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Category Archivesustainable innovation

SDG´s 12+14= the panoptic for plastic waste by @MarIntroini

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When Foucault creates the concept of a panoptic for the criminal system he didn’t realized its real potential and that it could be applied for other areas in which there is danger for our societies, in this case for our oceans.

If there were a constant surveillance and a rational and responsible consumption maybe plastics would not represent a threat, however under current circumstances without a proper waste management and recycling process it becomes a real challenge.

Millions of plastic bottles finish in the ocean, which means that there is a terrible lack of awareness from individuals that goes beyond the own negative impact in the environment. Is an endemic problem that starts with indifference and misbehaving and end on lack of Education. Indeed, about 8m tones of plastic waste end up in the oceans every year, more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic float in the world’s oceans, breaking into smaller pieces*.

U.N. goals 12+ 14 may be the clue for addressing this relentless path towards contamination; Responsible Consumption and Production and Life below waterare the two main goals to search for resilience in terms of plastic waste management and preservation of oceans. But how could we plan our response effectively?

Is estimated that by 2050 it will be more plastic than fish in the oceans, coincidentally by the same year, there is another forecast establishing that the entire SDG´s will not be achieved. Which is the real burden? Lack of information seems to be the answer, at least right now. Sadly instead of being focused on strategic planning we are still delivering basic info.

 But let´s be positive and focusing in those actions that are succeeding and delivering solutions in the short-term: Projects Faro 360 in Kaolack, Senegal a “waste tolerance” city exposure the fact that individual action + innovation makes possible a recycling process of plastics and minds.

Commitment from corporations: the road ahead. Changing cultural business codes is the clue and could only be achieved working on the following roads:

1) Cleaning –literally- oceans from plastic waste

2) Innovative forms of packaging

3) Education process at all levels to get commitment from the people: responsible consumption and waste management.

In the end Education becomes another key element and a sort kind of “panoptic” from which we could control corporation’s work, public policies and individual action.

Control, supervision, regulation, etc., a close look to SDG´s and their ambitious targets make us conclude that without pressure there is no results. We need to build new innovative structures through raise awareness and strong legislation based on creativity and capacity to influence people effectively. It is proven that information is currently the main challenge, a fact that transforms any effort for success useful if there is not a solid political will to address it.

Financial aspects seems to be a controversial point; SDG´s supposes an investment of 5 to 7 trillions and even if the world has never been wealthier as now is it also true that there are big troubles in terms of distribution. It´s important to highlight that this is not an ideological matter, the equal distribution is much more than a political position but a reality that is driven the world into stagnation. If there are still countries submitted into poverty means the total failure of a goal on sustainability There is not a possibility to get to successful goals if parts of the planet are still under basic standards for accessing to clean water or safe environments, that is so that the “plastic issue” become and universal issue and also an universal responsibility.

 

Tolerance 0 to plastic waste! 12 + 14= sustainable oceans.







10th year of the pioneering SuperHomes Open Days

This year marks the 10th year of SuperHomes, the innovative and multi-award winning national network of over 200 homes which have all reduced their carbon footprint by a minimum of 60%. SuperHome owners will open their doors this September as part of our Open House events, and there is a record 100 free events occurring this year across the UK. 

SuperHomes is a project managed by the National Energy Foundation, an independent charity that aims to reduce the use of energy in buildings.
The Open Days are a great opportunity for visitors to see for themselves both the challenges and benefits associated with making older homes more energy efficient, and view retrofit technologies in action. The free Open House events occur every September where the SuperHome owners provide honest and detailed accounts of their renovation stories and offer invaluable advice and guidance.
Since 2007 SuperHomes has been at the forefront of domestic eco-retrofit and the network continues to lead the way in carbon conscious renovation. To date, 222 homeowners have all transformed their properties through environmentally minded renovation resulting in lower energy bills, smaller carbon footprints and a huge increase in comfort levels.
SuperHomes include all types of houses, ranging from Grade II listed 16th Century ironstone properties to 1990’s build ex-council houses; from 6 bed Victorian mansions to 1940 terraces; from idyllic ecolodge retreats in rural Snowdonia to single story flats in the heart of London.

The technology found within and around the properties is innovative and market leading, and our SuperHomes offer exceptional, and often unique, examples of green technologies.

In addition to the more mature aspects of green renovation such as external wall insulation, solar PV panels and heat pumps, our houses boast a variety of cutting edge technologies such as Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery (MVHR) systems, green roofs, biomass boilers, and even whole house airtight membranes.

SuperHomes are pioneers in renewable technology and energy efficiency.






