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
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
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, 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 and...you 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.
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. Theiirc.org 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
..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!