We don’t want to be preachy or boring but this blog is where we share our values and experiences and write about the issues shaping the future of our businesses and our society. Catch a glimpse into our lives and find out what’s new in our world...

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Wishing You A Soapy Christmas

“And so this is Christmas, and what have you done?”  Since Sustainability Consult was set up in 2008, we have made a Christmas donation each year to a project promoting sustainability and working to enhance human development in developing countries.  We were very happy to lend our support to Pump Aid in 2008 and Solar Aid in 2009.  And very excited to announce the Seaweed Center in Zanzibar, Tanzania as our 2010 Christmas Charity. 

This support is not just for Christmas.  Right now, we’re providing the funds for a ‘cow car’, a cow and wagon plus feed for the cow so that seaweed can be moved more efficiently from the beach to the production facility and to take some of the physical strain off the workers. But at a recent fundraiser for the Seaweed Center, we announced our commitment to the project and our intention to offer pro-bono media relations and communications support, as well as sustainability advice to the project.

Zanzibar’s economy depends heavily on a well-functioning seaweed sector as 20% of its export revenues come from the export of dried seaweed to the international cosmetics market.  The Seaweed Center Zanzibar is helping 450 female seaweed workers in the village of Paje improve their quality of life.  Assistance is provided to make the harvesting and drying of seaweed more efficient and added-value products like seaweed soap are being produced.

We believe that the Seaweed Center’s holistic and integrated sustainability approach and its emphasis on women-driven development will help reduce gender inequalities and generate long-term sustainable development in Zanzibar.  By giving people the tools to create their own development instead of dependent on aid handouts, the development is more sustainable. 

We are grateful to the Masters students at the School of Intellectual Capital Management (ICM) at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden for giving us the opportunity to participate in this wonderful project.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

WWF Gloomy On 2050 Targets

Launched at a conference in Brussels today, WWF’s report ‘Climate Policy Tracker for the European Union’ claims that no single EU Member State is even close to reaching the 2050 target of a 85-90% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.  WWF states that Member States overall will have to triple their efforts to reach this target.  

WWF analyses each Member State’s performance in combating climate change against benchmarks such as the use of renewables and energy efficiency in the policy areas of general climate policy, electricity supply, industry, buildings, transport, agriculture and forestry.   Member States are ranked on a scale of A to G on their efforts to fight climate change.  While the vast majority of countries are to be found languishing in category E, some supposedly high-achievers like Denmark are still only found in category D and others like Romania in group F.     

The findings were both praised and criticised by panel members. The European Commission’s Director General (DG) for Climate Action, Jos Delbeke and the DG for Energy, Philip Lowe said that the report would provide a helpful tool for the EU in the upcoming climate negotiation round in Cancun.  Belgian Federal Minister for Climate and Energy Paul Magnette, representing the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU, on the other hand, clearly expressed his disappointment with the findings,  claiming that the report does not reveal anything new.  He called for more accurate assessments which would take into account country-specific conditions and urged the inclusion of an analysis of not only the environmental but also the social impacts of climate change.

Head of EU Climate and Energy Policy at WWF’s European Policy Office Jason Anderson welcomed the different views being voiced, stressing that the aim of the report was to “stimulate discussion” to improve Member States’ climate change policy.

Text: Filip Haugland
Image: utahenergy.org

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Greenpeace Keeps Pressure On

Environmental NGOs have increasingly seen targeting manufacturers and retailers directly as a more effective and faster way of driving change than regulation, or than regulation alone.  The latest edition of Greenpeace’s ‘Guide to Greener Electronics’, highlights the quite significant gap performance between the world’s top 18 electronic manufacturers.  Updated several times a year since 2006, the Greenpeace guide ranks the achievements of electronic manufacturers in eliminating hazardous substances from their products, as well as in take back and recycling and reducing the climate impact of their products and operations.

The latest edition reconfirms Finnish mobile technology manufacturer Nokia as the world’s ‘greenest’ electronic manufacturer, scoring 7.5 out of a possible 10.  Nokia ranks top in 10 of the 16 categories, and has done so for the last two years.  For the third time in a row, Japanese-Swedish mobile technology manufacturer Sony-Ericsson is hot on Nokia’s heels with 6.9. While Korean manufacturer Samsung enjoys the biggest improvement, jumping from position 13 to five, US giant Apple has had the biggest fall, slipping from fifth to ninth place.  As users of Apple products, we will be monitoring this carefully.

