Blog archive for Debbie Griffiths

Making sense of the sustainability debate

Published: 3rd Dec 2017 by Debbie Griffiths

The CRS profession has entered its own echo chamber. For anyone interested in corporate responsibility and sustainability (CRS) who couldn’t make it to the Institute of CR and Sustainability (ICRS) annual debate, here’s a 5-minute run down of what went on and what this sustainability professional made of read more

The corporate social responsibility of paying taxes

Published: 7th Nov 2017 by Debbie Griffiths

Turn to any media this week and you can’t avoid the latest tax-dodging revelations from the #ParadisePapers. Right royal tax shock Some names don’t surprise, but the Queen and Bono were real shockers. Her Majesty is the epitome of public duty and paying taxes is a public duty – that’s why read more

How to communicate effectively for sustainable behaviour change

Published: 30th Oct 2017 by Debbie Griffiths

Sustainability communications do pretty well when it comes to sustainability conferences. Some are devoted entirely to sustainability communications or reporting. Others integrate communications into broader-themed events aimed at a wider corporate responsibility (CR) and sustainability audience. The latter read more

7 buzzwords in responsible retail

Published: 21st Sep 2017 by Debbie Griffiths

            “We need a common language” was one of Dr Mark Sumner’s conclusions at end of the edie Responsible Retail conference in London (Sept 20).   To start things off, here’s a round-up of some of the most frequently uttered words from the read more

Is high street sustainability an oxymoron?

Published: 29th Aug 2017 by Debbie Griffiths

Where does retail therapy sit on your top ten things to do? It’s fairly low on mine, going by the traditional definition:   retail therapy: the practice of going shopping to make yourself feel happier. Personally, I can think of plenty of other things to make me feel happier. But, being British, they read more

Volunteer mentoring benefits all round

Published: 17th Aug 2017 by Debbie Griffiths

I can’t believe it’s been three years since we first applied for Aston University’s Professional Mentoring Scheme. How time flies when you’re having fun. And how different each mentoring relationship can be. At first, I was more nervous than Mark about mentoring. He had way more experience read more

Responsible retail is everyone’s business

Published: 11th Jul 2017 by Debbie Griffiths

In July 1992, I made a life-changing decision, sending my CV in on spec to The Body Shop head office. I followed my heart as a devoted customer and fan. Not just of the products, but the company’s ethics: using natural ingredients, caring for the planet, people and animals. Back then, it was so new, so read more

Why we’re finally turning our back on the Co-operative Bank

Published: 28th Apr 2017 by Debbie Griffiths

The switch is underway and in a week’s time, Ideal Word Ltd will close its small business bank account with the Co-operative Bank and return to Lloyds. Orderly failure I still feel guilty about being the latest rat to leave the sinking ship, but my business head overruled my social conscience the day I learned read more

CR Reporting Awards 2017

Published: 25th Jan 2017 by Debbie Griffiths

If you’ve not yet cast your votes for the Corporate Register CR Reporting Awards 2017, you need to get in fast. Voting is only open until Tuesday 31 January 2017. After the way public votes have swung over the past 12 months, who knows which organisations will triumph. Will it be one of the old favourites, like read more

Feed the (local) world this Christmastime

Published: 22nd Dec 2016 by Debbie Griffiths

For Christmas past, we’ve done the usual stuff. Sent cards, choccies and treats to clients and associates that we’ve worked with during the year. Made financial donations to Crisis at Christmas. And some unusual, alternative stuff, such as sponsoring animals. For Christmas future, I’d really like read more

Is CRS becoming just another elite?  Absolutely!

Published: 10th Sep 2016 by Debbie Griffiths

Sadly I can’t attend the Institute of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability’s (ICRS) Annual Debate on September 15, 2016. It’s a shame as I have lots to say on the topic: Is CRS becoming just another elite? And I’d like to know what others think. So, I’m contributing via this blog read more

Back to work in broken Britain

Published: 27th Jun 2016 by Debbie Griffiths

Monday June 27, 2016, Shakepeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon, West Midlands, Little England, Broken Britain, Disunited Kingdom.   Midsummer 2016 went from a fairy dream into a full-blown tragedy on Friday 24 June. Whilst most of the country woke up to the news that 52% of the electorate had voted to leave the read more

5 insights into the circular economy

Published: 24th May 2016 by Debbie Griffiths

The circular economy naturally interests me as an environmental idealist. And as someone who’s prone to pessimism about the state and fate of our planet. It always give me hope when I write about a client’s circular economy activities and innovation ­– from recycling and remanufacturing truck read more

