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We’re Heading to Dallas: ISM Conference 2013

This week Reeve Consulting will be in Dallas, Texas presenting at the 98th Annual Institute for Supply Management Conference. The theme for this year’s conference is “Be the Solution”. Reeve’s presentation will be providing insight on some of our strategies and leading work on building innovative supply chains to add value to a company’s brand and strengthen its bottom line.

Professional sports organizations are establishing emerging trends and industry standards with regards to incorporating sustainable principles within their business model. Reeve will be highlighting leading players in sustainability in sports. For example, NASCAR is in its 5th year of conducting substantial green campaign called NASCAR GREEN. Through this initiative NASCAR is changing the way that the sport interacts with the environment; by leading one of the largest recycling programs in the United States, leading tree planting campaigns to capture all the carbon produced on race day, and running all race vehicles on renewable fuel. Not only have these initiatives added value to the brand of NASCAR, they have also helped increase the sport’s popularity; capturing lucrative television contracts and sponsorship deals.

Reeve Consulting looks forward to the opportunity to facilitate more companies in bolstering their supply chains through sustainability.

Loblaws and Joe Fresh waking up to more bad news

Every CEO wants to sit down with their coffee and open the paper to find their company making headlines – but not like this.

Joe Fresh Image

Consumers across Canada are looking at the labels in their clothing and wondering if the t-shirt they put on this morning was made in Bangladesh and if the person that made it died yesterday in the catastrophic collapse of a garment factory in Dhakar.  Loblaws, the parent company of the Joe Fresh brand is scrambling to contain a public relations nightmare as word spreads that some of their garments were, in fact, made in that factory.

Loblaws had done its homework, they had audit systems in place to ensure that their clothing was made without child labour and with fair pay and decent working conditions.  But they forgot about the building.  No one thought to ask if the building itself was safe.  Creating comprehensive audits to protect the workers in your supply chain and your brand is what Reeve Consulting specializes in; it is our hope that by encouraging companies to engage in this dialogue and practice that future disasters can be avoided.

Joe Fresh and other Canadian Brands caught up in Bangladesh Ethical Sourcing Tragedy

Today we learned of the devastating collapse of a factory building in Bangladesh, in which some well-known Western brands, such as Joe Fresh, were having their clothing manufactured.  While our sympathies are with the victims and their families, this tragedy brings into focus how important it is for companies who are manufacturing items overseas and domestically to have robust auditing and sustainable and ethical purchasing practices.

This is not the first such tragedy in Dhaka. Just five months ago, a fire killed 112 people in another garment factory. Faulty electrical wiring combined with few and narrow exits were to blame for the deaths. A year before the incident, the factory was purportedly flagged with an “orange” grade by a Walmart ethical sourcing official for “violations and/or conditions which were deemed to be high risk”.  Yet, major brands such as Benetton, Children’s Place, Mango and Walmart were all associated with this tragedy.

Here at home we’ve also seen the effects of poor working conditions ending in tragic situations. Examples such as the mushroom farm in Langley, BC where three people died and two suffered permanent brain damage when entering a pump shed where toxic gas had accumulated. The farm’s composting facility had been operating without an occupancy permit and the Township of Langley had reportedly been trying to shut it down for two years. When manufacturers cut corners and ignore warnings about safety for the sake of their profit margin, they endanger their employees.

Factors like fair pay, good working conditions, health benefits and banning child labour are strategic supply chain issues. Making sure that buildings are in safe and operational condition with no violations is just as imperative as banning child labour, or ensuring fair pay. Responsible sourcing across a supply chain is a process of continual improvement. Working to put the right steps and measures in place takes effort. But the downside risk to a brand when things go bad can sometimes be too much to recover from. Too often, a public relations department is left scrambling after unfortunate events such as this one in Bangladesh, and in 2013 we are still hearing far too often of families left destitute and grieving.

Reeve Consulting is a boutique consultancy that helps clients enhance their brand, their profitability, and their social license by working with them to strategically re-think how they approach the ethical and environmental issues affecting their supply chain.

