Thursday, June 30, 2005

The unreadable in pursuit of the unreachable?

I hope Oscar Wilde will forgive the slight, adjusted plagiarism. And the newspaper in whose online small business mailing I just read that Government has issued a guide for all private companies to explain the benefits of voluntarily reporting their impact on the environment. It was headlined: “Green message 'goes straight to the bottom line'”. I rather fear that it may have been more appropriate to draw the line at, well, that word ‘line’. Because reading on I was not best encouraged. Elliot Morley, Minister for Climate Change and the Environment, is quoted as saying environmental reporting should not be seen as an extra burden for smaller companies, but rather that it made "good business sense", adding, "I can understand why businesses might feel it will add some extra paperwork, but these measures are not onerous." Fortunately for those not inspired to do some extra paperwork, the code is voluntary. As a spokesperson for the Forum for Private Business, which represents small and medium-sized businesses, has suggested (and, one presumes, not supportively, as claimed of Trade Bodies UK-wide for this measure),”Small retailers have enough paperwork to get through without having to read yet another code or guide”.

It seems most businesses will have to register their premises with the Environment Agency and have discussions with landfill contractors before disposing of items. Defra said some businesses would be exempt. So far, so precise.

Now, here's thing. This seemed like a NOBAD (NOT OBVIOUSLY BAD DEVELOPMENT. Future Warning: I like my acronyms). So I read this article, but came away really none the wiser on what I was and was not supposed to do, or could do if I felt so disposed. Like get this guide. So I went to the links on the piece to FPB and Defra. Now if there was anything in there to help I was damned if I could find it. So on balance, the only outcome so far has been nothing (except today's blog). But it’s is obvious that I am a bit more than most interested than most in this whole area! I can only imagine the yawning.. er.. yawn that will have overcome the rest of the business community if they mustered the slightest urge to delve. fully endorses the notion of any Green message going straight to the bottom line, so long as it is end-benefit, reward based… because in so doing it stands a slim chance of being embraced. I just wonder what exactly this little effort achieved. Meetings were doubtless held. Reports were drafted. Maybe they even got printed. Possibly stored and dispatched if requested. Targets will, for sure, be met. But will there be a real result? So if anyone can locate this report online or as a PDF, let me know the URL and we'll stick it on But first I'll need to read the thing, to see if I can hopefully find the stuff to introduce it on our pages in terms that might motivate some people. That way they may try and work with it because they can see why it's worth it to them, so they’ll want to. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

FMCG - Fantastic, Major Coverage Give

FMCG, for those who don't know, actually stands for Fast Moving Consumer Goods. Basically the stuff on the supermarket shelves that doesn't hang around there too long for various reasons, ranging from the fact that 'they're just sooo darn good' to a slight expiry-exceedance scenario (beyond use/sell/...or in the case of Innocent, who we at think are fabbo... 'enjoy by' date. Well, I certainly can't fault those nice folks at FMCG magazine, especially Editor Cat Deans, for living up to the F-word. 'Fast', that is. Having met only recently at a show, in their June edition they have given us a nice full page's worth of coverage. So let us hope that those brands who are their audience pick up on the message, and respond by getting their product data (and ideas for 2nd use) on before their competitors do!
FMCG Magazine

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Sledgehammering nuts to meet targets

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (well, London) I gained a Civil Engineering degree. Admittedly, it was on the strict understanding I didn't try to build anything, but some stuff from those four years (of a 3-year course.. another story) stuck. And a few bits made an impression. One was the 'unofficial' motto of the industry (possibly the ICE, Institute of Civil Engineers), and that went something like: 'an engineer does for a shilling anything any other dope can do for a pound.' I like that. Honest. No jargon, but still confident enough in one's area of expertise. The corollary of that of course is: throw enough money at anything, and you probably will get a result. Hence the secret to genuine professional success is to achieve a safe, reliable result on brief, as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. To (probably mis-) quote a character in Dickens, 'Expenditure one pound, income a pound and a shilling, result: happiness'. Inspired by a noble few.. too few.. who have gone before, starts by being free, and then we go on to save and/or make everyone money. So we'd like to encourage everyone involved in the planet-saving business to do the same, though there's no shame in trying to make an honest buck en route. But it is with sorrow that we must soon bid a sad farewell to, which has been a valued resource. And I continue to ponder just how well some initiatives flying around really stack up on a 'public cost to public benefit' basis. Just asking:)

Monday, June 27, 2005


'It's a blog, Jim, but not as we know it'. Actually, it's probably exactly as you know it, but to stay true to's commitment to objectivity, and to keep our PR and legal chums happy, I'll need to steer clear of some of my more 'colourful' views of life, the universe and evREthing. But it looks like a good way to deal with daily issues, maybe prompt some debate in our Forum, and saves me having to write articles quite so often. I guess I'll restrict myself to posing questions rather than posting opinions, especially in the more controversial areas. So.. let the flames begin!