Business leaders unwilling to accept issues around sustainability are preventing the world from tackling climate change and resource scarcity, says HW Fisher who warn that because businesses have a vested interest in making maximum returns for their shareholders, sustainability is lower down the list of priorities saying “Businesses are essentially working incompatibly with everybody else’s survival”.

A construction and civil engineering company has been fined £4,000 for permitting its contractors to carry out illegal work causing “an extremely serious case of pollution” in the River Lyon in Perth, Scotland. Shawater Limited pleaded guilty at Perth Sheriff Court yesterday after its contractors carried out work without the necessary licence under the Water Environment (Controlled Activities) Regulations 2011.  The breach of regulations, which are intended to protect Scotland’s water environment, was investigated by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

peats ridge 2One of Australia’s leading sustainable events, Peats Ridge Festival, has gone into administration with of debts of A£1.27 million. The ninth running of the event from December 29th to January 1st 2013 at Glenworth Valley in NSW was headlined by a Friendly Fires DJ set, the Black Seeds and the John Butler Trio. Creditors have challenged promoter Matt Grant’s choice of insolvency firm Jirsch Sutherland to manage the liquidation, instead appointing their own forensic accountants, Worrells. Some $750,000 is owned to performers and production crew.

The next UK Budget must include measures to make Britain’s homes more energy efficient, boosting the construction industry and reducing household bills, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has warned UK chancellor George Osborne, saying  that the UK Government should redirect the funds obtained through the European Emissions Trading Scheme and the Carbon Floor Price to fund a mass public sector upgrade of the UK’s homes.  According to FMB this would boost economic growth, increase employment opportunities and reduce the UK’s carbon emission targets.  And the Government has been urged to demonstrate its commitment for all new homes to be zero carbon from 2016 by ending the delay on new Building Regulations. Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, Shadow Energy Secretary Caroline Flint and Shadow Housing Minister Jack Dromey have sent an open letter to Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, arguing that the failure to clarify the standards which builders should adhere to in 2013 through Part L of the regulations is “highly detrimental” for delivering new homes and puts a key green policy at “serious risk.”  The call from Labour MPs has been strongly backed by the UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) who is also concerned over the uncertainty of the price of carbon in the so-called Allowable Solutions 2016 policy which enables developers to invest in offsite carbon mitigation schemes.

Hundreds of environment ministers, decision makers, scientists, civil society representatives and business leaders will gather at the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) headquarters in an attempt to galvanize a new era of stronger action on pressing environmental issues. Issue  that will be discussed include sustainable consumption, financing options for chemicals and waste, and system-wide coordination on Rio+20 follow-up.  The conference (next week) is the first ever meeting of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC/GMEF), under universal membership.