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ANOTHER PLANET?

Edie.net has published the results of an exclusive piece of research, commissioned with partners Temple Group and sister title Sustainable Business, examining the state of play in the sustainability arena, asking the question: why are business leaders prioritising sustainability?  “The results of this survey are powerful,” says CBI head of energy and climate change Dr Matthew Brown, because the results clearly show that it is being prioritised by businesses across multiple sectors and of all sizes. Seven in 10 businesses consider sustainability as a business driver and almost a third putting it at the core of their business strategy. Energy has been voted the number one priority by business leaders in their efforts to improve resource efficiency throughout their organisations, according to exclusive research. Business leaders consider waste reduction to be the second biggest priority in driving better resource efficiency across their organisations. You can downloads the report here http://www.edie.net/news/news_story.asp?src=nl&id=23331

More than 50 businesses including Sky, ASDA and PepsiCo have called on the UK’s chancellor George Osbourne to put in place carbon emission targets for 2030 to incentivise growth in the green economy and revitalise the UK’s ageing energy infrastructure. Osbourne seems to think green policies are a burden on business and is seemingly against carbon targets. Lots of sensible business people see a need for low carbon renewable energy. The plea came in a letter sent to Osbourne, coordinated by the Aldersgate Group, a coalition of businesses who support the move to a sustainable green economy. Many businesses and investors have avoided the UK because of the lack of political commitment to renewables and a green framework. The Conservative party will not decarbonise the UK and meet climate targets by over burdening the British economy and sending jobs overseas, climate change minister, Greg Barker, said at today’s Conservative Party Conference. Barker said: “We have a distinct Conservative approach that puts jobs, growth and value for money at the centre of our green agenda”. adding “Green Growth isn’t just a catch phrase for us it is at the heart of our vision of a prosperous, sustainable economy”.  Labour’s Ed  Millband told the Labour Party conference in Manchester that the environment was “absolutely central” to his vision for the future and he criticised the government for their dwindling green credentials. His move follows news of the green sector’s angry reception to the opposition leader’s central speech on Tuesday, which failed to address the environment.

Celebrity chef Raymond Blanc has applauded The Pig restaurant for being named sustainable restaurant of the year at the National Restaurant Awards (NRA).  The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) recognised The Pig’s efforts to operate sustainably, which included a menu with 80% of the produce sourced from within 25 miles. It also installed a full range of energy efficient equipment in the kitchen, implemented an across the board recycling policy and maintains a very close working relationship with local schools and colleges.

Coca-Cola Enterprises is to embark on a ground-breaking international pilot to understand what makes consumers tick when it comes to recycling. The drinks bottler is leading a research project with the University of Exeter to explore the social science behind household recycling by studying behavioural patterns and dynamics between family members when it comes to waste disposal.

Enviromentalist Jonathon Porritt has called for a more open debate on the potential of using waste-to-energy to recover the calorific value in plastics waste. Porritt said that modern energy recovery technologies such as small-scale incineration or advanced gasification should be considered as a viable recovery solution for the material despite many green groups being fiercely opposed to the idea of burning plastics. And more from Jonathon on waste here http://www.jonathonporritt.com/blog/what-waste.

Just a year after its debut, the popular Nest Learning Thermostat has gotten a full upgrade. The new second generation Nest has a slimmer design and a host of new hardware and software features including more programmable energy-saving features, expanded mobile support and compatibility with even more home heating and cooling systems and, now, humidification systems too. More here http://www.treehugger.com/gadgets/new-nest-thermostat-slimmer-has-even-more-energy-saving-features.html

Portland, Oregon and New York City, two very different cities, are finding something similar about cyclists and pedestrians – they tend to spend a bit more money in local economies. In New York’s East Village, putting in new bikes lanes has lead to an increase in cycling, with nearly a quarter of residents reporting biking for their transportation needs. Altogether, 95% of retail dollars in the area that Transportation Alternatives studied were spent by cyclists, pedestrians, and public transport users.  In Portland, Oregon, a less dense city, researcher Kelly Clifton found a slightly different yet also persuasive case that over time, pedestrians and cyclists spend more than their car-driving brethren.  As Clifton puts it in the report on the research: “Cyclists are greater spenders on average…Patrons who arrive by automobile do not necessarily convey greater monetary benefits to businesses than bicyclists, transit users, or pedestrians. This finding is contrary to what business owners often believe.” – Business Cycles, Catering to the Bicycling Market (From Treehugger).

British businesses have applauded the government’s decision to continue providing support to medium scale renewables schemes under the Renewable Obligation (RO).

Family businesses are increasingly focusing on sustainability, giving them a competitive advantage, according to research released today. The report ‘Sustainable Value Creation’ published by the Institute for Family Business (IFB), reveals that 72% of family businesses have a sustainable strategy in place and that 79% have implemented sustainable business practices.

Britain could run out of energy generating capacity in the winter of 2015-16 as a result of EU environmental laws and coal plant closures, according to Ofgem. Currently, the UK has 14% spare capacity but Ofgem estimates that this could fall to 4% by 2015/2016.  The Government is being called upon to utilise biogas generated from anaerobic digestion to tackle possible blackouts in the future.

The International Golf Federation (IGF) has announced that it will promote best practice to minimise the sport’s consumption of non-renewable natural resources.

Investors in biomass facilities have been told that they will not face mandatory price control reporting in order to qualify for subsidies. Energy Minister John Hayes said a voluntary system will instead be put in place whereby the operators of co-firing stations and biomass conversions will be asked to pre-notify DECC of their generating intentions in advance of each Renewables Obligation (RO) period.

The public will be able to tour Brighton and Hove’s 20 eco-homes at the council’s annual household efficiency event.

Sainsbury’s will stage the UK’s biggest ever single-charity food collection appeal as part of its drive to tackle food waste in the supply chain. The retailer is teaming up with food redistribution charity FareShare to run the ‘Million Meal Appeal’ across of its stores, encouraging customers to donate food items whilst they shop.