We have a number of SuperHomes opening for the first time this year. This includes our most recent addition Pamela whose 1920s ex-Council house in North London is carbon neutral! She achieved this by installing many technologies, including Solar Water Heating, Solar PV Panels and Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery. Visit Pamela on 16th/17th September on a free tour. Another interesting first time opener is Paul from Flintshire who retrofitted his 1960s home for under £10,000, and still managed to achieve a carbon saving of 64%! Visit Paul for a tour on the 9th September to learn about how to keep eco-retrofit affordable. To find an Open Day near you please visit http://www.superhomes.org.uk/get-inspired/events/.

Energy used in the home accounts for more than a quarter of total energy use and carbon emissions in the UK. Houses in the UK are some of the least energy efficient in Europe, and the majority of the housing stock is made up of older homes which are typically very energy inefficient. Without tackling this problem and improving the energy efficiency of homes we will not be able to meet our emissions target of an 80% cut in emissions by 2050 to meet the requirements of the legally binding Climate Change Act. Open House events like SuperHomes are great ways to distribute knowledge and passion about retrofit, and persuade people to take the carbon conscious decision to reduce energy use in their home.

The current, post-Green Deal (the Coalition Government’s flagship energy efficiency policy that was scrapped in 2015), climate, with lowered green incentives and a distinct lack of interest from subsequent governments has seen the focus on eco-retrofit waver. Yet the refurbishment of our homes and buildings is one of the greatest challenges we face to reducing carbon emissions and tackling climate change. SuperHomes harnesses the enthusiasm of our energy saving pioneers to stimulate community-led renovation.
SuperHome Open Days occur throughout the year with a co-ordinated national event throughout September. Most of our openings coincide with Heritage Open Days (7-10th September) and London Open House (16/17th September). To find out more visit www.superhomes.org.uk
To help SuperHomes celebrate this anniversary we’ve partnered with the Ecology Building Society who are supporting this year’s September openings.

SuperHome owner #59, Mark Brown stands in front of his 1980’s detached house. The High Wycombe property has achieved 90% carbon savings. Visit on 9th/10th September.

The Wave of Plastic Pollution is a problem – @AdamManning of @GreenHampshire & @rwscarter of @CrowdLeaf

Plastic in our natural environment has become an urgent issue that our society needs to address and Ryan recently focused on this in his once a month CrowdLeaf radio slot with Xan Phillips on VoiceFM 103.9. (This is on from 8pm on the first Thursday of the month.) Plastic in the form of nurdles and plastic products are a serious problem for marine life, beach life and for the food system.
Many people who believe they are being as good to the environment as they can be do not knowingly pollute the seas with plastic or other products. However, plastic fibres from polyester and acrylic clothing are polluting the seas on an industrial scale. One 6kg wash produces 140,000 fibres from polyester-cotton blend, half a million polyester fibres and nearly 3/4 of a million acrylic fibres.
If each and every house is doing this just once a week that is an awfully large quantity and the rate at which people throw away clothes is pandemic. It is worse to throw these away than it is to wash them and the onus should be on the producers of such items to change the material to stop the pollution at source.
There are alternatives that companies can and should be looking at such as natural products, lyocell made from trees, leather made from Pineapple and more… and we as consumers need to demand these.

One important way forward is to take advantage of producers who are using alternative products to traditional plastics.
These scary numbers are just the beginning. Micro fibres from soaps, body wash and cosmetic products are also washing down our drains into the seas. Recently a plastic soup of millions of pieces of plastic was discovered in our oceans. Earlier this year, 38 million pieces of plastic were found on Henderson Island. What is this doing to our natural habitats? Our animal welfare laws wouldn’t allow this for pets but for wildlife, sadly we have different standards.

The problem of plastic pollution often becomes clear during the course of a litter pick. Litter picking as a form of environmental activism has grown markedly in popularity in recent years. Individuals are taking the initiative to clear up rubbish, as are groups of many different sizes. This includes volunteer groups who look after particular areas, such as Friends of Weston Shore, larger and more established organisations such as the Keep Britain Tidy or the Marine Conservation Society and now new, online initiatives, such as #2minutebeachclean and Litterati.

Keen litter pickers will spend a lot of time picking up plastic items in an event of this sort. Their work is vital in clearing up our natural environment as plastic will, if not removed, last effectively forever.
At a larger scale than plastic fibres, this includes plastic bottles, for water or soft drinks. As well as spoiling the natural beauty of an area, they can be a danger to wildlife. Mice and shrews can climb into them, perhaps spotting a mouthful of water to drink inside, and then be unable to climb up out again, leaving them trapped. Other animals, similarly looking for a drink, can trap their snouts or beaks in a plastic bottle, making them unable to shake them off.

Plastic ring binders are another serious problem. These are the loops of plastic that are typically used to keep groups of four or six beer cans together. They can snare both land living animals like foxes, birds and even snakes but also, if they are caught by the tide, turtles, dolphins and other sea life. There is a famous case of a young turtle entwined in a twisted six pack ring whose body deformed as it grew, until its body ultimately became a figure of eight, the ring still stuck around its unnaturally narrow waist. If they are not removed from the environment, they pose a danger to wildlife.