Making a better impression - as easy as 123

Published: 23rd Mar 2016 by Debbie Griffiths

My inbox has been awash today with unsolicited emails, offering me everything from franking machines and photocopiers to debt collection and vehicle tracking services. They’ve all been sent to an old email address I used the other day, so I must have somehow triggered a database. The bad news for these read more

Lego vs Ai Weiwei: second round 0-1 (1-2 agg)

Published: 15th Jan 2016 by Debbie Griffiths

You’ve disappointed me, Lego! After my robust – albeit minority – support of your stance against Ai Weiwei and the National Art Gallery of Victoria, Australia, you go and cave in:      “The LEGO Group has adjusted the guidelines for sales of its bricks in very large quantities read more

Vote for your fave CR reports

Published: 7th Jan 2016 by Debbie Griffiths

Voting in the annual Corporate Register CR reporting awards wasn’t on my ‘to do’ list for today, but I’m always pleased when I’ve done it. Initially, I see it as a guilty pleasure. There are so many more pressing things on today’s list. But by the time I’m finished, I view read more

Lego vs Ai Weiwei: the CSR professional’s verdict

Published: 9th Nov 2015 by Debbie Griffiths

My first impression on seeing the headlines that Lego had refused to bulk sell bricks for Ai Weiwei’s exhibition in Australia? Lego has cocked up here! Admittedly, it was my personal, activist’s view. The Banksy fan’s view who supports freedom of creative political expression. The Greenpeace read more

Shared value volunteering

Published: 2nd Nov 2015 by Debbie Griffiths

After a rigorous application and assessment process, Mark and I have been accepted as mentors on Aston University’s Professional Mentoring Scheme. We’ve just met our mentees and the unit’s careful matchmaking criteria seems to have worked wonders. It was great fun (and a relief) to find I had lots read more

More to Dismaland than Banksy

Published: 21st Sep 2015 by Debbie Griffiths

Banksy may be the brains behind Dismaland, and getting all the publicity, but there’s a huge list of other artists who’ve contributed some fantastic stuff to the aptly named ‘Bemusement Park’. I know because I was persistent enough to get tickets: Attempt 1: too late - sold out read more

The Crown of Confidence

Published: 9th Sep 2015 by Debbie Griffiths

Congratulations to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on becoming the UK’s longest-reigning monarch! That’s me, Debbie, speaking. Mark prefers the idea of a republic. But, to be fair, he did come with me to Buckingham Palace this summer. And he does acknowledge how hard the Queen works. I’d say it was read more

Re-learning my own language

Published: 1st Jul 2015 by Debbie Griffiths

The time since we came back from the US has vanished all too quickly. As I want to hold onto the huge impression this holiday of a lifetime made on me, there’s only one thing to do: write it down! For most of the past half century I’ve not been interested in travelling to America. I spend my professional read more

10 Defining Words of the 2015 General Election

Published: 8th May 2015 by Debbie Griffiths

So, there we have it. A Conservative government with an absolute majority. Who’d have thought it? Very few, it seems. While there’ll be much back slapping in Tory ranks, a big SNP knees up north of the border and genuine grins on Green faces, there’ll be a lot of navel gazing in other parties. The read more

The beautiful game (of CSR)

Published: 28th Oct 2014 by Debbie Griffiths

Thanks to Thrive, I spent last night at Aston Villa Football Club. Not for a football match, but something much more entertaining: a CSR best practice showcase. However, I can’t help likening it all to a couple of FA Cup matches. The first between the Premier League football club and the luxury car maker, read more

Touch-typing ‘bootcamp’

Published: 24th Oct 2014 by Debbie Griffiths

Ideal Word Associate, Jonathan Stevens, used to teach English with me out in Germany - many moons ago - so I know what an inspiring teacher he is. He’s spent his professional life in training, specialising for the past decade in touch-typing training. We invited him to become a Word Associate as touch-typing is read more

Real cost, true value banking

Published: 16th Sep 2014 by Debbie Griffiths

With the increasing focus on the sustainability of a company’s supply chain, it was good to meet face to face with one of Ideal Worldsmiths’ own ethical suppliers, Triodos Bank, at their 2014 Annual Meeting. Entitled Real Cost True Value, it provided customers, investors and anyone interested in a more read more