2012 – A Turning Point in Municipal Sustainable Purchasing in Canada

Sustainable purchasing is gaining ground in the Canadian municipal sector as municipalities realize its contribution to existing ‘green’ objectives, such as zero waste and climate neutrality, and corporate ones, such as risk management or operational efficiency. As a relatively new practice within the Canadian public sector, many municipalities are reaching out to their peers to share resources on sustainable purchasing. A cross-country peer network that is a front-runner in setting new benchmarks and best practices in sustainable purchasing in Canada is the Municipal Collaboration on Sustainable Purchasing (MCSP).

The MCSP, for which Reeve Consulting serves as secretariat and technical expert, allows municipalities to share sustainable purchasing lessons, best practices, “tricks of the trade”, and other resources to fast-track their individual programs. The group recently launched a publication co-authored by Reeve on, ‘The State of Municipal Sustainable Procurement in Canada’. Through consultations with MCSP participants and extensive literature review, the study reports on the current state of municipal sustainable procurement in Canada.

The study found that 2012 was an important year for municipalities with many strategically approaching their programs:

  • In response to increased staffing and resource constraints, municipalities enhanced their collaboration with MCSP peer and other agencies and strategically leveraged existing relationships and shared resources
  • Inter-departmental collaborations were also strengthened especially between Procurement and Sustainability. Other departments were also engaged via, for example the formation of inter-department green teams, to increase program buy-in and instill behavioural change on municipal spending
  • Greater focus on implementation. Recognizing that it takes 2 to 5 years to form a comprehensive program, many municipalities took a dual-track approach, dividing resources between building program elements and targeting key contracts such as copy paper (that has a mature sustainability market)

Overall, 2012 is considered to be a turning point in municipal sustainable procurement in Canada due to the focus on collaboration. Next year, municipalities have reported that they will be implementing their programs more widely and developing measurement and reporting frameworks. With insufficient levels in their resource pools, forming stronger and wider collaborations for sustainable purchasing will be more important than ever.

>> Download a full copy of the 2012 State of Municipal Sustainable Purchasing report from the Resources page.

To learn more about the MCSP, contact Tim Reeve @:                           tim@reeveconsulting.com or by phone at 604-763-6829.

Major League Baseball Scores a Home Run in Greening Initiatives

This year marked a remarkable comeback for the San Francisco Giants, who despite a rocky early season, came back to sweep the Detroit Tigers and win the World Series. Although normally drawn to the drama of the Fall Classic, this year’s sustainability story peaked my interest in this year’s contest.

Major League Baseball (MLB) has put environmental issues front and center on baseball’s biggest stage. The first professional sports league to partner with the National Research Defense Council (NRDC), MLB officials and NRDC experts came together to discuss a league greening initiative titled the “Commissioner’s Initiative on Sustainable Stadium Operations and Team Practices”.

Backed by a variety of league events and team initiatives, the MLB is encouraging teams and venues to start greening and incorporating sustainable measures into their operations. To kick off the league’s initiatives, the NRDC developed the NRDC Greening Advisor, an online environmental resource that has been customized and distributed to each team in the league.

World Series contender’s strong supporters of greening initiatives

The Giants have made numerous efforts to promote environmentally responsible living. In partnership with Pacific Gas and Electric, the Giants installed a solar panel system to generate energy in San Francisco – the first such system in a MLB park.  These efforts build off the Giant’s shining achievement in 2000 when the AT&T Park became the first Major League ballpark to receive Leed Silver Certification.

Further east, the Tigers have taken steps to green their ballpark with the installation of the Tiger Den Seats, audience seating comprised of recycled plastic milk jugs.

Sport and Sustainability

The driving force behind the MLB’s greening initiatives remains its commitment to the fundamental principles of sport.

“Baseball is a social institution with social responsibilities and caring for the environment is inextricably linked to all aspects of the game. Sound environmental practices make sense in every way and protect out natural resources for future generations of baseball fans.” – MLB Commissioner, Allan H. (Bud) Selig

In addition to the environmental benefits, the monetary benefits for professional sports leagues are robust, from saving thousands of dollars on energy, waste, and water bills to creating new sponsorship opportunities and enhancing brand value with corporate social responsibility.

