Case Studies

Implementing systems

  • RLB, an independent and people-focussed global property and construction practice, was keen to implement ISO14001 for the UK arm business for two reasons - to help attract more business and to support corporate responsibility goals. We were invited to help.

    With ISO9001 in place and a willingness to learn, the team needed direct support on environmental matters and how they applied to offices, the services offered, procurement and other areas. Direct guidance was given on assessing...

    “We employ technical consultants all the time so our expectations are very high.  I believe we won a £4million+ contract because of ISO14001, the help we received and our wider corporate responsibility aims. Sustainable Change Co-operative exceeded expectations by a mile and could not be more highly regarded and recommended by us"

    Phil Higham, Managing Partner, RLB UK Ltd

  • FRC Group, an innovating social enterprise in Liverpool, recycles and reuses waste furniture and supplies social housing clients with modern equipment.  Directors were keen to get ISO14001 in place to meet social goals and meet specific requirements of clients and chose to use  BS8555, a British Standard which provides guidance on the phased implementation of an EMS.   The team taking it forward needed reassurance that they were on the right track, in terms of timings and...

    “Sustainable Change Co-operative took the drama out of it, taking a pragmatic and practical approach and keeping us on track. They were really bothered about us and that really mattered.”

    Alison Ball, Impact Director FRC Group

Developing people

  • Co-operatives UK wanted to develop a better understanding of what sustainability meant to them as an organisation and then to think about how to apply it internally and to members. We designed and ran a workshop to assist all staff to collectively develop a definition of sustainability. Core to the session was an exercise where people ‘transported’ themselves to a remote island and worked out the rules to live by so life might flourish indefinitely. Going back to basics like this allows...

  • Oldham Council achieved accreditation to UKAS ISO14001 in 2012 and it’s the policy team that got it there, with a helping hand from us. Efforts to get it going had been underway for many years but staff changes, cut backs and different layers of complexity and style, had started to turn it into a bit of trial. We were brought in to get it on track.

    Starting out: A first task was to glean data and knowledge from the work that had gone before. Effort focussed on clarifying...

    Fiona's expertise and advice was invaluable and we couldn't have done it without her. She is extremely knowledgeable and was able to work with us in a way which was challenging but supportive at the same time. She also helped us to develop key individuals so that we could sustain the system ourselves. Three years on and we have just achieved reaccreditation - a testament to the excellent work Fiona did with us at the start of our ISO 14001 journey.

    Emma Alexander, Executive Director, Oldham Council

  • Sustainable Change Co-operative supported Threshold, a charity supporting homeless and vulnerable people, to win and deliver a programme of projects to reduce energy demand in homes and the community. Working alongside Creative Concern and Action for Sustainable Living (AFSL), as well as Oldham Council and Oldham College, a variety of tools and approaches were tested.

    We drafted the Energy Checklist and Guidance for Community Buildings, a detailed...

    "The input from Fiona and Steven, and Sustainable Change's network of contacts, delivered what we needed, often going beyond what was strictly required.Great partner!"

    Nick Harris, Business Development Manager, Threshold


  • Waste food

    Working with Associates (Sastun and CMS), we successfully bid* to deliver a feasibility study to explore the need and opportunity for a FareShare or similar service in North East Wales. FareShare UK is a national charity distributing surplus in-date ‘waste’ food to those that most need it and operates through franchises and hubs across much of the UK.

    The study looked at the need for such a service, as well as the barriers to redistributing food to communities in North East Wales. It...

    “The feasibility study undertaken by Fiona [Partner at Sustainable Change] with Sastun explored opportunities for surplus food re-distribution in NE Wales, and positioned the need in the region centre stage and provided a developmental route map towards implementation. Fiona's knowledge, enthusiasm, attention to detail as well as her flexibility makes her an ideal consultant or colleague and I would certainly recommend her to others.”

    Eifion Williams, Environment Wales & Community Recycling Network (Joint Role)

  • With plans to relieve congestion on the M4 around Newport moving forward, the Wildlife Trusts Wales and others were concerned that sufficient attention had not been paid to implications for carbon emissions. To rectify this they commissioned, with funding from the Climate Change Commission Wales, Tyndall Manchester and Sustainable Change Co-operative to produce a concise report exploring the issues. We undertook a review of literature, covering areas such as how building new roads encourages...

    "We needed a concise yet thorough report that would help us with the important job of ensuring that climate change is at the heart of policy-making in Wales and is fully considered in the case of plans for the M4. That is exactly what Sustainable Change Co-operative and Tyndall Manchester delivered.”

