Personally, I was happy to kiss goodbye to 2011. It was a year I’d rather forget personally and professionally. Sure I can put my ‘Pollyanna’ hat on and count the list of good things that happened at work and at home, but the fact remains it was a tough, painful year of hard ‘learnings’. Reading the press, it was similar for many of my colleagues. But as the age old adage goes,we are judged not by how we are when times are good, but by how we are when times are difficult.
One of the positive outcomes of last year, is that I decided to enforce change and react to my learnings as positively as I could. So just before Christmas, one of the things I did was to implement a stringent change management strategy at Taurus, re-examined the way I operate, what the business is offering, with who I associate with and here standing at February 2012, things are looking good – really good. I am excited by the possibilities. I’ve raised the bar.
That 2012 promises new beginnings and the opportunity to change usual practices and ways of doing things, was no more pertinent on Tuesday night when I attended the launch of Earth Hour, run by WWF at the Hilton hotel Marble bar in Sydney. It was a stark reminder that learnings are there for all of us and we can make simple changes every day – some for the greater good. In this case it was making choices to help sustain our planet and save money but more about taking responsibility for things, circumstances, actions and the people around us.
The speeches and facts were delivered with humour and having spent the last 3 months decluttering my (pretty organised) life, throwing out paper, increasing operational efficiencies, changing storage, reviewing budgets – the topic is front of mind for me. Here are some of my learnings from Tuesday.
Firstly we can all make a difference:
- Don’t print emails unless you really need to
- Don’t print extra copies of documents in meetings
- Recycle paper and plastic
- Don’t buy water bottles
- De-list your address for the yellow pages
- Compost throwaway food
- Limit the amount of stationery you buy-in
- Turn off lights and aircon when you leave a room
- Turn off electrical equipment on standby
- Open windows rather than use aircon
- Review solar heating –its cheaper than you think
- Review re-using water
- One mans waste is another mans wealth – hand the things you don’t want to those who could use it – schools, St Vincents, vets and hospitals
The story of Earth hour is an inspiring one. It was 2004 when WWF Australia looked at new ways to take climate change mainstream and met with Leo Burnett Sydney to discuss ideas for engaging Aussies on the issue of climate change and sustainability. In 2005 a campaign based on the idea that everyone could take personal responsibility for the future of the planet was envisioned and Leo Burnett Sydney developed the concept of a large scale switch off. The project was given the working title “The Big Flick” and eventually morphed into something that represented more than simply flicking off lights – Earth Hour which broadened the focus from ‘lights out’’ to sustainability. Today, Earth Hour is a global event in 135 countries turning lights off locally.
As the birthplace of Earth Hour, Australia has embraced the hour every year since its inception in 2007. 2011 saw the launch of the WWF Earth Hour Awards, and on Tuesday I heard inspirational stories of everyday people going beyond the hour for a more sustainable planet. If Sydney achieves its Earth Hour target of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by just 5% in one year in the City of Sydney local government area, it would be the equivalent of taking 75,000 cars off the road for a year.
It’s fascinating what you can create through change and I am inspired by the professionals committed to integrating business and sustainability. A long standing friend, Barry Porter, CEO of Sydney-based company Nubian Water Systems is driving the Net Zero Water initiative which is all about cancelling out our water consumption by achieving self-sufficiency from the water “grid” through a combination of rainfall harvesting, conservation and water recycling, reminding me that as a community, we need to be insisting on not only power efficiencies but also water efficiencies.
The whole ‘’call to action’ around change to save money, increase operational efficiency and create positive change from hard learnings is a theme that’s carried me into 2012. What will you be doing to change manage your organisation or your life this year?