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.

 

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!