Cotton buds are another persistent problem. These small lengths of plastic tubing are all over our beaches, washed up by the tide. People use cotton buds to clean their ears and noses or for arts and crafts, household cleaning and other uses round the house. It seems that after they have been used, some people throw them down the toilet to dispose of them. The cotton buds then go through our sewage system, which is not designed for such products. Later, they are flushed out to sea only to ultimately end up washed up on our shores, without the fluffy cotton bits at either end, which will have disintegrated in the sewage system. Surveys by the Marine Conservation Society indicate that 60% of sewage related beach litter is from cotton buds. Just don’t throw them down the toilet!

Nurdles are another form of plastic pollution, especially on our beaches. These are tiny beads of plastic, about the size of lentils, used in the creation of plastic products. They end up in our natural areas, including our shores, from spills or accidents while they are being shipped from place to place in the production process. Nurdles, like the plastic fibres we are learning about, represent a serious pollution problem, both in the water and on land. They attract and concentrate other pollutants to them. Like all plastic, they can fragment and breakdown into smaller pieces, becoming harder to handle and remove. Animals of all sorts can mistake nurdles for food like fish eggs or seeds, especially in the water, and this can make them sick or kill them.

Part of the problem with nurdles in our natural environment is that their small size makes them difficult to remove. An average litter picker will be unable to pick them up. Chesil Bay in Southampton, a beautiful part of the shore in the city, has a particular nurdle pollution problem. In some patches this is so bad, there seems to be more nurdles than soil.

Nurdles and other plastic debris often ends up in being deposited in natural areas because human created parts of the environment, such as sea walls, docks or piers are hard surfaces. When the plastic debris comes into contact with these, the nurdles, cotton buds and so forth, are deflected away. As a result, when they come to rest in a natural area, this will be where they stay. So, nurdles and other plastic debris tend to build up on a natural area of shoreline.

There is an urgent need to take action at each stage of the plastic production process so that our natural environment is not ruined in the way that has been building up for years.






For Green innovation we need Green Education by @ MarIntroini

That´s the challenge and the greatest revolution: being educated around a Green culture able to develop strong skills and become sustainable individual and collectively.

Once again Education become the powerful pillar for building new structures. A no reliable political system and global institutions that progressively are loosing capacity of influence transform Education in the only source for new initiatives.

Work towards a sustainable world that face climate change with determination is not a matter of “recycling” or “reducing energy consumption” but of educating generations around the concept of being green. That supposes more than specific actions but entire systems around a green culture. Is not happening.

Green Education is not about educating people around green issues but to boost green professionals. Architects, engineers, activists are all professions directly linked with the environment, however a resilient world could only be built by a deeper action. Lawyers, politicians, teachers are also paramount for creating frameworks and spaces of green action and reflection; because a green education is also about “construction “ of creative minds that from any field of work could achieve a goal of innovation and adaptation.

Simply… make a real revolution in our Education systems.

A world hit by crisis and a population no prepared to change the system don´t lead to redirected the society into a “resilient focus”. It is here that Education plays that fundamental role to create enough defenses against uncertainties. A pillar through which the rest of the reforms could be addressed from a stronger position.

The question is: are we educating to boost professionals able to innovate? or are we delivering traditional education systems with additional updates on technology? There is a big difference and current systems do not seems to see it, leaving innovation only for creative people that develop a particular skill over a particular green project. Innovation is normally seen as a consequence of Education, but it should be the educational system that prepares professionals to work and live in a world of uncertainty that is demanding a permanent state of Innovation.

Education and Innovation feed each other, we need to educate on how innovate and we need also to Innovate on how we educate. Creating professionals able to adapt to any kind of work to face new challenges.
To be prepared for a new dimension we need to build globally although from an individual basis in which a Green Education delivers the platform to boost the workforce that goes beyond current parameters.
It is not just about innovating educational systems but to reshape current system accordingly to the new challenges. It is also a matter of transforming patterns of learning by maximizing creativity and preparing to innovate in all disciplines. The holistic approach that we are referring needs innovation at all levels and not just reserved for “skillful and creative minds”

In current process of awareness of the need to build a Green culture it becomes essential to prepare individuals to be innovators in all professions for facing uncertainties and build resilient societies. The more educated we are, the more prepared we´ll be to search for innovative solutions that face adaptation challenges with strength and determination.

