Suppliers need to take responsibility for green labelling of products

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Green splashWe all like to think we are discerning about what we will and won’t put in our trolleys at the supermarket. Not any old salty, fat saturated gloop will make the cut these days. That’s why food producers like to proclaim its healthiness on packaging, regardless of the nature of the product within. ‘Lower fat’ doesn’t mean low fat. Companies in other sectors follow suit. The office products market is one in which some manufacturers don’t mind a splash of green on product labels. This doesn’t do the customer or the buyer any good and can breed cynicism in the market, undermining the efforts of those suppliers who actually take a sophisticated approach to the environmental performance of their products.

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Olympic dream lives on at Heathrow’s Terminal 1

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HeathrowMissing the fervour of the London 2012 Olympics? Then take a flight to Heathrow. If you’re travelling from within the UK and Ireland or on certain international flights such as San Francisco and Cape Town you’ll get to re-experience the park themed “Games terminal” which was last used during last year’s Olympics. Terminal 1’s gate 20, which sees over 270,000 passengers a year, has been transformed into a rather garish neighbourhood green, complete with park benches, iconic images from London parks and green foliage, designed to leave a lasting memory of the UK beyond the Games.

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New procurement systems to make it easier to bid for Government work

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Public SectorThe Cabinet Office has unveiled a new centralised system that it claims will make it easier and cheaper for suppliers to compete for government and public sector work  because they will only have to register once to have access to a range of contracts. Currently, suppliers to government and the public sector have to register on several systems to be able to view, access and tender for business opportunities. The Cabinet Office believes the new system will be particularly attractive for SMEs who found the current system too onerous.  The system will replace an existing system which serves over 80,000 registered suppliers and the same number of customers

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Communal workspace model making inroads in US offices

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Costar

There is a growing trend in the United States to downsize office space, particularly amongst larger public firms, as they increasingly adopt policies for sharing non-dedicated offices and implement technology to support their employees’ ability to work anywhere and anytime. In a webinar presented to subscribers of commercial real estate intelligence group CoStar, Norm G. Miller, PhD, a professor at the University of San Diego, Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate examined what would happen if office tenants used 20 per cent less of the US’ current office space, which has a total valuation of $1.25 trillion.

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Ageing population is the greatest demographic challenge

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Image credit: <a href='https://www.123rf.com/photo_2475828_old-hands-on-clean-table.html'>logoboom / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Forget Gen Y, a new report published today by the House of Lords Committee on Public Service and Demographic Change warns that it’s our rapidly ageing population that will have a huge impact on society, work and public services. Predicting a 50 per cent rise in the number of those aged 65+ and a 100 per cent increase in those aged 85+ between 2010 and 2030, the report advocates enabling people to work for longer, many of whom are legally entitled to do, since the removal of a statutory retirement age in 2011. According to the report, “Ready for Aging?” working for longer would increase income from work, potentially increase savings, and reduce the time of dependence on those savings.

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The UK’s five worst public art projects

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Tracey Emin Roman StandardThat is obviously a misleading headline. The two worst public art projects in recent memory are evidently the Diana Memorial Fountain, which wasn’t much of a fountain never mind a memorial, and B of the Bang, Thomas Heatherwick’s glorious but spike-shedding testament to the then eternally popping dreams of Manchester City fans from 2005. But we all know about them, their failures were primarily functional rather than aesthetic, both are now defunct and they’ve got more than enough stiff competition thanks to the enduring desire of companies and councils up and down the land to make a statement in our public places with little regard for aesthetics or practicality.

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Landmark buildings can lead to an identity crisis for tenants

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A new generation of landmarks

A new generation of landmarks

Companies want to brand themselves in lots of ways and for lots of reasons. There are all the usual reasons to do with marketing but when companies talk about brand and how it is integrated with architecture and the design of their offices they are equally likely to be concerned with attracting staff and making what they think are the right statements about their business. The problem is that while nearly everybody wants to brand their workplace, the design solutions can become overly literal. There’s nothing inherently wrong with logos in the carpet but successful design will be about far more than that. It usually has to be rather less literal and rather more intelligent.

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‘Internet of everything’ for most firms within 3 years

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Cisco techwatch

Next generation workspaces will be a reality for three quarters (76 per cent) of businesses by 2016 says a new Cisco report, as organisations pave the way for greater connectivity by investing in IT infrastructure and collaboration technologies. “Whilst cost-cutting and reducing complexity is important, creating an environment where IT can support – or indeed drive – innovation within the business is paramount said Ian Foddering, CTO Cisco UKI. “Three key pillars emerge: ‘Simplify’, ‘Protect’ and ‘Change & Grow’. Get the first two right, and you pave the way for innovation, greater connectivity, next generation workspaces and ultimately a shift towards the ‘Internet of Everything’.”

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Video: The greening of the workplace should begin with individual behaviour

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There is an understandable temptation when we consider the ways in which we might green our buildings and organisations that we focus primarily on designed and engineered solutions. But as this blog on Greenbiz points out, we can achieve a great deal by looking at the behaviour of individuals. It is a point made in an entertaining way by my favourite TED Talk of all time, delivered by  Rory Sutherland (above). It’s fair to say that if he were to consider ways in which to change the behaviour of individuals, the printed note above the photocopier and the label on the light switch wouldn’t display enough innovative thought for him.

Plans unveiled to transform Southbank Centre Festival Wing

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Southbank

London’s Southbank Centre, the UK’s largest arts centre, has unveiled plans to transform the Festival Wing – the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery complex. The proposals, by FCBStudios, include the refurbishment and renewal of the existing 1960s buildings and the creation of major new arts spaces including a new glass pavilion, a new central foyer and a new liner building to create, together with the successful Royal Festival Hall refurbishment, a world-class cultural centre for the 21st century, providing more art for more people in better spaces. More →

Buying green products should involve a closer look at the supply chain

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Green chainLast year’s unrest in the Chinese factory that is a principal manufacturer of the iPhone5 shone a light into one of the usually dark corners of modern life. Namely that beneath the sleek facades of the products we buy lies the story of their production, transportation, marketing and eventual demise. Look further back than the factory and it usually starts with a hole in the ground; and, in the case of the iPhone, an open-cast rare earth mine in the Nevada desert which produces the raw materials for the cutting edge technologies that make our lives tick.

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Challenge for Ecobuild is reducing greenwash and white noise

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White noiseToday is the first day of Ecobuild, which claims to be the world’s largest exhibition dedicated to sustainable construction and fit-out. Some 1,500 organisations are taking part in the event in East London which last year attracted 58,000 visitors from around the world. While undoubtedly successful, influential, with great intellectual content and a showcase for some truly innovative and effective products, the approach of Ecobuild invariably begs the question: in a world in which every supplier claims to be environmentally friendly, how are their customers expected to make the right choices?

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