Sunday, 18 December 2011

I Know This

You don’t even know me
I know this
You don’t wanna know me
I know this
I ain’t much to look at
You don’t wanna hear me
You certainly don’t owe me
I know this

I’m hungry.

Bit rude
Comin’ out the tube
Bit cold
This is getting old news
Some guy
Tryin’ a sell me Big Issue
Tryin’ a get it sold

I’m tired.

Haven’t slept a wink
But you just did your bag zip
What a hassle
To open it again
Gloves’ll beat the nip
What a hassle
To take them off again
Purse right at the bottom

Jack Frost at your hip
Jack Frost on your lip
Well Jack Frost has consumed me
He’s my arch enemy
Like it was meant to be
I can’t remember warm
Your can’t imagine the trauma
It’s like a living hell
But a frozen one
I cough not from the bottom of my lungs
But from the bottom of my body
Bottom of my heart and soul
Crying out
Screaming out
I just wanna shout out

But then you’d see my teeth
Smell my breath
I’d put you off
You’d run away
I used to have a dentist
I used to have a doctor
I used to have a job
And a wife
I had a life

I feel dizzy.

But you are busy
I know this
In a rush
To the office
To a meeting
With seating
And heating!
Got that London walk
Got that i-phone talk
Thinkin’ ‘bout your Christmas list
Things to do
People to see
Presents to wrap
What about me?

You know where I stand
Well actually I sit
I’ve been here since yesterday
And the day before
Apart from the times I had
To pee behind that tree
You know where I stand
Well you can guess

“When I’m speaking to you
Look me in the eye!”
That’s what my father used to say
When I was a child
It’s not my place
To say that to you
No one looks at me
It’s not my place
Not my space
I know this

What a hassle
“I’m sorry to trouble you Miss”
What a hassle
I’m sorry I have to get in your way
Disturb your day
Wasn’t meant to be this way
But now I’m asking you to pay
Can’t offer you much
But we can do a trade today
I’m a business man
In my own way
Just like the men you meet every day
Something to read
When you’re on the tube
On the way home


But now it’s survival
Fighting your rivals
Your own patch
The horrors of the night
You don’t see this
I know this
You don’t know this
I know this
Just know this
I fell off track
But I’m trying to make amends
I’m a decent guy
Or they wouldn’t let me sell this

I hope to buy a sandwich
You don’t have any change
I hope for next time

Have a nice day Miss
You will
I know this


Christmas is a time of giving and thinking about what we are doing. It’s a great time to start getting involved with the homeless cause, for one. Even if you buy one Big Issue, you are contributing.

I am really pleased to hear that the Big Issue seller, who I saw almost every day for my four years at Bristol University, has been nominated to carry the Olympic torch. Others’comments in this article reminded me of my similar feelings- when moaning about walking to lectures in the rain, Jeff would be stood there in the rain grinning, and he always said ‘hello there my angel, how about you buy the Big Issue today?’ He really does cheer people up and deserves this.

I wrote the above poem as I see many homeless people in London and one or two very regularly in the same place. It is told from the perspective of a fictional character who has only just made the step to start selling The Big Issue. The Big Issue is a social enterprise that had its 20th birthday this year. It offers homeless people the chance to legitimately make their own money, whilst The Big Issue Foundation also offers them advice on where to go for help and services like basic healthcare.  So with the help of the Foundation it won’t be long before my man in the poem’s breath smells a bit better, cough gets a bit better. My guy wouldn’t have long before he is making some headway on the journey towards better living, providing that people buy his magazine. 

Saturday, 17 December 2011

This The Eco Age

Y’all wanna be seen in the magazine

Front cover mainstream beauty queen

Might not expect the green scene

Ain’t no reason to choke

Just stand up and take note

‘Bout the things that been wrote

Sexy strong gorgeous stars

6-page spread in Harper’s Bazaar

Even better than Lady Gaga

Livia Firth got her green carpet swagger

Bright spark Lily Cole she all glitz and glamour

Ali Hewson’s Edun ain’t no reason to slam her

Laura Bailey has Made some

Eco movement got its own run

These girls do their job done

Sourcing textiles

Million miles

Takes a while

To understand

The man

Who grow

The girl

Who sew

Just so

You know

Unimaginable reach: the fashion industry

Add human rights to the mix and that’s desirability

Oh, it’s ALL about the sustainability

That’s what I’m talkin’ ‘bout environmental justice

Super-luxe design, ain’t no reason to rush this

Even Stylist got it’s own ethical gift list

Even Marie Claire startin’ a talk to the masses

Even you a hoodlum baby, this for all classes

This the main event, you better watch this

Not heard of organic? Or maybe Fair Trade?

With fabulous fabrics pioneering this wave

With exciting upcycling, join the eco-age

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Zosienka & Rosie

Great name, even if I may say so myself, and it's a great game that they are playing. Zosienka & Rosie are illustrators based in London and given that now is the time I am searching for eco-friendly gifts for the festive season, I was pleased to stumble across their 100% recycled envelopes (I'm also a fan of Disco Pony and Lion In Pyjamas- the latter has great hair).