 

Mar Introini

Blogger/Analyst Political-Economy thesustainabilityreader.com







How to Start a Sustainability Movement in Your Organization: Part 3 Scale by Wendy Firlotte @EngageIntl

The Challenge: Since the path to sustainability is rooted in local context, creating an overarching corporate program that is also relevant to numerous departments and locations may seem counter-intuitive. How do we create an overarching corporate sustainability program that is relevant to every employee and is implementable across an entire organization, especially those with diverse departments, services and geographic locations? How could we implement programming that would be relevant to office, laboratory, retail and field-based settings or perhaps in operations located in New York City, New Delhi and in a small rural town in northern Canada?

Another key consideration when we are thinking through the scope of corporate vs. local, is that the reverse also needs to be considered. How does the program engage employees to directly understand their impact locally on organizational performance? For example, would employees be able to read a sustainability report and relate their everyday actions to the outcomes that the organization reports on? Do employees feel that their daily actions make a difference toward organizational goals?

An Effective Approach: “Strategic Flexibility”: I encourage an approach that I like to call “Strategic Flexibility”. This approach is about finding an effective balance with aligned action between corporate level targets and locally organized events and activities.

What does this mean in action? Companies focus program efforts on their overarching sustainability targets, but provide local autonomy by working with all locations to plan how they will meet the company targets in a way that is relevant to their specific context.

Strategic flexibility is where the “top down” big picture planning, meets the “bottom up” operational insights and practicality. Each approach has advantages, but reliance on only one restricts the potential effectiveness and success of your strategic goals. It combines the strategic alignment of efforts with the business vision, while leveraging local experience, operational knowledge and momentum of existing initiatives. Creating efforts that are strategically flexible builds trust, commitment, enthusiasm, buy-in at every level, and company resilience by creating the space to be responsive to internal and external influences.

How it Works: Whether your program focuses on individuals or teams, create an overarching framework around your organization’s sustainability targets that is clear and relatable to your sustainability reporting. Using the focused framework you have created for guidance, allow local offices to develop their own plans to address each target. Local offices may or may not be implementing the same activities, but they will all be working towards overarching sustainability targets.

Some key elements for implementation:

Local Planning – Encourage the development of a local sustainability plan by involving the entire office/location. Sustainability/Green Teams often only look within their limited group for ideas, champions and resources. Developing a local sustainability plan by involving all employees will open up avenues for participation, discussion, ideas, solutions, collaboration and resources.

Encourage involvement in the process by providing various approaches that appeal to employees’ interests and time commitments. This is an amazing opportunity to build on the momentum of existing local activities, previous success and identify local champions. When it’s time to prioritize and decide on action plans, create space for productive discussion; for example host solution lunches, where you can bring into the fold anyone interested in a specific issue or initiative by discussing solutions to a particular challenge.

Local Support – This sort of “bottom coming up to meet top” approach will be a new concept to many people, so providing ongoing support for planning and implementation for local offices is important and necessary. Having a strong support network for them to move forward will be key. In addition to corporate assistance, creating a community support network of local champions/mentors is also effective.

Networking and Knowledge Sharing – Providing an avenue for discussion, sharing ideas, success stories and advice on lessons learned is an effective way to make offices feel supported and ultimately more successful. Learning from each other and feeling connected as a community working toward a common goal greatly increases enthusiasm and momentum.

Want to learn more?

Watch for the next installment of our 6-part “Start a Sustainability Movement in Your Organization: Part 4 – How to Systemize “ series. We will focus on how to systemize your program, no matter the size, function or structure of your organization or program.

Start a Sustainability Movement Series:

· Part 1: Steps to follow

· Part 2: Building buy-in at every level

· Part 3: How to scale

· Part 4: How to systemize

· Part 5: All in for sustainability

· Part 6: Fostering culture & embedding sustainability

Connect with Wendy om the links below.

Twitter: @EngageIntl https://twitter.com/EngageIntl

LinkedIn: Wendy Firlotte https://uk.linkedin.com/in/wendyfirlotte

Wendy is a Corporate Sustainability Employee Engagement Strategist. She specializes in translating high-level strategy and purpose into aligned and embedded employee action.







Architecture as a tool for building resilient cities by @MarIntroini

Being resilient means face uncertainty with pillars that guarantee stability and capacity to response to the “new”. This is how new realities forces to reshape a world in which infrastructure and services become flexible and versatile. Migration crisis or climate change pushes us to rethink a world in which urban spaces are designed for new-revolutionary standards of living.

Half of humanity, around 3.5 billion of people lives in cities today. By 2030, almost 60% of the world’s population will live in urban areas which represents a strong reason for building cities that welcome this overwhelming number of people and their demands in a threaten environment.




Even if there is a political global commitment to achieve Goal 11 of the SDG´s: “Make cities and human resettlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” is important to raise awareness and build new parameters at local level that mark the road for the next decade in a determinate and ambitious way. In the context of current “broken” world of weak commitment to global standards there is much more challenge and the search for stronger tools become paramount.

