ASP Bristol is a thriving collection of innovative people whose work covers a broad range of sustainability topics. We're friendly, professional, relaxed, serious and playful.
If you'd like to meet up with us to connect, support and challenge, just join* this group and I'll make sure you receive a "doodle" when our next meet up is planned.
I created this Focus Group so we can continue our dialogues beyond the face-to-face meet ups, as well as opening up the possibility for others to join in our discussions. Please feel free to start a conversation, ask a question or introduce yourself.
Looking forward to meeting you!
*To follow the conversations in this group just "subscribe".
When creating conversations here add the correct category i.e. "ASP Bristol" from the editor's "Selected Category" list.
Walk Your Talk 2013
28-30 January and 8-10 March(TBC)
This year's theme is 'Prosperity - what does it mean to you (and us)'?
Walk Your Talk is designed for those actively seeking more sustainable ways of living and working. Whether you are an entrepreneur or an executive, an artist, activist, inventor or investor, a consultant, student or a policy maker, you'll leave feeling re-vitalised, more motivated and clear. Without fail, at least one person has some kind of transformative experience inspired by the rest of the group, which in turn inspires us all. Here's how it works:
Walk Your Talk events are held in ‘Open Space’, a lightly facilitated process in which there are no designated experts or leaders. You steer your own course as the day(s) unfold, and shape your own agenda to suit your purpose and need. People learn together by walking and talking, sharing passions, curiosities, hopes, expertise and questions.
Drawing on each other's wisdom, experience, encouragement and support, we all help each other with practical tips, connections, ideas, and advice to help overcome challenges and realise inspiring dreams. Many people leave with personal action plans of specific changes for their life and work.
Walk Your Talk is invariably a moving, productive, inspiring and refreshing experience. It's all these things because we decide to give ourselves (and each other) enough time to get really deeply into the things that matter to us most. So although it seems hard to justify time ‘off work’ and away from families, it is precisely this gift that clears our heads, relaxes us, and takes us to a depth of understanding and relationship that eludes us from day to day. Have a look at the feedback from previous events, and ask yourself why you don't deserve a fantastic working break in beautiful space, with wonderful people...
Secure your place by mailing firstname.lastname@example.org now!
NB. Arrival is from 4.30pm on day 1, departure is from 3pm on day 3.
Since 2005 a groundbreaking sustainability leadership masters has invited early to mid career applicants to join a learning journey that is transformational, profound and provides the core knowledge and skills to strategically create a sustainable future.
As a graduate of the inspiring course MSLS program I thought this would be of interest to ASP members. Applications have just opened, the programmes are taught in English and there are no tuition fees for EU & EEA citizens.
Taught at Blekinge Institute of Technology (BTH), Sweden, the Masters in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability (MSLS) and the Masters in Sustainable Product Service System Innovation (MSPI) are underpinned by the science-based Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development (widely known as The Natural Step Framework) spearheaded by Karl-Henrik Robèrt, a global sustainability leader and course tutor.
BTH is located in the beautiful coastal city of Karlskrona, a UNESCO world heritage site on the southeast coast of Sweden. MSLS explores the baseline science of systematic sustainability coupled with the skills required for organisational change. The course produces graduates who can deliver organisational leadership for strategic change towards sustainability. MSPI enables students to design and innovate for positive socio-ecological impacts of products, services, and product-service systems throughout their life cycles. This course produces graduates who can deliver outcomes that meet user needs while generating competitive advantages in the expanding sustainability-driven market.
Simon Goldsmith, MSLS 2008.
"Humanity has grown so powerful, we are undermining the life support systems of the planet - air, water, soil, biodiversity. The challenge is to see the world through the perspective of sustainability, not constant growth and change. That is the very basis of the MSLS that provides a unique and outstanding education and training that is sending out future leaders who can help move us off our current destructive path. I have seen firsthand, through my son-in-law, the results of this world class program." David Suzuki, David Suzuki Foundation.
