Accepting the unacceptability

As you’d expect, we are extremely conscious of our material impact. From the paper we use in our publications to the water provided at our events, we are careful to source and serve the right materials – and only then where they have a clear purpose and benefit. But we’ve had a long-standing ‘hardware’ issue that has been difficult to tackle: the plastic wrap that your copy of TRANSFORM arrives in.

You told us that sending out a magazine which has been giving great coverage of the plastics debate bound in a polywrap was a clear mismatch. We got that, and accepted the unacceptability. But as you will know better than most, acknowledging the problem is easy – finding the right solution involves tough choices.

The most radical alternative was to abandon the print version and become a digital publication – but we know that for the many members who tell us they really value the physical magazine, that would have been the wrong resolution. We had to take a hard look at the limited packaging and mailing options open to us; most simply shifted the environmental burden around – which we’re not happy to do – and some were prohibitively expensive. (I feel that addressing an environmental responsibility issue also means being responsible with members’ money.)

Cracking this nut has been no different to the tests members face every day to change their businesses; a difficult, complex and urgent challenge to make a long-term change. It’s a prime example of how individual trials make up the bigger sustainability picture, and how using all seven competencies on the outer ring of the Skills Map supports great decision making. Through collaboration and determination, we’ve found a solution, and I’m delighted to now show you your first ‘naked’ issue of TRANSFORM.

I’d like to thank you for your support while we sorted this, and for your tenacity in always pushing us to do better. Since we made the announcement on World Environment Day, I’ve seen lots of you calling on other publishers to follow our example, so we may just have started something that has a much wider impact than we intended.

Please keep letting us know what you want to see done differently and done better. You drive us to do exciting things.


Tim Balcon is the CEO of IEMA

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