Architecture has become that tool, the relief that the world is awaiting. With innovation and creativity is showing its capacity to reinvent itself and construct the unimaginable. Rooftop gardens, urban farming, self-energy efficient houses, office-building with an integrated farm, are just examples of the impressive changes that architecture could make in societies. Is it not just a matter of changing design of construction styles but also a new way of living, above all producing a feeling. The emotional element that determinate the need for achieving results from a different perspective. In which multicultural spaces boost a mentality and a culture around tolerance and inclusiveness. The Pavilion in Vojvodina, northern Serbia* it’s a good model of this new trend that is helping to boost a new innovative concept that –in this case- assures freedom of religion. The acceptance of a “melting pot” of religions becomes also a matter of “architecture design”.

Globalization has brought more movement of people and also new demands for clean and healthy standards of living in which the cultural aspect cannot be missed. People move through public patterns of behavior and the sense of being part of a general consensus. Despite confrontation there is an important element of “being part of…” that allow them to be in one position or another. Is with this spirit that cities has contributed greatly to create multicultural societies. “Being part of….” is not a matter of local perspective but of the creation of open and inclusive spaces. The boost of globalization comes from the free movement of people –please do not confuse it with massive flow or refugees- that transform societies in a different and better place. Indeed, little towns that keep traditions intact are inclined to disappear as it doesn´t deliver the needed standards that fit in current world. Precisely migration has brought this element of merger of traditions and birth of a new layered of societies. That is the reason of being a value added for the growth of cities, therefore societies.

The complementary work of architecture and urban planning are key elements to achieve these new and ambitious standards. A green way of living means a smart urban planning and architecture enough flexible and versatile that gives room to a new philosophy of living.

Concrete, wood, timber, natural materials and a smart mind to be creative and innovative enough to build cities able to welcome all nature of people and “knit” new habits to protect the environment and adapt to current and future crises.

“Whatever you do, promise me that every project you make or design, you´ll take the risk of doing something for humanity”. Frank Ghery. Indeed, whatever is done should be focused on a creative and innovative architecture that helps to boost pillars around adaptation and an urban planning, ambitious enough to boost a resilient society.

Mar Introini

Blogger/Analyst Political-Economy thesustainabilityreader.com




Isolating the US from green policies would make it less competitive by @marintoironi

We have seen with astonishment a recent resolution from American government, announcing its commitment ditch its Climate Change Action Plan.

After COP21 the world became a block against climate change as never before. That includes not only policies but also the consolidation of the concept of global leadership that emerges as a solid and stable pillar that marks the beginning of an effective interconnected system of joint action. However, this is not suitable for anti-globalist forces that see in this kind of initiatives a threat for their isolationist strategy that helps them to boost a far right agenda. Surprisingly climate change action has become dangerous from a nationalist political perspective.




Trump makes America an isolated Nation not only on political and foreign affairs terms but also regarding green policies and a world that is moving towards a joint action focus.

The U.S. is not rich enough in natural resources to be self-sustaining in future decades. Isolate US from global green policies in addition to not investing on innovation is an explosive combination that would make the U.S. less competitive and no resilient. Indeed, green policies are part of being resilient at national level but are not enough if is it not in conjunction with global action and cooperation: that is the only resilient way out. That goes directly in relation to a global and safe system of international relations…. not multiple-selective-bilateral relations. Even if there were political will for investing in green energies like solar or wind, they’re will not being enough if is not under good and healthy international relations. It´s for this reason the imperative for generating a new trend and a new culture among American people: to reduce individual consumption, invest in green clean energies and above all on innovation.Taking in account that US is the country that spends more in energy than the rest of the world. Americans constitute 5% of the world’s population but consume 24% of the world’s energy.

If there is a boycott from US to a global joint action by cancelling international agreements this could only be translated in loneliness in resilient terms.

That´s not good news for American people although good for those American industries that are not willing to invest in clean energies. Paradoxically one of the main argumentations for this switch in American focus was “recovering our jobs” however it doesn´t seem to include the ones generated by clean energies.“8.1 million renewable energy jobs that exist globally, 3.5 million are in China, compared to less than one million in the U.S.”.*China will invest £292bn in renewable power by 2020, which means new and more employment at national level. Investing in renewables is it also part of a growth strategy.

This “break” with the rest of the world is it also a break within America as it goes against the will of many citizens that have seen in climate change action a priority in the political agenda. Which represents a stronger political failure worst than the investment in itself. Going back in time and loosing all the work done at Educational level, making citizens aware of their commitment with the environment, means literally destroying an emerging American green culture as well as divided a community of ideas and potential. Joint action is the way out at global and national level.

US will become weaker and this lack of investment and sensibility towards the new challenges would make it vulnerable concerning the most important aspect of a society: Education.

