We don’t want to be preachy or boring but this blog is where we share our values and experiences and write about the issues shaping the future of our businesses and our society. Catch a glimpse into our lives and find out what’s new in our world...

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Investing And Divesting - Fossil Fuels And Renewables

Calls for organisations and individual investors to divest from stocks, bonds and investment funds in fossil fuels are increasing.   Fossil Free, a campaign from international environmental organisation 350, urges divestment from the top 200 publicly-traded coal, oil and gas companies as between them they hold most of the world’s fossil fuel reserves.  

Thursday, 5 December 2013

How To Create A Successful Web Series: 5 Tips From The Eurobubble Creators

Yacine Kouhen and Charly Jourdan shared their tips at
the latest Sustainability Communications Lunch
Our latest Sustainability Communications Lunch guests, Eurobubble writer Yacine Kouhen and director Charlélie (Charly) Jourdan, have become something of a phenomenon over the past year - they’re the creators of the hugely popular Eurobubble series which made its debut earlier this year and has since gained popularity by depicting the rise of the Brussels-based Eurocrat. 

Thursday, 28 November 2013

CEO Blog: We're Thankful For Five Years Of Sustainability Consult

Blowing out the candles on
our five-year anniversary cake
On Thanksgiving 2008, I launched Sustainability Consult, creating the responsible and ethical business I dreamed of working for, where we would choose our clients carefully and influence the way sustainability is communicated. We would push our clients to be more sustainable in their actions and more credible in their communications. It was a gamble but I was certain that there was a better way of doing consultancy.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Sustainable Tourism: Partnering to Improve Environmental Management

Last Wednesday marked BirdLife Europe’s ‘Biodiversity is our Business’ event held at the Museum for Natural Sciences in Brussels.  One of the goals of the event was to highlight new collaborations between BirdLife Europe and its partners in the recreational, retail and manufacturing sectors.  One such partnership, the ‘Committed to Birds’ programme between Birdlife Netherlands and the Dutch Golf Federation, has interesting potential for sustainability.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Is CCS The Solution For Europe?

“Massive fossil fuel consumption in China and India means that without carbon capture and storage we are stuffed”, said MEP Chris Davies at the recent Carbon Capture and Storage in Europe: Progress and Prospects event. 

Monday, 4 November 2013

CEO Blog: Sustainability Consult Opens Woodland In Belgium

Unveiling our first 1% for the Planet project

I think the crazy happy smiles on our faces say it all.  Sunday 20 October 2013 was an amazing day for all of us at Sustainability Consult.  It was the day where we felt all our hard work over the last five years pay off. As members of 1% for the Planet, we donate 1% of our sales (yes, that’s sales not profit!) to an environmental non-profit organisation.  On that sunny Sunday in October, our first 1% for the Planet project was unveiled.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Top Tips For Communications Professionals

Julian Scola shared his expertise and experience
in EU policy and energy communications.
Julian Scola, this week's Sustainability Communications Lunch speaker, set out his top tips for successful communications.  A seasoned EU policy and energy communicator and campaigner, Julian is former Communications Director for the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) and has also worked for the Party of European Socialists (PES) and WWF.

Julian presented sound advice which generated a lot of debate, particularly around media relations.  Here are Julian’s top tips for communicators:

1/ Find the time to do a strategy
One key takeaway from the Lunch is that developing a communications strategy is key.  Julian said that communications activities done in isolation never bring the same results as activities done as part of a strategy.  While you might not think you have the time to do a strategy, it's essential.  

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Having Fun At Green Drinks Brussels

Enjoying good conversation at Green Drinks

The October edition of Green Drinks Brussels took place last Wednesday.  We were happy to see some familiar faces and to welcome a great deal of new ones.  In total, we were around 30 people from NGOs, trade and business associations, EU institutions and companies.  We were happy to be joined by some trainees that needed advice about life in Brussels.

It seemed that quite a few people had had a tough September with a heavy workload after the summer, so having a relaxing drink and unwinding after work was well-received. 

