Grant Thornton’s Vibrant Economy Index

Grant Thornton’s Vibrant Economy Index A new way to measure the success of the nation I came across an interesting report recently from accountancy firm Grant Thornton examining the ‘Vibrant Economy’. This challenges standard thinking and says that the economy should benefit society as a whole, taking into account not only financial growth and economic return within an area, but also a wider set of characteristics.   Under six headings, they examine these characteristics: Prosperity - An economy that produces wealth and creates jobs. Dynamism and opportunity – The economy is entrepreneurial and innovative, with a skills set that can drive future growth. Inclusion and equality - Everyone benefits from economic growth; the gap between richest and poorest narrows, regional disparities reduce, and there are opportunities for all. Health, well-being and happiness - People are healthy and active, leading fulfilling lives which provide individual prospects. Resilience and sustainability – The economy has a neutral impact on the natural environment, and built environments are resilient...
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Huge opportunities for SMEs to save energy

Huge opportunities for SMEs to save energy A survey recently by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) looked into how businesses have been managing their energy consumption.   They found that only 9% of SMEs had ever conducted energy audits on the business, while 69% of large companies had. The numbers ranged from 7% for sole traders to 84% of organisations with >1,000 employees.   This shows that there are huge opportunities for SMEs, particularly, to save energy & therefore save money.   I have found that businesses are put off conducting energy audits because they think they’ll just be told to spend lots of money - that the recommendations will all be about putting in solar panels or other expensive kit.   My approach to energy audits, however, is to look at not only technological options, but also at behavioural & operational changes which can often be no-cost or low-cost activities for quick results.   Back to the BEIS survey, of those SMEs that had done an...
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My Why – Why I am an Environmental Consultant

My Why I'm reading a lot of business books at the moment - strategy, marketing, sales & psychology. The latest is putting the WHY into our business…. in developing our strategy, we should Start with Why. For me it's about improving the environment.   I was mesmerised by the wonderful David Attenborough when I was a kid. I knew it was my calling - to improve the environment ... & to make a living out of it!   - Diverse ecosystems - beautiful places to visit & of course to live. - Healthy air, healthy people. - Fabulous plants & creatures. - You don't have to travel far & wide to see beautiful things. The world is an amazing place & we all have to look after it.   My consultancy Eshcon puts the environment at the core of business. Indeed it is my mission to make environmental management the business norm.   I didn’t want to change the world by being an environmental campaigner. I wanted to do it in more pragmatic...
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Increases in ISO 14001 numbers

Increases in ISO 14001 numbers Each year the International Standards Organisation releases the results their research on take-up of ISO standards across the world. This year follows past upwards trends.   As usual the Quality standard ISO 9001 dominates the scene with over 1 million certificates in 2016 (current certificates, not just issued that year) - 1,106,356 up by 7%.   ISO 14001, the standard for environmental management, is the second most widely used with 346,189 certificates worldwide. This saw an 8% increase over the last year.   China has the most ISO 14001 certificates by far with 137,230, with Japan & Italy following with 27,372 and 26,655 respectively. This year the United Kingdom is down slightly (6%) & slipped one place in the league table to fourth, with 16,761 certificates.   It could be that this slight decrease is due to companies not knowing how to implement the latest version of the standard, ISO 14001:2015. Talking to certification bodies, they’ve told me that companies are worried about how...
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5 Top Tips on Writing an Environmental Policy

5 Top Tips on Writing an Environmental Policy Your Environmental Policy is a written statement, signed by senior management, which outlines your organisation’s commitment to managing its environmental impacts.   Unlike H&S policies, there is no legal requirement for organisations to have an adopted environmental policy. However, it is essential if you want to implement an ISO 14001 EMS. It's also vital if you work with large organisations who often ask for EMS certification and info on your environmental improvements.   There is no standard content for an environmental policy, although they often contain the same themes; plus there are specific requirements within ISO 14001.   Top Tips -1-      The policy is meant for everyone to see, so make sure it's easy to read and understand - not too dry or filled with jargon. -2-      Make it realistic, achievable and relevant to your activities and practices. Readers should be able to understand what your main impacts are and how you are committed to managing them. -3-      It...
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Roffey Park’s ISO 14001 Success