Cooperation will become the only way for surviving and become resilient from a world hit by multiple crises. Joint action represents the way out that US will not have if there continue in this line of isolation and “personal” foreign affairs relations. No commitment with international agreements in addition with no solidarity is generating a negative spiral. This is not only about a unilateral anti-global focus it will generate an anti-US boycott against American products and no cooperation in times of crises.

That is the devastating impact of Trump´s anti-green policies that are not just focusing in destroying this industry but the impact that creates: becoming not competitive. Not even their allies are in line with this focus. Russia -despite their intention to have a good relation with US- has developed a strong investment in clean energies, e.g. bio fuels.

Saying no to investment in clean energies means saying no to sustainability in the medium term and saying yes to profits to private interest in the short term.

In terms of competitiveness, the development of clean energies has become part of a modern industrial and commercial way of living and producing. US will become an outsider that even there new and bilateral alliances will not accompanied them.

The only basis to explain this resistance to be out of a green global world is because of a short-term vision on financial investment. There is not a logical or visionary reason that could support a decision that will leave US behind on new technologies. Hence, more vulnerable for facing a world submerged in multiple crises. An unjustified denial for investing in innovation completes this stage of chaos in which short-termism is leading the way without vision and a smart strategy able to make US resilient.

 

*http://bit.ly/2jd6rSl

*Surrealist picture: Hossein Zare




Start a #Sustainability #Movement in Your #Organization: Part 2 Building Buy-in : Wendy Firlotte @EngageIntl

Increasing employee involvement in workplace sustainability programs is one of the top challenges for organizations. This is not surprising as most businesses face issues with competing priorities, while implementing programs that are informal and voluntary. This post is going to make a departure from the usual topics that are discussed about sustainability buy-in. It will focus on three key questions and strategic approaches that are effective at building sustainability momentum within an organization.

So, let’s take a step back from sustainability specific issues and ask a couple of deeper questions and do a bit of exploring possible approaches.

What motivates us at work?

Dan Pink, an expert on human motivation and the author of the New York Times best seller, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, shows us that there is a huge disconnect between what science knows and what business does. He discusses how 40 years of proven research on human motivation goes largely ignored by companies. Dan outlines, with case study examples, that using intrinsic motivators, across the board, increases engagement, productivity, creativity and satisfaction.

According to Pink, the key drivers to increasing employee performance, productivity and satisfaction are:

Purpose – doing things because they matter and are in service of something larger than ourselves; a higher or outward looking mission

Autonomy – a desire to be self-directed; ownership & responsibility in areas of day-to-day work, life balance, career development, organizational direction, etc.

Mastery – the urge to get better and better at something that matters – learning new skills and build our capacity to address new challenges/talks

In Dan Pink’s TED talk, “The Puzzle of Motivation”, he reveals the substance of his findings from his book. He discusses how the carrots and sticks approach to incentivizing, outside of a surprisingly narrow set of circumstances, largely never works and often destroys creativity. The proven secret to high performance is intrinsic motivation, the drive to do things that matter.

Practical Application: The key here is weaving these 3 drivers into your programming to inspire employee involvement and commitment. I often hear people say, “I tried that once and it didn’t work”. One-off and ad-hoc attempts at fostering buy-in do not work; it’s necessary to use strategic, consistent and embedded approaches to build commitment, community and a supportive culture. Creating momentum may take a bit of time, but consistency builds credibility, accountability, aids in measurement and provides a platform for effectively communicating relevant messaging.

How does being purpose driven increase buy-in and participation?

The latest trend in the corporate world is the shift to establishing a company brand promise and growing profits through purpose-driven business strategies. Research shows purpose-driven organizations that foster shared-value experience a higher level of trust, ability to innovate, employee and customer satisfaction and overall profits.

Simon Sinek, the author of “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action”, tells us that customers don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. Your company’s why is the larger purpose that inspires you to do what you do every day beyond the objective of solely making money.

According to John Mackey & Raj Sisodia, the authors of “Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business”, there are four general categories to consider when determining your organization’s “why” or higher purpose:

1.   Improving quality of life through service

2.   Furthering human knowledge through discovery and knowledge sharing

3.   Achieving excellence, beauty and mastery

4.   Doing the right thing




In Simon’s TED talk, How Great Leaders Inspire Action, he discusses the why (higher purpose), how (value proposition) and what (impact and scale of your offerings) of your business and the importance of starting with and discovering your why. Successful and innovative organizations start with a clear why and create aligned experiences (how) and products (what) around their brand that inspire employees, customers and investors.

Practical Application: Sustainability and corporate responsibility (CSR) initiatives are valuable alignment points to illustrate purpose-driven brand experiences that resonate with employees, customers and investors. Aligning sustainability-related activities with organizational purpose and business objectives provide a powerful platform to foster shared value, trust and ultimately buy-in from various stakeholder groups.