We give a thumbs-up to MLB’s commitment to sustainability, although certainly much work remains to be done. Having recently participated in the “Sports and Sustainability” discussion held by the White House, the MLB continues to be an example of major league sport industry’s success in adopting more sustainable practices.  As teams such as the Philadelphia Phillies continue to add solar energy projects to their list of investments, we will continue to monitor MLB into 2013.  Check back with us for more updates on how MLB is taking the next steps in the clean energy movement.

Lackluster Sustainability Performance At 2012 Ryder Cup Begs The Question, “Is It Greener Across The Pond?”

Martin Kaymer may have made European history at the Ryder Cup, but sustainability was on the back burner at this year’s tee-off at the Medinah Country Club in Illinois.

The sport of golf continues to be an area of contention for environmentalists, a top issue being the deforestation and loss of wetland habitats often associated with the development of new golf courses. Donald Trump’s recent $150 million golf course in Scotland was a low for Trump’s PR after heavy jeering by environmentalists during the opening ceremony.

However, in an effort to integrate sustainability into the professional golf tournament, the Ryder Cup Europe pioneered Green Drive, a formal partnership between the golf tournament and the Golf Environment Organization (GEO) to bring innovative solutions to one of the world’s greatest sports. By 2002, the initiative had led to the first ever set of Environmental Guidelines for Golf Events.

“A great deal of effort was put into the environmental sustainability of this event. We wanted to bring the event greening to a new level.” – Richard Hills, Ryder Cup Director 2010 Ryder Cup, City of Newport, Wales

2010 Ryder Cup, City of Newport, Wales

According to A Review of the 2010 Ryder Cup Green Drive by GEO, the last Ryder Cup Europe tournament left a significantly lighter environmental footprint.  The aim of the tournament was to:

  • deliver a world-class event that showcased sustainability to event patrons and the local community,
  • encourage a legacy of environmental action in golf, and
  • advance the global sport and environment movement

The Action Plan set out clear objectives, supported by best practice recommendations for energy, water, waste, pollution prevention and ecological conservation.  These issues cut across a number of operational topics including venue management, transportation, catering, energy provision, and installation of fixtures and fittings.

2012 Ryder Cup, Medina, Illinois

Compare this to the 2012 Ryder Cup hosted by Team USA where American sustainability efforts were lukewarm.

Despite a triple-coalition between the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) of America, Audubon International, and FedEx to develop a sustainable golf-program that would facilitate eco-friendly improvements to public golf courses, few golf courses, including the Medinah Country Club, created a visible commitment on their online platforms to mitigate their environmental impact.  What limited information was made available about the 2012 Ryder Cup golf course operator’s “green” contributions revolved heavily on the change to Healthy Grow organic fertilizer.

But why does such a deviation exist from the sustainability standards set by Ryder Cup Europe?  The problem is three-fold: definition of environmentalism, centralization of authority, and level of community engagement.

Definition of Environmentalism

Under the PGA of America, environmentalism is considered a charitable endeavor whereby support of environmental causes is considered commendable, but not necessary.  This provides less incentive for tournaments to take part in creating a shift towards more sustainable operations.

Centralization of Authority

The second issue-at-hand revolves around the lack of centralization of environmental initiatives.  The PGA of America supports a “range of environmental causes” and at different levels.  Players and golf tournaments can independently donate or participate in environmental initiatives.  However, there is a lack of a central authority that ensures the necessary fulfillment of measurable environmental goals to be fulfilled.

Level of Community Engagement

The third issue centers on the lack of community engagement by the PGA about the importance of sustainability.  Unlike the 2010 Ryder Cup that implemented an immediate legacy program that included long-term outreach initiatives, the PGA of America has yet to implement visible community outreach programs to better communicate the value of sustainability.

