Green innovation ventures for sustainability
This Friday is World Environment Day.
World Environment Day was established in 1973 and takes place annually on 5 June. The event is organised by the United Nations Environment Programme, each year around a different theme. The theme this year is sustainable consumption and production.
As a part of its community focus, GeoVation takes an interest in events and projects that support the environment. Our 2013 Environment Challenge, ‘How can we help British business improve environmental performance?’, was very successful and led to funding for four ideas, all of which encourage sustainable living practices.
Geovation winners join thought-leaders exploring sustainability driven innovation
Last Thursday Ordnance Survey was delighted to host the Sustainable Innovation Lab (SusIN Lab) conference, here at our Head Office in Southampton. This was the fourth and final session in a series of workshop events organised by the University of Exeter Business School. The workshops, which Ordnance Survey’s GeoVation team have been participating in, have been running since December 2012. They explore, through collaboration, how sustainability is driving innovation and creating new forms of value for different stakeholders in the public, private and third sectors.
One week left to enter our Innovation Challenge
There’s only a week left to enter our current GeoVation Challenge in which we’re offering a share of £100,000 in funding for the best ideas to help business to improve environmental performance and so we’ve been busy spreading the word amongst the developer and entrepreneurial community.
On Monday night Chris and Viv were at the Google Campus for a Dreamstake Founders event to promote the latest challenge to the entrepreneur community there. The Dreamstake Academy consists of a series of workshops focussing on the fundamentals of launching and building a startup and Monday night was part of their series of ‘Learn from Founders’ Startup Stories evenings in which presents an opportunity for new start-ups to learn how to create a successful startup and avoid the obvious mistakes.
The evening kicked off at 6.30pm as Chris delivered a keynote presentation on GeoVation and the role of geography in innovation to an audience nearly 100 people. Chris explained how our innovation challenges are focussed on finding innovative and useful ways of using geographic information, including open data and tools, to build new ventures that will generate social, economic and environmental benefit. He introduced the community to our latest GeoVation Challenge, ‘How can we help British Business improve environmental performance?’ which is calling for innovative ideas that address the identified problems using geography, technology and design. The challenge is supported by the Environment Agency and runs to 1 May 2013.
Go Green – and reduce our environmental impact
Time is running out to submit your ideas to our latest GeoVation Challenge. We’re offering a slice of £100,000 in funding for the best ideas which use geographic data to help business improve their environmental performance and I’ve been finding examples to help to get you thinking.
When Ordnance Survey moved offices in January 2011, we down-sized from a building designed to accommodate more than 3,500 people to our new location which was built for around 1,000. This meant we had a lot of excess furniture which we wanted to ensure was disposed of in an environmentally friendly way. The excess furniture included racking and shelves, desk screens, filing cabinets, cupboards, desks, desk chairs, meeting chairs, plan chests, pedestals, soft seating, plants and much more.
We used a company called GoGreen to help us manage disposal of the furniture. GoGreen provides an end-to-end sustainable proposition with a zero-to-landfill guarantee which, for unwanted surplus items, includes donation to UK charitable and other third sector beneficiaries. They processed some 17 895 items amounting to 484.6 tonnes – and nothing went to landfill.
Geography and Supply Chain Integrity
With the current focus on the integrity, resilience and sustainability of complex food supply chains – the journey food takes from farm to fork – this post looks at how three GeoVation winners and two GeoVation suppliers are challenging the status quo using geography and geographical information.
GeoVation “How can Britain feed itself?” challenge winner Foodnation : The People’s Digital Co-op has a mission to have neighbourhood Foodnation hubs within bicycle-riding distance of most UK households. It provides an on-line platform to connect customers and farmers in their local area, easily enabling them to buy and sell local organic food and find fruit and veg-box delivery schemes around the UK. This is supported by the Foodnation app launched in May 2012. Working with the Transition town network to pilot the scheme, Foodnation founder Louise Campbell sees the model for the Foodnation Co-operative as being fully scalable in transition towns across UK.
How geography and innovation can help build food security
Our GeoVation challenge “How can Britain feed itself?” explored the role geography and innovation can play in an agroecological approach to local food and farming. The emphasis is on building food security and sovereignty through connecting people to locally and sustainably produced food and farming. Geography is about the relationships between people, place, processes (natural and man-made) and planet and is therefore intimately connected to the land and how we use it. Our GeoVation Food Mapping Workshop explored how geography and geographic information can be used in local food and farming.
The links of geography to agro-ecological approaches to food and farming were again apparent at the excellent Oxford Real Farming Conference 2013 on 3-4 January. An ambitious programme covered numerous innovative developments in agroecological approaches to food and farming, from: policy to practice; collaboration and sharing business models for accessing land and production; and crowd funding for financing new initiatives.
Farmers, the world over are very innovative, but knowing whose doing what and where and what resources are available, is important in spreading good practice, knowledge and expertise rapidly. Technology, including social media, and geography is beginning to address that particular challenge. Our GeoVation challenge winners City Farmers, illustrate that in the conference map they produced.
Collaboration and User Innovation in Transport – presentations now available
Last Monday 24 September, GeoVation – hosted “Collaboration and User Innovation in Transport” at the Royal Society of Arts, London.
Whilst this was a GeoVation event with a different flavour, in so much that funding wasn’t up for grabs on this occasion; the open and collaborative ethos that typifies GeoVation was very much utilised throughout the day. Peter ter Haar, Director of Products at Ordnance Survey kicked off proceedings with a welcome and introduction.
