Additional Consultancy offerings enhance and complement current NGS Services

Mary McLuskey of National Green Standard is delighted to be hosting a Culture Audit workshop for Resonate Together to explore the organisation’s culture as part of a development programme to strengthen the social enterprise as it moves forward with its planned strategy.

“Here at Resonate Together we believe that self-sustainability is crucial in enabling community to work with the constant stream of emergent opportunities and challenges. Mary’s vast experience, tremendous successes and multi sector working will ensure that our Culture Audit workshop can support our team to develop their confidence for the road ahead”. Angela Beardsley, Founder and Executive Director

For more details Mary can be contacted on mary@nationalgreenstandard.co.uk

Consultancy services include:

  • Strategy development and implementation
  • Operational planning and implementation
  • Sustainability auditing and accreditation through National Green Standard
  • Cultural audit
  • Social enterprise development and business planning
  • Change / transformation management
  • Stakeholder management
  • Performance Framework Reporting framework design and implementation
  • Fundraising applications
  • Project, Programme and PMO management
  • Business planning income stream development
  • Governance structures, roles and responsibilities of Boards and Trustees
  • Marketing and Communications
  • Interim Executive roles

 

Posted by / June 13, 2019 / Posted in News

EARTH DAY AND THE NEW NORMAL

EARTH DAY and The New Normal

My new normal life is one where I get up, shower have breakfast and then walk to my spare bedroom that is set up as a rather pleasant home office. I break my day by having coffee or a fruit tea in the morning, a walk at lunchtime and a ten minute session in the afternoon of doing something I wouldn’t ordinarily do – watch the afternoon news.

Of course there is very little about this new normal that is ordinary. Each day the news bring the number of deaths across the country and the world, a mass grave in New York, arguments over PPE and talk of exit strategies, before we even know what we are to exit to.

We live now in a world where our society, our economics and our environment have been thrown off kilter in a way that this modern world could only have imagined in some dystopian Hollywood movie.

But wait, let’s just think for a minute, wasn’t society all but broken. The welfare state was slowly being dismantled and the gaps taken up by underfunded social enterprises and charities; some of the last to be bailed out by big government. Has the Covid virus pointed a new light on what society really is and how we should nurture the best of it. Clap for the NHS on Thursday, neighbourly notes through doors, homelessness sorted overnight and wealthy individuals, groups and organisations re-thinking their priorities?

“We will ask ourselves about how we do business and social interactions – do we need as many jets in the sky? We can’t allow ourselves to be this vulnerable again?”

Chris Packham Interview by Stephen Stafford & Ben Moore BBC South 21 March 2020

 

On the economic front big government has taken action and an array of grants, salary top ups, loans and payment holidays all now in place to support the workers through this crisis. It seems a huge and generous effort and the right thing to do. What, I ask myself, happens to those who fall through the cracks, because cracks there are. What about the self-employed without two years of accounts, the volunteer manager who hasn’t taken anything, but has survived on the sheer good will of others that can no longer give that support. The gig economy was always vulnerable and now exposed as downright dangerous to your physical and mental health, when extraordinary events take over. In Scotland and in many other countries there is talk of a universal basic income, that may sound altruistic but actually it makes economic sense. A basic right to the cash one needs to survive thereafter taxes to pay for those less fortunate. I like that idea, I like a society that balances the economic with people and puts people front and centre in a value driven world.

Then of course we think about the environmental changes we are seeing in our new normal – the air is cleaner; just a short walk outside and you can smell the pine trees, hear the bumble bees and the birdsong is a symphony of joy.

“Business leaders have a crucial role to play, by putting nature at the core of their processes and decision-making and systematically identifying, assessing, mitigating and disclosing nature-related risks to avoid severe consequences. Businesses can be part of the global movement to protect and restore nature. World Economic Forum 19 January 2020

A recent article on the BBC website showed farmers working away delivering new life into the world, a world that not so long ago they were accused of polluting. Now however with many of the big polluters, travel, shipping and many more at rest, the small impact that farmers make in their work seems less of a concern and more an imperative to keep us fed.

