Friday, 23 September 2016

Brexit and the Circular Economy

Having attended the RWM / Energy event last week, I was interested to update on latest developments with the Circular Economy, Energy from Waste and Recycling / Reprocessing / Waste sectors.   What became apparent is that whilst the UK is pushing to develop a circular economy there are huge opportunities in what is now becoming the Global Circular Economy.  This got me thinking.  Will Brexit (whatever Brexit means) have any impact on the objective of achieving a world where we reduce resources and extend the lifecycle of what we use and recycle as much as we can if we leave the EU?

For those unfamiliar with the terminology the circular economy is a modernised version of the old ‘reduce, re-use, recycle’ mantra with the objective of stripping out waste, streamlining supply chains and converting what we can into energy.  The market opportunity is huge and with the changes afoot the Global Circular Economy could be a $1 Trillion opportunity.  In the UK alone this could equate to £3-6 Billion and the creation of 50,000 jobs.  

All the respective sectors and businesses within those should all be contributing.  Ultimately we need to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and I believe any businesses producing waste of any description has a duty to fulfil.  This then extends to the domestic world and peoples behaviours in their homes, buying habits in terms of purchasing what you need not what you think you need and everyone contributing to a less wasteful existence.  These behaviours are interchangeable as habits become the norm if practised often enough and what might be a move to reducing the weekly shopping bill at home can actually extend into achieving resource efficiency in business.
Education, Legislation and communication are key and it takes the leaders of business, Government (central and local) to push this down from above.  After all there are money making opportunities from the renewable sources of energy that can be created, the cost savings in reducing materials spend and reducing waste;  so why wouldn’t you?

It is more important than ever that we work together what with an ever increasing population, rising commodity and material prices and working through global supply chains to reduce firstly what’s purchased and then secondly what we send on a journey.  Making that process as efficient as possible is imperative in order to attain the goal.

What can be done when so much change is needed?  A start would be to ensure the best and right talent is being utilised to full effect.  Engaging experts in the field that can drive forward the agenda within companies seems to me to be a hugely important part of the achieving the goal.  Individuals without the distraction of day to day BAU that can push the difficult tasks and drive a cultural change within the business.  Additionally those responsible for the corporate social responsibility agendas in businesses have a great opportunity to drive a zero- waste and re-use culture which in turn will result in improved efficiencies and more profitable operations.   

There are of course many businesses now involved in the resource efficiency market from those involved in building and operating Energy from Waste plants, Recycling, Renewables and so on that are all running businesses and making profit from this. Waste has become a valuable resource and although we should all try to minimise it, it’s hugely important that it’s dealt with in the right way and in the right place.
The Waste sector has been driven by EU legislation for quite some time and it’s vital that the UK does not lose ground.  We need more progress.  Europe’s economy has created vast wealth in part attributable to the trend of improving and re-using resources.  Sub industries have grown and flourished and can go further across Europe and indeed globally.  It was in fact the UK that was an early adopter and leader in the EU of addressing environmental issues with the introduction of the Control of Pollutions Act 1974.  Whether or not Brexit will have any impact on this remains to be seen but it seems to me that as part of the mammoth task that lies ahead in terms of managing an exit (possible) from Europe, we need new legislation in place to reach our goal of attaining Zero waste businesses and ultimately cities to co-exist with the ensuing trade agreements that are going to follow.

Steven Wynne

For further discussions please contact Steven Wynne at or telephone 01423 704155

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Brexit, and the future of European resourcing….

Martin Sorrell of WPP suggested the Remain campaign was out of touch with the concerns and views of the majority of the electorate. The focus on the rational economic argument, neglecting the emotionally-driven issues of sovereignty and immigration, was an error.

The full consequences of Remains’ failure are hard to predict but they will likely include slower growth rates in the UK and beyond. There will be considerable uncertainty for some time, which will slow decision-making and deter economic activity and investment. Delaying triggering Article 50 feels like there was little expectation of Brexit succeeding, little plan for afterwards, politicians resigning and in a time when businesses need swift action to reduce uncertainty.

All this in a business world that has become self burdened with caution, risk-aversion and short-termism. We have already seen examples of investment being put off or cancelled altogether, the faltering Tata Steel sale process, or the delayed EDF Hinckley Nuclear investment are cases in point. Besides, this could have serious implications for our National ability to satisfy future UK Energy demand (if the lights start going out, will the Brexiteers be ok with that?), and future job loses.

However, we have no choice but to look ahead to a post-Brexit future and will that be so different politically. After all of this upheaval, will we revert back to something which operates in a similar way to pre referendum? If the UK needs to make concessions on free movement of people and immigration in order to retain trade relationships – are we not back to Square one?

Paradoxically, WPP and other firms may become more European than ever. While the UK may have voted to leave Europe, companies have not. Four large top 10 markets are in Western Continental Europe – Germany, France, Italy and Spain. Here it’s likely to spur recruitment of people employed in European markets faster than in the UK.

The strategic reaction to Brexit may be to pursue a greater focus on the fast-growth markets (“emerging” economies); a greater focus on data and digital; and (another irony) a greater focus on getting people to work together more effectively across national and functional boundaries for the benefit of clients.

Working together for its clients (the electorate) is something the UK’s politicians are finding hard to do. After a vote for division and isolation, and a descent into political in-fighting, this message of unity is one that Westminster would be well-advised to listen to.

By Duncan Carter, Director at Macallam Executive Search and Interim Management

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

FM World annual survey in the facilities management sector

As part of the FM World annual survey in the facilities management sector, we were asked to contribute by answering some questions as to what we thought were the skills and capabilities currently being demanded in the FM market?

Here are our thoughts on how we see the jobs market in the FM sector in 2016.

What skills are organisations seeking from their FM personnel?

There is a steady flow of requirements for experienced FM managers with strong communication, commercial, customer skills and often technical service line knowledge; however the changing demands of many client environments are driving the need for greater skillsets. In some cases we see more emphasis on senior skills in commercial and change management, than the need for technically driven people who understand a specific client sector.

However, there is still a significant need for FM experience by contractors who feel they need to present people to their clients who have knowledge in FM and experience in that sector. It’s a case of can they influence their client to recruit someone from outside.

 Are FM-specific qualifications seen as a must-have, or are they less relevant at senior level, where the emphasis is more on the 'management' part of facilities management?

In the main, qualifications are less important than proven management ability to deliver results.

Where contractors are constrained by budgets, do they ever seek to recruit from within and invest in training current staff in various management skills?

Contractors do develop people through their Training and Development schemes, but that's a whole separate topic which would require in detail analysis of their effectiveness.

Are employers looking for facilities managers with better qualifications today, when compared to five, ten years ago?

Better qualifications help, but wider experience is more beneficial. In some cases, providers would like to bring people into the FM sector at GM or Account level from other industries. There is a view that FM has become over inflated with high salaried, often average people. In sectors such as manufacturing, it is possible to find well qualified, graduate calibre managers with sophisticated management skills, large team management, process and six sigma training for much lower salaries. These people can also bring new ideas into a maturing market. As contractors come under increasing cost pressure, these are becoming attractive options. A good example is, Macallam appointed Joe Podolsky from Emerson, the Global engineering manufacturer to successfully develop a key market for GWS, Johnson Controls.

For further information on this or for a confidential discussion please get in touch on             T: 01423 704154 or E: