Green Vision

Open Knowledge Exchange and Sharing

Month: July 2012

#GVis Calderdale Inspiring Business Leaders: Sally Hancox MBE Event Write Up


Leeds Knowledge Exchange Event sets Business Responsibility Agenda.

“Let’s make sustainable businesses standard business “. This plea from Green Vision Leader Claire Walker, Leeds Metropolitan University kicked off Green Vision’s Inspiring Business Leaders Business Growth Calderdale Series, at Dean Clough last Monday – and was a sentiment that ran true throughout the evening discussions.

Run by Leeds Metropolitan’s Centre for Knowledge Exchange and funded by the ERDF support Business Growth Calderdale Programme, the event saw over 20 SME professionals hear an invigorating ‘Just do it’ attitude to sustainability from Sally Hancox, a lady recognised with an MBE for her contribution to our environment through her work  in social and affordable housing, exploring themes around stakeholder engagement and waste elimination and enhanced competitive advantage through responsible, transparent working.

Sally shared her experience of Gentoo’s vision to remove the obstacles off the table for people living in fuel poverty through improving the ‘Art of Living’. This covered initiatives which involved effective engagement of the Supply Chain, behavioural change considerations, considerable research and the grounding of their work in local community needs.

Darren Hill then promoted a funded programme of Environmental management support for those that would like to get started on the route to Energy efficiency and waste elimination or even those further along the journey wishing to look at Eco Product design.

Speakers and delegates highlighted that in their experience whilst there was a real need for step change from SME’s in Calderdale, this was no longer an environmental issue but a business need to address, in such austere times – efficiency and waste minimisation has never resounded as so relevant to the SME’s in the room. A message to be taken home by all was that making small changes is an effective way of starting from the bottom up with Sally’s ‘Just Do It ‘mentality.

Claire Walker Project Manager for Green Vision said: “Yesterday’s event was a particular success as the event brought together key players who are engaged in Low Carbon events in Calderdale and has sparked collaborative working moving forwards for the benefit of all Calderdale SME’s. The presentations evoked some real enthusiasm and drive to engage Calderdale Businesses and make a difference within the region.’

‘This event has inspired me to look into how to make our business greener, thank you ‘(Kate Akerman, Porkshire)

More information along with presentations and links can be found on our Green Vision site –

Our next event on September 26th will feature Chris Hopkins MD, Ploughcroft, telling us his inspirational story including his appearance on BBC TV’s Dragons’ Den and how he secured investment from Deborah Meaden and Theo Paphitis, further demonstrating the exceptional credentials of the business and enabling it to extend its profile nationally. Since then Chris was asked to present the Green Apple Global Environmental Awards, held at Westminster, London last year.

#GVis Building CSR in Construction Event Write Up

CSR AGENDA HIGHLIGHTED AT LEEDS KNOWLEDGE EXCHANGE EVENT                                                     

Leeds Knowledge Exchange Event sets Business Responsibility Agenda.

“Corporate Social Responsibility is about communicating visions, ethics and the way we operate internally and externally”. This quote from Keynote Speaker, Mel Starrs, Associate Director, PRP Architects, kicking off Green Vision’s Building CSR in Construction Series, at Old Broadcasting House last Thursday – and was a sentiment that ran true throughout the emotive inspiring half day conference.

Run by Leeds Metropolitan’s Centre for Knowledge Exchange and the Construction Sector Network supported by Fairsnape, the event saw over 40 construction and property professionals, with others participating online through social media, explore themes around real competitive advantage through effective CSR.

Session discussions covered effective engagement of the Supply Chain, adopting an innovative deep green Building standard (The Living Building Challenge), the need for better dialogue between Education and Business, setting real CSR objectives grounded in local community needs, the need for transparency and honesty along with the importance in sharing best practice through open networks.

Mel Starrs discussed where Buildings fit in the CSR agenda, often as the second or third largest company expenditure, and a tangible representation of a company’s CSR strategy. She highlighted the importance of design being ‘measurable, accountable and repeatable’ and the effective use of BREEAM both as a tool for effective collaboration within project teams and for clients to demonstrate commitment to its CSR credentials. She also outlined the productivity benefits of green buildings with the most prominent green tenants, and how green buildings rarely change hands.