The battle we are fighting against Covid 19 is one that will continue for a long time to come and as businesses adjust to the new normal, we will all have to do our bit to ensure that the battle against climate change doesn’t get lost in the rush to revert to our old ways. We need to make sure our supply chain and our management as custodians of this earth accounts for the best that we can be. The National Green Standard on-line self-assessment is as good a place to check your new reality as any – it’s free with a facilitated cost effective assessment to follow up maybe now is the time to see how you measure up.

scan the code to navigate to the questionnaire

Posted by / April 25, 2020 / Posted in News

COVID 19 AND THE NEW NORMAL

Covid 19 And The New Normal

Sitting at my desk I have a view into the football park where only the occasional dog walker can be seen thankfully keeping an appropriate social distance from anyone else in the vicinity.

This is what working from home looks like, a view from a window into a quiet and almost deserted landscape. A waste collection lorry is moving slowly through the village streets and the men working present the appearance of normal, or what normal used to look like except if you look closely it’s clear they too are social distancing.

This new normal doesn’t quite feel right and I wonder if we will ever return to our old ways?

This makes me think about what I have lost and what I have gained from the isolation that we have imposed upon our society?

I haven’t driven my car in the past eight days and for me this is a joy. I know others will miss driving but it has always been a chore for me and I wrestle with my environmental conscience every time I turn the key to start the ignition.

I have managed to take my one exercise per day in the form of a long walk which suits my personality perfectly. I walk with my partner of thirty years and we are as comfortable with our silences as we are with our chat. I love that we have time to be together in a way that has no pressure to cram things in – we just are and it is refreshing, life enhancing.

Work has become different in the same space it has become more intense and less so. The added intensity comes from the ever present email and now video link which on balance I have to say I love. The flip side of this intensity is that the working day is a different shape – I can work odd hours and still meet my deadlines without feeling the pressure of other peoples’ time requirements. An added bonus is not worrying about the traffic and trying to miss the rush hour!

It is clear we are creatures of habit and changing habits can be difficult, we make excuses, we put things off, we create barriers where non exist. This paradigm shift in how we live has forced us all to look at what we do and how we do it. I have offered coaching sessions on line, the organisational CSR tool National Green Standard always had a strong on-line feature and now we can extend that by using Teams, or Zoom or Facetime to speak to clients.

How much of these new ways of working will stay post COVID 19? I hope many people will see the benefits of remote working and that presenteeism is gone for good.

Daily ‘Teams’ meetings at ten in the morning with my old work colleagues, keeps me in touch and allows for a social exchange before we get down to business. A three o’clock Teams meeting with my new work colleagues focuses on recovery planning for post COVID and prioritising which services will come back and when. Central to this discussion is the reconfiguration of services, looking at how this radical change that has been imposed upon us all can be seen as an opportunity to make us more efficient and effective in the future.

My work is all about sustainability, whether that is environmental, social or economic and it has always been about change. These bedfellows sit well with me; continuous improvement is always welcome and fundamental to how we live. What is really exciting are the big leaps we can make when the conditions are right.

This terrible virus has forced change upon us; it is stripping people of their lives, livelihoods and bringing fear to us all. We must focus on doing the right things, keeping safe and seizing upon our new reality to make the most of what we have.

In the past I, like many people, have sat in meetings thinking that I will never regain the time spent listening to unnecessary chat about someone’s personal preferences that clearly go against all other considerations. A good robust discussion is not what I mean, we have been in the situation where a dominant person just hogs the floor and we passively accept that eventually the deadlock will break and we will get back to business.

At times like this when time is both precious and strange we look back at those days where we wasted time, we procrastinated, we allowed time to slip away without thought.

I wonder how many of us are using our time well. I wonder about making plans as opposed to just doing things.

We are going to trust that life will return to a new normality, one where we can socialise and touching each other is not a potentially life taking exchange.

In the meantime I am enjoying the starlings that sit on my window ledge; I hear their soft chirping sounds and smile inwardly and outwardly. I love not driving to ‘the office’ and I rejoice in seeing my fellow workers in their own homes, relaxed and focused at the same time. The quality of our conversations is better than before, we have a deeper understanding of our individual and collective worlds.

Almost two weeks in and I’m happy to say that social isolation, while very challenging is bringing me a quality of time I really didn’t know existed.

It’s two minutes to my on line morning meeting with five colleagues. My new reality is not one that stresses me in quite the way the long drive to work, the circling of the car park to find a space and the clocking in to a building that is overcrowded does, in fact I am in a good place to have a productive team meeting!

