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Last edited 03 Mar 2021
The need for rebel leadership
There seems to be a growing consensus that we are running out of time in our fight against planetary destruction - oceans choked with plastics, toxic cities and ever-increasing levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Add to this the increasing frustration of lack of opportunity for social mobility, unequal access to education and healthcare and it is not surprising that people are starting to call for a different type of leadership.
There is also an increasing awareness that new disruptive business and economic models are required to create a paradigm shift. This is where entrepreneurs and micro-businesses come in to play - not bound by the same business culture that says "we do it this way because it has always been done that way".
Those that work in micro-consultancies are able to challenge and push without fear of losing their jobs or being over-looked for promotion. If a client does not want to be challenged then the chances are, they would not engage with them in the first place.
KLH Sustainability are fortunate enough to have been sought out by a number of clients that want to be challenged, and that want to challenge the norm to deliver new and exciting products to the market place.
One such client is aiming to deliver 100% affordable housing across numerous London boroughs, and quickly. This isn’t affordability defined as 80% below market rates, as anybody in London knows, that sort of rental value is still not affordable for many of London’s key workers. This is affordability as defined by the boroughs themselves, with a knowledge of average incomes and housing needs. And this isn’t affordability to the detriment of housing quality; Home Quality Mark and Passivhaus are just two of the standards that are being applied to the developments.
Another client, a smaller design-led developer has set out an ambition to deliver zero bills, life-cycle carbon positive homes by 2020, and at no additional cost to home buyers. We affectionately call these clients 'rebel developers'.
Eight years ago, when I set up KLH sustainability a number of colleagues in a similar financial, family and career situation said to me “I wish I could”. When I asked them “why don’t you?”, none of them could give a convincing reason. More recently, over breakfast at a conference, I mentioned to a well-respected company director that I split my time between the hectic London streets and the peaceful French Alps, he told me he’d always fancied smoking ham in Spain. I asked him why he didn’t make that dream happen, he told me it “wasn’t the right time”. At over 60 years of age, one has to wonder if the right time will be too late.
The point is whether personal change, business change, or indeed widespread governance and fiscal change there will always be fear. But the opportunity, and indeed the desperate need, for new entries to the market place, for defining new ways of working and for redefining wealth across the globe has got to be worth the risk.
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