Saturday, 29 October 2011

In Bloom London

Phwoar this is a little steamy!
In Bloom. A lovely name, even lovelier undergarments. This is a brand that goes beyond the simple experience of buying an item of clothing- In Bloom empowers women as well as dresses them and one can become part of that community by purchasing one of their beautiful bras or knickers- all 100% organic cotton. Now has a store on 281 Portobello Road. Hot stuff.


At the Source EXPO, I was struck by the colour and material contrasts of Mia Nesbit’s work and particularly enjoy her gathered and backless dresses made of old shirts and ties- I think wearing one of those would epitomise the ‘play time after work’ feeling. Her pieces fuse recycled fabrics with traditional Malawian textiles and use local Malawian labour in their creation. I am not sure the creations are for the mass market as some of them are fairly daring, however, as an observer they appear as wearable art.

Saturday, 22 October 2011


Always impressed with a truly desirable, yet sustainable product, I enjoyed my conversation with designer Natasha Gindin from Lavuk, based in Los Angeles. They use a range of eco-friendly materials and plant a tree for every purchase made. Charming!

The SOURCE Exposé

This Monday, I attended the SOURCE Expo: the only showcase of ethical fashion suppliers in the world. I saw a few familiar faces from my work with the Ethical Fashion Forum, but also saw a few new ones. I will highlight the ones I felt most innovative and sexy in the next few blog posts.

Meanwhile, a comprehensive description of exhibitors, seminars and speakers can be found here.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

"Tweet Tweet!" It must be October.

Wowzer things have been hotting up lately. Highest temperatures in autumn for 100 years I hear you say?! You can tell it is October now as there are both blackberries and The Crack Fox (plus family) in my London garden.

I am halfway through my ‘2 half marathons in 2 weeks’ fortnight: I had a great time on the first one running with a friend the whole way. I was just pleased to make it round the course (partly thanks to blue PowerAde) having seen hundreds of people stop and walk, stop altogether or even collapsed on the side of the road due to the heat! Thank goodness it looks like things will be a little cooler for next weekend’s race. Please don’t forget to sponsor me! Every donation is much appreciated and goes towards Article 25.

Marvellous birdsong accompanies this glorious weather we are having and I have felt compelled to tweet along. This slightly excuses my pitiful recent blogging record; as an alternative I have taken to the faster-paced Twitter like a swallow swift and blue on PowerAde. You can see my tweets here.

As you will see, a lot has been going on in the world of sustainability lately. We have just had World Green Building Week, there have been protests against the increase in motorway speed limits and the mock Ecocide trial took place in the Supreme Court only yesterday.

I have been lucky enough to attend some exciting events and meet some fantastic people in the past fortnight. At a Gaia event I heard the inspirational Nnimmo Bassey, Chair of Friends of The Earth International, speak of the perils of Shell gas flaring and oil spills in Nigeria. At a Heart Of The City event I heard from the Director of Mace, who contracted the London 2012 Athletes Village construction sustainably and from the Director of BioRegional who provided the guidance on how to make it The Greenest Games Ever. At Guardian Sustainable Business Quarterly I sat cringing at the comments of L’Oreal’s Head of Sustainability on how L’Oreal products have made 40-year-old women, ‘who usually look really old’ by the way, appear much younger, in reaction to a question about how L’Oreal are dealing with the recent dig on airbrushing in their marketing campaigns.

All of this and more I am tweeting from a high-up observational perch in the sustainability tree overlooking the world. Keep your ears out people and you might just hear me.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Dressing to Impress

That’s right lovely people, my next Ethical Fashion Forum article is out and follows on nicely from the previous one (see ‘InCREDible’, below). This one is entitled The Market for Sustainable Weddings, Part II: bridalwear and opened my eyes to the range of ethical wedding apparel now available.

The SOURCE Intelligence online publication is the world’s leading source of ethical fashion business intelligence. As always, content is available exclusively to paying members and if you are not already a member, I urge you to become one- try it for a while- even if you work in pure-play fashion or pure-play environmental science or your passion lies in a completely different field. Articles (not just mine, of course) are both informative and interesting to read, even for those outside of the sector.

I really enjoyed writing this piece and who wouldn’t?! A wedding is a beautiful thing and all the material aspects of it should have the ethics and integrity to match its beauty.

I was lucky enough to speak with several inspiring ethical wedding entrepreneurs and my thanks goes to Katie Fewings of Ethical Weddings, Barbara Walmsley of Oxfam Bridal, Deborah Kidd of Swoon, Sabina Ali of Motasem and Katrin Magnussen, senior fashion analyst at Mintel, for their contributions.

Although not currently planning my own wedding, or any wedding for that matter, I will certainly know where to look and will be spoilt for choice in the future. Having said that, the market is certainly not saturated and there is room for further innovation.

Look out for The Market for Sustainable Weddings Part III coming soon to an Eco Chic blog near you!

Monday, 29 August 2011


If you have not been at Notty Carny this week end, perhaps you have been to Start@Kew.

This week end, Start hosted an event showcasing ways of sustainable living at Kew Gardens.

