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Clare Feeney's Blog

What’s your risk appetite? Take a simple test to rate your own and that of your organisation…..

Sustainability guru Bob Willard offers help to environment and sustainability professionals whose executives are pushing back on sustainability and asking, “Why should we bother with all this environmental and social stuff?” Bob says what they really want is answers to the ‘Big Three “Whys“’ executives must ask of any value proposition – not just sustainability initiatives: “Is it the right thing to do?” “Is it the financially rewarding thing to …Read More

To Train or not to Train – that is the question…

‘If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.’ Often misattributed to quotesman extraordinaire Mark Twain, the original quote is from Abraham Kaplan in 1964 (1). Popularised by Abraham Maslow in 1966 and now widely known as ‘law of the instrument’ or Maslow’s hammer (1), the saying describes our tendency to rely too much on familiar tools. Even training, the favourite tool in my environment and sustainability …Read More

Growth vs fixed mindset: what could it mean for sustainability?

“Growth” is a loaded word in sustainability circles, most often equating to growth of economic activity underpinned by overuse of natural resources and the resulting harms to ecosystem and human health. Yet there is growing acknowledgement of the need for growth in good things, not just GDP – which Bobby Kennedy described in 1968 as measuring “everything except that which makes life worthwhile.” Consider the need for growth in healthy …Read More

Tertiary education and training – is it fit for purpose?

A recent presentation on adult technical and vocational training was on “New Zealand’s Industry Training System: Is it fit for purpose”. What I wanted to know was, “Fit for WHAT purpose?” Sadly this was unclear – but there was a strong hint in the subsequent announcement that the Productivity Commission has released an issues paper calling for input on the future of tertiary education. But is learning really only about …Read More

RISK = Really Important Stuff to Know about … the World Economic Forum’s list of 28 Global Risks

The World Economic Forum has just listed five environmental risks among the 28 identified in its latest annual report, Global Risks 2015, released last week. The report defines a global risk as “as an uncertain event or condition that, if it occurs, can cause significant negative impact for several countries or industries within the next 10 years”. 900 respondents from business, academia and the public sector identified 28 global risks, which are …Read More

Risk intelligence – it’s what divided by what?

With the release of the World Economic Forum’s latest report on risks to business, risk – and the opportunity to think creatively about my workshop on the 16th of March – are very much top of mind. David Apgar is one of my risk heroes. In his book “Risk Intelligence – learning to manage what we don’t know”, he identifies risk management as a core strategic discipline that every executive must …Read More

Volkswagen – a case of tragically misdirected ingenuity

An environmental scandal saw the world’s biggest car maker yesterday lose a third of its sharemarket value – 25 billion (not million, as I earlier wrote!) euros – an eye-opener for any companies still sceptical about how consumers rate both honesty and the environment. While shares have rebounded slightly following chief executive Martin Winterkorn’s resignation, the cost to the company will continue to add up, as fines and consumer resistance start …Read More

Zero Harm – a bird with two wings – or one broken wing?

Many years ago I was involved with a government-sponsored environmental training program focused on small building sites – house lots. The impetus was that big housing subdivisions were tightly regulated to minimise soil erosion and sediment runoff and performed very well at this. But the companies doing this work complained bitterly that when they’d finished, the builders would turn up, rip open the carefully grassed sections, work with no environmental …Read More

Joining the dots between occupational health & safety and environmental management

Some of my friends and colleagues have been telling me that my success framework – the seven elements that support effective environmental training programs – could apply to all sorts of different professions. I didn’t really get it, though I encouraged them to pick it up and apply it to whatever area they wished. But yesterday evening I caught up with Graham Philps of Quality Constructive Solutions. Graham is a …Read More

Sustainable enterprise and social enterprise – complementary approaches to the triple bottom line

I’ve been thinking lately about sustainable enterprises and realised I was getting muddled with “social” enterprises. What’s the difference? Going to that font of all knowledge, the Internet, I found a definition of “sustainable enterprise” from the Financial Times Lexicon that said, “Sustainable business or sustainable enterprise are terms that are now being used by firms who are integrating sustainable business practices into their corporate and brand strategies whilst seeking to address both shareholder …Read More