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.

More?

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.

 

Cutting Carbon #GVischat

Another inspirational tweetchat as part of the GVisChat series took place last Thursday, covering a number of approaches for cutting carbons out of construction that included re-using buildings, visibility of reductions, QR codes on project hoardings, understanding the impact of construction, benchmarking,  and using BIM.

The full transcript with notes and links can be viewed here on Storify

Our next GVischat will be on the 20th March to coincide with EcoBuild and ask the question “what is your Green Vision”

Follow @ckegroup @fairsnape and or @gvischat to keep in touch. We can also run twitter workshops and support sessions to get you going on twitter and contributing to our tweetchats. Contact Claire for more information

 

Low carbon diet for construction boards

Question:  who on your board is really championing sustainability and the low carbon agenda?

Board members, as Lucy Marcus reminded us at construcTALKs last month, need to balance continuity with change, to embrace changes in technology with established, proven ways ….

From my experience in (small-medium) construction organisations boards are perhaps too focused on looking back at performance, rather than forwards, and when looking forward tend to do so with the risk-eye of past problems.  And sustainability, only discussed when necessary, as part of a ISOO 14001, project, incident issue.

Too often, as 14001 sits with Health and Safety, sustainability takes a back seat.  Rarely construction boards view sustainability in its widest sense as a critical strategic, opportunity issue, but simply one to be dealt with at project level.

Yet the world is moving forward, and increasingly so towards a low carbon environment and economy. Only those with proven performance and attitude of low carbon approaches may well survive.

All the more reason to have board members to champion change. Non execs tend to provide an independent financial and governance role, but increasingly they should drive the organisation towards change, and give direction towards a low carbon construction economy.

To quote from Lucy, boards need to be both Grounded and Stargazers.

Are construction boards so grounded they go underground? Or do they at least from time to time stand on a hill and gaze the stars to wonder and then to understand what is out there?

Comments appreciated ….

A Low Carb Diet for Construction?

This blog, through regular thought pieces from myself (Martin Brown) along with guest bloggers + thought leaders is aimed at generating discussions on moving towards a low carbon construction and built environment sector.

Setting the Scene

There is a buzz, and indeed confusion over carbon management in the built environment at the moment. We have the Zero Carbon Hub (as a quango) given a stay of execution to redefine ‘zero carbon’ albeit in the housing sector but will have implications for non domestic projects too.

We have Paul Morrell pushing the importance of carbon management, referring to cash as king but carbon must be the queen. (Introduction to the Construction and Innovation Growth Team final report.) (Note this report proposes a Low Carbon Construction Business Plan)

There is, according to  Sustain recent paper  embodied carbon, a look forward insight report much uncertainty over design predictions of carbon emissions from facilities and building in use.

The focus for carbon management has until recently been only concerned with the design and use of buildings, rather than the construction process of building or refurbishment.

But it is here that it makes sense to focus on carbon reduction, for if we do so we focus on waste in lean construction sense, but particularly wasted energy. Every kilogram of carbon saved on site has a corresponding saving, either to the contractor or to the project. No wonder then in a recent copy of APM Magazine article mentions carbon as one of the future key performance indicators for construction project management.

Understanding Construction Carbon

There is little evidence to date, or indeed little understanding of the level of carbon emissions from a construction project. Possibly leading the field is constructco2 which with over some 50 projects is showing a level of 96kg per £1000 project value. To put this into perspective one party balloon, I am told, would hold about 10 grammes of CO2. ( I tried to understand this in more detail on my own blog here)

Thats a lot of party balloons.

The Strategy for Sustainable Construction has set a target to reduce emissions by 15% based on 2008 levels. This is some tough call, meaning 15% reduction in material and waste transportation and in personel travel, along with a reduction, or improved performance of plant and energy use, and an holistic resource review.

In the words of Egan, we need a rethink on the way we build and refurb: a lean thinking approach. We cannot address a real reduction in carbon with the same thinking that created the current high energy situation we find ourselves in.

Over to you

What are you doing to measure or improve your construction based carbon emissions?

What innovations are you aware of to improve carbon performance though alternative energy or working methods.