Start is an organisation set up by the Prince of Wales to help educate people about living a more sustainable lifestyle. The website has a cute video and also gives lots of great tips; I particularly like the ‘Eat’ section with a guide to farmer’s markets. I don’t believe that individual actions alone will make a large enough difference but I think that the awareness and community spirit generated from Start is priceless. We cannot do without government and industry taking radical action to mitigate against climate change, ensure water and energy security and combat poverty, but it is extremely important that we as citizens get involved too. Plus, it can be fun!

I recently attended one of their events held at Clarence House, where there was an outdoor wildlife photography exhibition and an array of stalls demonstrating organic plant growing. My friend and I were each given a small pot and soil with salad seeds in it and I now have a selection of chard, rocket and lemon sorrel growing on my office windowsill. We then indulged in a spot of lunch at the pop-up sustainable restaurant (pictured), which was both delicious and good for the planet.

I will certainly be keeping an eye out for more Start events and would urge you to too!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Absolutely InCREDible

Much has been happening in the world of ethical jewellery of late and it still being the year of the most followed British Royal Wedding ever, it is the perfect time for the launch of my article entitled The Market For Sustainable Weddings: Part 1, jewellery for the Ethical Fashion Forum SOURCE Intelligence.

Great thanks go to article contributor Christian Cheesman, Business Director of luxury ethical jewellery brand CRED, from whom I learnt a huge amount. There has been a lot of talk about the mining of conflict diamonds, but many give little thought to their jewellery origins beyond that and Cheesman states that:

'If there was a piece of jewellery crying out to be made ethically, it would be a wedding ring.’

One of the things I had not realised is that commercially-mined gold regularly uses harmful levels of arsenic and mercury in the extraction and cleaning processes, which damage both the environment and miners’ health. Wonderfully articulate and thoroughly informed of the ways of the ethical jewellery movement and supply chains, tireless campaigner and luxury brand ambassador, Cheesman is without a doubt, along with his business partner Greg Valerio, a pioneer of good sustainable practice in this market arena.

Great thanks also go to Karina Anne, at the other end of the spectrum, as a small ethical jewellery business founded in 2006. Beautiful pieces are produced with a conscious effort to improve supply chain practices, whilst I really admire her emphasis on fantastic customer service.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Ravishin' reportin' darlin'

OOORRRIIITE blog readers? I make no apologies- I am writing this from the farm in Devon so have re-adopted a few of the classic Devonshire phrases for the weekend, for example:

‘OOORRRIIITE?’ = ‘you alright?’ / ‘how are things?’ / ‘Hello’

‘Here chucka chucks!’ = ‘Come over here, chickens, this is where I have laid out your grain’

‘Werzat to?’ = ‘Where is that?’

‘I loik drivin’ my tracker round a field’= ‘I like driving my tractor around the field’.

‘Geddon son’ = ‘Get on son’ i.e. ‘well done’

Adapting your language to your audience is also key in sustainability reporting. Yet, this can be tricky when the report-readers, and contributors, vary widely. I have written a few pieces around this recently, based on recent publications by Radley Yeldar (How Does It Stack Up 2011) and Acona (Multiple Messages).

Why report on sustainability?

How to make a superb Sustainability Report

Reporting: it’s a hard-knock life

The all important question: who are you writing for?

Check ‘em out bai!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Her name is Rosie H...

Her name is Rosie H, she was born in 1987, she grew up on a farm in South Devon and has 2 younger siblings: a brother and a sister. To top it all, she is enthusiastic about sustainable activities.

It is true that I love talking about myself (don’t we all), but this time I am talking about my doppelganger (I wish): Rosie Huntington-Whitely. There are a long list of things that are similar about us, including our love of style and of pouting and posing; we even have mutual friends and our birthdays are just 1 month apart.

‘Aren’t you just the same person?’ I hear you ask. Well, no, not exactly. The (subtle) difference is that she is an international supermodel and I am...not. She is now also a Hollywood movie star with her recent acting debut in Transformers 3 and I am...not. She has multi-million pound contracts with Burberry and Victoria Secret and several international magazine covers due to her hot bod get the picture.

What I am interested in, though, is just how sustainable is she, flying around the world to fashion shoots, catwalk shows and movie premieres an’ all?

She has been interviewed by Modelina saying she loves using organic skincare products (but her boyfriend’s mum owns the brand...) and she had her photo taken with a green poodle for Do The Green Thing, back in 2008. And that’s where I get stuck. I applaud her for her efforts so far, but encourage her to grab the bull by the horns and use her ever-increasing superstardom to make friends and influence people to behave more sustainably. Devon breeds all sorts of great eco-minded girls and her heart is certainly in the right place but this sassy double-barrelled fashionista just needs to shout about it.

Go Rosie!!!


Related to the recent blog entry on making GHG emissions reporting mandatory, I hereby inform you of a little something else related to reporting that is equally exciting. This is the 6th year that Radley Yeldar (RY) have assessed and rated Annual and Sustainability Reports for companies in the FTSE 100 and the 6th year they have produced a report on it. How funny! An engaging report about engaging reports!

#HDISU2011 is the Twitter hash tag for the RY How Does It Stack Up event to mark the launch of their 2011 report of the same name. This publication is more important than simply yet another report; one of RY’s clients bases her bonus on her company’s HDISU score.

