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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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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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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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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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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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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Delighted to be FIEMA

Delighted to be FIEMA I was thrilled to receive a letter recently from IEMA, my professional institute, the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment. I’ve been a member for over 20 years, progressing through the membership levels, becoming a full member MIEMA & Chartered Environmentalist CEnv in 2005. The letter was to invite me to become a Fellow of IEMA. I was absolutely thrilled, as this is really the highest professional recognition there is. Rather than applying for FIEMA, I was nominated by other Fellows & approved by the selection committee, which wrote to say: “This is in recognition of your leadership skills as an award-winning consultant with expertise in environmental management and as an advocate for corporate sustainability. In particular, we wish to recognise your dedication, continuously working above and beyond your day job to give back to the profession, be it as a judge for the Sustainability Leaders Awards, as part of Sussex University’s student mentoring program or as Vice Chair of...
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Making the Most of ESOS webinar

Making the Most of ESOS webinar I was delighted to be invited again to take part in an IEMA webinar, this time on ESOS - The Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme. ESOS requires large companies to conduct energy audits & report compliance to the regulator. The deadline for this phase is 5th December 2019. IEMA – the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment – runs a series of webinars for its members, to keep them up to date with the latest issues & legislation, plus helps them with their own personal & business development opportunities. The webinar on Mon 10th June lunchtime was attended by over 150 delegates & we had a good range of questions at the end. As a registered Lead ESOS Assessor, I shared my experiences of the challenges faced last time – from getting good quality data to scheduling the meeting with the director in good time. A recording of the webinar, plus the slides are available here. See also my blog on The...
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#ialso Top 100

#ialso Top 100 I am delighted to be listed in the f:Entrepreneur #ialso Top 100 of female business leaders. The goal of the f:Entrepreneur campaign is to celebrate the dynamic and inspirational businesses led by women in the UK.   #Ialso demonstrates how business leaders don't just think about their business, they often support a range of other initiatives too.   The Top 100 met at the House of Lords for a celebration of business successes. Hosted by Lord Young of Graffam, ex Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, we heard from Martha Lane Fox, businesswoman & philanthropist, founder of Last Minute.com. She shared stories of her career & pointers for success, hoping that next year instead of the Top 100, we would have the Top 1000 in the room!   It was fantastic to meet so many other business women, to hear their stories & successes.   The event marked International Women's Day which helps to forge a more gender-balanced world. The theme for 2019 is relationships - this is key in business where 'people...
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SusLeaders19

Sustainability Leaders Awards It was another fabulous night at the #SusLeaders19. I've been judging awards for over 10 years & I've seen some amazing entries. It just doesn't get easier!   At the glitzy awards ceremony, I was delighted to present the #edieawards Water Management trophy to @Adnams for their innovative approach to water efficiency, which also helps in developing new products. See here for a full report of the Awards & all the winners - it's good to learn from the leaders.   After picking up the Lifetime Achievement Award, former Unilever chief executive Paul Polman issued a rallying cry for businesses to take corporate responsibility onto the next level by collaboratively ramping up climate action and championing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Here is his acceptance speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1Gh8IYdwH8&feature=youtu.be I was lucky to sit with Paul & the awards host Michaela Strachan - a great evening for me. Next day, Paul was awarded a KBE - a busy week for him!   _____________________ Liked this post? Sign up for the Eshcon Newsletter.  ...
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Hear me speak

Hear me speak (summer/autumn 2018) I have a number of speaking engagements over the next couple of months, including the following: 7th September: University of Sussex Business School conference Leading Organisations Through Change and Challenge - I will share my experiences of developing the vision for Gatwick Diamond Business & leading it through a significant period of change. Book here   17th October: Sustainable Business conference How to gain commercial benefit by putting the environment into the core of your business. Book here   22nd November: BSI webinar - ISO 14001 & the SDGs This webinar will examine how an ISO 14001 EMS can help your business deliver the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). More details soon   I've been busy - here are some of my past events: 10th August: Sustainable Business Partnership breakfast What I learnt about Environmental Management Systems by riding a classic motorcycle over the Himalayas! 10th July: Gatwick Diamond Meet the Buyers seminar Opportunity Knocks: Growth through Innovation. You don't need to radically change your business to innovate; responding to customer's requirements for Environmental Management Systems can be enough....
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Energy Efficiency Grants

