Are you a Restorative Enterprise?

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The focus for Specifi during 2018 is to #BEthenewnormal. This begs two questions; “how do we recognise and understand ‘the new normal?”


“what does it take to be part of it?”

At the start of Specifi talks I point out that, for 30 years, our call to action has been ‘do nothing today to compromise future generations’. Sadly for too many in the Built Environment we resort to ‘doing nothing today’ unless prompted to doing something different by investors, clients, legislation or standard requirements.  Consequently, we continue to compromise future generations.

#Bethenewnormal thinking encourages organisations to think wider and bolder, to identify restorative and regenerative solutions that will emerge and spiral for greater benefits. Indeed, restorative enterprises, with a sound understanding of sustainability and ecology will recognise the wonderful rewilding power of wolves, rather than just focusing on managing deer. And if you need to understand this reference then get along to our upcoming events where (Martin Brown) is talking #imaginebetter

But, there is good news. We are now seeing enlightened and responsible built environment enterprises emerging, organisations that are embracing a restorative or net-positive ethos within their sustainability approaches. And maybe, sustainability is beginning to be seen not just a journey but a point of equilibrium where we give back as much as we take. Core to this thinking is the understanding and recognition of working with nature rather than against nature.

The definition, Restorative Enterprise, has been credited to Interface founder Ray Anderson from his seminal speech that set his company on its sustainability journey back in 1994. Yet, until now there have been few meaningful measures for a restorative enterprise, but with the recent UN Sustainable Development Goals, we now have a set of new normal metrics.

So, the #BEthenewnormal, as outlined in my Specifi talks, is where the focus of an organisation is to do more positive good rather than just reduce negative impacts. This is demonstrated through innovative products that have net-positive footprints, through design, construction & maintenance of buildings that improve the health of those who work, live and play in them, and through innovative approaches within organisations that recognise employee wellbeing as being central to sustainability.

Within our Specifi community of product manufacturers, technical experts and professional specifiers we have a growing number of organisations embracing this restorative enterprise thinking as our recent Design event in Manchester highlighted:

  • Assa Abloy, who have over 25 Declare labels (Declare labels are Living Building Challenge nutrition/ingredient labels for products, demonstrating transparency in health or toxicity nature of materials).
  • Manchester and Cheshire Construction, a design & build contractor who embraced biophilic design within their own office re-development, and in doing so have won local and national recognition, praise and awards.
  • Serge Ferrari who introduced Eco IDentity (in compliance with ISO14021) for all of their products, identifying the renewable content, health and air quality, footprint and circular economy credentials.

All of these approaches can be seen as tipping points enabling greater benefit, opening doors to better relationships, better staff and peer recognition as a responsible organisation, all leading to better contracts and supply arrangements.

We can see #BEthenewnormal in the words of Stewart Brand, as the steam roller of change, with those not part of the ‘new normal’ steam roller will become part of the road.

Upcoming Specifi talks and activity across the country on our design, landscaping and services programmes, will focus on demonstrating the new normal and what it takes to #BEtheNewNormal – vital for the environmental, social and economic success of the Specifi community.

Join us all over the UK…find an event near you here

Martin Brown

If you would like a copy of Martin’s #imaginebetter Manchester slides follow us on facebook @specifiltd to access the link.