Roffey Park’s ISO 14001 Success I am pleased to say that another of my clients has successfully recertified to ISO 14001 - Roffey Park Institute is an internationally renowned leadership institute based near Horsham, operating across the UK and in Singapore.   The Environmental Management Systems (EMS) is used to manage impacts, reduce risk, identify opportunities for cost savings and address customers’ needs.   Key achievements include paper usage down by 22% this past year, electricity by 16% and oil consumption has fallen dramatically since the installation of a ground source heat pump. The extensive grounds are well managed and the kitchen garden even grows fruit and veg for the restaurant (see picture above).   The new ISO 14001 standard has extra requirements, including a strong focus on leadership and alignment to the business strategy. Eshcon guided Roffey Park through the transition process starting with an ISO 14001 Gap Analysis, improving the EMS documentation, conducting the internal audits & attending the certification. With a change of staff...
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EMS – Going a bit further…

EMS - Going a bit further… What I like about networking is meeting new businesses & chatting about them, their activities, challenges & opportunities. We talk about the work I do & I often hear about their own environmental activities. It’s pleasing to hear how companies are recycling their waste or using low energy lighting.   They are beginning to see the benefits that putting the environment into the business generates. But they realise they’re not as successful as they could be. Energy prices are still spiralling. Legal issues keep cropping up. Customers want more & more information. Staff don’t seem to be engaged.   What they haven’t realised is that putting in an Environmental Management System can help address these problems. It gives the structure to manage impacts, find efficiencies & savings, get staff involved & communicate with their stakeholders.   Seeing as most companies get started on the environment because their customers demand it, it makes sense to put in an Environmental Management System &...
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Student Mentoring

Student-Business Mentoring Scheme It's been a while since I left university & went into the world of business. I have over 20 years of experience in the environmental management sector. I enjoy what I do & get satisfaction from helping my clients improve. And it occurred to me that I had experience that I could share with others, perhaps younger people starting out on their career. So when the Head of the School of Business, Management and Economics at the University of Sussex asked me to become a Student Mentor, I thought that would be a great opportunity.   Sussex runs a program linking local business people with their students. The idea is to share experience, the things we've learned along the way. This is particularly good for me, returning to my old Uni.   I was linked with a young woman studying economics. At our first meeting we completed the Mentoring Wheel diagram. On each spoke of the wheel, an issue or area that was important...
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Chair at edie Live

Chair at edie Live

Chair at edieLive Last week I chaired two sessions at edieLive, the UK's leading two day energy, sustainability and resource efficiency event for businesses. Taking place at the NEC, it welcomed thousands of people interested in environmental & energy management - businesses, consultants, suppliers, students alike. We were all there to learn, to network & improve our industry.   In the afternoon, I chaired the Resource Efficiency theatre session “Putting the O in H2O - Where is the opportunity in water?”. We had great presentations from L’Oréal & IHG - Intercontinental Hotels Group, about the work they’d done to integrate water efficiency into their businesses. At the hotels, clearly water in kitchens & bathrooms was key. Whereas for L’Oréal it was the water within the products & in the manufacturing processes. See my blog for edie.net earlier this year on this.   Earlier in the day at edieLive, I chaired the “Getting under the skin of an energy manager” session (photo above is a view from...
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Overcoming the Challenges to Environmental Management

Overcoming the Challenges to Environmental Management

Overcoming the Challenges to Environmental Management There are many challenges to environmental management in business, some external but more often coming from within. Here are my thoughts on overcoming some of these challenges.   Make it your USP and gain competitive advantage Customers and clients expect their suppliers to do an element of environmental management, from carbon footprint calculations to ISO 14001-certified Environmental Management Systems. So take the initiative: use it as your USP to differentiate yourself from your competitors; show customers you reflect their values, and use this to win business.   Overcome your short-termism Most organisations (private & public) tend to focus on the short-term - budgets, pay-back periods, share price, terms of office, KPIs etc. To truly understand the risks & opportunities for your business, thinking a bit longer term makes sense.   A sustainable business should engage with everyone it works with to look at, and reward, longer-term results. Why exclude energy efficiency projects that have a pay-back period of 2 years? Why aren’t the...
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ISO 14001 Success

  Roband demonstrates environmental leadership Roband Electronics is pleased to announce that its Environmental Management Systems (EMS) has been successfully recertified to ISO 14001 - and this time to the new ISO 14001:2015 standard.   The EMS is used to manage impacts, reduce risk, identify opportunities for cost savings and address customers’ needs. Carbon emissions have been reduced by 2%, waste by 5% and electricity by 9%.   The new ISO 14001 standard has extra requirements, including a strong focus on leadership & alignment to the business strategy. ESHCon guided Roband through the transition process starting with an ISO 14001 Gap Analysis.   Based in Charlwood near Gatwick Airport, Roband is an independent British company specialising in the design, development, manufacture and support of electronic power supplies. Roband is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.   Andrew Gold, Managing Director of Roband, said: “Our ISO 14001 system has been useful in getting our staff involved & showing our commitment to environmental protection. I am delighted with the team’s achievements.” ESHCon’s Director...
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ISO 14001 Slow So Far