Ideal brand evolution

Published: 4th Sep 2014 by Debbie Griffiths

We established Ideal Word Ltd back in August 2004. Today, a decade later, we’re launching the latest incarnation of our brand. As we welcome Ideal Worldsmiths to the world, it’s a good time to reflect on and celebrate our evolving brand identity.    Ideal Word (2004-2008). Ah, our first logo read more

My week of work experience

Published: 18th Jul 2014 by Debbie Griffiths

We’ve just completed Ideal’s first ever work experience with Lou Fox. I’m delighted and dog tired in unequal measure.  Highly delighted because Lou’s blown my assumptions about young people and language right out of the water. More tired than normal on a Friday afternoon because read more

Don’t write off CSR completely in favour of sustainability

Published: 9th Jun 2014 by Debbie Griffiths

The last time I went to a CSR event in the Midlands, a colleague in a London design agency found it very quaint and old fashioned. “No-one talks about CSR anymore,” she said. “It’s sustainability.” Personally, I’ve never had a problem with the terms CSR (corporate social read more

A fun way to stop pussyfooting around with writing

Published: 12th May 2014 by Debbie Griffiths

Today (May 12) is Limerick Day and the birthday of Edward Lear – the great English poet best known for his nonsense poetry. Mark is Ideal’s resident limerick writer, but he’s away and I’m battling to stay focused on next week’s writing workshop. Several participants say they struggle to read more

“How do we ‘butch up’ sustainability?”

Published: 3rd Apr 2014 by Debbie Griffiths

Solitaire Townsend’s question – posed to the unsuspecting MD of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) – was, without doubt, one of the best I’ve ever heard a chair pose at a CR professionals’ conference.  It came during the ‘Engaging customers on sustainability’ session at the Business read more

How to make Shakespeare child’s play…

Published: 9th Mar 2014 by Debbie Griffiths

How to make Shakespeare child’s play… Did you ever get put off Shakespeare as a kid? I know Mark and I did. In fact, I got turned off from most literature by dull teaching in secondary school. But a rocky start doesn’t have to lead to an unhappy ending. A decade since making Stratford upon Avon read more

Does your organisation BUY SOCIAL?

Published: 27th Sep 2013 by Debbie Griffiths

Which of the following would you buy: (a) a professionally printed pop-up banner priced £99 or (b) a professionally printed pop-up banner priced £99 that turns hoodies into young entrepreneurs? (a)    a gift under £20 that can be branded with your company’s message or read more

RY’s Really useful Yardstick for sustainability reporters

Published: 16th Jul 2013 by Debbie Griffiths

I went along to Radley Yeldar’s How does it stack up? event at the beginning of July where they looked at the latest trends, best narrative and use of channel for sustainability reporting. It was their 8th annual event, but my first time. And I was really impressed. You see, they got me in a good mood before I read more

Professionalising sustainability practice: the pros and cons

Published: 26th Jun 2013 by Debbie Griffiths

The big question at the recent GACSO (Global Association of Corporate Sustainability Officers) event hosted by Boots was: To professionalise sustainability practice, or not? Listening to the speakers, I initially thought it would be a good idea – not least because I’m all too familiar with the CSR read more

A Grand Gesture

Published: 5th Apr 2013 by Debbie Griffiths

Practically everyone who knows me knows that I’m an animal lover and non-meat eater; I’m anti-foxhunting and a supporter of animal welfare charities. So why, oh why, would I ever bet on the Grand National? ‘Because it’s a national institution and I like a gamble,’ I once replied to a read more

What to expect from cause-related entertainment

Published: 13th Mar 2013 by Debbie Griffiths

As a Comic Relief Red Nose Day fan, I look forward to my regular emails from the charity, letting me know what my fave comedians are up to and where I can watch them on the telly. The charity’s ‘do something funny for money’ concept is still going strong after 25 years. And for good cause – read more

Book review: Sustainability Reporting for SMEs

Published: 11th Feb 2013 by Debbie Griffiths

Sustainability Reporting for SMEs: competitive advantage through transparency by Elaine Cohen was sizzlingly hot off the press when I bought a limited-edition hard copy at the Smarter Sustainability Reporting conference last week. Published by DōSustainability, the book is intended to be downloaded as a read more

What the RSC can teach us about CSR

Published: 11th Jan 2013 by Debbie Griffiths

I felt privileged to get an invite from the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) to attend their Boris Godunov blogging event the other night. Playing in rep at the Swan Theatre until 30 March, Boris is the directing swansong of Michael Boyd, who magnificently recreates the era depicted in Pushkin’s play then brings read more