Every business wants to enhance staff effectiveness and wellbeing. Generating a collaborative workplace will help. What managers need is a sound theoretical and practical grounding in how to do this.
Professor Eve Mitleton-Kelly has years of experience in this area, in business and the public sector. Her work creating enabling environments is being used for teaching around the world.
Your managers and senior staff can study with Professor Mitleton-Kelly at Schumacher College, Devon this June: Complexity and Collaboration: Applying Complexity Theory to Organisational Transformation http://www.schumachercollege.org.uk/courses/complexity-and-collaboration-applying-complexity-theory-to-organisational-transformation
Participants on this course will be looking at the challenges and opportunities for collaborative working in their business. Activities within the course include:
5th - 8th July 2012
Bala Brook on Dartmoor, Devon.
This is an event in the wild beauty of Dartmoor lead by Pippa Bondy of Ancient Healing Ways (www.ancienthealingways.co.uk). Pip is a wonderful guide and leader for this age-old art of Council.
see the attached flyer : bala brook event
As it says, through Council, we will explore our own nature, the nature of the planet and the nature of the Way of Council.
We will ask:
- "How do I take care of my own healing?"
- "How do I face the shadows in my relationships to help find understanding?"
- "What is my part in the healing of the environment and the Earth?"
- "What are my responsibilities in creating the world I want to live in?"
These questions will create the container of Council - a practice that encourages attentive listening and heartfelt compassionate speaking. Council is a way to wholeness and healing through bringing together the interconnectedness of all parts of our being/life, the environment, the Earth and self as one.
There are only 10 places available. The cost is £240 to include accommodation in single rooms - see www.balabrook.org.uk.
To sign up please contact Pippa on 01766 780557 or email: email@example.com.
The Council will run from Thursday evening through to Sunday afternoon 5th- 8th July.
For more details of the Way of Council please see…
and the Council in Nature article in the this PDF. This will take you to Pip's website where there is lots more to explore.
Hi ASP Community,
In 2007 I was accepted on a sustainability leadership Masters programme in Sweden and found it to be one of the most amazing years of my life. Applications for the 2012 intake open today. I have included details below if you are interested and I would be happy to meet up for a coffee (if you're in London) to share my experiences with you ). Please forward it on to any friends colleagues and organisations you think would value and find fulfillment in this Masters.
Best sustainable wishes,
Simon Goldsmith (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Are you a future sustainability leader?
Blekinge Institute of Technology (BTH), Sweden, is a top ranked sustainability research and education institution currently recruiting talented, early to mid career professionals for its cutting-edge 1 year Masters program Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability’ http://www.bth.se/msls
The course produces graduates who can deliver organizational leadership for strategic change towards sustainability and is underpinned by the science-based 'Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development' (widely known as The Natural Step Framework) spearheaded by Karl-Henrik Robert, a global sustainability leader and course tutor.
The course was established in 2005 and has taught over 350 graduates from 55 countries using innovative co-creative learning processes and engages directly with leaders in business and sustainability.
The Swedish state kindly pays for tuition fees for this programme for EU & EEA citizens and it is taught in English. BTH is located in the beautiful coastal city of Karlskrona, a UNESCO world heritage site on the southeast coast of Sweden.
Applications open 1st of December 2011 and close 16th January 2012. For more information including course brochure, testimonial video's please visit http://www.bth.se/msls
"The question of reaching sustainability is not about if we will have enough energy, enough food, or other tangible resources - those we have. The question is: will there be enough leaders in time?" Dr. Karl-Henrik Robčrt and Dr. Göran Broman programme co-founders.
Here's what a few alumni say of the programme:
“Unexpected, intense, fun, challenging and definitely life-changing! And I don't know how they make it that you will exactly learn what YOU need within that year to lead that world towards sustainability!” Isabella Wagner (Austria) 2011
“MSLS prepared and motivated me to do meaningful work in the vital field of sustainability. I would take this Master's again in a heart beat. “ Erin Romanchuk (Canada) 2008
“My year in Karlskrona gave me an exceptional perspective about sustainability and what we are able to achieve together with such a diversity of people from any background or country. As Mark Twain wrote "They did not know it was impossible, so they did it." Delphine Le Page (France 2007)
What matters most when leading sustainability in an organisation?