How do we build momentum when implementing internal initiatives?

How does an idea get widely adopted over time? We can look to the diffusion of innovation theory, developed by Everett Rogers in 1962. In his book, Diffusion of Innovations”, Rogers explains how, over a period of time, an idea gains momentum and spreads within a social system. This is essentially what Derek Sivers was illustrating in his “how to start a movement” video that was highlighted in Part 1: Steps to follow in this post series.

The theory, illustrated by a bell-curve, is broken into segments: adopters, innovators (2.5%), early adopters (13.5%), early majority (34%), late majority (34%) and laggards (16%). The theory outlines how each category of adopters acts as influencers for the next segment under the curve.  A key effect in the model, which is often referred to the as the tipping point (16%), is where the rate of adoption accelerates and takes on the momentum needed for the innovation to be widely adopted.

Rogers also identified, in the Diffusion of Preventative Innovation, five characteristics that directly affect the probability of adoption of a specific innovation:

1.   Relative advantage – new idea is better than what is already available or in use

2.   Compatibility – compatible with their current habits and values

3.   Complexity – relative ease of use

4.   Trialability – potential adopter may trial it on a limited basis

5.   Observability – innovation is observed in use by other members and their results

Practical Application: When creating your programming, it is key to weave the success characteristics throughout your programming. Explore the five characteristics like a checklist and identify how your program stacks up in each area and where there are areas for improvement.

This model is also an incredibly useful marketing tool. Use the profile for each segment to create a targeted marketing strategy. This approach, using each segment profile, allows for the crafting of relevant and compelling marketing tactics and messages to effectively increase the rate of momentum and adoption.

Want to learn more?

Watch for the next installment of our 6-part “Start a Sustainability Movement in Your Organization “ series. Part 3 will focus on how to scale your program, no matter the size, function or structure of your organization.

Start a conversation! Please leave a comment, question or share your experiences below. Also feel free to post any burning issues that you would like to see covered in this series.

Start a Sustainability Movement in Your Organization Series:

  • Part 1: Steps to follow
  • Part 2: Building buy-in at every level
  • Part 3: How to scale
  • Part 4: How to systemize
  • Part 5: All in for sustainability
  • Part 6: Fostering culture & embedding sustainability

Connect with Wendy on :

Twitter: @EngageIntl

LinkedIn: Wendy Firlotte

Wendy is a Sustainability Employee Engagement Specialist. She specializes in translating high-level strategy and vision into purpose driven, embedded and aligned employee action. She’s a great asset to our guest blog here on CrowdLeaf.







Start a #Sustainability #Movement in Your #Organization: Part 1 – Steps to Follow : Wendy Firlotte @EngageIntl

​When I talk to organizations of all sizes and functions, their biggest pain point is essentially the same, lack of participation.  Consistently, the two biggest challenges I hear are obstacles to increasing stakeholder buy-in and deal with competing priorities in the workplace.

In corporate responsibility & sustainability, we talk about being purpose driven and embedding sustainability within the organization, but what does that mean exactly? Essentially, we are looking for ways to mobilize employees and resources toward a shared sustainability purpose. In other words, what we want to know is how do we start a sustainability movement? This is the first installment of a 6 part series where we will discuss what starting a sustainability movement means, what it takes and the key elements for success.

Before getting into how to start a sustainability movement within your organization, let’s watch a TED talk by Derek Sivers (3 mins) and break down the basic steps and key insights of starting a movement in general.

Observed steps and key insights from the video:

  1.    Leaders need to create actions that are easy to follow and show the first follower how to follow. The first followers will then show everyone else how to follow.
  2.    Leaders embrace followers as equals, so it’s about the movement, not about the leader.
  3.    The first follower is an underestimated form of leadership. It takes courage to stand out and do something new and different.
  4.    Actions must be public. It’s important to not only show the actions of the leader, but also the followers. New followers will emulate other followers, not the leader.
  5.    After the first few join, others will join because it’s less risky. Then you hit the tipping point.
  6.    Afterward, those who were sitting on the fence before, have no reason now not to join. They won’t stand out, they won’t be ridiculed, but they will be part of the in-crowd if they hurry.
  7.    Then you have a movement.

I love that these insights are clear and simple, but I also wanted to add some key ideas that relate these steps to engaging employees in internal sustainability programs; many of these will be discussed in greater detail later in the series.

Create relevance for the program beyond company purpose. If a mission isn’t relevant to employees on a personal level, outside of work, it’s not likely to resonate with them at work either. How does your company’s sustainability agenda align with a greater purpose, allowing employees to contribute to the global good? Are you relating similar actions in their daily lives at home?

The UN Sustainable Development goals are a great way to create greater overall relevance. It provides a collective (global) way forward to address the world’s most pressing issues, but allows companies to choose the goals that align with their purpose and materiality priorities. With this greater vision and purpose, employees can participate make the broader connections with the meaning behind their brand experiences.