A dozen sustainability buzzwords

Published: 11th Dec 2012 by Debbie Griffiths

I didn’t expect a sustainability workshop by 2 Degrees and GACSO (Global Association of Chief Sustainability Officers) and my SWIB (Supporting Women in Business) Xmas party to be such complementary bookends to last week.  But both provided a fitting introduction and flourishing footnote to the read more

5 easy ways to be an activist

Published: 23rd Oct 2012 by Debbie Griffiths

Five years ago Mark and I attended the memorial to Anita Roddick, our old boss. It would have been her 65th birthday.  Family and close friends wanted her birthday – October 23 – to be a day when everyone not only remembered Anita, but did something in her name. To make sure her legacy lives on. Five read more

The sustainability of Shakespeare

Published: 10th Jul 2012 by Debbie Griffiths

The press haven’t given it a particularly warm write up and some people didn’t come back to their seats after the interval of A Soldier in Every Son - the rise of the Aztecs when we saw it at the RSC last week. So, saying I really enjoyed it may be going against the popular flow, but hey, I’m used read more

Who reads your sustainability report?

Published: 21st Nov 2011 by Debbie Griffiths

I went into the Ethical Corporation CR (corporate responsibility) Reporting and Communications conference last week dead against the idea of integrating sustainability reporting into a company’s annual report. Why? Because I feared it would put people off reading them. Many CR reports are already huge. But read more

Ryanair goes eco? I doubt it

Published: 31st Jul 2011 by Debbie Griffiths

So, if we’re to believe the news this week, Ryanair is going green. I can’t wait to see the adverts. Given the remarks Mr O’Leary has spouted in the past against environmentalists, it will be fascinating to see how they try and reposition the brand to appeal to all the people he’s pissed off read more

Why our food is legless

Published: 6th May 2011 by Debbie Griffiths

This is my 21st year without meat and Mark’s 17th. Our reasons have changed quite a bit. Mark first did it out of laziness when we got together - I wouldn’t cook meat, so it was easier for him to give up and enjoy my meals (although he had been ethically veggie years before we met). I originally gave up read more

Inspired loss

Published: 11th Apr 2011 by Debbie Griffiths

It's a very strange feeling … having to come to terms with the loss of something I've created and cared for - and written millions of words about - for nearly a decade. Sadly, the Yellow Woods Challenge eco-educational initiative from Yell has closed for good. From a 'back of a beermat' idea to read more

Do we really care about sustainability? Weight on a minute…

Published: 4th Feb 2011 by Debbie Griffiths

Do we really care about sustainability? That’s the title of a Marketing Week article (2 Feb 2011). However, the article is really about sustainable packaging and it would appear that the majority of folk do not care as much about it as the marketers do. Why would we? We should, not least because packaging adds read more

How and why Ideal supported 10:10:10

Published: 11th Oct 2010 by Debbie Griffiths

Yesterday was 10 October 2010 (10:10:10) – a day for global action on cutting carbon, masterminded by 10:10. We did our bit by leaving the car at home and walking the dog on her walkies – she normally gets chauffeured to her fave places! I reset the Owl energy monitor and kept a close eye on it all day. read more

Give as you spend

Published: 31st Aug 2010 by Debbie Griffiths

It’s not every time you open up a credit card statement and have something to smile about. But you do with an Amex RED credit card. You see, every month there’s a little bit on your statement showing you how much money you’ve contributed this month to the Global Fund to help fight AIDS in Africa and read more

Unfair pleasure: chocolate (and child slaves)

Published: 25th Mar 2010 by Debbie Griffiths

Any lifelong dieter like me already knows that chocolate is an unfair pleasure. It tastes so good and sweet and gives you a wonderful high. But at what cost? Calories that turn instantly into fat and a very easy, legal addiction. I also know that the trade in cocoa is financial extortion – unless you buy fair read more

ideal’s new CSR review - why the different approach?

Published: 28th Jan 2010 by Debbie Griffiths

If you’ve read ideal’s new CSR review you’ll know I’m committed to writing 10 CSR blogs by August. Here’s to number two! Regular followers of our CSR reports may wonder why we’ve taken a different approach this year. The answer lies in our values: idealism, honesty, trust and read more

Jimmy’s Global Harvest Horror

Published: 8th Jan 2010 by Debbie Griffiths

It’s the first Friday of the new decade – hope you’re enjoying the winter wonderland. My New Year’s resolution is to take a different approach to Fridays. Health and volunteering are both on the agenda. I volunteered to walk the dog, in the snow, but that doesn’t really count, does it? read more

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