Is it someone’s charisma, their position or authority, their political awareness, their knowledge of climate change or the technical solutions and innovations in their marketplace?
Our research* into Sustainability intelligence has found that someone’s Passion for Sustainability is the most significant factor in their ability to make a difference to the sustainability of an organisation.
Their personal commitment to the agenda, and their passion for it, is clear to everyone around them. How do people know? What specific behaviours do those most effective have?
The research suggests that those most successful in leading change “Acknowledge the consequences of actions on the wider environment”, and they, “Champion the Sustainability message”. They talk about the subject – a lot. We found that someone’s Passion for Sustainability was most strongly correlated with how often they communicate about the subject.
It was taken for granted these people do a great job. When we researched the leaders in the field, our interviewees said that this was the baseline, the pre-requisite for being able to influence others, “If you are not doing a great job, who is going to listen to you when you say we need to change the organisational strategy?”
Technical aspects of the job were only very rarely talked about. This is perhaps a reflection of the assumption that you take care of this aspect before you can be a ‘leader’. Perhaps this is a reflection of the many ways in which people come to the sustainability agenda, whether from a finance, environmental or marketing background.
So, where does the passion come from?
Passion for sustainability comes from an internal place, and is fundamentally linked to individual values. Great sustainability leaders may be great leaders in a generic sense, and they have something more.
Those with the greatest passion or commitment to sustainability have a deep understanding of ‘why sustainability’, whether from a social, economic or environmental perspective.
This fits with our thoughts on behaviour change. People naturally take actions towards a particular goal or in line with a particular agenda if they understand why.
Perhaps the ultimate goal of Sustainability Leaders is to inspire the passion and commitment in others. As Antoine de Saint-Exupery understood, it is the desire for something that transforms behaviour and action.
"If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea."
Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900–1944)
* Our formal research in this area began in August 2009 and included: a desk study of leading research on Leadership in Sustainability; repertory grid style interviews with sustainability leaders; unstructured dialogues; the Association of Sustainability Practitioners workshop discussing sustainability skills and talents; the construction of the first Sustainability Intelligence competency framework; a Leadership in Sustainability workshop with 45 attendees to hone the model; development of a 360 degree assessment tool; trialling the 360 tool and Sustainability Intelligence model (500 people from business, public, NGO organisations) with control questions and feedback mechanisms; detailed statistical analysis of the data; development of a second version of the model based on the data and statistics; further use and testing; development of a structured approach to 360 degree feedback coaching; client usage; further refinement of the model (and a translation into the Czech language!)…. we are now on Version 3.
On the 26th April following an initiative from Lucy, some of us met to explore the issue of face to face contact among ASP members in Bristol. It was an excellent meeting. One issue that emerged was the emotional labour surrounding work in sustainability, particularly where one is informed enough to be aware of dire consequences of inaction. There was talk of how one copes and maintains a sense of morale and agency while "staring into the abyss". Alison Crowther and I agreed to go off and do some thinking about this- with a view to proposing action. It seemed from our recollections that two possible types of event emerged, both characterised by the needs for "hope", "support" and "belief". One was a workshop style event specifically concerned with hope and resilience. Ali is doing some further work on this. The other was about providing a space where people could come together in a contained way to express their deepest hopes and fears and gain some mutual support. While being facilitated and "held" this latter sort of event would not necessarily have a given agenda but instead would provide a space and an opportunity (a little microcosm of ASP itself in fact!). While providing a sharing and support function it could also lead to collective or individual commitments to action.
I would be very happy to facilitate such events on a regular basis on a non-for-profit basis if this was felt to be of value and interest to enough people. My inclination would be to offer the events as Council using the "Way of Council" that we have used in leadership events and that many of you will already be familiar with (e.g. use of council at Embercombe). I think for this they would work best with groups of not more than 12. I have included a brief handout here.