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Non EU-ETS Sectors Must Do Better On Climate and Energy Policy

Source: Wikipedia

This year, the European Commission adopted the Green Paper ‘A 2030 framework for climate and energy policies’ and subsequently conducted a public consultation.  It is currently preparing for more concrete proposals on the 2030 framework by the end of year.

A recent event at the European Parliament engaged an expert panel to debate how the 2030 climate and energy framework could be mutually reinforcing i.e. by addressing energy efficiency, renewable energy and climate protection alongside each other.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Five Tips To Reduce Food Waste

Today is World Food Day and if you’ve been following the news recently, you may have come across the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)’s recent report Food Wastage Footprint: Impacts on Natural Resources.  In addition to quantifying the key environmental impacts of food wastage, the report also identifies that approximately one third of the global food supply goes to waste.  This is a staggering figure and pretty daunting for the average European, not least because the problem is disproportionally higher in developed countries.  

While we consumers may have little control over what happens at the production and distribution stages of the food supply chain, we can exercise some control over how much food is wasted at the consumption stage.  So in honour of World Food Day, here are a few tips to help reduce food waste in the supermarket and kitchen.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Successful Exhibition At EFIB 2013

Sustainability Consult Team members
ready to discuss communications in the
After BIO World Congress in Montreal in June, Sustainability Consult exhibited at The European Forum for Industrial Biotechnology and the Biobased Economy (EFIB) last week on our home turf in Brussels.  EFIB is the largest bioeconomy conference in Europe.  

Friday, 4 October 2013

Communications Lessons Learned From The Horsemeat Scandal

After a summer break, the monthly Sustainability Communications Lunch returned with a presentation from Lisa McCooey, Deputy Director General and Director of Communications at trade association FoodDrinkEurope.

When the horsemeat scandal story broke, FoodDrinkEurope quickly became a go-to source for journalists.  Lisa told us about how the events unfolded and how FoodDrinkEurope chose to respond.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Climate Science, Climate Scepticism And The IPCC

Today saw the launch of the first part of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), rounding up the state of climate science.  Two further sections on climate change impacts and mitigation respectively will be released early next year.

Set up by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Association (WMO) in 1988, the IPCC was formed to conduct comprehensive assessments of climate change risk to inform policymakers and is widely considered to be the world’s leading authority on climate change.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Sustainability Consult Attends 'De Nieuwe Wildernis' Film Premiere

On Tuesday evening, Kathryn Sheridan, Zoe Volioti and I were privileged to attend the premiere of Natuurpunt’s new film ‘De Nieuwe Wildernis’ at Kinepolis in Brussels.  As the name ‘The New Wilderness’ suggests, the film brings the viewer to the Oostvaardersplassen, a nature reserve in the Netherlands which is less than fifty years old but is nonetheless teeming with wildlife. 

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

CEO Blog: Kicking Off The New Season In Style

CEO Kathryn Sheridan
Summer holidays may feel like a distant memory but we've come back energised for a truly awesome season.  We're looking forward to connecting with you all if we haven't done so already.

September has been a very active month for us. We had the first Green Drinks Brussels of the season last week and the Sustainability Communications Lunch on Monday is on 'Crisis Communications: Lessons Learned From The Horsemeat Crisis'. We're also planning to organise The Big Swap at our office to help kickstart the sharing economy in our community.  More on that soon but in the meantime, start clearing out your cupboards and putting some things aside.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Green Drinks Brussels Kicks Off The Season

The first Green Drinks Brussels of the season was held last night.  We were happy to see some familiar faces and also to welcome a great deal of new ones.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

European Mobility Week Kicks Off

The European Commission has launched the 12th edition of European Mobility Week (EMW) this Monday.  Coinciding with the European Year of Air, European Mobility Week runs from 16-22 September and aims to raise awareness of the impacts of transport on air quality and help citizens make more sustainable transport choices. 

