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20 questions with… John Fleetwood



John Fleetwood answers 20 questions on life, sustainability and everything.

John Fleetwood is also a former financial adviser and was a co-founder of the Cochabamba Project (the UK Society that funds ArBolivia) in 2009. Aside from his role within ArBolivia, he provides research on CSR issues to financial institutions engaged in promoting socially responsible investments and is the founder of

We want the world to be as blue and green tomorrow as it was yesterday. What’s your mission?

To be the person I was designed to be, to experience life in all its fullness and to help make the world a better place

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A weather man – I still take a keen interest in the weather.

How would your friends describe you?

Probably as a bit of a nutcase for my feats of endurance in the hills.

What was your ‘road to Damascus moment’ in terms of sustainability?

Doing a geography degree and looking at the bigger picture and the impact of man

Who or what inspires you?

Anyone that is wholehearted and committed to serving others.  I was inspired by Satish Kumar’s book on walking across the world without any money.  As a Christian, I’m also inspired by Jesus.

Describe your perfect day.

Pink sunrise above a sea of clouds, back for a buffet breakfast with the family looking out at the sea, good book, snorkelling in a warm sea, game of tennis, homemade produce for lunch, more of the same after lunch, run before dinner to see the sunset on top of a rocky spire, candlelit dinner with my wife  looking over the ocean, theatre performance after dinner.

What do you see when you look out your window at home?

200 year old slate roofs on a mill cottage, a wooded gorge containing the River sprint and the fields leading up to the Eastern fells.

What do you like spending your money on?

Outdoor kit, camera gear, youth hostels, books, maps and quality bread

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

Sea and mountains combined – West coast of Scotland, Norway

What’s your favourite book?

The bible.  Its a much misunderstood book which only unfolds after considering the context and the book as a whole.  But if we are applying Desert Island Discs rules, I’d take a Dickens novel – maybe Pickwick Papers.

What’s your favourite film?

I’m not the sort of person to watch a film umpteen times over, but I think the film that left the biggest impact was ‘Hubble’ – the 3D was incredible and you are left reaching out for the stars.

You’re elected prime minister with a thumping majority. What’s the first thing you do?

I guess elect a cabinet, but after that seek to channel more money into productive infrastructure.

If you were stuck on a desert island, which famous person would you like to be stuck with and why?

Brian Cox – he’d tell me all about the stars which I could explore in my mind’s eye when we were bored on a little desert island.

What was the best piece of advice you have ever been given? And the worst?

Be content with who you are.  Play it safe – life is too short for that.

What’s your biggest regret?

Not taking risks earlier in life.

What one thing would you encourage readers to do to make their life more sustainable?

Consume less.

What’s the one idea that you think could change the world for the better?

Love your neighbour as yourself.

What’s your favourite quote?

TS Eliot – “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

What would you like to be doing five years from now?

Same as now but more time doing creative things.

And the bonus questions: how would you like to be remembered? – what will they carve on your gravestone?

Someone who made the most of what they’d be given for good.

To read other 20 questions with, click here.


4 Common Items That Can be Reused Again and Again



reuse reduce recycle plastic bottles etc
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Vanatchanan |

As a society we are getting much better at taking our obligations to the world and environment around us more seriously. This is undoubtedly a good thing! The effects of climate change are beginning to manifest across the world, and this is turning the issue from an abstract threat into a very real danger. Trying to introduce some greener, more eco-friendly practices into your life isn’t just a great way of doing something beneficial for society and the world around you. It is a wonderful way of engaging positively with the world and carries with it numerous psychological benefits.

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Being a greener, more ecologically friendly person doesn’t require any dramatic life changes. Breaking or making a few small habits is all it takes to make your life a greener one. In this article we look at one of the easiest, yet most effective green practices to get into: reusing everyday items.

Jars and Containers

Glass and metal are widely recycled, and recycling is a good thing! However, consider whether any containers you buy, whether it’s a tub of ice cream or a jar of coffee, can be washed out and reused for something else. Mason jars, for example, can be used to store homemade pasta sauce and can be washed for future use. Once you start thinking about it, you will find endless opportunities to reuse your old containers.

Soda Bottles

An ice-cold soda is a wonderful treat on a hot day, but buying soda can get expensive, and the manufacturing and distribution of the drinks themselves isn’t great for the environment. However, by holding on to your old soda bottles and repurposing them as water bottles, you can save money on drinks, or use them to measure out water for your garden.

Plastic Bags

Most of the time groceries come in paper bags, which are better for the environment than the plastic alternatives, but they are less durable and thus harder to reuse. Whenever the store places your items in a plastic bag, hang onto it so you can reuse the bags again. If you want to take it one step further, consider looking into buying some personalized recycled bags. These bags are designed to last for a long time and are made of recycled materials. They look striking and unique, they’ll turn heads, and maybe even attitudes!


If you’re a keen gardener, then you will already probably know how to reseed your plants in order to ensure a fresh crop after each plant’s lifecycle. If you have space in your garden, or haven’t yet tried your hand at gardening, then consider planting a small vegetable plot. Growing your own veggies means that you’ll be helping to cut back on the emissions generated by their transport and production. The best part about growing your own food in this way is that, by harvesting properly and saving the seeds, you can be set up with fresh vegetables for life!

Reusing and recycling common household items is an easy way to make your world a little bit greener. Once you start looking for these opportunities you’ll realize that they’re everywhere!

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These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money




eco-friendly green offices
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Stokkete |

The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.

Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.

Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.

Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale

The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.

Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.

Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI

It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.

Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.

Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.

Implementing green changes without a plan

Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.

Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:

  • How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
  • How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
  • How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
  • How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?

The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.

Not considering the benefits of green printing

Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.

Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.

According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:

  • They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
  • They consume less energy than traditional printers.
  • They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.

You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.

Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers

Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.

The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.

You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.

Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.

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