Monday, August 14, 2006

Environmental Contract - wiki

There is a new wiki from David Miliband allowing anyone to contribute to an environmental contract....look here -

David Miliband's wiki on the environmental contract:

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Can't buy me love

This is Neil again. Well two bits of news this week.

First, the next newsletter is out - this one focuses on buying ethical and eco-friendly stuff. The main feature for example sets out what the Government is going to be buying in future and the target for becoming carbon-neutral by 2012.

Go to - also catch up with the last blog for the podcast that accompanies the newsletter.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Sustainable Procurement Task Force - Procuring the Future - Podcast

Sustainable Procurement Task Force - Procuring the Future Podcast

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Sustainable Development Strategy - One Year On - Podcast

Sustainable Development Strategy - One Year On Podcast

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Sustainable Development Strategy - One year on


My name is Neil Witney - and I work for Jill. I thought I would just post to let you know that the next edition of the e-newsletter on sustainable development is now ready at

This includes details of what's been happening over the last year and also some information about an event we held on 6 April celebrating what's achieved and asking people what needs to be done next.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Happy New Year

Just getting used to the idea of being back at work again ... amazing how long nine hours in the office feels without the usual meetings and emails. So what will 2006 bring for SD in government ... well ...

Hopefully all departments will soon have published their SD action plans ... We did ours ( Next month we launch the real version of the new SD e-zine. In February we start seriously launching the outputs of our Community Action 2020 programme - responding to what people in the SD consultation said they needed to make a difference at local level. Then in March we celebrate one year since the SD strategy launch ... the Sustainable Consumption roundtable will produce its report ... and there is more to come on Natural Resource Protection. Then in April we have the report of Sir Neville Simms task force on Sustainable Procurement. Just before Christmas I did a "what is going on" presentation to people promoting SD in the network of Government Offices. The general reaction was that they were amazed that so much is going on ...

But even more heartening is what I call the Today test. In the first five months of last year - up to and including the election - SD issues barely registered on the Today programme. The section in the Defra press cuttings headed SD/ CSR always carried the depressing words "no articles". Now SD seems to be dominating the post-election agenda ... with the result that I get into work later and later as there are more and more occasions when I need to stay under the duvet to hear one more item (or Jonathon Porritt yet again). The Prime Minister's Strategy Unit produced an intriguing slide on why governments always appear to be failing on the leading issues of the day -- because the key issues fall off the political radar screen.. solved = nil salience. So at the last election a Mori poll suggested that only 35% of the electorate thought the economy was a key issue ... 28% thought the environment was -- just one place behind.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The curse of e-Xmas cards

I hate most things about Christmas (always lived in dread of presents I didn't want after a bad poppy umbrella experience aged 12) but I LOVE Christmas cards. I send loads and use them to keep in touch around the world. But time was that from 1st December onwards my workspace (all open plan here) would be filled with scenes of the frozen Thames and comedy reindeer from people we had dealt with over the past year. But now all the right on dematerialised people I come across have foresworn the physical Christmas card (waste, paper, envelope, stamp, signature, hassle) in favour of the animated e-Xmas card. My office is bare on any sign of Christmas. I know that this is a good example of sustainable consumption in action. I know it saves trees and saves energy and saves money. But at Christmas shouldn't we remember that third pillar of SD as well -- and allow a bit of personal contact -- if only a signature. Or at least that is what I thought until I discovered that my giant WWF penguin cards on recycled paper were going to cost me £ 1.12 each to send to Australia after queuing for half an hour in the post office. So maybe next year I will do Xmas online too.

Beyond the Constant Gardener

After two failed attempts (sold out on a Sunday; keys left in the office on the Friday) I finally got to see the "political thriller" cum anti-corporation movie "The Constant Gardener". Kenya and Ralph Fiennes both looked great - but, unlike some of my business friends, I thought it was a pretty simplistic Michael Moorish take on big business. More interesting was a report in last week's FT on a joint study between Unilever and Oxfam on the real impacts of globalisation on developing countries and the need to move beyond a knee-jerk view to understand the complex impacts multinationals can have - and not to lump all multinationals together. Oxfam was big enough to concede that without the partnership with Unilever they would "have probably reached some wrong conclusions". the report is availabel from both their websites -- so if you emerge from the cinema depressed by the fate of Justin/Ralph and Tessa/Rachel at the hands of the evil makers of Dypraxa take a look at this report on Oxfam and Unilever's website -- and see a bit of the other side of the story.