Hitting the headlines: March
March certainly hasn’t been short of talking points in the sustainability space. Blue & Green Tomorrow takes a look some of the month’s biggest stories and examines how other news outlets tackled them.
Last week’s news agenda was dominated by one thing: the budget statement. We had all hoped that the so-called “greenest government ever” would live up to its promise, and that George Osborne would announce a few strong and exciting measures related to renewable energy and sustainability.
We were left wanting. At Blue & Green Tomorrow, we asked, “What about the environment?” (Budget 2012: what about the environment?), and questioned how sustainable Osborne’s environmental plans really were (An unsustainable budget).
The significant lack of planned environmental action in the budget was proven by the BBC, whose ‘Green Measures’ section in its ‘at a glance’ round-up (Budget 2012 at a glance: George Osborne’s key points) momentarily disappeared immediately after Osborne’s statement, before reappearing at the bottom of the page with a rather forced three lines about the Carbon Reduction Commitment.
The Guardian’s reporting of Osborne’s speech focused on his ‘dash for gas’ (Budget 2012: chancellor fires starting gun on dash for gas), after he picked out natural gas as “the largest single source of our electricity in the coming years”, leaving the renewables industry scratching its head.
The Guardian’s Damian Carrington echoed the words of our very own Simon Leadbetter in a piece titled George Osborne’s fossil-fuelled fantasy is the road to nowhere.
In it, he wrote how Osborne had said, “Environmentally sustainable has to be fiscally sustainable too”. Carrington argued that “the reverse is the greater truth: short-term economic growth fuelled by environmental degradation is the road to nowhere.”
Another big story that sent shockwaves through financial circles was Goldman Sachs’ now ex-executive director, Greg Smith, who very publicly announced his resignation and the reasons behind his decision in a New York Times article on March 14 (Why I am leaving Goldman Sachs).
B> wrote how Smith had pointed the blame on the firm’s “toxic and destructive” environment (Goldman Sachs’ “toxic and destructive” environment forces director to quit), which had, in the end, made his decision an easy one.
It was later announced that Goldman Sachs lost $2.15 billion of its market value on the day of Smith’s letter, leading us to produce a nifty infographic that showed the scale of damage that rippled through the company (Infographic: Goldman Sachs and the cost of the written word).
Irish comedian and author, Colm O’Regan, wrote an opinion piece for the BBC News site a day after the publication of Smith’s public resignation (Goldman Sachs resignation: Muppet letter is everyone’s fantasy).
“Many of us have imagined writing a letter of resignation that shakes our bosses to the core”, O’Regan wrote, “but few have actually done it, and rarely even then has the letter been read by millions.
“Greg Smith, who quit Goldman Sachs this week, has realised our fantasy.”
A senior Goldman Sachs executive told the BBC that the letter could prompt change (Goldman Sachs resignation letter ‘could prompt change’), and the subject was also deemed a hot topic for the BBC Radio 4 Today programme to discuss (Goldman Sachs man’s feisty exit).
The final piece of March news that made headlines across many media outlets surrounded Dow Chemical’s sponsorship of this summer’s London Olympics.
The multinational corporation has come under fire for its involvement in the Games, because of its direct links to the 1984 Bhopal disaster (Dow Olympic sponsorship faces scrutiny).
Dow vice-president, George Hamilton, told The Guardian that critics of his company’s sponsorship deal with London 2012 are “irresponsible”, and that, “The people attacking Dow have woefully underestimated our character and who we are” (London 2012: Dow Chemical defends Olympic Stadium sponsorship deal).
The Telegraph reported how prime minister David Cameron had backed Dow’s role as one of the main sponsors (London 2012 Olympics: David Cameron backs Dow Chemical’s sponsorship of Games), and that the company had tried to shift the blame for Bhopal over to an Indian battery manufacturing firm (London 2012 Olympics: Dow Chemical puts blame for ongoing crisis in Bhopal at Indian government’s door).
That’s all for our March roundup of the major news headlines. We live in hope that the April instalment offers a selection of more optimistic stories picked out by the national media. In the meantime, B> will continue to report on positive announcements in the sustainability space, highlighting sustainable investment as the real difference maker.
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Picture source: Jon S
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