At the bottom end of the spectrum, Japanese video game manufacturer Nintendo continues to hold the unflattering last place with a score of 1.8, a position it has held ever since first being listed in December 2007.  Microsoft too is not scoring that highly with 1.9, sliding from 16th to 17th place as a result of troubles surrounding its commitment to phase out brominated flame retardants and PVC by end-2010.       

Used by a substantial and ever-increasing proportion of the world’s population on a daily basis, the environmental impact of electronic products cannot be underestimated.  As our throwaway society becomes ever more hungry for the latest gadget, the greening of electronics is an important step in addressing these issues.  We can only repeat Greenpeace’s question and ask “Who will be first to go [100%] green?”

Text: Filip Haugland/Kathryn Sheridan

Friday, 29 October 2010

Help Us Choose Our New Logo

To celebrate our two-year anniversary, we’re rebranding.  If you want to have your say on our new logo, go to http://sustainabilityconsult.posterous.com/help-choose-our-new-logo.



Thursday, 28 October 2010

The Myths Of Nuclear

Is nuclear power really an unlimited, cheap and safe energy source as often claimed by policymakers and the pro-nuclear lobby?  In a new book ‘Myths of Nuclear Power – A Guide’, the Heinrich Böll Stiftung has attempted to shed some light on the debate and to kill what they call the “myths” used to justify the ongoing use of nuclear power.

Despite recent claims of a “renaissance of nuclear power”, speakers at the book launch event in the European Parliament yesterday stressed that the number of nuclear power plants in use worldwide has steadily decreased since 2002.  Any reconstruction work taking place on existing plants since January 2008 has been mainly in China which has done 21 refits, Russia with six and Korea with three, and not in Europe and other Western countries.    

Speakers at the launch also contested the assumption that the second phase of third-generation nuclear power, otherwise known as ‘3G+’, would be cheaper than earlier generations.  They stressed that during 50 years of nuclear power energy production, nuclear power costs have not decreased.  In France, where 58 reactors have been constructed in the last 20 years, construction costs have tripled and energy capacity declined compared to the rest of the world, they claimed.

Speakers also presented arguments against 3G+ programmes as a guarantor of secure nuclear power-based energy generation, saying that nuclear power generation is especially unsafe in emerging countries.  For example, they said, only six of the 30 recently reconstructed power plants in China, Russia and Korea conform to EU and US safety requirements.

Clearly this is a controversial topic.  It can be argued that nuclear power is neither unlimited nor very cheap or safe.  However, large nuclear power plants are still generating a considerably greater quantity of energy than large renewable plants, agreed the speakers.  

However, speakers also claimed that if we see nuclear power as a bridging technology and not as an alternative to the full-scale use of renewables, we open the door for nuclear to keep putting pressure on renewables in a renewables market which is already under economic pressure.

Text: Filip Haugland
Image:  kyodonews.jp (Fukushima nuclear power plant)

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Is It Innovation vs Sustainability?

We have been working on innovation policy for several years and innovation is certainly the Brussels buzzword this year, particularly since the appointment of the new Research & Innovation Commissioner and the long-awaited launch last week of the Commission Innovation Union strategy, a strategy that was largely welcomed by industry and other stakeholders. 

At the Knowledge4Innovation 2nd Innovation Summit in Brussels today, the strategy was called “ambitious”, albeit with some cynicism, and the speed of change planned was described as “breathtaking”.  We also heard from the European Commission and Council that innovation should be considered in public procurement.  Public procurement represents 17% of EU GDP according to the speakers.  And this leaves me wondering how this ‘innovation-friendly public procurement’ will impact the ongoing discussion on green public procurement. 

Environmentally-sound purchasing and innovation-friendly procuring are not necessarily the same thing.  Or are they?  If the Innovation Union strategy is going to be the cornerstone of the Europe 2020 strategy as promised, then the focus on smart and green growth which guides the Europe 2020 should also carry across into the public procurement part. 

Are there innovative technologies which are not environmentally-sound?  Presumably.  Or there could be more sustainable technologies or products which are  not supported as they are seen as being less innovative.  How to reconcile sustainability and innovation?  It will be interesting to see how this debate develops.  It’s early days and the Council and Parliament haven’t had the chance to have their say on the proposal yet.  The whole Innovation Union strategy will be discussed in the first thematic European Council on Innovation in December.  So we’ll be watching closely to see how this develops.