At times like this when time is both precious and strange we look back at those days where we wasted time, we procrastinated, we allowed time to slip away without thought.

I wonder how many of us are using our time well. I wonder about making plans as opposed to just doing things.

We are going to trust that life will return to a new normality, one where we can socialise and touching each other is not a potentially life taking exchange.

In the meantime I am enjoying the starlings that sit on my window ledge; I hear their soft chirping sounds and smile inwardly and outwardly. I love not driving to ‘the office’ and I rejoice in seeing my fellow workers in their own homes, relaxed and focused at the same time. The quality of our conversations is better than before, we have a deeper understanding of our individual and collective worlds.

Almost two weeks in and I’m happy to say that social isolation, while very challenging is bringing me a quality of time I really didn’t know existed.

It’s two minutes to my on line morning meeting with five colleagues. My new reality is not one that stresses me in quite the way the long drive to work, the circling of the car park to find a space and the clocking in to a building that is overcrowded does, in fact I am in a good place to have a productive team meeting!

 

At times like this when time is both precious and strange we look back at those days where we wasted time, we procrastinated, we allowed time to slip away without thought.

I wonder how many of us are using our time well. I wonder about making plans as opposed to just doing things.

We are going to trust that life will return to a new normality, one where we can socialise and touching each other is not a potentially life taking exchange.

In the meantime I am enjoying the starlings that sit on my window ledge; I hear their soft chirping sounds and smile inwardly and outwardly. I love not driving to ‘the office’ and I rejoice in seeing my fellow workers in their own homes, relaxed and focused at the same time. The quality of our conversations is better than before, we have a deeper understanding of our individual and collective worlds.

Almost two weeks in and I’m happy to say that social isolation, while very challenging is bringing me a quality of time I really didn’t know existed.

 

Posted by / March 27, 2020 / Posted in News

How do You Measure Up

How do you measure up?

Struggling to prove your green credentials and frustrated by the high cost of tracking just a single element of your environmental activity? With so many requests for carbon capture, electricity usage, recycling tonnage and many other aspects of maintaining and improving your environmental practices it is easy to forget that people and a healthy bank balance matter too. The National Green Standard (NGS) is designed to help bridge the gap between what can often appear to be conflicting priorities and brings the discipline of a scoring methodology into the assessment so you can track improvements. The NGS is achieved at Bronze, Green or Gold levels and recognises the efforts made by organisations as they balance people, plant and profit through our principles that focus on being Socially Responsible, Economically Viable and Environmentally Sound.

There are a number of ways to get involved with the NGS all designed to support you manage your organisation, promote people development and ensure you are operating environmentally sound practices.  For some the process will start with the on-line self-assessment process.  This is a quick and easy way for an organisation to get feedback on how they fair against the three principles that make up the NGS. From there a number of options are available: on-site training for your managers to help them understand the NGS and how to support the whole organisation to move forward on a journey to recognition.  Perhaps you might like to have a small team trained to undertake internal audits against the NGS criteria before you take the step towards formal accreditation or just got straight in and have a facilitated assessment visit. This approach works well for many organisations as we do all the hard work so you can look forward to an Action Plan, Report and a score to confirm Bronze, Green or Gold accreditation.

Below is the QR code to our questionnaire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Start me up!

My first ‘big’ business deal was to buy a bus load of tickets for a Rolling Stones concert at St James Park, Newcastle. I hired a coach with driver and advertised to friends and family that ticket price included travel to and from the venue. I made a small profit – enough to cover the cost of my own two tickets, my picnic and drinks for the day and a few pounds extra to invest in my next venture. The success of that deal was thrilling and the concert, well what can I say; it was outstanding. We lost just one of our group to a weekend in Newcastle with a new found love but he turned up eventually with a very happy look on his face and new friend in tow!

The plan was simple, get some of our friends together, get them to a great concert and get them home. In the process enjoy the company, the music, share a life experience and yes make a small profit to use for the next venture. Back then concerns about the planet were less of a priority, not because we didn’t care it was more to do with a lack of information which was restricted to TV, radio and print. Today the world has changed and I’d say for the better in so many ways, however, our world is fragile. We seem to have an exhausting ability to destroy what we should protect and nurture however we should not think that nature is defenceless. Balance and harmony in all things should be what we seek, after all the earth will fight back and recover without us. Our aim should be to live our existence to the full, enjoy the bounty that we can but pay back our respect and seek to do as little harm as we can.