So who did well this year?

In the Top 10 Sustainability Reports were Centrica (1st), which was particularly praised for its interactive maps.

Vodafone came 2nd this year, but in general is recognised as a leader in sustainability reporting with a clear link to business strategy. This year’s report from Vodafone had a compelling narrative on the social function of their company and clear measurements and objectives. The mobile technology company came 4th for online reporting.

Kingfisher came 3rd in the Sustainability Report table, for giving stakeholders a clear voice in the report and for comprehensive, well-presented data.

So what are the trends?

Well, at the HDISU2011 launch event, Rosie Acfield set the scene for 2011 reporting in describing the changing legislative context and audience expectations. The following are observed trends:

- There has been a lot of consultation with examples from BIZ on The Future Narrative Of Reporting and The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) on Cutting Clutter.
- Use of online reporting is more frequently seen, for example for The Plan For Growth, HM Treasury. However, the FRC suggestion that companies will no longer have to produce printed reports has been dropped as a proposal, as was announced by FRC’s Steven Harrell recently.
- There is a trend for digital reporting more broadly. 15 million ipad2s have been sold since March 2011, thus it is important to engage users in reports via digital means. There is a trend towards hybrid HTML in this sector, meaning that the report will be partly moving and interactive and partly static text and images.
- Auditing the narrative of reports is becoming increasingly popular, yet there are practical implications of using external auditors given the already tight timescales and costs of Corporate Reporting.
- Governance has been given more of a voice in reports on the usual governance topics, with recent publications of: Women On Boards, Gender Diversity On Boards and The EU Corporate Governance Framework currently being a green paper.
- Mandatory Sustainability Reporting is in place in France, Sweden and Denmark and a whole host of other countries, but not the UK! Although, as the last Amida blog entry shows, GHG emission reporting may become obligatory. In addition there is also the International Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) 2015 goal to ‘Report Or Explain’ on Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) performance.
- Integrated reporting is used in Europe in some cases but is not on the horizon for UK companies. is on RY’s one to watch list.
- The summary report, giving key messages, is a popular one nowadays too.

More on sustainability reporting coming soon…

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Orgasmic organics

..thought that might get your attention!

My next article for the Ethical Fashion Forum magazine The SOURCE is out now and it is about, yes you’ve guessed it, organics in fashion! Click here for a snapshot (and become a member if you want the whole shebang).

Thanks to contributors Helen Rowe of SeaSalt, Lee Holdstock of The Soil Association and Simon Ferrigno, Consultant at Organic Farming Systems. It was a lot of fun putting this article together and I even conducted one interview over the phone with Ferrigno whilst I was at the top of Scafell Pike- the highest point in England- as that was the only time he could do!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011


If you are interested to read a little more on the mandatory greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting that is likely to come into play for big business this autumn, then you should jolly well click here for my fully written feature-length much wordier article.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Belle Blondeau

The fashion industry is celebrated for its creativity and international style prowess as much as it is thwarted for its unethical practices. From supply-chain screw-ups, to Primark pains and size zero heroes, we have heard much about the negative side of this brutal, fast-paced and shallow industry of late.

One thing that has only just come into my radar is age. Sex sells in most industries, but very particularly in the fashion world. The models don't have to be scantily clad to turn pieces of fabric into something sexually alluring, using mainly their eyes and body stance. We like to look at beautiful things and fashion PR knows that this is what sells; this is their job.

So at what age should models enter into this life? Is 10 years old too young? The management of 10-year-old french model Blondeau, who has been pictured topless and in high-glamour couture dresses and heels, don't seem to think so. Yes she is gorgeous, in a cute, little child kind of way. I just wonder how this attention (who knows who is looking at those photos) will affect her development and her body confidence in later life. Where should the line be drawn?

Wednesday, 6 July 2011


She is introduced at prestigious lectures, seminars and conferences as Barrister, Author and International Environmental Lawyer and has been voted by The Ecologist as one of the Top 10 Influential Leaders. She is proposing that Ecocide be made the fifth Crime Against Peace. Who is she? Polly Higgins.

What is Ecocide?

Ecocide essentially refers to the damage and destruction of ecosystems by humans and their agencies through activities such as mining, fossil fuel extraction, toxic waste and deforestation. In late May I was lucky enough to hear Polly speak at a lecture entitled ‘Eradicating Ecocide: laws and governance to prevent the destruction of our planet’.

Ecocide as a word has been used since the 1970s but until recently it revealed next to nothing in a Google search. Then BP spilt an inordinate amount of oil in the Gulf of Mexico, an ‘accident’ that represented the most potent example of human-made environmental damage, according to Polly. At that moment, ‘Ecocide’ went viral. However, Ecocide is much more than a buzzword. It is about imposing a legal duty of care and it is about a broader recognition of how are all interconnected.

Of course there are natural causes of environmental damage such as tsunamis, floods and earthquakes, but some of these are symptoms of our activities and are linked to human-induced climate change. We should be turning off the tap upstream.