Friday, 13 September 2013

Learning, Networking and Moderating at the Biofuels International 2013 Conference

Last week, we announced that our CEO, Kathryn Sheridan, would be moderating the two afternoon streams at the 6th Biofuels International 2013 Conference in Antwerp.  I was happy to go with Kathryn to Antwerp to get an update on the biofuels debate and to meet interesting people working in the bioeconomy sector

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Adventures In Brussels And Beyond: My First Week

I’m now entering my second week at Sustainability Consult and wanted to share my experience so far. 

Hayley Coristine
I moved to Brussels from Birmingham in late August to join the Sustainability Consult Team after having worked on the scientific side of sustainability and environmental management for the past two years.  I loved the work I was doing in England but really missed the creative input and communications work that I’d enjoyed in previous jobs.  As the newest member of the Sustainability Consult Team, I’ve been able to merge my two interests, which has been really satisfying so far. 

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Five Top Terraces in Brussels

Source: Flickr
What better time to go outside and 'boire un verre' (have a drink) in Brussels than in the summertime?  There are lots of great patios and terraces in Brussels.  Here are some of our favourites.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Five Green Spaces in Brussels

When the wind is howling and the rain is lashing down in Brussels, it can sometimes be hard to get outside.  But summer is finally here and we're spoiled for choice when it comes to green spaces in Brussels.  Here are a selection of our favourite parks and green spaces in the Belgian capital.  

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Five Ice Cream Parlours in Brussels

Source: Flickr
Summer is here and everyone has their favourite spot to sample some quality ice cream.  As a foodie city, it's no surprise that we're spoiled for choice in Brussels when it comes to ice cream.  

Here are some of the Sustainability Consult Team's favourites.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Eurobarometer Findings Are Shaky At Best

Source: Flickr
People who answer surveys lie.  It’s due to something called the Social Desirability Bias which means that they present the best version of themselves, especially on morally-charged issues like drinking, sex or the environment.

The July 2013 Eurobarometer ‘Attitudes of Europeans Towards Building The Single Market For Green Products’ seems to have fallen foul of the Social Desirability Bias and as such, I believe the results should be taken with a large pinch of salt. 

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Show You Care by Asking for the WindMade Product Label

Our client WindMade has recently launched a consumer label for products made from wind power. Communications Director Angelika Pullen has written a guest blog about the label and its accompanying Show You Care campaign, helping consumers ask brands to create their products with wind power.

We’ve done it! Finally, after many months of deliberations with technical experts, environmental NGOs and potential user companies, and after various round of corporate and public consultations, we’re proud to present the WindMade Product Label!

Monday, 1 July 2013

My Work Experience At Sustainability Consult

Boris Arnold is currently a student intern at our office.  We asked him to write a blog about himself and his time working at Sustainability Consult.

I attend the European School of Brussels and I am 15 years old.  I’m interested in environmental issues which we cover extensively in geography, one of my favourite subjects.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Sustainability Consult Cardboard Stand A Success At BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology

Kathryn Sheridan and Zoe Volioti

Since we set up five years ago, Sustainability Consult has handled clients’ participation in events and exhibitions, even representing them on their stands at international trade events.  So it was high time we had our own stand and represented ourselves.  So, we did.  

We decided to have a stand at the biggest conference on the bioeconomy in North America.  Sustainability Consult exhibited at the 10th BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology in Montreal, 16-19 June.  Inspired by our 2013 advertising, we created a cardboard stand featuring our wordcloud and new tagline ‘More than a communications agency.  A sustainability communications agency’.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Sustainability Communications Lunch with Nuno Bacharel from @YourFormula

“Social Media is part of life”, advised Nuno Bacharel at the latest Sustainability Communications Lunch on Monday.

Nuno Bacharel is communications conselor at Cefic and Editor-in-Chief of YourFormula.  YourFormula aims to pull together the best of sustainable thinking in the chemistry sector.  It is a platform for young scientists which is looking for young, fresh ideas to help build a future where everyone can play a role. 

Friday, 14 June 2013

Discover the Power of Wind Energy on Global Wind Day, 15 June 2013

Sustainability Consult is delighted to welcome a guest post by Zoë Casey, Blog Editor at the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).  With the Global Wind Energy Council, EWEA coordinates Global Wind Day.