Speakers and delegate responses in the roundtables discussions and networking debates highlighted that in their experience whilst there was a real need for step change around CSR in construction, for many delegates making small changes was an effective way of starting from the bottom up.

Throughout the day many references were made to the leaders who are influencing, inspiring and shaping an emergence for a new built environment based on social responsibility.  A summary of these Hero’s and Texts can be found on our blog below.

For some, CSR is about working with local communities prior to a construction project, engaging education to develop appropriate apprenticeships to meet the needs of the sector. For many it is ensuring the CSR plan is at the heart of a company strategic plan and aware of the need to engage boardrooms to get Social responsibility to the heart of their business.

The live Internet presentation from Tamara Bergkamp, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) based in Amsterdam, clearly highlighted the move to integrated reporting, promoting GRI’s fourth generation of Sustainability Reporting Guidelines, (now in development and available focore view on their website.) One of the objectives of GRI is to offer guidance on “how to link sustainability reporting into business reporting aligned to the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC).

Following a series of informative and entertaining Pecha Kuchas (Eddie Murphy, Mott Macdonald, Faye Jenkins, Laing O’Rourke, Rick Hamilton, Co2 Sense), the lively closing Q and A sessions covered topics such as apprenticeships, community engagement, regional leaders, social media and technology in the sector and the benefits of working together to share knowledge and best practice.

Claire Walker Project Manager for Green Vision said: “Yesterday’s event was a particular success as the event evoked not only lively debate but real enthusiasm and drive to really make a difference within the region. We are making headway in terms of getting the property and construction sector to focus on sustainable practices, but what we need now is to grow Green Vision from a strong core of companies driving the agenda in Leeds to work with other regional Green Networks to strengthen our message and enhance our ability to create real change.

‘Green Vision is a platform that can open up discussions and debates that in turn help delegates within their own organisations, take learning back to their teams, and enable change. We continue to have great responses from those who attended and are already looking forward to the next one!”

More information along with presentations, transcripts and links can be found on our Green Vision site –

Heros and Texts for a Built Environment based on #CSR

“suddenly the air smells much greener now”

This post, written for Green Vision by Martin Brown @fairsnape was also published to his fairsnape blog 

Listening to ‘These Streets’, lyrics by Paolo Nutini summed up the brilliant, inspiring Green Vision conference in Leeds – exploring CSR within the built environment.

A mix of talks, presentations, round table discussions and pecha kuchas from Mel Starrs, Eden Brukman, Tamara Bergkamp, Eddie Murphy, Martin Brown, Faye Jenkins, Claire Walker, Rick Hamilton, Mark Warner, Pedro Pablo Cardoso-Castro, Andy Ainsworth, Paula Widdowson and many others showed that there is real emergence and a future for a Built Environment founded on social responsibility principles.

The air smells much greener …

We heard of excellent progress being made by individuals, projects and organisations on the CSR journey, and how behind these are great influential thinkers, often outside of the sector, many, unsurprisingly, related to the ‘outdoor’ sector.

Many of the speakers were enthusiastic in sharing CSR heros and recommended CSR reading. So here, as a summary, or reading list are those mentioned during the day.  I wonder how many of these are on the reading list within design, construction and fm education? (Book titles link to Amazon)

Yvon Chouinard

Rock climber, environmentalist and outdoor industry businessman, noted for his contributions to climbing, climbing equipment and the outdoor gear business. His company @Patagonia is widely acclaimed for its environmental and social focus. According to Fortune magazine, Chouinard is arguably the most successful outdoor industry businessman alive today.

The Responsible Company What we have learnt in the first 40 years at Patagonia by Yvon Chouinard and Vincent Stanley (see my blog)

 Let My People Go Surfing  Yvon Chouinard – Probably the ‘must read book’ to understand CSR in Business

(On my blog: How can construction learn from Patagonia?)

Ray Anderson

Founder of Interface Inc., one of the world’s largest manufacturers of modular carpet for commercial and residential applications and a leading producer of commercial broadloom and commercial fabrics. He was known in environmental circles for his advanced and progressive stance on industrial ecology and sustainability.

Ray was was posthumously awarded an Outstanding Achievement award at this year’s Guardian Sustainable Business Awards in 2012. (There is a related, must watch, video here: John Elkington describing the work and legacy of Ray Anderson)

Confessions of a Radical Industrialist: Profits, People, Purpose: Doing Business by Respecting the Earth (2009) Later released in paperback as Business Lessons from a Radical Industrialist in 2011.