Crimes Against Peace

The international Crimes Against Peace were established in the aftermath of WWII when it was recognised that life is not cheap and we should therefore minimise certain destructive behaviours. According to the Rome Statute, the four existing Crimes Against Peace are: Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, War Crimes and Crimes Of Aggression. All of these things have been out-lawed and criminalised internationally. In order to expand our arena of concern to all life, and in recognition of our interconnectedness, Polly proposes that Ecocide is elevated to the status of Crime Against Peace.

The Time is Now

The hardware required to make Ecocide a Crime already exists, so there is no need to re-invent the wheel. As well as Crimes Against Peace we have the United Nations, The Right to Life and The International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC has only recently come into existence place, in 2002. Prior to this there were only International Courts set up after events as one-offs, for example Nuremberg after WWII.

Ecocide is a crime in war time but, as Polly stated, it also needs to be a crime during peace time. As another past example, Article 8 (2) (b) of the tribunal for the Vietnam War relates to the use of Agent Orange and various other toxic chemicals that had devastating effects on entire ecosystems. The definition of this Article can be translated for use in the industrial world, if we simply swap the word military for the word corporate:

‘Widespread long-term and severe damage to the natural environment which would be clearly excessive in relation to the concrete and direct overall CORPORATE advantage anticipated’.

Et voila we have an Article that applies to the likes of BP, a company that would have gained only six months to two years profit from their drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. The Environmental Modification Convention (ENMOD) 1977 defined ‘widespread’ as encompassing an area of several hundred kilometres, ‘long-lasting’ as 3+ months and ‘severe’ as involving serious or significant disruption or harm to human life and natural resources. For the BP oil spill, that equates to: tick, tick, tick.

The time for Ecocide being made into a crime is now. The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) Initiative Report on Corporate Activity shows that in 2008, business and industry caused $2.2 trillion worth of environmental damage and destruction, which is only exceeded by seven nations' GDPs. In 2009, this figure had almost doubled to $4 trillion. Yet this damage, leading to resource depletion, conflict and war, is not a crime; on the contrary, it is acceptable. Polly reiterated that we cannot afford to simply slow this trend, we need to stop it in its tracks.

But the economic system will collapse!

Just as William Wilberforce succeeded in abolishing slavery through building the case for out-lawing the heinous practice, we can do this for Ecocide. Wilberforce suggested withdrawing the subsidies for companies engaged in slave labour activities and creating new subsidies for the ~300 companies who did not use slavery. This could be one mechanism for abolishing Ecocide, except this time it is for ~3000 companies. The backlash is certainly similar: ‘the economy will collapse’, ‘there is a public demand’, ‘it is a necessity’, but in retrospect abolishing slavery was clearly the right thing to do and the economy did not collapse, it thrived. Polly states that fines act as ‘catch me if you can’ laws and are ineffective. She believes that we need more totalising action.

Who should be held responsible?

The Nuremberg Tribunal stated in its judgement that:

“Crimes against international law are committed by men, not by abstract entities, and only by punishing individuals who commit such crimes can the provisions of international law be enforced.”

According to Polly, corporations are just a piece of paper and it is the people in higher ranks within these corporations who carry responsibility. Under the Responsibility Principle it is quite worrying when CEOs say ‘I didn’t know...’: Polly recently spoke at Shell’s AGM about their use of environmentally damaging extraction on tar sands and one of Shell’s Directors said they did not know about it.

Ecocide is a crime of consequence that arrives out of the pursuit of profit; corporations most often do not intend to cause damage and destruction. Polly’s argument is that Ecocide should be a crime regardless of knowledge or intent. Ecocide should thus be a Strict Liability Law, which means that one will be punished even if there was no knowledge or intent of the crime (for example if a circus tiger escapes from its cage in the middle of the night and kills people, the circus owner, despite being asleep at the time, would be punished). Death by dangerous driving falls under Strict Liability Law. The knowledge that oneself or one’s corporation is under Strict Liability would arguably ensure that higher precautions are taken.

You will be hearing more about Ecocide

Throughout history, Polly notes that fines do not cut it and certainly will not prevent Ecocide, yet incarceration is one of the most powerful disincentives. Ecocide was in fact up for consideration as an International Crime in 1995 and every UN country agreed it should be made an International Crime, bar three. The objection of those three countries meant that the motion was not passed as Law.

Making Ecocide an International Crime under Strict Liability Law will help to ensure the absolute prohibition of a moral wrong through imposing a pre-emptive obligation of avoidance. The idea is that this should create a shift in consciousness and rapid corporate mobilisation, for example to no longer extract from tar sands, due to the risk.

My favourite Polly Higgins quote was:
‘Governments run the casinos where corporations are gambling away.’

This notion informed the front cover image of her new book entitled Eradicating Ecocide.

This is not a blame game, but a recognition that we are all responsible and should view the earth as a living being that deserves respect rather than an innate object to be exploited. Polly is very active in this campaign, engaging in political lobbying at a very high level and recently spoke at the Earth Summit. Polly's fight to make Ecocide a fifth Crime Against Peace continues...

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Join the rebellion!

Dum dum dum, dum dee dum, dum dee dum

Quite enjoyed walking into work on Tuesday morning to the Star Wars theme tune to be greeted by several storm troopers…It was a Greenpeace stunt held around Old Street to get as many people as possible to sign up to their campaign to help prevent large companies like VW turning to the Dark Side and making bad decisions in relation to their greenhouse gas emissions.

