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Sustainable banks need ‘courage’ to make inroads into the mainstream



In a meeting in Melbourne, the chair of the Global Alliance for Banking Values (GABV) has called on banks to act with “courage” to drive forward the sustainable banking movement.

Peter Blom, who is also CEO of Triodos Bank, said, “What it all comes back to I feel, it’s one: how do we deal with fear? And two: how do we find the courage?

We want to grow, we see the time needs us, the market needs us.”

The GABV is an alliance of 25 leading sustainable and ethical banks, which have combined assets of around $70 billion (£42.1 billion). Such banks, its research suggests, offer better returns on assets and provide more capital to the real economy than mainstream providers.

Melbourne acted as host for this year’s annual meeting, with delegates from across the world getting together to discuss key challenges within sustainable banking.

The aim of the meeting was to “find global solutions to international problems – and to promote a positive, viable alternative to the current financial system”, according to the GABV.

The ultimate goal is to have a positive impact on the lives of one billion people globally by 2020, using finance and impact investment as a means to drive those positive changes.

GABV membership is exclusive to banks whose assets are valued at more than $50m (£30.1m), are independent, have a commitment to retail customers and who place importance on social banking and the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit.

Damien Walsh, managing director of Australia-based Bankmecu, said that sustainability should be the “core tenant” of the global financial and banking systems.

He said, “At our last conference last year, which was held in Berlin, we released a declaration to shift the industry towards transparency, diversity and sustainability in banking.”

“I think the first takeaway from this year is to continue to look at how we can put that declaration into action and ask what impacts we can have locally and globally”.

The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) recently warned banks that failure to factor in sustainability in policies could result in “diminished returns”, saying that the benefits of doing so include long-term value for businesses, investors and customers.

Further reading:

Investment banks ‘could face diminished returns’ by failing to factor in sustainability

Prince of Wales launches financial sustainability network

FTSE: sustainability at the world’s leading investment index provider

FTSE’s ESG unit can “shed light” on responsible investment

FTSE launches new environmental index


A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon




energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”



IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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