Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Style will save us!

Just felt like sticking an oar in...

Green Branding: Why Originality Matters

Well, it seems we can save the planet, and without it costing the earth:)

I tend to agree with much here, and picking up on the design/copy aspects if I see one more ad, mainly tinged green, with a flower poking out of an exhaust pipe, I think I'll choke on my Fairtrade tap water.

However, my only caution is to ensure that in seeking to be 'creative' and 'different' one does not end up serving the cause of a good [insert acceptable environmentally beneficial product/service/call to action word phrase here] communication less well, especially as it gets presented to an audience who may not obsess quite so much about the innermost emotional resonances of Bodoni Extra Clio Capturing and some obscure art shot nicked from last year's design annual.

I have found on occasion that the odd cliche still seems to work with the majority That's how they end up as cliches), so in seeking to be new and trendy let not all that might still work well go to waste.

At least you'll know in advance that your screwed

Two pieces on flood issues just in.

One is a full quote from an LGA PR; the other a BBC story.

LGA response to flooding report - press release - 11 June 2008

In response to the Environment Commission report into last year's flooding, the Local Government Association has called for the Government to introduce a legal requirement for all organisations to co-operate and fight the risk of flooding.

The LGA is calling for a change in the law and a new statutory framework which would compel water companies and others to co-operate with councils, share information and prepare flood prevention plans. Any organisation that failed to co-operate would be penalised.

Cllr Paul Bettison, Chairman of the LGA Environment Board, said:

“The current system is fundamentally flawed. We simply cannot continue to have a situation where it is not clear who is responsible for dealing with vitally important functions such as drainage.

“There are glaring gaps in this country’s readiness to cope with widespread and prolonged flooding. Last summer’s floods were no fluke, and we run the real risk of witnessing a repeat – or worse – unless urgent action is taken now.

“We need to get back to basics. There should be no opt-out, no excuses and clear penalties for anybody who refuses to co-operate with managing our water systems. Councils should be allowed to start banging heads together so we can be better prepared to protect people and property.”

“More extreme weather is an unavoidable consequence of climate change. Last summer’s floods exposed flaws in how prepared the country was and the effect of years of under-funding. Greater investment now will save much bigger costs in the future.”

Under the current system, it is often unclear who has responsibility for managing flood risk and maintaining drainage systems. In some parts of the country a myriad of different bodies – including the Environment Agency, councils, private landowners and water companies – have these powers but often do not share information with each other.

BBC - Laser maps flood-prone areas

Hence I am again frustrated and concerned, if not surprised to read such as this:

'The Local Government Association has called for the Government to introduce a legal requirement for all organisations to co-operate and fight the risk of flooding.'

What? You mean they are not... yet??? Such as Cllr. Bettison are bang on, and the wonder is how this is still the case, after all that has gone before and will transpire again.

And while whizz bang techno stuff is all well and good, if those theoretically 'in charge' cannot organize themselves, getting better warnings seems to be unlikely to inspire most of the population much, especially if many of the replies in the BBC HYS section are to be taken as a measure.

I welcome better data, but it has to be provided and supported with tangible actions.

I live in a low point of a town on the River Wye. I bought the house following a survey that discovered that since it was built, in the 17th century, it has never been flooded. Those old folk knew a thing or two about building, and what was meant by... flood plains. So I pay attention in advance to such wise experience.

And I am glad to say my insurers are happy to go along with that (for now), despite the Enviro Agency's current map having got my house slap bang in one. Oddly, it also has my neighbours' three houses up in it too, despite being about 40' (80x the 6” that makes all the difference) higher up the hill.

Anyway, being a believer in prevention being better than cure, I have for the last few years tried to pursue with various bodies - council, Environment Agency, Waterways Board - how I might better protect my property should things deteriorate. I think Ican do so and weather future storms rather than wailing and claiming compo, as seems the vogue. Not big on the victim culture.

Thing is, I need some advice at least (help if its available, but being practical I'd say dream on). I have a mark on the wall showing the level AOD (Above Ordnance Datum). All I need to know is what, in the next 50-100 years, are the chances of something going above that, and to what height. Then I can prepare coffer walls and entryway/hole covers to deploy on warning (very prompt system on email and mobile, though a little lacking on much beyond screaming 'prepare for the worst!!'. Wolf and crying kicks in a tad here).

Sadly, to no avail so far. Each, as suggested here, points at the other, and/or various colourful websites that are pretty of little use.

Officers are 'busy', and have been for years. But I got the offer of 'a' sandbag once.

If this is the level of support to a householder who is prepared to DIY, and pay for it all himself, I am not too inspired as to how it's going to improve very much for those in less of a position to do so.

But I am sure many reports will get prepared, boxes ticked, and sombre spokespersons from multiple, overlapping public bodies explaining how it happened this time due to ‘unexpected circumstances’.

You pay me to not buy my product, OK?

Sorrell advises agencies to help people consume less

Hey, works for me (well,

'...keep the wheels of the industry turning in the coming tough times by investigating communications strategies that will persuade consumers to change their behaviours or even to consume less, which led to mutterings...'

Interesting. Was anything shared on how this would work in practice?

I'm keen to learn how and hence share it. Sadly, to date, economy seldom goes hand in hand with environment... at least, when it comes to using, and hence consuming less. Salaries to pay; budgets to fund.

Making things that still get bought and impact less... now that I can see as quelling the mutterings a tad. I have a few ideas on this... if anyone is interested.

I have seen clearer mud

FactCheck: Brown's taxing PMQs

Well, they asked

The UK’s top-30 cleantech startups

Consider this a cautious loud whisper:

The RE:tie -

New - not to mention unique (as, well, it's often the same thing)

Exciting to us for any reason - dunno, how do you feel about an idea that turns 2 billion bits of plastic a day from pure waste to totally second useful?

Promising future - depends on whether those who claim to be keen on green are more into talking about it or doing something tangible. And I mean making more profit, though there is that whole CSR malarky, too.

Solid potential earnings - see above. How many consumers out there ready for an end-benefit with their latest green initiative as opposed to a fee, fine, nag, nanny, fright or guilt-trip?

Ecologically sound - one less piece in the bin, one less in the landfill, one less new item needing to be made and shipped.

Business model or technology that has clear environmental benefits - See above.

Obvious targets for investment or already invested in - See above. But did you have to mention 'targets'. P-EU. No one we've showed it too so far has said it stinks.

Has good news stories to tell - an eco-initiative with a win for consumers, a win for manufacturers, a win for supermarkets, a win for LAs, a win for a government looking to promote eco-innovation... and the planet doesn't do too shabby either. Call that a yes.

Did I miss anything?

Having a good idea is the easy part. Making it a great business is much trickier, which is why exposure for small outfits to bigger guys with reach and expertise is invaluable. Ta for the opportunity.

We're just looking for the right partners without the UK malaises of being mainly interested in process over result ,and only ever risking enough to be first to be second.

It would be a shame to see this go overseas.

Transport of delights - Turkish 3rd class, mainly

Sometimes it is refreshing to find others not so easily swayed by green-tinted press releases or 'it's eco so it must be 100% fine' blinkers.

So I'll leave this little review on our transport structure to - Public transport failing - (shocking latest news)

IDEA - cut-price RE:tie