Does this make sense? Have Ali and I failed to remember what the discussion was REALLY about?! Would offering such spaces be of value and should we try to take this forward. Do please let your thoughts and feelings be known here.
This article presents a vision for corporate sustainability and highlights how organisations can add value to not only their bottom line but also to the environment and society at large. With current examples of organisations putting their corporate sustainability strategy into action, this article provides a run down of who’s doing what and the skills and people required to initiate and maintain the drive to a low carbon economy. Highlighting the increase in auditing and tighter sustainability regulation, this article also provides some useful advice on how to avoid the association with ‘green washing’ and ways in which an organisation can really embed sustainability within the heart of their corporate culture.
Investors are becoming increasingly receptive to sustainability.
Corporate sustainability is coming of age. An overwhelming majority of FTSE 500 companies now voluntarily measure, manage, and publicly disclose their carbon emissions; and a collection of hi-tech solutions, clean technologies, and market tools have evolved in recent years to meet these demands. Examples of successful corporate sustainability reporting can be attributed to Siemens and GE, recording environmental revenues of £16bn and £11bn respectively, and M&S showing how a CEO-led sustainability strategy can account for 10% of profit at a FTSE100 retailer.
The Co-Operative Group has also launched an ambitious sustainability plan at the beginning of March 2011, which promises to cut carbon emissions by 35% by 2017 and deploy over £1 billion of green energy finance by 2013. By 2017, the Co-op wants to generate an equivalent of a quarter of its energy needs from renewables but aims to be carbon neutral in its operations by next year. The Group also pledges to reduce its water consumption by 10% over the next three years.
Driving change to a corporate sustainability strategy is a constant challenge, however an impressive 81% of the CEOs surveyed by The Guardian stated that sustainability issues are now 'fully embedded' into their companies' strategy and operations, with many extending this focus to their subsidiaries and supply chains. It is clear that sustainability is no longer seen as a marketing fad and is now embraced at Board Level within leading corporations. This is also reflected in recruitment trends witnessed by Allen & York, leading international sustainability Recruiters.
Boardroom commitment to sustainability helps build a framework for robust corporate governance.
Writing in Ethical Corporation, Raffaello Raimondi, Principal Search Consultant at Allen & York comments on the rise of the Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO), “The first job on a CSO’s list is often to challenge accepted norms and radically change a corporation’s culture”. Describing the ideal CSO’s background, Raimondi highlights that several years industry experience coupled with a MBA/Masters Degree and quite possibly experience in a leading strategic or environmental position features high on his check list.
By employing a dedicated CSO, Sustainability Director or Head of Sustainability, organisations can ensure the corporate sustainability strategy is not only overseen and managed accordingly but is also implemented to the highest standard so that oversights are not made. When discussing his role at UPS, Scott Wicker, CSO at UPS highlights that: “The long-term success of our company absolutely requires a balance of the environmental, economic and social aspects of the business. Sustainability encompasses all of those areas.”
Sustainability offers a proven and legitimate framework for exploiting new avenues for innovation and growth.
Initiatives such as the Carbon Plan, Green Investment Bank and the Electricity Market Reform demonstrate how the UK coalition government is well on the way up the regulatory escalator towards encouraging zero-carbon emissions within business. The Carbon Plan, being a Government-wide plan of action on climate change and the Green Investment Bank are primed to invest in low-carbon infrastructure such as renewable energy and the development of new, clean technologies. Both, along with the Electricity Market Reform point towards a movement to monitor and regulate sustainability within business.
In addition, the UK government's CRC Energy Efficiency scheme which came into effect in 2010 is a mandatory carbon emissions reporting and pricing scheme, with the first report due from organisations, which use more than 6,000MWh per year of electricity, in July 2011. Whilst there has been some controversy about the scheme, it still remains that from 2012, participants will be required to buy allowances from the Government, each year, to cover their emissions in the previous year.
