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

From Paris to COP 26: A Green Journey

National Green Standard Founder, Mary S McLuskey has been invited to speak at a prequal event in the lead up to COP 26. Mary will be speaking on 7th October https://www.unhscotland.org.uk/economics-and-financial-services  along with two other esteemed guests: Rebecca Kowalski and John Creaton. Each speaker will focus on the financial implications of the environmental debate around climate change and the current climate emergency.

Mary’s contribution will focus on the underlying ethos of the Standard that even the smallest of contributions that improve our approach to the environment is of value. A key principle of the Standard is that organisations are Economically Viable; this means the make good choices around the use of their finances looking at an end-to-end management of materials from procurement to end of life waste management. This principle also encourages social auditing, payment of a living wage, prompt payment of bills, challenges new construction methods and much more.

In her talk Mary will point out that the responsibility for the current climate emergency is one that we are all responsible for. We cannot judge others and we must take personal responsibility for each decision we make in business and in our personal lives. Saying that some one else is at fault doesn’t stop litter flowing into the sea, it doesn’t stop loss of peat lands, or the devastation caused by the relentless use of the earth’s resources.

We all need to rethink how we live, take small steps to make big changes so that the earth doesn’t overheat. It is remarkable to think that humans are so destructive to their own world: we are suppose to have a higher intelligence than other creatures we share the planet with but we do damage on an industrial scale. Instead let’s take positive and proactive choices: start your journey today with the support of National Green Standard. www.nationalgreenstandard.co.uk

The not so last post!

So just when you thought it was safe to say that National Green Standard was being put to bed it seems the universe has other ideas. In the space between writing the Last Post and now a few changes have come around and as someone who considers themselves as a bit of change agent who am I to ignore a knock on the door?

Well I hear you say, what has happened to change the previous position. Two people – two wonderful women to be exact! Angela from Resonate Together a friend, supporter and a genuine force of human nature: she gently held my hand (metaphorically speaking, as we are still in social distancing mode) and allowed me to talk about my decision and reasons behind it. She used that lovely nudge theory so carefully that I found myself doubting the voracity of the path I was about to take.

Enter Dorothea: if Angela is a force of nature, then Dorothea creates a whole new dimension to that concept. She too listened, she nudged, she challenged, she emphasised, she questioned why. And best of all she made some practical suggestions that I secretly had hoped someone might do.  All of this done in a loving and caring way that left me emotional, refreshed, determined and well –  fired up for another fight!

So there you have it. In short National Green Standard is back. This wee social enterprise is not giving in just yet. Come on join in, have fun, challenge your organisation to help save the planet – you know you want to.

Written with love and respect for Angela and Dorothea, oh and my husband who has seen me through so many iterations of self we’ve both lost count.

The Last Post

With much regret I make this last post.

National Green Standard is no more, well except in my heart and lodged in all the best libraries, as you would expect for copyright reasons. COVID 19 I hear you say, pandemic and more pressing needs have thwarted a potential solution to save the world’s environment, get us thinking about and moving on social justice and ensuring our economic policies and practices all work for a positive and wonderful future.

Sorry to say none of those things are behind this decision. The very simple reason is that the world doesn’t want to be saved, it doesn’t appear to need a route out of climate change, it doesn’t need a sensible, simple tool to help move us from global and economic destruction; which means the demise of our planet, economic disaster and a limited future for our children that is measured in very stark terms.

My journey to and with National Green Standard has been fraught, I’ve wondered many times about what the world will look like in future. I’ve watched electric vehicles promoted as the answer to our prayers – they are not: this is a carbon based solution to a problem they quite literally fuel! Oh and so many other greenwashing paradigms. You see it is easy to say one thing is good for the planet while another is not when you come from a well financed and secure place, it’s much harder to argue against when what you have is passion, commitment and clarity of aforethought. So we celebrate two ridiculously wealthy men in a race to space while our planet burns, dies of thirst and melts its ice caps even as we read this short lament. Imagine the positive changes these two individuals could make to this planet without leaving it for a no doubt thrilling ride into space.

People say one person can’t make a difference, one action can’t change the world that one act isn’t enough to save us from the future we have created. I said different: I created National Green Standard to make a change, provide a positive route map out of chaos, customised to each organisation’s needs, scalable on a global basis and something ready to make the change to a better future.

It was not to be. National Green Standard was born at my kitchen table, not for a government sponsored committee or a global coming together of strategic leaders and environmental champions.  I created it! I made it a thing! I own the copyright that I’ve been willing to give away if only the world would take notice and buy into a simple concept: we cannot just set targets and goals, we need a plan to achieve them. National Green Standard is that plan, but no more. I’m not a politician, I’m not a scientist, I’m not ‘connected’, I’m not fashionable and I’m most certainly not able to change the world albeit that I had hoped I could.

I sign off tonight and for good on the basis that the world is running out of time and I have run out of energy to save the next generations. I will use time time I have left to enjoy whatever this beautiful planet can sustain.

With love and care I wish you peace.

 

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