Greenpeace- I like your style.

They already have nearly 200k people signed up online, which is free to do; the campaign is cool and it is a worthy cause, so feel the force and join the rebellion NOW.


Sunday, 26 June 2011

Plymouth to launch pioneering food project

Yes I am from Devon, no I am not from Plymouth, yes I am pleased to hear that Plymouth with the Soil Association are piloting a project championing local, organic food with a view to rolling it out across the UK. 'ere bai!


I love a good board game, especially one that gives you delusions of grandeur due to the authoritarian way in which you can demand pieces from other players, out-wit and out-skill them to the point of tears and amass wealth beyond belief, resulting in complete domination of board territory (/the world). This one, entitled ‘Perspectivity’, was particularly enthralling as it also combined my interest in the geopolitical aspects of sustainable development. Read my full write-up here.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Mining The Earth

Here is my account of an eye opening event on the perils of mining- not as simple as getting stuff out the ground and making things!

Sunday, 29 May 2011

The Royal Wedding: one month on

Congrats Wills and Kate on your one month anniversary!

Click here to read my report for The Ethical Fashion Forum on ‘THE DRESS’. Thank you to designer Raishma, who created homeless girl Shozna’s beautiful papaya dress for the Royal Wedding and whom I interviewed for this piece. This article is not necessarily about the ethics of it, but more about the design and the fun of it, which is probably why it is available to the public and not just paying members this time!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

24 and The Box

On Sunday 22nd May 2011 at 5.23am I metamorphosed into Jack Bauer and, like him, I can most often be found running around (in a sweaty, yet stylish way) saving the world whilst time is ticking on. Unlike him, I do not take the ‘ends justify the means’ approach to my workings, nor am I burdened with attempts to thwart multiple terrorist plots. I do, however, apologise for the lack of blogging of late. I have been attending many sustainability conferences, lectures, panel and networking events, yet unfortunately have been too busy (and The Understatement Of The Year Award goes to, eh hem, me) to write it all down in a digestible and coherent structure.

Fear not and rest assured though, that the accounts of events and inherently absorbed knowledge are all stored up here (taps temple), which, whether I (or you) like it or not, will mean that my future blogs will be better informed, as my 24-year-old brain’s neurons begin to light up and make connections between the functionalities of entities working on becoming more sustainable, as well as the themes arising in challenges faced and solutions proposed. I do not claim that this will eventually result in some kind of eco-enlightenment, but I believe that through further understanding the complex and nebulous spirit of sustainability, one can start to formulate plans for a brighter future, that will work.

In joining this elite group of 24-year-old prodigies, destined for sustainability stardom, I have learnt many things, including that there are many improvements to be made (not least of which is in my modesty- see the first part of this sentence!), not only in myself, but in my group of friends and family, my company, clients, corporations, governments and throughout global human society. This is not necessarily something to be viewed negatively, but rather a chance to celebrate the positive things that have been achieved whilst recognising that there will always be that little bit extra that can be done to make something better, fairer, cleaner, more efficient, nicer, more beautiful, more fun... of course, I am not talking about perfection: there is a point at which you must stop and accept that it is fine the way it is. Striving towards ‘being the best that one can be’ is a great experience in itself.

To illustrate my point, I use Marks and Spencer Plan A. I have written about this before and it is one of the most quoted examples of best-practice in corporate sustainability, yet, as ever, M&S are still on their journey towards being the best that they can be. This was made perfectly and painfully apparent when I received a gift through the post for my 24th birthday from M&S ‘Experiences’. Thank you to the dear sender for the lovely surprise of ‘Tea For Two’ vouchers- this person knows me too well and I shall enjoy the treat very much!

No thanks, however, to the packaging technologists and Plan A instigators for the way this piece of card came to me. I kid you not: this ~10cm by ~12cm card voucher was encased in a ~13cm (L), ~11cm (W), ~2cm (D) cardboard box with all sorts of lovely images on it, of, as you’d imagine, tea and cakes. This cardboard box was in a much larger cardboard box of ~30cm (L), 20cm (W) and ~15cm (D) and in that larger box surrounding the smaller box were 2 very large crumpled brown paper sheets, whose purpose I can only assume was to ensure that the smaller box within (holding only the card voucher) did not get ‘squished’.

Now, on this larger box were a number of printed messages including: ‘Plan A: Doing The Right Thing’, ‘Cardboard recycled from our stores and warehouses has helped to make this box-and it can be recycled too’ as well as ‘This box has been made by Remploy, supporting disabled people in the workplace’. This is a very special, ethical box, which gives a warm, fuzzy feeling when holding it, but in my opinion is marketing gone mad! For the sake of getting the Plan A message out there (which can be done in a number of less wasteful ways) they have resorted to sending, what is effectively a piece of card (which, as it happens, requires me to go to their website to register online so probably could have been sent electronically much more easily) in a completely unnecessary cocoon of preposterous paper and supererogatory cardboard.