This means that organisations that decrease their emissions can lower their costs under the CRC. Companies better positioned to improve their energy efficiency, and save on CRC costs, will be those with a CSO or Head of Sustainability in place, who is able to oversee energy management, sustainable procurement and corporate social responsibility issues, coupled with implementing accurate carbon reporting.
A severe management deficit exists in the governance of climate change and sustainability risks and opportunities.
Being a key driver to corporate innovation and growth, a top down approach to corporate sustainability is required. Regulation, the role of the CSO and embedding sustainability into business practices also ensures that ‘green washing’ is avoided. Green washing is the team used for the deceptive use of green PR to embellish a company’s green credentials. With a firm policy and strategy in place run by a dedicated CSO or Head of Sustainability, the company is able to produce clear and transparent evidence of their sustainable measures.
Further trends that Allen & York predict for 2011 include:
- The embedding of sustainability as a core business strategy
- Establishment of a consensus on the role of the sustainable development professional
- The rise of the Chief Sustainability Officer
- Increased transparency, an open society and a decrease in green washing
- Supply chain engagement, where supplier’s performance is also monitored and reported on, forming part of the corporate sustainability strategy.
- IT for green purposes growing at an exponential rate
Allen & York are a leading international Sustainability Recruitment consultancy, offering jobs and candidates in; Energy & Environmental Management, CSR & Sustainability, Low Carbon and Climate Change, Renewable Energy and Health and Safety Management. For further information, please visit: www.allen-york.com
Bolivia enshrines natural world's rights with equal status for Mother Earth
Law of Mother Earth expected to prompt radical new conservation and social measures in South American nation...
- What needs to happen in the UK to see both Government and Corporations adopt this principle?
- Is Bournemouth Council's decision to adopt the Earth Charter the first (and only?) step in this direction?
"Bournemouth is the first local authority in the UK to endorse the Earth Charter Initiative"
20th February 2008
Demonstrating commitment and responsibility to global issues is not just an empty promise. Following today’s (Wednesday, 20th February) Cabinet meeting Bournemouth Councillors have made the decision to endorse and adopt the principles outlined in the Earth Charter.
The Council has agreed to promote the Charter’s aims and objectives in line with its own duties, functions and responsibilities and corporate plan priorities. The Charter sets out principles which include; sustainable living, equality and diversity, transparency and accountability in governance and promoting a culture of tolerance, non-violence and peace.
Councillor Robert Lawton said: “It’s fantastic that we are the first council in the UK to endorse this Charter. We believe that many of the Charter’s principles and objectives mirror the Council’s corporate plan priorities specifically the ongoing good work to improve our environment such as our recycling and waste minimisation campaign. I hope other Councils will follow in our footsteps and sign up to this Charter.”
Rabbi Neil Amswych, Principal Rabbi of Bournemouth Reform Synagogue who asked the Council to consider the Charter said: "I'm very happy that our Council has agreed to such an important moral long-term vision. I'm very excited to see which elements of the Earth Charter our Council first decides to act on."
The Council has agreed to sign up for to the initiative for the next 12 months and to review the endorsement at the end of this period.
The Earth Charter Initiative is an international declaration of fundamental principles for building a just, sustainable and peaceful global society in the 21st century.
The Charter has 16 fundamental principles split into 4 broad headings:
- Respect and Care for the Community of Life
- Ecological Integrity
- Social and Economic Justice
- Democracy, Non-violence and Peace
Education for sustainability in the 21st century
Contemporary debates on sustainability increasingly recognise the importance of education, suggesting that greater participatory involvement of stakeholders in discourses leads to greater empowerment and increases knowledge generation for key groups within education economics, environmentalism and social activism.
There is an urgent and unprecedented task in enabling learning around the many complex issues involved in sustainability.
Making inroads into these complex issues without support can be a daunting task, consequently finding a suitable course to establish a good theoretical and practical understanding of the issues is vital for any educators who wish to incorporate sustainability into their teaching and practice.
