Is your Business Plastic ?

Sustainability aside, having a long term viewpoint on where the global market is heading is good business.  If you are part of a supply chain,  keeping an eye on where you are sourcing raw materials and confirming compliance with conflict minerals and anti-slavery legislation is increasingly becoming part of any RFQ and tender processes.   Creating an agile business provides the strength to anticipate and respond swiftly to market fluctuations – so have you anticipated the ground swell movement against plastic, and in particular single use plastic?

This week, sees the major supermarkets signing up to the UK Plastics Pact which has been launched by WRAP which brings together businesses, NGOs and UK Government to tackle plastic packaging waste by redesigning  out waste and establishing reuse with targets set for incorporation of recycled plastics into products.  The pact which is the first of its kind in the world Continue reading “Is your Business Plastic ?”

Reducing the Hidden Waste in a Challenging Environment

 

Not all waste is obvious. There has rightly been an increase in awareness of plastic waste with campaigns initiated after the Blue Planet series, relating to the plastic waste in our oceans. In particular, single use plastic in consumer items such as straws, cups etc. It is laudable that campaigns run by some of the larger retailers such as Waitrose will eliminate such items. Unilever, who is regarded as one of the more ethically minded and sustainability minded large corporations have responded by removing plastic from teabags. It is easy to castigate large organisations for not responding to these issues quick enough. However, this is a social problem, and once awareness of such issues is heightened by such programmes as Blue Planet, then society will apply the appropriate pressure. Consumers need to change their buying behaviour and be prepared to accept less of these products, by buying into the concept of multi-use, recycling and low impact products. This concept has been known about for some time, so what is different ? Unfortunately, like it or not, humans are both creatures of habit, and are “lazy”, which means they seek the path of least resistance, low risk for them, comfort, and “repeatability”. This of course compounds the issue, and thus is a clear factor that will reduce the pace of change.

How do companies fit into this cycle? Continue reading “Reducing the Hidden Waste in a Challenging Environment”

Risk Management? – Not just for Health and Safety

Hear the words ‘Determining Risk’ and most small businesses  may instantly conjure up  health and safety risk assessments that have become part and parcel of day to day business  activities.

Increasingly, Corporate Responsibility relies on embracing a wider vision to ensure that the ethos of your business in congruent with the values and perceptions of your customers. For example, raw  materials and their sources  not being impacted by  conflict minerals, or that your supply chain does not contain any goods or services created through child or slave labour.   There is also a Mandatory annual statement required by businesses with £36m + turn over to demonstrate the actions taken to prevent slavery and human trafficking in their operations or supply chain under the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015.

For anyone with an ISO certification, the transition onto the 2015 standard, particularly for ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and 45001 requirements, risk management has become part of everyday vocabulary.   The new standards centre around the actions to address risk and opportunities, taking the focus for the context of the organisation wider than in previous versions.  Stakeholders both internal and external now have to be identified, along with any considerations that may be required to understand their needs and expectations.  Sub contractors and outsourced process activities have  now become  part of the system, with the risk of any perceived or actual affect on the products and services that the organisation produces needing to be identified and actioned.

For growing businesses, risk management is an everyday occurrence.  The potential market place, competition, customer satisfaction pressures, and being agile enough to embrace and ‘nutribullet the shit out of’  embryonic  technologies and talent requires a telescopic viewpoint of emerging risks and markets.  Taking that viewpoint one step closer, how many organisations  routinely consider the risks closer to home that would affect the delivery of their day to day business?  The risk of being left in the lurch by your skilled ‘Go To’ guru having a lottery win when he is the only one who knows a certain process,  or how you handle the change to a major supplier or logistic company to prevent chaos reigning?  Even your payment terms can create risks.   Will your small suppliers or specialist contractors still treat your break down as an emergency if you have put them on longer tighter payment terms that don’t serve them?   How many organisations have considered and planned contingencies for the affects of short term weather patterns, or the affect to their supply chain or overseas operations from climate change?

If any of these factors have made uncomfortable reading, then attending a Lean2Sustain workshop  can help you consider practically how you can plan for and affect a more sustainable business. Not only will we enable you  to  recognise where the risks lie to your business, but how to design out actual and transactional wastes to make you leaner and improve your sustainability – in both the Corporate Responsibility and viable meaning of sustainable business.

 

A Circular Economy – A Paradigm too far ?

For as long as I can remember we have lived in a boom-bust economy.  Our GDP linked to global  markets – at the mercy of the next world economy to come on stream wanting to develop infrastructure and create commercial growth as far as the money lasts.  We gear up to meet demand, and then fall into recession when the bubble bursts, creating hardship and casualties for those caught up in fallout.

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Rubber (Plastic) Roads

If you hear the words rubber roads a number of things come to mind. As a amateur racing driver, I think potentially more “grip”. There is a new phenomena taking place. The concept of recycled plastic containers and bottles being combed from our seas and waste dumps, to be converted and substituted for the bitumen that binds our road asphalt. India has been doing it since 2002, and the Netherlands is now actively pursuing it.

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First Hydrogen Train Tested

The first Hydrogen Train has been successfully tested in Germany. Another major step on the journey to “zero” emissions. Still a lot to be done to make these commercially viable, but we keep edging closer. Passenger trials are set to start in 2018. It is pleasing to see that fuel cell technology has not been abandoned, and with design development and “lean” thinking the trains will become even more effective /efficient.

Scorched Earth

The term “Scorched Earth” has been used widely as a military term for removing potentially useful things away from a withdrawing or advancing enemy in the field of battle. However, I would also like to use this as a metaphor for just destroying anything rapidly, without a great deal of thought.

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