Meeting people where they are. A key element to increasing participation is by creating programming to engage employees that reflect their varying levels of understanding and willingness to participate. Do you have activities planned to accommodate these levels of employee involvement to meet them at their highest level of engagement and potential impact?

Law of diffusion of innovation principle. According to research, the required percentage of uptake in order to achieve the tipping point when adopting new innovations is only 16 %. (That lovely number makes the task seem more manageable, right?) Here is a great talk by Simon Sinek, where he discusses the law of diffusion in more detail.

Share employee experiences. Create fun, engaging, and relatable experiences for participating employees to share and inspire others to get involved. You could highlight and share articles, videos, blogs, pictures, posts, tweets, etc. Harness the powerful resource of employee influence and amplification in networks, on social media and word of mouth.

Cultivate followers and equip them to be advocates. Advocates and enthusiasts can be your strongest resource. We are very much social beings and are strongly influenced by our peers. Often sustainability practitioners feel overwhelmed when implementing programming as they say, “it’s just me!” I say look for ways to mobilize your employees and make them all owners and leaders. Create a clear process to show your followers how to follow, so they can then easily communicate the process to other potential followers.

Focus on key messaging and ongoing dialogue.  Be consistent in your messaging, frequency and contact channels with your communications and engagement. Focus on regular messaging communications, activities and feedback. If we want activities to be embedded into our organizational ethos, it needs to be part of an ongoing conversation, not only a few times per year when specific activities are launched.

Want to learn more? Watch for the next installment of her 6-part “Start a sustainability movement “ series. Part 2 will focus on building stakeholder buy-in at every level of the organization.




Start a Sustainability Movement Series:

  • Part 1: Steps to follow
  • Part 2: Building buy-in at every level
  • Part 3: How to scale
  • Part 4: How to systemize
  • Part 5: All in for sustainability
  • Part 6: Fostering culture & embedding sustainability

Leave a Comment! We would love to hear your thoughts! Please leave a comment or question below. Also feel free to post any burning issues that you would like to see covered in this series.

You can find Wendy on Twitter:@EngageIntl or LinkedIn: Wendy Firlotte

Wendy is a Sustainability Employee Engagement Specialist. She specializes in translating high-level strategy and vision into purpose driven, embedded and aligned employee action. She’s a great asset to our guest blog here on CrowdLeaf.




Used cups are a problem – Daizyp a solution.

Used cups are not only a challenge for recycle depending on materials and waste management, but also a big waste of space when binned and thrown away and into trash bins.




Too often we walk along streets and see trash cans quite exploding or worst we have to deal with this problem in our offices near coffee break areas or vending machines.
This is my personal experience and honestly, watching this garbage obscenity and the number of wasting bags used for waste management, I couldn’t take it anymore to see all that space wasted.

So I tried to find a solution to this problem, and too bad I found only big machines which are awesome to collect and/or destroy used cups managing big numbers, but too big and too expensive to install in my office or my home.

So here came the idea: realize a device to be inserted into the bin that let me collect and stack my used cups easily instead of trying every time to stack one into another one and often failing.

The solution should be low cost, small size and possibly affordable to everyone and most important could be applied to almost every type of existing trash bins around the world.

After a lot of modifications and tests finally a brand new tool was born to satisfy my needs: Daizyp. And using it for the first times gives me knowledge to use it even for other type of waste, or for example I found it great when using it in my office desk bin to collect coffee plastic cups into Daizyp and paper into the bin. A smart and eco-friendly solution all-in-one!

Daizyp helps people to collect used cups stacking them nicely avoiding waste of space and at the same time improving recycle collecting cups all together easily.

Daizyp transforms your trash bin into a smart one and can be installed in almost every type of trash bin.

Install and using it is very simple, all you have to do is inserting it into your bin (or outside the bin) and begin to throw inside it your used cups.
All the cups will stack together and when full emptying Daizyp is a simple and fast operation: you release the pin on the bottom and let the stacked cups fall into waste bag and you’re done.

Daizyp benefits are many and helps you:

  • save space in your bin and waste bags
  • save money – with lower costs for waste management and number of waste bags used
  • save the planet by improving recycle easily
  • educating kids to recycle having fun





Daizyp comes in 2 sizes version: normal size (84mm diameter) for plastic cups and glasses, and XL size (95mm diameter ) for fast food or big cups.

Daizyp project is young but promising: these days we are performing tests at our friend’s offices and small business and they are enthusiastics about it!

We are working for crowdfunding campaign scheduled for the first quarter 2017 and in the meantime trying to let people know Daizyp, the benefits it will bring and join the Daizyp recycle revolution.

Discover more on www.daizyp.com or follow Daizyp @thedaizyp