Image: knowledge4innovation.eu

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Time Ticking On

The Test Drive for journalists of the Green Post electric vehicle was just some of the summer fun we’ve been having at Sustainability Consult.  But it wasn’t all about fun and games, there was a serious message to promote about greening the fleet of postal vehicles in Europe.  You can see the YouTube video of our exploits outside the European Parliament at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMY7_0pyMwI.

In many ways it is hard to believe that we’re already over half-way through 2010.  The summer break is fast approaching and we’re tidying things up to be able to escape for a few weeks to relax and discover new places.  2010 has already been quite a year and we consider ourselves very fortunate to be working in such an interesting environment in Brussels.  We’ve seen some changes already this year.  Ellie Haag went to work at the European Association of Business in Society (EABIS) where she’s doing very well and keeping us posted on her activities promoting CSR with business schools and the international business community.  Then fresh from business school herself, Faye Shanley took over from Ellie on a part-time basis.

We’ve been happy to welcome a number of new clients on-board and after nearly two years in business, expansion is very much on the cards.  We’ve tested working with the members of the Network and it’s gone well so we’re now formalising the relationship and bringing the Network on-board in a much more concrete way.  We may even stop talking about a ‘Network’.  After all, these consultants are our team. 

There are so many ideas about next steps and expansion but I’ll be letting it all tick over in the back of my mind during the holidays and we’ll see what comes out in September.

Wishing you all a wonderful summer,


Friday, 9 July 2010

Sustainable Materials Progress

The Belgian Presidency is getting straight to the point with EU Environment Ministers due to discuss ‘sustainable materials management’ (SMM) at the informal Environment Council on 12-13 July.  Ministers will discuss a Presidency working paper which sets out the scope of SMM and discusses ways to better integrate it, for example into industrial systems and wider policy approaches.

According to the document, SMM, as the Belgian Presidency sees it is all about ‘the efficient and environmentally responsible use of materials, independent of whether they are raw materials, products or waste’ and happily is based on a lifecycle approach.

The Presidency argues that because of its own large footprint, Europe has an obligation to work towards a more sustainable management of materials.  It also recommends the establishment of a European, multi-actor transition platform on sustainable materials management, which ‘could develop a joint future vision on SMM’.

In more detail, the informal Council will discuss:
  • How can EU policy promote waste reduction and recycling?
  • How can EU policy increase the efficient use of raw materials?  How to stimulate cooperation between policymakers, industry and consumers to achieve sustainable material chains, the development of new business models which are compatible with a complete lifecycle
  • How to best coordinate current EU initiatives on raw materials, production, consumption and waste etc.  and how new EU policy tools could contribute to SMM.
We’ll follow this issue with interest.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

How Green Is The EU Presidency?

Belgium’s Presidency seeks to minimise environmental impact; mixed results for Spanish Presidency’s green agenda

Belgium, which takes over the EU Presidency on 1 July, has pledged to minimise the environmental impact of the meetings and summits it will host over the next six months.

Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme, the State Secretary for European Affairs and the Climate and Energy Minister have signed a ‘Charter for a Sustainable Presidency’, which provides a good practice guide for workers and a check list featuring a carbon footprint calculator, according to news website EurActiv.  Environment and climate change are among the five priority areas of the Belgian Presidency.

It cannot be overlooked however, that as Brussels is the home for several EU institutions, one would expect that the transport required would be lower.

In trying to reduce the environmental impact of its Presidency, Belgium follows the example of previous EU Member States such as France, Germany and Austria, which took into account the environmental impact of their Presidencies, according to the article.

However despite the good intentions EU Presidencies may have on environmental issues, the outgoing Spanish Presidency has shown mixed results, according to well-respected NGO the European Environmental Bureau (EEB). 

The EEB argues that the Spanish Presidency has had a good record on biodiversity but has failed to make progress on the climate agenda.

On the positive side John Hontelez, EEB Secretary General said in a press release “The Spanish Presidency will be remembered for its good work on biodiversity, where European heads of state and government endorsed an ambitious biodiversity target for the next decade”.  “It also made commendable efforts on EU soil policy, which was again blocked by a minority of Member States, and on improving legislation on electronic waste.”