    James Byrne, Wildlife Trusts Wales

  • Sustainable Change Co-operative was invited to help Aster Group, a large social housing provider, explore how it might support the development of co-operative and community energy projects within its estate and communities. A variety of practical options were proposed, drawing on existing co-operative and community groups; what is happening locally to Aster; community share offers; the knowledge of other specialists in co-operative energy; and wider research.  

    It was a...

    "Sustainable Change Cooperative provided a clear, concise and well informed report that is now helping shape how we can encourage the uptake of renewable energy within our communities."

    Adam Hackett Head of Sustainability and Safety, Aster Property

  • Moss Brook Growers, a local organic vegetable producer, working with Unicorn Grocery and GMCVO,was looking to commission a 15kW solar array and needed help understanding possible returns, as well as energy and carbon savings. Funded through the The...

    “The work that Sustainable Change did for our solar power project was great. We found them to be knowledgeable, professional & quick to reply. Their advice was clear, and they were happy to answer any further questions we had. So, all in all, a great service! Thank you very much.”

    Rob, Moss Brook Growers

  • Fracking

    Sustainable Change Cooperative assisted the Tyndall Centre in delivering an important report for the Cooperative examining issues associated with the possible exploitation of shale gas in the UK. This is as an unconventional way of obtaining natural gas that has expanded rapidly in the United States, and is...

  • Recognising the need to rapidly reduce carbon emissions but not really knowing what this would mean, the Welsh Assembly Government commissioned a research project led by Tyndall Manchester and assisted by ourselves.

    We were closely involved in all aspects of the work which focused on understanding how Wales might achieve three different rates of carbon reductions – 3% reductions per annum, 6% reductions per annum, and 9% reductions per annum – and the implications of these on society...

    “This was a ground-breaking project and we needed support from researchers we could trust to deliver timely and high quality work. We were not disappointed! We continue to work closely with Sustainable Change Co-operative.” 

    Professor Kevin Anderson, Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Research

  • Adactus, a large Northwest-based social housing provider, was looking for help understanding all the elements that make up a sustainable community and asked if we could support them as they prepared a large bid to support the regeneration of a suburb of Manchester.  

    Our approach involved a detailed analysis of the area and drew upon the recently launched BREEAM Communities, as well as our experience of sustainable buildings and community...

    “Sustainable Change Co-operative helped us develop our ideas and responded quickly to our requests to change the brief. It’s refreshing to work with people who are truly passionate about what they do. We will definitely work with them again.”

    Bob Pleasance Project Manager, Adactus Housing

  • Provident Financial, keen to actively engage its 1.5million+ customers on climate change and energy related issues, sought advice on some options that might be available to them. It was clear that there were many communications channels used by the business and successful awareness raising campaigns to draw upon.  These existing mechanisms, combined with our expertise, experience and reserach technicqes, enabled a Top 10 list of practical ideas to evolve.

    “The research was extremely thorough and resulted in a professional report full of practical and innovative options for going forward. We got exactly what we asked for and more.”

    Rob Lawson, CR Manager Provident Financial Plc

Planning and doing

  • Fiona Nicholls, a Partner at Sustainable Change Co-operative, is also a Founder Director of St John's Sunshine (SJS), a registered society and volunteer-run community energy co-operative where all members have an equal say. Fiona's involvement came about following an introduction to John Hughes, a community leader, who wanted to put solar panels on the roof of a church in Old Trafford not too far...

  • Ketso is a novel way to engage people and develop plans

    Sustainable Change was approached by a group from Rochdale – residents, local organisations, activists and councillors – to help them kick start a sustainability strategy for the town. The best opportunity to bring everyone together was in a workshop setting and it was important to get the most out of it. We facilitated the session and used Ketso, an innovative yet ‘light’ tool for working with groups of people, to capture...

  • Oldham Council wanted to develop a borough-wide climate change plan that would garner support for action and to start making things happen.

    It was important that the process was an inclusive one, involving people from different organisations and groups across the borough. We conducted interviews and developed a short online survey to gather thoughts and opinions from a variety of people. We also reviewed other local authority climate plans, examples of good practice, and work that had...

    “The work more than matched our expectations – helping us develop our climate change action plan and engage meaningfully with stakeholders. It really helped that they clearly cared about what we are trying to do.”  

    Adam Hackett, Divisional Lead- Environmental Policy, Oldham Council