This was followed by a number of thought-provoking presentations, videos, posters and discussions compered by Richard Kemp-Harper of the Technology Strategy Board.
Transforming Neighbourhoods GeoVation Finalists
Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be giving you more information on the ideas that are going forward to the ‘How can we transform neighbourhoods in Britain together?’ GeoVation Showcase. Today, you can find out more about Charting the Coldspot and Sustaination. If you’d like to see the ideas pitch for a share of £115,000 in funding at Ordnance Survey on 20 June- sign up for your free ticket.
‘Charting the Cold-spot’ wishes to solve the problem of ‘Loss of the High Street’, first at local level in the city of Peterborough, then spreading this solution to the rest of the UK. The scale of the problem in Peterborough is it has a 14.7% vacancy rate compared to the national average of 14.5%. Peterborough’s high street is a conservation and heritage area and the only one amongst 29 in the UK that is considered at risk due to the vacancy rate. The empty shop units and lack of culture, night-time activity and lack of vibrancy found in Peterborough’s central commercial area has led to vandalism and also it being considered in decline.
Mapping the Future of Food and Farming
We are delighted to be hosting the Mapping the Future workshop at the Oxford Real Farming Conference on Friday. We’ll explore the challenges mapping can be used to address, with innovative examples and contributions from local food and farming pioneers including contributions from City Farmers, Food Nation, Sustaination, GeoFutures and Ordnance Survey.
We worked with the Campaign for Real Farming and Agrarian Renaissance when we launched Geovation’s “How can Britain Feed Itself?” challenge in June 2010. As a result we were delighted to be able to seed fund two innovative ventures, Food Nation and City Farmers that are using geography to help address sustainable, local food and farming. You can read about their ventures here on the blog.
Building on interest in the role geography can play, we held a Local Food and Farming Mapping Workshop, together with Tasting the Future at Ordnance Survey in July and produced this report from the day.
How mapping can help local food groups
In July GeoVation, working with Tasting the Future, held a Local Food Mapping Workshop at Ordnance Survey. The workshop was attended by representatives from various sustainable food and farming groups, local authorities and universities. GeoVation Challenge winners, City Farmers and Foodnation also took part.
A report on the workshop has now been compiled which captures the views of the participants of the main problems they are trying to solve such as:
- Understanding and promoting local food;
- Addressing the demand for land and access;
- Enabling collaboration;
- Fragmented distribution of local food.
And suggests solutions as to how mapping could help address these.
It includes summaries on the presentations made by food mapping innovators and links to further information on the demonstrations of OS OpenSpace®, OS OpenDataTM and other data sources. There are also some useful comments on how the workshop could be scaled out to groups.
Thanks to everyone who participated in the workshop. We had some great feedback from you.
‘A very good group of people. An enjoyable and useful day.’
‘The workshop was a stroke of genius!’
If you would like to find out more about what happened at the workshop click the picture below to open the report.
Last month in our blog we told you about ways2work, a great resource to find out what organisations are doing to reduce the negative impacts of their work-related travel. Some of your companies may already be leading the way in reducing impacts of travel to work so you might be interested in the BITC ways2work Award, a national award built on the successful foundations laid by last year’s BITC/NBTN Regional Sustainable Travel Award.
BITC Awards for Excellence are the most credible, influential and well established National Awards for Responsible Business, independently assessed by industry peers. The aim of the ways2work Award is to identify inspiring examples of innovation and action by organisations reducing the impacts of how they work and travel in relation to their work and through this to reward best practice and inspire others to take action.
The ways2work award reflects the Department for Transport’s new dual focus on sustainable travel and alternatives to travel. The award is aimed at companies that can evidence the benefits of their interventions and ideas that reduce the impacts of ONE OR BOTH of the following:
- How their employees travel in relation to their work. This covers commuting and/or business travel and what they are doing to reduce car use, and flights, and encourage more sustainable and active forms of transport such as carsharing, using public transport, cycling and walking. Also, what they are doing to encourage more fuel efficient driving.
- How their employees work. This covers policies and technologies that facilitate reduced commuting and /or business travel, including flexible working policies (which for example facilitate off-peak travel amongst many other things) or supporting homeworking through the provision of good technology and IT systems. The technology could be anything from telephone conferencing to telepresence and everything in between!
ways2work are interested in what companies are doing, why and how. They would also like to hear about the benefits of these actions such as reduced costs, emissions, absence and improved productivity, employee well being, work/life balance and community relationships. Find out more about the ways2work Award and, if you are interested, there’s just over 2 weeks left to submit the applications, deadline Friday 4 March.
GeoVation participates in the Supply Chain Innovation and Excellence Forum
GeoVation’s Chris Parker participated in the Supply Chain Innovation and Excellence Forum (SCIE) hosted at Ford Dunton, Ford’s European Technical Centre. SCIE is a collaboration between government, businesses, and academia working together to develop leading edge thinking, and innovative products, services and business models in addressing supply chain excellence. SCIE is focussed largely on Essex, Kent and East Sussex.
Essex Council leaders open and closed the forum, emphasising its importance in developing the regional economy. The Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser to Department for Transport Professor Brian Collins set the economic, social and environmental context. There followed a number of excellent examples of how SCIE initiatives are already gaining traction. Check out, for example, Abby Couriers electric delivery vehicles
GeoVation’s current challenge: “How can we improve transport in Britain?” was presented, together with a number of other funding opportunities.
A stimulating afternoon session generated ideas in three areas: low carbon, last mile and informed logistics, and multi-modal which capped an informative event with plenty of time to learn of others stimulating initiatives.
GeoVation’s current challenge closes on 11 February.