Model of Sustainability

The PGA of America is the world’s largest working sports organization.  It has become a shining example of growing, teaching, and managing the game of golf.  At Reeve Consulting, we applaud the PGA’s partnership with the Audubon Lifestyles Sustainable Golf Facility Program and hope that they will serve as a local, regional, and national model of sustainability for golf tournaments.

* The Ryder Cup is a biennial golf competition between teams from Europe and the USA hosted at alternating venues in the USA and Europe.

Introduction to Sustainable Purchasing Seminar – Nov. 2, Vancouver

Are you interested in sustainable purchasing but not sure where to start? Struggling with developing the business case? Wondering where to focus resources?

Acquire the knowledge and confidence to embrace sustainable purchasing practices in your organization by joining the BuySmart Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing sustainability in BC and beyond, November 2nd for the Introduction to Sustainable Purchasing seminar. This half-day seminar will focus on the fundamentals of sustainable purchasing featuring practical insights and lessons learned from professionals in the field.READ MORE

Wimbledon Aces Sustainability Challenges during London 2012 Games

There were no shortage of environmental concerns surrounding the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing – the smog, algae, choking traffic, and alarming increase in demand for energy were all pointing to a potential environmental disaster. Beijing successfully avoided a green nightmare – and simultaneously, Vancouver 2010 was put a stake in the ground around moving from a ‘green’ to a ‘Sustainable’ Winter Olympics. So the London 2012 Summer Olympic Organizing Committee knew they no choice but to follow through on their radical promise to host a truly sustainable Olympic games.

 

With initiatives ranging from local community work, travel, and waste management, the London 2012 Organizing Committee integrated sustainability into many aspects of the Games.  However, as avid tennis fans, nothing caught our attention more than the initiatives at Wimbledon Stadium where sustainability was a hot topic.

 

So you like strawberries? So do we (locally sourced strawberries, that is).

 

This year’s Wimbledon organizers faced an astounding sustainable supply chain challenge.  In order to meet the estimated demand for Wimbledon’s famous strawberries and cream, over 61,730 lbs of English strawberries needed to be picked and delivered to Wimbledon stadium.  These strawberries weren’t of any old variety.  The official Wimbledon strawberries are Grade 1 English strawberries from specially registered farms in Kent, thus supporting local, seasonal and organic produce while giving consideration to healthy eating, sport, and well-being.

 

            Let’s re-energize!

 

Rainy days at Wimbledon are somewhat of a tradition.  Despite the cold weather, Wimbledon has undertaken a thorough review of heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems and controls as a part of a strategy to develop and implement a long-term energy/carbon reduction strategy.  This includes investigating opportunities for on-site solar PV, solar water-heating and biomass.

 

The successes of Vancouver 2010 and London 2012 have gone a long way to integrating sustainability into mainstream culture and sporting events.  Although the London 2012 Organizing Committee successfully branded the 2012 Games as the “most sustainable games ever”, it fell short of several of its ‘green’ goals, including delivering 20 percent of electricity during the Games from new local renewable sources.  Interestingly, many corporate sponsors made good on their “sustainable vision” for the Olympics.   Dow solutions are helping enable more sustainable Games in several ways. The resin flooring system for the Eton Manor water sports facility is created from Dow epoxy products with low volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which reduces health risks and improves environmental safety. The resin flooring system will remain at Eton Manor after the Games as the center transforms into a unique mix of sporting facilities.  Indeed, it is often the smaller, and more measurable sustainable goals that when delivered create a larger impact.

 

We applaud London’s efforts and particularly some of the innovative programming at the Wimbledon Tennis Club. Now the torch is passed to Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016 respectively. We’ll bring updates on their goals and progress in the coming weeks.

Green Sporting Alliance: out of the starting gate, but do we know the green score of the game?

The Green Sports Alliance (GSA) 2012 Summit was engaging, informative and definitely worth-while. On September 6 and 7th Reeve Consulting had the opportunity to travel to Seattle and attend the GSA Summit with the goal to further explore sustainability trends and experiences in the sporting world and spread the word about our own work and our new sustainability e-learning tool.READ MORE