Julia Hailes MBE

Sustainability Pioneer


London Meetings – (Mar07)

For the only time this week I managed to lie in. Then found a man at Luxembourg airport who I hoped would help me access Wifi for the first time with my new tablet laptop (I bought it on Ebay). But it seems I haven’t set the computer up properly, so won’t be able to download emails until I get home. Addiction to e-messaging means there’s a nagging feeling that I’ve missed something important.

Flew to City Airport for the first time – amazingly convenient. Met Rishi Bhattacharya from Edleman PR for lunch at the Avenue Restaurant in St James Street. He’s going to be helping with PR around the launch of The New Green Consumer Guide, alongside my publisher – Simon & Schuster. I didn’t manage to dissuade him from ordering what I assumed to be unsustainable cod from the menu – but have to admit that with crusted herbs and salt it looked really delicious. Wondered if the Avenue has a policy on sourcing sustainable fish – I didn’t see anything written about it. Although policies of this sort are currently exceptional, I predict that they’ll be almost universal in a few years time.

My next meeting was with Nick Hayes, director of Sustainable Development at the Building Research Establishment or BRE as it’s more commonly known. We’d arranged to meet at Starbucks but when I went into the coffee shop it smelt of stale milk, so we adjourned to the Ritz instead! Actually I had another motive too, which was to recharge my mobile phone. It turns out that the Ritz has a special machine that will do this in 10 minutes, so it was a good idea. Nick was worried that his credibility in the office would be compromised because the Ritz insist on ties being worn. I selected a bright red one from those offered and then took a photo of him…..

Like me, BRE are under siege from businesses wanting help with their environmental activities – in their case the focus is unsurprisingly on buildings. They have set up an impressive system for assessing sustainability issues relating to retail stores – and are working with a number of big companies putting this into practice. Taking a holistic approach they’re talking to me about helping them consider issues around sustainable product sourcing.

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