ISO 14001 Slow So Far

Slow uptake of new ISO 14001 standard (so far!) It has been one year since the release of the new ISO 14001 standard. How are businesses and organisations getting on with it?  I’ve been speaking to certification bodies recently & they confirmed that there seems to be a slightly slower than expected uptake of new standard.   ISO 14001:2015 was released last September and organisations have up to three years to transition their existing Environmental Management Systems and certify to the new standard. This must be completed by 14th September 2018.   While many trailblazers have already done so (Northern Rail certified on the day the standard was released!), most are taking a more leisurely approach.   But while we’re all guilty of a bit of procrastination, don’t let it drag on too long.   The certifiers’ advice is to get started now. It does take time to make the transition and ensure the new requirements are embedded into your EMS properly.   Even if you do choose to certify to the...
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GDB Chairman

GDB Chairman

GDB Chairman Gatwick Diamond Business - Supporting & empowering local business Established for over 60 years, Gatwick Diamond Business GDB has been the leading voice for business and commerce in Sussex and Surrey. Representing business across the South East, we provide a united voice to influence local and central government issues.   A member of GDB for a number of years, I still find it is the best membership group for businesses, always meeting new & interesting people, making useful contacts and finding great opportunities.   For the past 3 years I have served on the Executive Board and now I am very pleased to be made Chairman.   Our plans for GDB are to build on existing successes, to expand upon the real value of membership, make connections between members & provide a voice and lead on important regional issues.   I am also pleased to welcome Debra Vice-Holt of the University of Brighton as Vice-Chairman. With the Executive in place and now welcoming the new staff to the...
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ISO 14001 Gap Analysis

ISO 14001 Gap Analysis

Mind the Gap! ISO 14001 Gap Analysis With over 300,000 certificates issued across the world, ISO 14001 is the best known standard for environmental management. More than ten years since it was reviewed, the latest version of the standard was released in late 2015.   What are the Major Changes? There are a number of changes with the new standard, the major ones being: Consider the context of the organisation to identify the internal & external factors and conditions that affect the organisation. Identify the interested parties and any requirements they have. Top management must demonstrate leadership, ensuring that the environmental policy & objectives are consistent with the overall business strategy. Management review outputs should include any implications for the strategic direction of the organisation. Identify the effect of uncertainty (“risk”) associated with threats and opportunities and take action to address them. Consider a life cycle perspective when identifying aspects and impacts, i.e. from raw material acquisition, or generation from natural resources to end-of-life...
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ESOS – Time Flies!

ESOS – Time Flies!

Time Flies! ESOS – 2 Months and Counting With less than 2 months until the deadline for the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme, businesses need to get going on this urgently. The date to notify the Environment Agency of your compliance is 5th December 2015. Remember even if you’re not a large company, you may still need to participate in ESOS because of others in your corporate group.   There are 3 stages to ESOS: measure energy consumption, conduct energy audits & report compliance.   As the clock is ticking, you should have by now collated energy & transport data for your reporting period (1 year which includes 31st Dec 14). Data should be in kWh for elec/gas, litres for fuels, maybe miles for business travel – and it needs to be validated. Many companies are finding this a bit of challenge, especially transport.   Then schedule the energy audits as soon as possible, these should cover your significant energy consumption and recommend improvements for saving energy.   Most Lead ESOS...
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Drivers for Sustainability

Drivers for Sustainability In researching its latest International Business Report, Grant Thornton asked 2,500 businesses across 34 economies what is driving their corporate social responsibility activity, examples of CSR initiatives and how these are being reported. They also looked at the role integrated reporting can play in improving transparency and decision-making.   What drives companies to become more socially responsible? Businesses report an increase in drivers to move towards more environmentally and socially sustainable business practices. Globally, cost management is the main driver (67%), followed by customer demand (64%) and because it’s the ‘right thing to do’ (62%). How a business is perceived to be operating is also important in many countries (59%), especially China.   In the UK however, client / customer demand was the top answer (62%), with recruitment / staff retention next (49%).   Paul Raleigh, Global leader – strategic development and growth, Grant Thornton, says CSR could be the difference that beats the competition: “The leadership of dynamic businesses towards more socially responsible and transparent...
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