I recognise, M&S, that you are in now probably approaching the middle chapters of your sustainability story, but what needs to happen here is a joined-up re-thinking of systems and a harmonisation of business strategies. Avoiding this needless packaging (even if it can be recycled) will effectively save time and money, so at least the procurement department will be happy. Sending this gift as an online link, with a large all-singing and all-dancing Plan A message about saving and reducing resources, will keep marketing, and everyone, happy.

So that, in a nutshell, or rather, in a silly box, is just one of my more excellent 24-year-old thoughts (I still need to work on that modesty)...

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Mio in motion

Here is a video of my great friend Marion who sadly passed away in April 2010, one year ago. For those who do not speak French, she is explaining her work on a project on ‘La Réunion’, an island in French Polynesia. This is not a direct translation and my French is somewhat rusty, but for those who speak conversational French it is a quite clearly spoken in the video so you may be able to pick up the gist.

Essentially, the project (one of only two in the world, the other in Hawaii, and currently a prototype) is looking at harnessing the energy of the sea to produce electricity and is dubbed ‘evolutionary’ and the most spectacular energy solution in this century. The island of La Réunion is in a tropical zone and the temperature difference between the surface of the water and at 1000 metres deep is around 20 degrees. This temperature difference acts to induce a circular motion due to the currents created between the warmer and cooler water. Large balloons (seven metres diameter) float in rows under the surface and move with these currents. They are each connected to a pump and the pump motion induced by the balloon’s movement can create electricity. They are currently testing the efficiency of the balloons at various distances out to sea (3-15km), to understand which location would make for more efficient electricity production.

The technology is Australian and a similar project using a ‘serpent’ floating in the water has been used in Portugal. La Réunion is aiming to produce all of its electricity through renewable by 2030 and also all of its transportation by 2050 so is an ideal location for such a project. With further development and financing, the La Réunion project could serve as a model for many other projects like this around the world.

A 23-year-old Breton and a specialist in marine energy, Marion invested a lot personally in the project and had accomplished a lot through her passion for the environment.

A message from me:

Encore eco-chic extraordinaire, Marion tu resteras dans mon coeur et mes mémoires pour toujours. Tes yeux verts me manques! Je n’oublierai jamais toi et je continuerai à soutenir l’environnement pout toi. Grosses bisous à toute ta famille...Bisous sweety xxx

A message from her family:

Une année que notre belle Marionnette a fermé ses yeux sur la plage d’Étang Salé, une année qu’elle nous accompagne au quotidien, chaque minute, au creux du cœur ; une année qu’elle est partie de la Pointe de la Torche, du bout de sa Bretagne, sa région de naissance et de cœur, et qu’elle a déjà suivi un bout de chemin dans son tour monde au gré des courants. Nous aimerions qu’en cette journée, des fleurs que vous aurez cueillies dans la nature, dans votre jardin, l’accompagnent sur son chemin. Jetées dans la mer, l’océan, un fleuve, une rivière, où que vous soyez dans le monde, ce petit geste lui montrera que toute l’énergie qu’elle a passé à tisser des liens de par le monde ne s’est pas perdue. C’est sans doute le plus bel hommage que l’on peut lui rendre.

Pascale Gérard Maëlle Robin

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Ethical Fashion Exclusive: MFA Forum Closure!

OK chicos and chicas, so I am slightly late in letting you know, but the second issue of the Ethical Fashion Forum Magazine is out, for which I wrote two related, and exclusive, pieces:

1. A Brief History of The Multifibre Arrangement and MFA Forum

2. Looking To The Future: Textile Manufacture Trading post-MFA Forum

I would like to thank Kate Ives, who managed the closure of the MFA Forum and Cathy Dix, Global Responsibility Manager for Gap Inc, a key signatory and participant of the Forum, for their invaluable contributions. I feel very privileged to meet and converse with such inspired and motivated people, to gain an insight into the wealth of knowledge that they hold.

If you would like to read the full articles (which, obviously, I strongly recommend), as well as all future issues, I suggest becoming a member of The SOURCE.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Earth Day 2011

Friday 22nd April was one of the many spring 2011 bank holidays, but was also World Earth Day! Find out what you can do here- it is not too late to make a pledge for their Billion Acts Of Green (there are over 102 million pledges thus far).

If you're more into vids, it's cheesy and American, but here's a vid of a fittie Boston hockey player (and apparently also an 'athlete of the earth') doing his bit on the Earth Day Network...

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation

If you ain't yet heard the word of the Ellen Macarthur Foundation, take a peek at the website to find out what she has been up to post-extraordinary-sailing-feats and find out more here (I was lucky enough to sit at the table next to hers at an event recently and am currently reading her autobiography)- cool beans.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Some thoughts on Green Tourism

Currently residing with a group of friends in a Scandanavian-style chalet at Langdale Hotel and Spa, en plein campagne in The Lakes. Did not think it was particularly eco apart from a small section on Sustainability in their Welcome Guide, a tiny sign saying you can recycle glass, cans, plastics and paper in a communal recycling facility by the Main Entrance, as well as the Bare Minerals make-up collection in the Spa (which isn't necessarily as sustainable as it could be) but lo and behold, they won Green Tourism Gold Award! I will be keeping my eyes peeled now to find out how they won this- what the buildings are made of, where the restaurant food is sourced from, where the solar panels are... I am all for positive reinforcement, celebration of achievement and praise but thus far I am struggling to see the achievements... Nonetheless, it is beautiful here and we have been walking, cycling and sailing so at least our activites are fairly eco!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

In love with Goodone!