Paul Hawken

 An environmentalist, entrepreneur, and author. Ray Anderson of Interface credited The Ecology of Commerce with his environmental awakening. He described reading it as a “spear in the chest experience”, after which Anderson started crisscrossing the country with a near-evangelical fervor, telling fellow executives about the need to reduce waste and carbon emissions.

Hawken’s book, Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution (1999) coauthored with Amory Lovins and Hunter Lovins, popularized the now-standard idea of natural capital and direct accounting for ecosystem services, a theme revisited by Rio +20 and likely to become more mainstream across the built environment.

Janine Benyus

Her 1997 book Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature defines Biomimry as a “new science that studies nature’s models and then imitates or takes inspiration from these designs and processes to solve human problems”. Benyus suggests looking to Nature as a “Model, Measure, and Mentor” and emphasizes sustainability as an objective of biomimicry.  Key thinking in the Living Building Challenge principles, as is

E O Wilson 

Edward Osborne Wilson an American biologist, researcher, theorist, naturalist and author. In the mid 80’s developed the concept of Biophilia, the connection between humans and nature, which translates into architecture and the built environment as comfort, well being and productivity through exposure to natural light and natural surrondings or imagry.

Anita Roddick

Dame Anita Roddick, human rights activist and environmental campaigner, best known as the founder of The Body Shop, a cosmetics company producing and retailing beauty products that shaped ethical consumerism The company was one of the first to prohibit the use of ingredients tested on animals and one of the first to promote fair trade with third world countries. Roddick was involved in activism and campaigning for environmental and social issues, including involvement with Greenpeace andThe Big Issue.

John Elkington

John Elkington @volansjohn is a world authority on corporate responsibility and sustainable development. He is currently the Founding Partner & Executive Chairman of Volans, a future-focused business working at the intersection of the sustainability, entrepreneurship and innovation movements

His latest book The Zeronauts, Breaking the Sustainability Barrier  describes many of todays inspirational leaders : “Just as our species broke the Sound Barrier during the 1940s and 1950s, a new breed of innovator, entrepreneur, and investor is lining up to break the Sustainability Barrier”

Jorgen Randers

2052: What will the world look like in 2052 

Jeff Hollender, 

Jeffrey Hollender is an American businessperson, entrepreneur, author, and activist. He was well known for his roles as CEO, co-founder, and later Chief Inspired Protagonist and Executive Chairperson of Seventh Generation Inc., the country’s largest distributor of non-toxic, all-natural cleaning, paper and personal care products.

Gary Hirshberg, 

Gary Hirshberg is chairman and former president and CEO of Stonyfield Farm, an organic yogurt producer, based in Londonderry, New Hampshire. Now part of the Danone group.

Published in January 2008, Stirring It Up: How to Make Money and Save the World is a book about socially minded business that calls on individuals to realize their power to make a difference in the marketplace, while doing business in ways that adhere to a multiple bottom line – one that takes into consideration not only finance, but the environment and health as well.

Jeffrey Swartz, 

Jeffrey Swartz is the president and CEO of The Timberland Company an organization that believes that doing well and doing good are inextricably linked. Timberland’s commitment is to reducing global warming and preserving the outdoor environment.

David and Claire Hieatt,

Founders of Howies a clothing company based in Cardigan Bay, Wales produces eco-friendly T-shirts, jeans and sportswear, and aims to have ethically correct practices. Howies use natural fabrics as alternatives to petrochemical-derived modern fabrics. Examples include organic cotton, Merino wool and recycled cotton. Howies T-shirts often have images or slogans with political or environmental themes

Dee Hock

Dee Ward Hock is the founder and former CEO of VISA , described systems that are both chaotic and ordered, and used for the first time the term “chard” and chaordic,combining the words chaos and order.


Over to you –

Follow the discussion on twitter with the #GVis2012 hashtag.

Who are your CSR Heros and CSR Texts to add to this Built Environment inspirers list?

What additions or comments would you make to the entries above?

A full record (video, blog, tweets, presentations, storify) of the Building CSR Event is being curated on the be2camp event page here.


© 2021 Green Vision

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