“creating a sustainable global culture where neither people nor environment are harmed requires a collaborative effort from us all, from global conglomerates to us as individuals. The ways we do business and live our daily lives need to change and urgently.”
My background is civil engineering and infrastructure asset management. For a while now I have been challenged that this industry relies heavily on natural non-renewable resources and high levels of carbon emissions.
I also acknowledge that creating a sustainable global culture where neither people nor environment are harmed requires a collaborative effort from us all, from global conglomerates to us as individuals. The ways we do business and live our daily lives need to change and urgently.
Change, however, is never easy and often a ‘kick’ is required to start the process. For me, it was a recent redundancy. It provided the opportunity to review my life and the contribution I was making to a sustainable future.
Doughnut Economics for SME Businesses
The reading of Kate Raworth’s book ‘Doughnut Economics’ and completing a short course on leading sustainable corporations enabled me to realise much was already happening and how I could play my part. Therefore, I have established an independent consultancy aiming to work with SME businesses to review and change their operational processes to become more sustainable.
It’s as much a work of education and encouragement as it is helping to devise a change programme. The temptation is that being small, it is not worth the effort as SMEs won’t make a significant difference. However, SME businesses account for 52% of turnover in the UK private sector and therefore, collectively far from insignificant!
Much of my work uses Future-Fit Foundation resources, particularly their Benchmark Tool. This enables businesses to assess their performance against 23 Break-Even Goals which businesses should strive to achieve to do no harm to society or environment.
Virgin Money have worked with Future-Fit to produce a revised Benchmark Tool specifically for SMEs. It is designed to take less than 30 minutes and swiftly helps highlight and prioritise areas of the business that require attention. The Break-Even Goal Guides help establish meaningful targets and progress indicators to devise a sustainability plan.
Low Carbon Infrastructure Required
Returning to my background of civil engineering, new infrastructure still has high levels of embedded carbon and require non-renewable resources. Alternative methods are available but wide-spread uptake is slow.
Again, it’s change that is required. Change of commissioning requirements where investors are cautious about taking up new innovations with limited evidence of suitability and longevity. I am therefore taking the educational approach encouraging infrastructure commissioning agents and designers to consider the effect their structures have on the environment in construction, use and demolition.
We need to be bold for the future.