Energy Efficiency Grants Did you know that there are grants & other finance opportunities available for businesses? Grants of up to £10,000 are available for energy efficiency works & other business development, though these will depend on your size (usually for SMEs), location & sector. Here are two examples of grants schemes that I know of in the South East.   LoCASE – business support for low carbon sector LoCASE is a scheme administered by the University of Brighton’s Green Growth Platform to drive green business growth in East Sussex, Kent & Essex. There are two elements of the grants scheme, firstly to help SMEs in low carbon & environment sectors with business growth & R&D grants. Grants of up to £10,000 covering 40% of the cost, for projects to help grow your business or develop new products & services. Grants can fund: Energy efficiency measures Development finance - to enable expansion of the business (e.g. marketing costs) Plant & machinery - including re-tooling & installation of...
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I am FSB Awards Winner

FSB Awards - Eshcon is Green Business of the Year Today I attended the FSB Awards. The Federation of Small Business is a membership organisation whose mission is to help smaller businesses achieve their ambitions. The FSB runs a national awards scheme, with regional events for the 12 awards categories.   Eshcon was shortlisted in the South East as a finalist for the Ethical - Green Business of the Year Award, which was sponsored by the University of Brighton’s Green Growth Platform.   There was really strong competition with the other finalists being: SAS Energy – the designer, supplier & installer of renewable energy systems Crumbs Brewing – creating beautiful beer from artisan bread that would otherwise go to waste Nature Shop – an online retailer of premium, natural fibre clothing Genuine Solutions Group – distributor of mobile phone accessories.   I am thrilled to say that I was successful & crowned the Green Business of the Year. My application explained how I manage my own company’s impacts & costs, e.g. Eshcon...
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The SDGs: Important & Relevant in the UK

The SDGs: Important & Relevant in the UK In 2015 Governments across the world signed up to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 17 in total covering people, planet & prosperity. If The Global Goals are to have a chance of succeeding, certainly within the timetable of 2030, we all need to contribute - governments, businesses, individuals. Those that are of particular interest to me are obviously the environmental ones, e.g. 13 Climate Action or 12 Responsible Consumption. But actually they are all interlinked in some way, with activities in one area trickling down / along & having a positive effect elsewhere. We need to understand that the SDGs are not just about the richer countries simply funnelling money to the less developed ones. These goals apply a key equally to us. Here are some stats put together by UKSSD showing the situation in the UK. SDG 1 No Poverty   -   16.8% of people in the UK live in poverty SDG 12 Responsible Consumption & Production  - ...
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News for 2018

Environment in Business - News for 2018 All companies should be embedding the environment into their business to get the commercial benefits. I work with organisations to identify improvements, calculate carbon emissions & put in Environmental Management Systems (EMS), so that you become more efficient, reduce risk & win new business. This year, you should be aware of deadlines & legislation requirements that may affect your business.   ISO 14001 Deadline Does your organisation have an EMS (Environmental Management System) certified to ISO 14001? If so, then you need to upgrade to the new version of the standard by the deadline September 2018. There are some significant changes required, which need to be ASAP - including context of the organisation, leadership, risks and opportunities, life cycle & evaluation of performance. More info is here. I’ve helped a number of organisations with the transition - making it smooth & successful.   ESOS Phase 2 ESOS (the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme) is a mandatory energy assessment scheme for large organisations in the UK....
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10 Environmental Moments of 2017

10 Environmental Moments of 2017 Well, 2017 has been an ‘interesting’ year dominated by Brexit and the US president. There’s been lots going on in the environmental arena too; I reflect here on just some of them.   Climate change - hurricanes, floods & wildfires You can't have missed all the news about the extreme weather experienced across the globe: Hurricane season in USA & Caribbean, dreadful flooding in Bangladesh, thick smog in China & Iran, wildfires in California. Thousands have been killed & millions affected, losing their homes, farmland & livelihoods; people’s health is deteriorating & business is being impacted. Climate change is just making these natural phenomena worse & more frequent. Renewable energy The rise of renewables in the UK has progressed, despite cuts to feed-in tariffs, this summer providing more than half of UK electricity for first time. National Grid reported in June that power from wind, solar, hydro & wood pellet burning supplied 50.7% of UK energy (include nuclear it’s up to...
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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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