According to an assessment by the EEB, the Spanish Presidency’s record is also found wanting in the area of industrial emissions, and it scored low points for its efforts on nanotechnology and hazardous chemicals.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Windmills and WEEE

First published in CIWM Journal July 2010

The Environment Committee in the European Parliament voted in early June on the revision of the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive.

The RoHS Directive – which was first proposed in 2002 and entered into force in 2004 – is a “sister directive” of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) legislation. Both directives aimed to increase the recovery and recycling of electronic or e-waste, and set up recovery schemes for consumers. Despite these measures, the European Commission claims today that only one-third of electroscrap is collected and treated separately.

When it announced the revision of the WEEE and RoHS Directives in December 2008, the European Commission said its main objective was to improve the implementation and enforcement of the legislation, as well as to reduce the administrative burden. Improvement and simplification was the name of the game as well as the proposal of “higher, but more flexible targets” for collection and recycling. Certainly mountains of kettles, toasters, MP3 players and home computers containing heavy metals and potentially hazardous substances present a waste issue which cannot be ignored in a society that values consumption and technological innovation.

The illegal trade of waste to outside the EU was also something the Commission wanted to address, as well as boosting the market in valuable recovered raw materials.

By highlighting heavy metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium, as well as hexavalent chromium and flame retardants such as polybrominated biphenyls or polybrominated diphenyl ethers in RoHS, the Commission wanted manufacturers of electronics to phase these substances out of production. Yet, at the time of the proposed revision, the Commission said that many products not complying with the substance restrictions had been found on the EU market.

In the revision of the RoHS Directive, the Commission proposed the inclusion of medical devices and monitoring and control instruments. What it never intended was an idea tabled by the Swedish EU Presidency to include all electronic and electrical equipment, beyond the original scope of household equipment. This so-called “open scope” would have included fixed installations, such as escalators and renewable energy installations.

In terms of sustainability and carbon footprint considerations, what greater nonsense than to penalise renewable energy installations by treating them as household waste? How can the EU meet its climate and renewables objectives if solar panels and windmills are treated along with coffee machines and calculators?

The argument given by those in favour of including renewables in the scope of the Directive was that certain RoHS substances are used in windmills and solar panels, such as lead solder or cadmium telluride semi-conductors in thin film solar panels. Cadmium telluride is a stable compound of cadmium and tellurium.

However, large power-producing installations should not end up being scrapped in the household waste stream at their end of life. This equipment is installed, maintained and uninstalled at end of life by professionals.

At least one producer of thin film solar panels has its own take-back and recycling programme and an initiative called PV CYCLE is grouping thin film producers in a voluntary collection and recycling scheme.

The carbon footprint of thin film solar and wind turbines is so much smaller than other renewables and fossil fuels that the proposed “open scope” was clearly counterintuitive, something which was firmly recognised by the Environment Committee of the European Parliament when it came to vote.

The Committee voted to completely exclude renewables from the RoHS Directive and even adopted a “recital” to express its support for renewables. Large, fixed installations – like escalators – were also excluded.

When compared with fossil fuels, which emit heavy metals directly into the atmosphere, the life cycle analysis of renewables is much more positive. Potentially taking certain products off the market and only leaving their more energy-intensive competitors would have been a disaster for both European competitiveness and EU climate goals.

Recovering valuable metals from WEEE is something that has been covered in this column before, but recent findings from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) show that too few metals are recycled.

The UNEP report, Metal Stocks in Society: Scientific Synthesis, said that boosting the recycling rates of both everyday and speciality metals is critical to move the global economy towards clean, environmentally-friendly technologies.

Given the demand for metals and other speciality materials for cleantech applications, such as solar panels and hybrid vehicle batteries, recovering metals which are already in use “above ground” in household items, buildings and ships and products like computers and cell phones is key, according to the UN’s press release.

Not only does recycling metals already above ground provide necessary supplies, but it also provides “the opportunity for reducing energy demand while curbing pollution, including greenhouse gases”, according to the reports’ author Thomas Graedel, a Professor of Industrial Ecology at Yale University.

The reports examined the life-cycles of 62 different metals and found that only a few: iron, platinum, copper and aluminium currently had end-of-life recycling rates of 25-50 percent. Most of the others were not recycled at all.

“This is clearly not sustainable,” Graedel said, stressing that, among other reasons, recycling metals was between two and 10 times more energy efficient than mining them and smelting them from virgin ore.

Developments in China on the protection of its rare earth minerals may also encourage increased recycling as the supply of certain elements may become more tightly controlled. A recent article in the online news service, EurActiv, claimed that the plan to ban exports of key rare earth materials would be a real concern to manufacturers of “high-tech products ranging from computers to electric car batteries and wind turbines”, according to some expert views.

The article claimed that the anticipated ban of exports of Dysprosium, Terbium, Thulium, Lutetium and Yttrium means that alternative supply chains will need to be created outside China. Recovery and recycling should surely be able to meet some of this demand.

The European Commission is also working on a report to define which raw materials are “critical” to EU industry. For companies working in the recycling and recovery field, these initiatives will be worth following.

Photo credit: EcoCafe

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Fierce Competition For Green Jobs

Connie Hedegaard, the EU’s Commissioner for Climate Action held a Round Table earlier this month with the heads of some of Europe’s largest companies to discuss how the EU can best maintain its lead in the transition to a climate-friendly, low-carbon global economy.  Top managers from a number of major companies, including BASF, BP, Nokia, Philips, Shell and Siemens were invited to participate in the event.

At a press conference after the Round Table, the Commissioner remarked that global competition for green growth and green jobs is getting fiercer and that Europe no longer leads in the field of renewable energy in terms of the installation of new capacity.  She cited a 2010 renewable energy attractiveness index which now ranks China and the US as the most attractive places for investment in renewables installations.

The Commissioner said business leaders showed a strong belief that Europe should make use of market forces in the transition to a climate-friendly economy.  The price of carbon, for example, should be higher than it is as without it, there is not enough of an incentive to apply and disseminate new technologies and invest in renewables and energy-efficient solutions.  Business leaders also called for a better electricity grid, to get Europe’s infrastructure right in this field.

Gerardus Ruizendaal from Philips noted that next to a good carbon price system and market mechanisms, the EU needs to set clear and demanding standards in terms of the energy-efficiency of products. With such standards he said, companies would innovate, allocate resources, reach these standards and then export on the basis of these standards.

The event was organised against a backdrop of government efforts in many countries to support green infrastructure and clean energy production and boost climate-related research and development,  according to the Commission.

Separately, the European Commission announced last week that emissions of greenhouse gases from EU businesses participating in the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) fell 11.6% in 2009 compared with 2008, according to data from Member State registries.  In response, Commissioner Hedegaard said the economic crisis had made it easier for business to reduce their emissions but on the flipside “European business did not invest nearly as much as planned in innovation, which could harm our future ability to compete on promising markets.”

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Changes To The Network

We’re happy to welcome Faye Shanley and Anne-Sophie Duchene to the Sustainability Consult Network.  As the snow melts and we move into Spring 2010, we’ve been looking to strengthen the Network, to make the best of the great mix of skills and experience at our disposal.

Faye Shanley comes to us from New York with a background in international relations and Anne-Sophie Duchene is a Brussels old hand, having worked in a number of trade associations and more recently as a freelance consultant. 

They are both an excellent fit with the Sustainability Consult philosophy that being flexible, whether that be for travel, family or just to be open to new experiences, and having choices leads to better quality of work and life.  When we are fulfilled in our personal lives, our work is better and we are more creative.  Our clients notice the difference.

Welcome Ladies!

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

New UK Govt Stance On Environment

The new Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government in the UK is setting out its stall on a host of policy issues, including its plans for the environment.  Some of the proposed measures represent a continuation of the policies of the Labour government while others are a departure from previous strategies. 

In its initial negotiations, the Coalition has agreed on a programme of measures to achieve a “low carbon and eco-friendly economy” including a specific commitment to reduce central government carbon emissions by 10 per cent within 12 months.

The new government supports public investment in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology for four coal-fired stations and seeks to increase the target for energy from renewable sources.  The provision of home energy improvements will be paid for by savings from lower energy bills, according to initial policy statements from the Conservative party.  Also on the agenda are a “green investment bank” and a high-speed rail network, which were previously Labour government initiatives.

The Coalition also intends to set up a smart grid and the roll-out of smart meters and a national recharging network for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

On nuclear power, despite opposition from the Liberal Democrats, the Conservatives will allow the replacement of existing nuclear power stations provided that they receive no public subsidy.  

Controversially, the new government has ruled out plans for a third runway for Heathrow airport or additional runways at Gatwick and Stansted and the UK’s air passenger duty will be replaced by a new “per-flight” tax.

