover April19-March20. Start working on this now!   Jan-Dec Your first SECR report will cover Jan20-Dec20. You have a little breathing space until early 2021, but make sure your data collection processes are up to scratch.   Oct-Sept Your first SECR report will cover Oct19-Sept20. Make sure your data collection processes are good – you’ll...
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Pledge to Net Zero

Pledge to Net Zero I have worked in the environmental management field for nearly 25 years. It is my mission & my passion. It’s tough going, but I am hopeful for the future. More & more people are aware of environmental issues & the need to act urgently. Many organisations recognise that we are in a Climate and Environmental Emergency, with time running out to address the many challenges that lie in front of us. In June 2019 the UK Government committed to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to Net Zero by 2050. This is hugely important step but we need to turn policy into action - organisations large & small play a huge role. Indeed, the UK's commitment comes at a time where more than four-fifths of the world’s largest companies are unlikely to meet the targets set out in the Paris Climate Agreement to limit rising temperatures to 1.5oC of pre-industrialised levels by 2050. The 'Pledge to Net Zero' has been established to commit...
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Happy Anniversary

  Happy 8th full time Anniversary to Eshcon! I initially set up Eshcon on a part-time basis back in 2006, continuing to work up to 4 days a week elsewhere. I was about to go full time, when I was head-hunted to a consultancy in London - again working there part-time. Today (21st February) marks the day I gave up the job to focus solely on my business. Eight glorious, challenging, interesting, enjoyable years! Thank you to all my clients, contacts, partners & friends who have supported my mission to make environmental management THE business norm.       _____________________ Liked this post? Sign up for the Eshcon Newsletter.    ...
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NatWest Accelerator

NatWest Accelerator programme for entrepreneurs   Applications are OPEN for the NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator The NatWest Accelerator team are looking to support the founders, innovators, and disrupters of Brighton and the wider Sussex area. There are limited spaces available on the next intake. Applications are officially OPEN for the April 2020 intake of the Entrepreneur Accelerator, a 6-month programme designed to support growing and scaling your businesses to the next level. The programme comes with free desk space in our state-of-the-art co-working hubs, dedicated 1:1 coaching, access to specialist mentors and contacts, and a great community of like-minded founders to share your journey with. And it’s fully funded… so there’s no cost to you or your business. A typical founder is likely to get accepted if they are: Running at high growth start-up (vs. a lifestyle business) See their business as a company, not a job Developing a repeatable, scalable business model The idea is usually innovative and risky Have a clear and grand vision...
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Sussex Wildlife Trust

Sussex Wildlife Trust I'm very pleased to have recently joined the Sussex Wildlife Trust as a corporate member. The conservation charity protects the wonderfully rich natural life in Sussex that is found in towns, countryside and coastal areas. The Trust manages over 30 nature reserves across Sussex that people can explore and enjoy. They also run conservation activities for volunteers & engage with policy makers to encourage positive change. I look forward to working with the Trust to get more businesses & their staff engaged with nature. If you consider that "What you experience, you value. What you value, you work to protect." I would like to encourage businesses to promote & experience nature around them. I particularly enjoy watching the birds from my desk window - even putting up a bird feeder outside offices could help you colleagues appreciate their natural surroundings. Check out the SWT shop for some great items, including bird feeders (via Vine House Farm), bird food & clothing.   Help our Kelp...
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