I was drawn to this piece from the BBC this morning. It shows you have to think about the little things and that sustainable production is often difficult to achieve. Apparently our love for the very beautiful Xate Palm in flower arrangements is putting this rare palm at risk.
Education and training for farmers about how to grow this palm sustainably is being hampered by the time it takes to grow and the lack of seed. More research is needed to find a way forward.
So here is the familiar quandary – keep buying and using the palm to maintain the livelihoods of those who grow and trade in the palm and wait for a solution or apply your own little bit of consumer power and choose not to…
I was very interested to see O2’s announcement in early February of its Think Big Blueprint. I wondered if we are seeing the emergence of a ‘game changer’ in the tech sector.
At the launch, Guardian Sustainable Business talked about Jonathon Porrit, founder director of Forum for the Future, looking for the company to act as a spur for the rest of the industry. “It will have an impact as companies in this sector watch each other so carefully”, he is reported as saying.
The announcement attracted support from a number of places, but I was a bit surprised that it did not attract more attention. In fact I waited until now before blogging, to see if more emerged over time. Maybe that is because there are so many plans out there and to be truly newsworthy, you have to be remarkable.
Maybe this will change as O2 start to deliver against their plan…
I was struck by this piece from Treehugger which talks about ways to preserve food without a fridge. You could put this under the head of ‘austerity living’, but I have a suspicion that much of this would not have been a surprise to my grandparents’ generation. (How do you tell if an egg is fresh, for example.) How did this knowlege become lost between generations? Where should the responsibility lie to make sure that this is passed on?
Great work has been done by WRAP and there are retailers like Morrisons who are trying to help people store food more effectively, but the fridge is still the default for many people.
And on the subject of food, I know it was originally launched in the middle of last year, but I caught the A-Z of McDonalds ad again at the weekend. I am not sure I want to like something quite so cute, but I do. They have packed a lot of information in here, but managed to make it fun rather than worthy.
It’s a bit like when you are a buying a car, you see car ads everywhere. I keep seeing new developments of our ‘ones to watch’. There is the fascinating Carrotmob, which uses collective spending power to make companies behave more sustainably.
And on the hunt for a vacuum cleaner, I was interested to come across Electrofarm. I am very tempted to buy one of their previously used cleaners. Not ’second hand’ I noticed, the word does not seem to appear on their website. I also liked the money back guarantee and the warranty. I will let you know if I go for it.
Welcome to the new blog from the CR + Sustainability team in London. We thought about giving you our predictions for the year, but with so many lists out there, you are probably sick of them already. When we were discussing it, we kept coming back to five areas that fascinated us and we wanted to watch develop in 2012.
So here are our ‘ones to watch’. They may turn out to be trends or they may not. What we will aim to do over the course of the year is to write about how they change, grow or whatever…
1. Austerity living takes off
We wonder if this is the year, that living differently in an age of austerity becomes cool. In our minds, this is not about depriving yourself, it’s about living in a way that saves you money, but can be fun and makes you feel good because it was smart. It could be sharing more things rather than buying, splitting weekly shops with friends to save money and avoid throwing anything away or making money out of the things you no longer need. We may have already seen some signs of this in the study by Young and Rubican published just before Christmas.
Times are tight for companies and individuals, whether or not we fall back into recession. We’re all having to make do with less and make that go further. This is good for sustainability, so maybe tough times will help build the case for sustainability for both businesses and for individuals. Will organisations think twice about cutting back a team who can help deliver efficiency and cost savings? Or companies who invest in this area succeed in making their businesses more robust? Ironically this could be an opportunity for the leaders to push harder and get even further ahead. On the other hand, it may force a race to the bottom with companies simply offering cheaper and cheaper goods regardless of the environmental impact.
5. A new game changer emerging in 2012
For many years the sustainability business leaders have been companies such as M&S, Unilever and SAB Miller . It seems to us that it is time for another leader to emerge. We have a hope that it will come from the tech sector. As we can see from Greenpeace’s Greener Guide to Electronics, tech companies are moving in this direction. Treehugger this month reported from CES 2012, that “consumer electronics manufacturers have a long way to go before the industry can be called “sustainable”… But companies have come a long way in even just the last few years in designing for recyclability and efficiency”. With risks piling up around areas like the supply chain and e-waste, 2012 could be an opportunity for a game changer to emerge.