I don’t mean we should turn the clock back; indeed I think we should push further and faster with technology and seek solutions to live better with less impact. Just the other day I saw a fantastic programme on the BBC about fungi and how their properties were being used to create biodegradable packaging and read another piece about a young girl in Africa creating a washing machine out of what most westerners would call rubbish. We need to harness, create, lead and excel in our efforts to love the world we live on.

Let’s get started by recognising those organisations that truly support the triple bottom line and get going with a National Green Standard. To see how you measure up start your on obligation on line survey to get a score out of 1000.

Email us on mary@nationalgreenstandard.co.uk

Flexibility the key to productivity: the profit principle

There is an old saying that fish rots from the head and too often the senior team is where this rot apparently starts. Actually fish and people have something in common and it does in a way relate to rot. We share a planet and while fish live in harmony with their surrounds we, people, seem to have managed to find a myriad of ways to rot our surrounds, place constraints and remove individual innovation form our everyday lives. We need to think and behave and differently; we need to stop making the assumption that someone else will take the lead, that senior people somewhere will find a solution to world problems and save us from ourselves.

I’ve written before about being my own Alchemical Magician and that what I mean by that is that every now and then I have to rethink what I’m doing, why and doing it and find better things to do. That concept applies to us all not just leaders. The National green Standard is a brilliant and innovative tool to help as all stop the rot. This Standard leads the way in showing how organisations of any size can maximise the potential of every employee to become champions of the environment: making organisations into teachers and facilitators! The National Green Standard enables organisation to reinvent the way they work and engage with staff and the communities in which they operate and it rewards them for doing so.

Behaviours will only change if there is an incentive to do so and rewarding good behaviour is a great way to incentivise long term change. Adopting new ways of working is not only difficult to start it is difficult to sustain so we at the National Green Standard have created for you a series of workshop to help you get started and keep going. The National Green Standard is scored from 1,000 points across the three key principles of People, Planet, Profit because we know that money management in any organisation is critical to sustainability and people are your organisation.  So what if you could save money over the next ten years by just adopting a few small changes – the Kaizen approach to continuous improvement. What if you went one step further and informed your employees about changes they could make at home to save a little money each year. Indeed now we are on a roll what about the community that surrounds you? A recent BBC new article stated that the average person in the UK travels 16,000 miles every year, the majority of which is going to and from the workplace. Now imagine if we opted for more home working and cutting that carbon footprint by ten or twenty percent: the impact globally would be huge! Pollution would be reduced and we would have a better work life balance – doesn’t seem like there are any downsides there especially when another study shows that motivated staff are 16% more productive and an overwhelming 91% of respondents to a TINYpulse survey say they’re more productive when working remotely .

A recent HSBC (2017) survey suggested the following:

‘…Almost one on five (18%) employees cite poor work life balance as a reason for leaving their last job – a problem many companies could address with flexible working.

Q: To what extent, if at all, does each benefit/ perk motivate you at work?

  • 88% flexible working
  • 79% remote working
  • 76% financial bonus
  • 71% study leave
  • 60% learning courses
  • 58% away days
  • 52% volunteer days
  • 42% mat/ pat leave above statutory pay
  • 39% subsidised gym memberships
  • 39% wellbeing allowance
  • 37% healthcare insurance
  • 28% Xmas parties’

National Green Standard accreditation will recognise your good practices while challenging you to consider other small changes to impact people, planet and profit. We need to be bold and take giant steps, join a growing revolution by starting your national green Standard journey now for the first step towards long term sustainable business and help stop the rot. So what are you waiting for: contact us on mary@nationalgreenstanadard.co.uk

It’s a balancing act

Is your organisation taking steps to make sure it is environmentally friendly? What about making sure that all stakeholders are considered and cared for? Of course, not forgetting the long term: does your organisation plan ahead and think responsibly? Wouldn’t it be good if there was a way of letting others know that you care for your staff, the environment and are building a long term sustainable organisation? Even better, wouldn’t it be great if you could share with others a better way of working and living? Well if your organisation has woken up to world life balance and is trying to achieve sustainable growth while looking after your employees and stakeholders then you need to look at the National Green Standard accreditation.