A centre of learning for sustainability
Now celebrating 20 years, internationally renowned Schumacher College continues to host its highly successful Ecoliteracy course, which provides participants with a comprehensive overview of the key concepts within sustainability including systems theory, complexity theory, economics and ecological design. The course empowers participants to view all aspects of their work and private lives from a sustainability perspective, and to understand how those ideas can be applied to their actions at work, at home and in the community at large.
“I can think of no more important mission than helping students acquire the knowledge, skills, and values to participate effectively in creating sustainable communities.” (Fritjof Capra)
Course facilitator Emily Ryan notes that the course gives a broad sweep of key subjects, allowing participants to discover and focus their own interests.
Learning as a community
Teaching on the course is very much about community learning. Participants, teachers and staff work together to combine and learn from their diverse experiences and knowledge, in this way individual and group learning provides a powerful platform for deep and holistic engagement with transformative learning for sustainability.
“Professionally, the teachings inspired me to find ways of incorporating experiences of nature and the wild into my work with youth and small enterprises.” (Jess Schulschenk - Programme Coordinator, Sustainability Institute, South Africa)
Throughout the course Emily Ryan leads the group through a dynamic process where practical work, contemplation and the development of community are all important parts of the learning experience. As a facilitator specialising in the design of unique learning environments in the fields of transformational education and sustainability Emily notes that one of the course’s key strengths is that participants gain access to a variety of Schumacher’s on-site projects and the associated experts who run them. This helps to render abstract concepts more meaningful and engaging.
Inspiration and transformation at the heart of learning
Caroline Harlow, a Brain Injury Case Manager from Exeter, attended the course last year and found the teaching and content of the course inspirational: ‘Emily was the most charismatic, funny and inspirational facilitator, and has a great sense of ‘joie de vivre’. Like many past participants Caroline says that the course has led to a change in the way that she lives her life. ‘I used to be tied up with wealth and growth, but through Schumacher I have changed the way I interact with myself, the people around me and the planet I live on.’
An international panel of experts
A unique strength of this course is in the calibre of the course teachers who have the knowledge and experience to answer difficult questions and guide course participants to answers that invariably lead to exciting and transformative practices.
What is systems theory and how does it apply to my life/work?
Dr Fritjof Capra, physicist, systems thinker and founding director of the Centre for Ecoliteracy in Berkeley, has lectured extensively on the importance of sustainability education and provides insights into the theoretical underpinnings of systems thinking.
How does changing the way I interact with the wider environment make a difference?
Dr. Stephan Harding, ecologist and author, has worked alongside many of the world's leading experts on ecological thought and action, including Jonathon Porritt, Brian Goodwin and James Lovelock. His contribution to the course focuses on the importance of understanding the ecological mechanisms which surround all our futures.
How does creativity and innovation, which is so integral to education, feature in sustainability?
Anne Miller is an authority on creativity and innovation, having spent 20 years developing and inventing innovative products for the world’s leading companies. In 2000 she founded The Creativity Partnership, providing consulting and training for some of the world’s most successful organisations. She is also author of ‘How to get your ideas adopted (and change the world)’.
It seems like such a complex issue, how can we achieve a sustainable future?
Satish Kumar, world renowned environmental campaigner, co-founder of Schumacher College and editor of Resurgence magazine, ensures participants also take away with them a greater sense of the importance that hope and inspiration play in developing new and innovative work/life practices.
‘Schumacher always gives that wonderful feeling of hope and I think that’s so refreshing.’ (Caroline Harlow, Brain Injury Case Manager, Exeter)
The popular two-week course runs from March 28 – April 8, 2011and again in October 2011 and provides participants with all teaching, accommodation, meals, and field trips. For those new to the college this course is also an exciting and valuable introduction to the central themes of Schumacher College and to its other courses in areas such as new economics, business, design and science.
The course fees are: one week £750, two weeks £1,450. A limited number of bursaries are available. Details of the course can be found at www.schumachercollege.org.uk/courses/ecoliteracy-first-principles-for-radical-change or contact +44 (0)1803 865 934 to make a booking.