Woah wow sexy stuff! Loving the panelling in the S/S ranges of this eco-fashion label.

"Goodone is an award-winning independent fashion label that reflects contemporary London through conscious design. We create high-end fashion forward collections, reinventing the potential of what up-cycled garments can be.

By using reclaimed fabrics in every possible part of the design process we create desirable, assertive and feminine pieces that work day to evening. We aim not to stand apart from the mainstream fashion industry, rather to achieve positive change from within.

We want to give women the opportunity to feel good about their clothes and work with what already exists to achieve more."

Climate Week 21-27 March 2011

It is climate week chaps and chapesses!

Tesco, the official partner of Climate Week, seem to be doing quite a lot of sustainable things this week, how about you?

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Betting on green

This month The Economist spoke to green venture capitalist Vinod Khosla.

He only invests in ideas with a 90% chance of failure but which have, if they did succeed, the potential to make a significant difference to our journey to a low carbon economy...intriguing...

Carbon Capital: Financing a Low Carbon Europe 2020

It is going to cost €2.9 trillion.

See my full write-up here!

Monday, 28 February 2011

Making It Sexy: Sustainability Reporting

I am officially a writer for the Ethical Fashion Forum magazine The Source: ‘The World’s Leading Source of Sustainable Fashion Business Intelligence’!

In my spare time, I will write 1 article per month on the latest issues facing the fashion industry, highlighting strategies for success in sustainable supply chains and business operations.

My contributor page is here and my first article, entitled ‘Making It Sexy: Sustainability Reporting’ is currently on the front page. Members only I am afraid and it is Copywritten so cannot send to people but do sign up to EFF as it is a fantastic organisation.

Second article was sent to ‘press’ yesterday so keep your eyes peeled!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Win 2 tickets to Paris! Sustainability poetry competition...

Amida, the Sustainable Development Recruitment Agency, has launched a poetry competition with a sustainability theme, with your chance to win 2 return tickets to Paris!

Deadline for entries: Monday 14th March 2011 at 5pm.

Send the link to others with a (clandestine) creative streak and penchant for sustainability!

Sunday, 6 February 2011


Here we have a lovely image of a town in summer not too far from where I grew up in South Devon- called Totnes. It became the first Transition Town in 2005 and has gone from strength to strength in showing the bets ways to live sustainably, together. I am part of Transition Highbury in London- see my AGM and Transition Training Weekend blog post from July/August 2010 for more information. Finally, today, Transition Town Totnes (TTT) and the transition movement in general that has since followed and developed in communities the world over has had some decent coverage in The Guardian! Let's hope it goes from the being the fastest growing social movement of our day to, well...even faster!

Monday, 31 January 2011

Canadian tar sands

Everyone loves the Guardian for news interest and I love Guardian Environment and Sustainable Business! One item on the agenda is Canadian tar sands...

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Fish fight

Hughie F-W is back with a vengeance and joins Gordon and Heston in the fight to save our fish stocks, with a series highlighting the plight of our unsustainable use of marine resources.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Awareness Raising

WHY do we raise awareness? The Transition message (Peak Oil + climate change + social injustice = a great and brilliant need to rethink our systems), whereas media messages are often profoundly contradictory and confusing.

HOW does engagement happen? Look at what people already know, what information already exists. They need to know about the issue and why it is important, then let them know what is possible and what they can do.

WHO are we trying to reach? Think about who is in your community (the diversity of cultures, races, ages, levels of wealth, languages, jobs, religions, lifestyles, values and motivations, political affiliation, how long they have lived there for) and what levels of access they have to internet and transport.

When communicating with someone about an issue, one must attempt to gauge how best they learn in order to target the style of engagement- whether they are verbal, visual, tactile, learn through being shown, likes facts and figures, etc. Some may want to be involved but do not want to know about the graphs and explanations of peak oil- they do not need to be convinced nor understand to take part.

1. PRE-CONTEMPLATION: Is there a problem?
2. CONTEMPLATION: There is a problem, what needs doing?
3. PREPARATION: What will I do and how?
4. CHANGE: Keep going with this, try a different solution?

Some people never get past stage 1 but do not waste your time on these ‘brick wallers’. It is crucial to raise awareness with enjoyment (e.g. by hosting a fun community event) as if you do not enjoy the change, you will not change.

HOW MANY people do we need to tell? According to Malcolm Gladwell, there will be a ‘tipping point’. Every time there is change in society, there are doubters. The believers start underground, grow in numbers, then suddenly there is ‘tipping point’ and the movement grows. For example with women’s votes or anti-child labour, people thought ‘oh no, this cannot happen, our society will collapse’, but it did happen and works better.

The key messages for awareness raising are:
-you do not have to engage EVERYONE.
-remember that it is not always easy.
-make it fun!

Another set of (very) good tips for this type of thing are written by Chris Rose and are published on his ‘Campaign Strategy’ website.