National Green Standard is the only accreditation available that supports the triple bottom line approach to measuring success. The Standard encourages organisations to self-regulate their legal and statutory obligations while taking a step further to experience external scrutiny when the time is right for them. National Green Standard is designed to help organisations to look at whether they are socially responsible, economically viable and environmentally sound in the way they operate in the short, medium and long term by providing a mechanism to capture your good practices, get rewarded for your efforts and share your approaches with like-minded organisations who care about how we live, work and look after the planet. Our unique scoring system will help us determine if you have reached Bronze, Green or Gold Standard!

Gaining recognition couldn’t be simpler you can call to arrange a visit or take the no obligation on line questionnaire to get started on your National Green Standard journey.

 

We can be contacted on mary@nationalgreenstandard.co.uk

 

National Green Standard in Action

 

You have put in place your environmental policy and recycling across the organisation is going well, it is monitored and staff have bought into the procedures. This first step in greening your workplace has been met with enthusiasm and the policy in now refreshed to increase the scope so that low energy light bulbs are becoming commonplace as replacements are needed. Old equipment and office furniture no longer finds it ways to a skip and then landfill; it is passed on to others to reuse or to remake into something funky and new.

Now staff are getting creative about greening the workplace and thinking of the office as not just somewhere to spend a large chunk of their time but a place that can be put to good use beyond the function it was designed for. In the kitchen food waste is recycled, herbs are grown in pots and plants have appeared in various locations throughout the building. A small group of staff have organised to litter pick the area around the building and car parks and a local reuse centre has provided picnic benches that are proving very popular. So popular that the office opposite has ordered some too and has planted up a few small areas with wild flowers to soften the hard lines of the building’s entrance.

Next the factory on the corner has installed a sedum roof and a bee keeper has been invited to keep a hive so that honey can be collected. A small group has been set up to look at ways to improve the whole space and work with the local community to improve the area. Tree planting, vegetable plots, picnic areas and walking trails start to appear. In time the whole area is transformed and looks and feels friendlier and safer, there is a renewed energy and community spirit – going to work is not the drag it used to be.

All sound like a pipe dream or an idealised view of reality? Well it may be a story but as with the best stories there is always a fundamental truth behind it. More and more people and organisations are realising that the workplace has a huge impact on the environment and that making small changes can, over time have a positive and cumulative impact. If each organisation made a few simple changes we would all benefit and of course we would be helping to achieve global goals for a better world.

The National Green Standard is designed to recognise the efforts that organisations are making in achieving positive impacts of the environment, society and long term sustainability. If you have started that journey and want to gain the prestigious recognition for your efforts then take the online free survey or drop us an email and we will arrange for a visit. mary@nationalgreenstandard.co.uk

Embed the National Green Standard into your organisational strategy

With so much focus and attention on climate emergency, global political uncertainty and the ambiguity surrounding Brexit, it can be a challenge to remember that many organisations are working hard to make small changes that collectively have a positive economic, social and environmental impact. As a result, many organisations are looking to the National Green Standard to demonstrate their credentials and let other know about the good things they are doing.

The introduction of the National Green Standard in 2016 signalled a new dawn in the battle to work, live and play in a mindful way. Organisations can enhance their business and management strategies by adopting the three Principles and accompanying criteria that comprise the National Green Standard. With a benchmarking score each organisation can easily see what areas to improve and share their best practices with others, should they choose to do so.

Available at three levels: Bronze, Green and Gold the National Green Standard is gaining traction among organisational committed to taking steps to tackle the climate emergency.  Independent assessment makes the process of gaining and maintaining the National Green Standard a robust way to demonstrate your commitment to a socially responsible, economically viable and environmentally sound business practices.

Complete the on-line questionnaire that will start your journey towards recognition against the National Green Standard and see how your organisations can benefit from working with us. There is no obligation and you will get feedback on how you score against the National Green Standard criteria.

Visit www.nationalgreenstandard.co.uk/steps-to-accreditation/

You’ll learn:
– What the National Green Standard looks for in organisations
– Pointers for what you might want to improve
– An initial score out of 1000 to understand how close to achieving Bronze, Green or Gold level accreditation your organisation is.

Join us on the adventure!