“‘Sustainability’ covers many subjects. It has become a bit of a catch-all word, replacing ‘protection of the environment’, ‘ecology’ and activity around ‘saving the planet’.”
So says Kath Cockshaw, Enterprise Director for Planet First, a London-based sustainability consultancy which delivers The Planet Mark for business and buildings.
Kath is supremely well placed and qualified to comment on environmental issues, having co-founded The Planet Mark in partnership with Eden Project in 2013. The Planet Mark is an employee-led sustainability certification programme for organisations of all sizes. The scheme has been developed in conjunction with Eden Project to take practical action to tackle climate change, encouraging businesses to work collectively to meet global greenhouse gas emission reduction targets set by the European Union in accordance with the Kyoto Protocol.
Ms Cockshaw (pictured) was speaking recently to a women’s networking group in the City of London, a group founded by international office furniture supplier K+N International for women in design, property and facilities management.
By dictionary definition, ‘sustainability’ means maintaining the status quo, but according to Kath, surely we don’t want to just maintain the world we have created, we want to improve it, right? So where are we going with that? What do we want to create and how are we going to get things done?
Kath is convinced that we are on a dangerous trajectory in terms of global warming and we need to make radical change. Education is key and we all have a responsibility to be educators. We all have a circle of influence and a responsibility to use that circle of influence to educate others to improve and move forward.
Recent studies prove that influence leads to action most effectively through non-verbal behaviour. The Planet Mark programme is based on that simple principle, combined with communications expertise.
In summary Kath believes: “We all need to take action to solve fundamental environmental problems the world is facing right now. We live in a state of public inertia as a result of centuries of institutionalisation. New communications strategies are needed to change dominant public values and attitudes, and to inspire practical action.”