The new Minister for the Environment is the Conservative MP, Caroline Spelman, who has a background in agriculture.  Liberal Democrat and former MEP Chris Huhne is the new Minister for Energy and Climate Change, something which many environmentalists should presumably welcome, provided his hands are not tied by their coalition partners. 

Another loss in Brussels is former MEP Caroline Lucas, who became the first Green Party Member of the UK Parliament, representing the southern English town of Brighton.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Getting Back On Track

Having overlooked what we advise clients to do, i.e. blog at least once a week, for a little while we are now turning our attention back to the Thought Shower blog.  The learning from this is that keeping a twitter feed active is much easier (click on the button on the homepage to follow us on twitter) and that we need to dedicate time to the blog even when things are really busy.

So what’s been going on in the world of environment policy?  Is Brussels still standing?  Well, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’.  The new European Commissioners are now in office and work has begun in earnest.  We are watching the new Climate Commissioner and the Research and Innovation Commissioner with great interest.  Also Commissioner Potocnik who moved from Research to Environment.

The (Research &) Innovation Commissioner has said she wants to create an ‘Innovation Union’ in Europe.  She seems at least to be embracing the idea that innovation should be a horizontal issue across the whole Commission and not just in DG Research.  I’ve just discovered a new blog by an old colleague Nigel Griffiths.  I met Nigel ten years ago when I was a journalist on the introduction of the euro and we’ve kept in touch.  You can read him at http://www.innovationeu.org, home of Innovation Europe, a new publication on innovation which we’re working with for one of our clients.

So what else is new?  Ellie Haag finished her internship and went on to work for an organisation which looks at how business fits into society, an interesting initiative for sure.  And we are working really well with our Network.  There’s so much expertise to draw on within the Network and we are learning by doing, finding the best way to make the most of this great resource.  There is still lots of interest in Sustainability Consult and as such new business is good.  Just one of the new projects we are currently working on is for Oxfam which we’re very excited about.

That’s a quick catch-up.  We are now back on track with the blog.  And the photo?  I just took it.  It’s the sunrise looking down to the sea over the Spanish countryside.  And the socks?  Well, the less we say about the socks the better.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Business As Usual

Hard to believe that the year is already ticking on with plenty of projects underway.  We’re organising Strategic Planning sessions to shape clients’ 2010 strategy.  We’ve been busy doing detailed analysis of last year’s press clippings and are all pleased to see some great results - 46 articles that we placed in 2009 for one client. 

We’re debriefing on the healthcare campaign we ran at the end of last year and going through the great feedback given following the Writing Skills training we did just before the holidays.  Still tying up 2009 means still having one foot in 2009 and only one in 2010.  And it’s time to move on. 

We’ve already done our first new business pitch for the year and started booking 2010 travel.  There’s plenty in the diary and it already feels like a fantastic New Year.  Time to build on the successes of 2009, take away as many learnings as possible and embrace this New Year fully.  Watch this space... we’ll keep you posted.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Back To School Feeling

Just a quick post to wish everyone a very Happy New Year.  May it be healthy and sustainable.  We’re back to work and the Christmas greeting on the Sustainability Consult homepage has been replaced with our lovely mountain, but we’ve added it to the blog here to retain every last ounce of Christmas cheer going into the New Year.

New Year, new priorities?  Not really.  We’re absolutely committed still to giving the best and the most creative service to our clients and the media we deal with and trying to make business a better place to operate.  On a more personal level, every year we develop our skills and strive for balance.  My own driving force is to provide the best service while remaining flexible.  It’s a different business model but I feel I’m proving that it works.  Indulging my passion for travel, for living between different locations, for the mountains and open spaces which, still thankfully, fill this earth.  It’s a win-win situation as I know this flexibility fuels my creativity.

Talking of skills, last year’s focus, or you could say fixation, was social media with twitter and friends giving us lots of fun and showing themselves to be a fantastic resource for news and networking.  Follow us at twitter.com/kathrynsheridan or contact us for a training on green blogs. 

Operating in the downturn, we’ve seen many seasoned professionals lose their jobs and embrace freelancing and self-employment to sustain them and their families.  We wish them all the best and look forward to extending our network to make the most of all this expertise which has now become available.  I’m just grateful that we launched Sustainability Consult before the worst of the downturn hit.

All the best,