Global Wind Day – you may have heard of it, or you may be one of the 29,000 people who have ‘liked’ Global Wind Day’s Facebook page, but what is it all about?  It’s a day for taking the energy debate – switching to renewables from fossil fuels, supporting wind power – out of the realm of policy and into the real world.  In short, Global Wind Day is the international annual day – on 15 June – for discovering wind power.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

News Round-Up – Reactions to GRI G4 Guidelines

An update to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G3.1 sustainability reporting guidelines was recently announced at the world’s biggest conference on sustainability reporting.  Founded in 1997, GRI is a non-profit organisation aiming to promote and harmonise sustainability reporting globally through the provision of standards, which are now used by over 11,000 companies worldwide.  GRI claims that their new G4 guidelines have increased user-friendliness and accessibility - but does everyone agree with them?

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Brands are the Solution at Sustainable Brands '13

Sustainability Consult CEO Kathryn Sheridan attended the Sustainable Brands '13 conference in San Diego and was lucky enough to take part in the Big Brand Debate run by Futerra.  The group was split into those who believe that brands can be part of the solution in solving the societal challenges we face and those who believe that brands got us into this mess and they can't get us out of it.  

Saturday, 8 June 2013

World Oceans Day 2013: Five Big Problems Faced by Our Seas

Source: worldoceansday.org
Oceans are a great source of inspiration, food and even renewable energy.  However, we treat them like an enormous dumping ground and forget that we are submitting our seas to some serious stress.  World Oceans Day on 8 June 2013 reminds us that our seas can be more fragile that we often think.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Communications Under Extreme Circumstances

Polar communicator Dave Walsh
Excel crashing?  Printer not working?  Internet down?  These are a few of the frustrating problems faced by your average communications professional working against deadlines.  At yesterday’s inspirational Sustainability Communications Lunch, we learned that isolation and a lack of resources might actually boost your creativity and help you focus, according to guest speaker Dave Walsh.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Fifty People And A Dog At First Green Drinks Brussels

The first Green Drinks Brussels organised by Sustainability Consult was held last night at the Aloft Brussels Schuman bar.  We weren’t sure how many people would come to the first Green Drink Brussels but they started arriving early and just kept coming.

Friday, 17 May 2013

CEO Blog: The (Amazing) Week That Was

With a number of great initiatives coming to fruition around the same time, the last week has been truly amazing for us.  We have lots of news to share with our friends and clients.  Here are the highlights.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

CO2 Tops 400 ppm for First Time in Human History

Source: The Guardian
On 2 May 2013, carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere reached 400 parts-per-million (ppm) for the first time in human history.  This record was measured by the NOAA/ESRL's Global Monitoring Division in Mauna Loa, Hawaii.  The daily average for 9 May 2013 was an alarming 400.03 ppm.  When measurements started in 1958, the daily average was around 315 ppm, already a much higher level than the pre-industrial average of 280 ppm. 

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

The Problematic Definition of 'Green Jobs'

Source: earthtechling.com
Last week, the Permanent Representation of Austria to the EU hosted an event ‘Green Jobs: Growth Engine for the European Union or more Hype than Substance?’, where much of the discussion focused on how difficult it is to establish what a green job is – and isn’t. 

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

World Fair Trade Day Coming Up This Week

Source: globaldimension.org.uk
This Saturday (11 May 2013) is World Fair Trade Day, an initiative of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO).  Events will be taking place worldwide, aiming to raise awareness of the fair trade movement which began over five decades ago.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Sustainability Consult And Natuurpunt Announce 1% for the Planet Partnership

Steentjesbos in Autumn
Sustainability Consult, as a 1% for the Planet member, is committed to giving 1% of its sales to an environmental non-profit.  We chose local NGO Natuurpunt as it works with nature preservation around Brussels and the Flanders region.

Friday, 3 May 2013

How Feasible is 100% Renewable Energy?

