Limited Invitation to BT’s Net Good Launch Event in London

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The Climate Group and Carbon Trust are joining BT to launch our Better Future Net Good programme in London on June 18th. I will be there to speak about the progamme together with our CEO, Ian Livingston, who is opening the event, and our CSO, Niall Dunne who will be closing it.  The Climate Group, Carbon Trust, Small World Consulting and many others will also be joining us at the event.

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While this is an invitation-only event, and numbers are limited due to space, we would like to allow for some people outside of the usual lists of sustainability …

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When Executives Speak Out


A fair number of prominent business people have taken leadership positions on issues of sustainability and societal responsibility. Of course there are the examples we know and love to quote: Paul Polman of Unilever, Ian Cheshire of Kingfisher and Jochen Zeitz of Puma.

But what about when the pronouncements are more controversial?  I will never forget  the audible intake of breath at the BSR conference in San Francisco in 2010.   Aron Cramer was interviewing Zhang Yue, a prominent CEO from China running an energy efficiency business and displaying impeccable employee/human rights credentials. Taking everyone off guard he proclaimed that …

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Great Developments: BT’s Net Good Creates a New Carbon Accounting Model


What does the excitement over waiting for old fashioned film to be developed have to do with launching a new carbon accounting model?  Well, while it might not be obvious in the digital age but the answer is tied up in anticipation and the excitement of not knowing exactly how your project – photograph or accounting – model will turn out; whether expectations will be met, or not.  Below is an excerpt from my post yesterday over at BT’s Let’s Talk site that talks about what we hope to achieve with Net Good and how carbon accounting will change the

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A Sustainability Surge?

Huge Wave

Over the last week or so I have had a taster of both how big and how small the world really is.

On Thursday the previous week I joined HP’s advisory board on corporate responsibility and sustainability, the HP External Global Citizenship Council.   I was honored to participate in a day and a half of stimulating discussions and insights.

Last week,   BT’s internal executive level Sustainable Business Leadership Team met in London.  I was able to experience moving from the advisory to the operational side of the table just a few days apart.   We commenced our BT meeting with an …

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Social Performance vs Financial Performance


According to a tweet from Matthew Bishop, Head of the New York bureau of The Economist, a Chevron spokesperson at Davos said that social performance is becoming much more important than financial performance for companies. The tweet attracted some derision, but I agree with it. The reasons are at the core both of how I see my role working in BT’s Better Future team, and the difference I see between traditional Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and BT’s Better Future Strategy.

Traditional CSR, accompanied by vernacular like ‘philanthropy’ and ‘giving back to the community’ positions the societal impact of a …

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Consumer Electronics Show – Enough Momentum for Sustainability?

Bill Clinton,  in his role as President of the Clinton Foundation and  ambassador for the Samsung Hope for Children Foundation,  headlined one day of last week’s Consumer Electronics Show 2013 (CES) in Las Vegas.

I didn’t get to go myself, but I just got my hands on a copy of the 200 page show magazine from January 10th.   According to the report Clinton tackled climate change, gun control and healthcare challenges – very encouraging for us corporate sustainability folks for some of our topics to be included in a keynote.

I also see from a supplement to …

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Releasing Our Thinking


Someone once told me that audio CDs took their capacity from LPs, which in turn were sized to fit a 20 minute concert piece on each side.   The length of a classical concert piece was in turn set to meet the time it took a candle to burn down in an era when footlights were fuelled by wicks and wax. I don’t know if it is true, but I have always liked the anecdote for its illustration of how precedent and custom can confine our thinking.

I read in the Washington Post this morning of a move to add noise

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The Root Cause – Customers or Suppliers ?

I just returned from an informal lunch in DC with a group of peers from across industry sectors.    We jointly bemoaned, as practitioners often do,  the extent to which stakeholders hold us accountable for things that are outside of our control – probably most importantly, the behavior of our suppliers.

It occurred to me during the discussion that perhaps that is not the core problem.   Suppliers are within our control, as long as we can stop using them if they do meet prescribed standards.   The real problem is that  stakeholder behavior does not normally reward this.    If we stop using …

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Valuing Natural Capital – A Double Edged Sword


I was in London last week and attended a very stimulating Green Monday evening that got me thinking about the term ‘value.’   Value can be defined as both:

  • The regard that something is held to deserve
  • The monetary worth of something

In a roundtable session after the presentations I joined a discussion about valuing natural capital. I hold natural capital in high regard. Natural capital has a monetary worth for sure. But it has an intrinsic value in its own right –to our own and to future generations — that potentially goes beyond its monetary worth as set by …

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Connecting the Dots

In preparation for an internal meeting this week I have been reviewing some reports that are going to send me home full of optimism tonight.

The Ecosystems Markets Task Force is a key commitment from the UK Government’s Natural Environment White Paper. The task force’s November 2012 interim report states right up front in the executive summary that “business depends on nature”; not just the harder nosed ‘resources’ word that I prefer to use  in a business context, but actually on ‘nature’. Task force membership includes the Chair/CEO and CFO’s from companies such as Kingfisher, United Utilities, Unilever and Jaguar/Land Rover.

So …

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