Lessons After Grenfell
Five problems and five solutions in complex project contracting chains
The early morning hours of 14 June were a time of immense fear, uncertainty and sorrow as the 67- metre, 24-storey Grenfell Tower burned, killing at least 80 and injuring over 70. Its surviving residents, tenants of the Kensington and Chelsea London Borough Council, have seen their lives turned upsidedown in the aftermath, and the charred remains of their home have become a byword for official mismanagement in the popular media.
Waste: Are you throwing your profit in the bin?
I have always disliked the word ‘waste’. Used in most contexts, such as government or talent and ‘waste’ or ‘wasted’ is rightly seen as unacceptable, avoidable, and rightly pejorative. There is one sphere however, where this word has lost its sting and ironically it is the very industry and service that bears its name. For generations now the waste industry has offered itself as solving the unattractive reality that life is messy. They are so successful at it, in fact, that we have got to a position that many of us now don’t even consider what is being thrown away let alone what happens to it once it leaves our bin. As is so often the case, out of sight has become out of mind.
Promoting the health of consumers – an expanding role for business?
Contrary to Friedman’s famous adage, it is increasingly accepted that companies should not simply exist to generate profit. External pressures, such as from consumers, non-governmental organisations and more recently from investors, have translated into companies taking greater responsibility for their social and environmental impacts. Critical also has been realisation on the part of business itself; firstly, concerning the multiplicity of risks businesses face and the potential for these to impact the bottom line, but also a greater understanding that business conduct beyond financial performance is subject to public scrutiny.
Chasing the Green Light – The Industrial Strategy Green Paper
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) launched its Industrial Strategy Green Paper in January 2017. The Government sought industry responses to the paper.
The word ‘strategy’ is arguably more important than ‘industrial’.
Rather than the ‘picking winners’ strategy of the 1970s- a flawed attempt to target specific industries- the government is seeking to form a coherent policy infrastructure capable of accelerating economic growth. The period of ‘picking winners’ holds lessons beyond its perceived failure; the relationships between the state and the markets needs to be reframed as supportive and complementary rather than co-opting.
Remembering Ernst Ligteringen (d. 15 June 2017)
When it was announced in 2002 that Ernst Ligteringen had been selected to serve as the first chief executive of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), I asked my colleague Bob Massie – who founded and led GRI alongside Allen White, from its inception – to tell me about him. I learned the usual background résumé, that Ernst had had a lengthy career in international development, including some 6 years as executive director of Oxfam International, roles at the Red Cross/Crescent and International Labour Organisation, among others. But most importantly, Bob told me that, when he’d spoken to Ernst’s previous colleagues, they had – to an individual – told him “they would work with him again in a heartbeat.”
‘It’s quite amazing to see what’s already been achieved.’ A chat with Sancroft’s founder and chairman, Lord Deben, on climate change and the outlook for responsible business in the UK and beyond
It’s easy to become overwhelmed by challenging news in the quest for sustainability. Is climate change the most catastrophic risk our society has ever faced? Have we met the challenges with strength and courage, or are we nowhere near the mark? Is now the opportunity of a lifetime to make impactful change for the better? I caught up with our chairman, Lord Deben (John), to hear his views.
Modern Slavery – How Corporate Culture is Evolving
Georgina Erangey, senior consultant at Sancroft, talks with Ian Welsh, Innovation Forum, about the challenges for companies engaging with the complexities of the UK’s Modern Slavery Act’s requirements.
Retail Disruption: How Technology is Redefining the Retail Landscape
Disruption is rapidly accelerating within the retail industry, making traditional models of business obsolete and creating new competitors in a market once dominated by long-standing giants. This presents a major opportunity for retailers to embed sustainability into the core of new strategies; adopting leaner and smarter operational practices. Nevertheless, present and future disruption in the retail sector will prove to be a challenge and a major test of agility.
Highlights from the 2017 Sedex Stakeholder Forum Meeting and Sedex Conference
On April 6th, Sedex hosted the 2017 Sedex Stakeholder Forum (SSF) and Sedex Conference, separate events held on the same day. Sancroft Consultant Nora Wolters, who previously worked for Sedex and was directly involved in the organisation of these events, participated in the meetings and shares her highlights:
Fifth UN Forum on Business and Human Rights: Sancroft’s Reflections
The UN’s annual gathering of companies and stakeholders on business and human rights has served as a significant platform for advancing the concepts as well as strengthening the practical response to human rights risk through business activity. Sancroft Senior Analyst Isabella Stanbrook reports her findings.