Source: cleantechnica.com
Scotland by 2020, Australia by 2030, Denmark by 2050 – these countries are all aiming to produce 100% of their energy from entirely renewable sources.  Smaller countries such as Iceland and Lesotho are practically doing so already.  This year saw the first international conference focused on 100% renewable energy targets – so can the rest of the world catch up?

Friday, 26 April 2013

NGOs Win the Debate on Fuel Efficiency Standards

Source: Transport & Environment
On Wednesday 24 April 2013, the European Parliament’s Environment Committee voted on legislation to determine how to implement the EU target of average CO2 emissions of 95g per kilometre by 2020, and 130 grams per kilometre by 2015 for passenger vehicles. 

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Reestablishing Trust in the Food Industry

Source: www.aei-ideas.org
Communications issues and regaining trust in the food industry were hot topics at Hungry for Change 2, a conference organised by the European Crop Protection Association (ECPA), which we attended last week. 

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Making The Most Of Our Voices at the Sustainability Communications Lunch

Communicators need to know how to present themselves and to convince their audience about the strength and credibility of their messages.  To help our fellow communicators make the most of their presentations, Sustainability Consult invited Marie Terese Letorney, Founder/Director of Ask Your Voice™ to present at the latest Sustainability Communications Lunch on Monday.

Friday, 5 April 2013

World Health Day 2013 – How Controlling Your Blood Pressure Can Benefit the Environment

Source: www.wta.org
Every year, the World Health Organization selects a priority area of global public health concern as the World Health Day theme.  This year’s World Health Day focuses on high blood pressure (hypertension), a condition that affects more than one in three adults worldwide, leads to heart disease and contributes to more than nine million deaths every year.  Sustainable living practices should help prevent and control high blood pressure in the cases where medication is not needed.  

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

The Shape of Climate Coverage to Come

Source: guardian.co.uk
Last year, before joining Sustainability Consult, I wrote in this blog about how media coverage of climate change had dropped dramatically since its peak in 2009.  Media organisation Daily Climate found that globally coverage decreased a further 2% in 2012.  However, analysis conducted by other researchers found that reporting on climate change actually went up last year in some sections of the US press.  Coverage on US TV news networks also doubled compared to the previous year.  So will this trend continue in 2013?

Monday, 25 March 2013

Five Cafés to Work From in Brussels

Karsmakers' cosy interior
There are many great cafés in Brussels, but the main criteria for this post is that they must have free Wi-Fi and be comfortable enough to work in.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Five Ways to Save Water at Home

Source:  www.unwater.org
This year's UN World Water Day is part of the International Year of Water Cooperation.  Based on the concept that water cooperation builds peace through socioeconomic development and environmental sustainability, this year's reflection focuses on the economic benefits created by preserving water resources.  Some of these problems seem distant and almost abstract to many of us.  But water is a finite resource and its use can deeply affect your local community. 

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Going Beyond Recycling Towards a Zero Waste Future

Source: The Guardian
Try to picture three big trucks full of garbage and you will have a rough idea of the amount of solid waste produced by every man, woman and child every year.  It is estimated that in Europe alone, we produce 3 billion tons of waste each year and almost 90 million tons of this is hazardous to the environment.  These numbers go beyond logic.  It is clear that we need to tame the monster we have created.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Five Good Reasons to Cycle to Work

Reiner cycling on a very snowy Brussels road
Spring is just around the corner, so there are fewer excuses to delay your good intentions.  Instead of spending lots of money on going to the gym, why not cycle to work?  Here are five good reasons for taking your bike out of storage and getting fit!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

The Gap Between Environmental Awareness and Environmental Behaviour

Source: http://ec.europa.eu
Almost all Belgians (97%) agree that it’s important to protect the environment, according to a survey published in November 2012 by Test-Achats/Test-Aankoop, the Belgian association for consumer protection.  But does this also mean that they act on it?

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

What is Sustainable HR?

Source: http://www.kauri.be
At a recent Kauri event, the Belgian CSR organisation brought together representatives from the HR industry with companies to discuss how to approach human resources (HR) in a more sustainable way.  So what is sustainable HR and why do we need it?