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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.


the buzz on building energy futures

GVis2011 is Buzzing. There certainly is a great and even global buzz around the GVis2011 Energy in Buildings programme at the moment, leading up to (and indeed beyond) next weeks online and in person conference in Leeds.

GVis2011 – 7th July The format for this event was recently described as one that could change the way the built environment communicates, collaborates, networks and exchanges knowledge. (Details here: Green Vision conference)

In an industry not traditionally recognised for being at the forefront of technological innovation, Green Vision is set to take the construction sector out of its comfort zone, and prove the importance and power of using technology and online tools to collaborate and communicate,

In addition to keynotes from building energy thought leaders (in The USA and Europe, live via web links) delegates will also be able to debate regional, national and international themes  on the future of energy in buildings in a facilitated round table debate, With live blogging from the tables, and input through twitter from ‘outside the room’ will lead to an exciting afternoons debates.

There is also an opportunity for you to have your say in an energy open mic pecha kucha (20 slides in 6 mins)

The event finishes with a GVfizz, a drinks session to carry on the debate in a more social manner, allowing those who cant get to the afternoon sessions to pop in.

Defintely not an afternoon to miss, either in person for the discussions and networking or through online contributions.

Building Energy Debates Though the Linkedin group GVis2011 there is a vibrant sharing of opinions, thoughts, links and promotion. From Green Deal to there is an opinion! Join in here

The group will continue to debate the outcome from the 7th July. There is also a spill over of ideas and sharing with other linkedin groups such as Green Deal

Global Energy Chat #GVischat

“Buildings of the future may not need any energy technology”

22nd June saw the first of what will be many successful global chats using twitter. Over a fast paced 60mins brainstorm ideas, links, case studies, and futuristic concepts were thrown into the tweetchat pot. The ebook from the tweetchat can be found here.

The main themes of Green Deal, Energy Monitoring/ FM, Energy Supply, Renewables and Futures will be taken to the live event on the 7th July.

An intriguing thread led discussed buildings generating their own energy in such a passive, positive impact manner that will have no need for high tech energy equipment. (see also Net Zero Energy)

GreenBuild Expo Although not directly linked to GVis2011, the theme of energy futures was very evident at this two day Manchester show. GVis2011 partners be2camp ran an afternoon exploring the use of social media within the built environment that show cased many global sustainability themes, including energy futures. Be2camp at GreenBuildExpo

Gvis2011 also took the opportunity to discuss Green Vision work with exhibitors, extending invitations to energy providers,  renewawable technology installers, energy monitoring and energy journals to participate in the programme.

Be2camp Green Deal The GVis2011 Future of Energy discussions will not stop at the event in Leeds. In addition to all the material being shared through be2camp, the key outcomes will be taken to inform yet another be2camp event in London in September that will focus onto the Green Deal agenda.

Green Performance of buildings looks set to become a key theme going forward as set out in this essential reading paper from Clark Brockman: Introducing Net Zero Building—Shifting From Green Building to Green Performance

Join the Buzz, online and or with us on July 7th

If you follow this programme on twitter follow @CKEgroup, @fairsnape @be2camp and the hashtag of #GVis2011 and #GVischat (for the tweetchats)




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