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Liverpool will host three-week International Festival for Business 2016



The International Festival for Business 2016 (IFB2016) will showcase the UK’s leadership in green technology, shale exploration, nuclear power and offshore wind technology. The three-week festival will include leadership events, conferences and one-to-one appointments with suppliers, buyers and investors, export and investment opportunities.

IFB2016 is expected to attract more than 30,000 delegates from the UK and overseas, it will be a buzzing marketplace for companies to create connections and do deals. The festival takes place in Liverpool over three themed weeks from 13 June to 1 July.

The second week of the festival will see UK Business Secretary Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP address the Federation of Small Business at an event, with international opportunities for small businesses in the Northern Powerhouse at the heart of its agenda.

Ian McCarthy, Festival Director of IFB2016, said: “For Energy & Environment week at IFB2016 we have brought together an exceptional series of events that both showcase UK capability, expertise and leadership and open up a wide range of investment and trade opportunities for both UK and overseas companies.

“The Festival will be a platform to highlight the UK shale industry, bring together leaders in biofuels and demonstrate how renewable technologies will shape tomorrow’s energy production. The richness and range of events, under one roof and over a few days makes this the must visit energy sector event of 2016.

“The UK Government’s support for IFB2016 is demonstrated by the scale and quality of the UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) events programme, providing the opportunity for business to investigate how to work with the UK government in both international technology transfer and investment in UK energy infrastructure.”

The festival in former European Capital of Culture, Liverpool, at the Exhibition Centre, a state-of-the-art event complex on the city’s iconic waterfront. There will be a rich and varied cultural programme for delegates to enjoy and in addition to the events outlined below, there is a day programme of ‘Blue Skies’ activity that takes in informal talks from global figures, business leaders and innovative thinkers.

The programme for Energy and Environment week at IFB2016 highlights global advances across the industries that will shape energy production in the future. The festival includes a week of international leadership events, including:

Federation of Small Businesses: From Northern Powerhouse to Global Markets (20th June) – Small firms aiming to use the Northern Powerhouse’s international profile to boost their export sales will hear from keynote speaker UK Business Secretary Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP and other business leaders 

Energy 2016: Risk, Resilience and Cyber Security of Global Supplies (21st June) – Speakers from the US Department of Homeland Security, European Commission, UK Power Networks and National Grid will address changes in the global energy mix, bring international perspectives on security and resilience in infrastructure. In addition, energy gaps, new infrastructures, technological innovation and incentives for investment will be considered.

OLEOFUELS 2016 (21st-22nd June) – A two-day conference that will bring together the leading executives and experts from across the UK and EU to debate the future of fuels made from oils & fats including biodiesel. The event includes a site visit to the ReFuel Energy plant in Knowsley. Key speakers include Javier Vila od Petrofac, Stephen Leisner of Bio Oil Group, Ralf Scmidt of Bioeton Deutschland and Nuno Correia of Prio Energy

International Circular Economy, Resource Efficiency and Eco-Innovation (22nd June) – An innovation event covering technology developments in eco-innovation, low carbon and energy efficiency

International Shale Conference 2016 (22nd-24th June) – the UK’s definitive guide to the potential of oil and gas shale within the UK

UKTI will be showcasing the Government’s support and investment in UK energy opportunities to both invest in the UK and for UK companies to export technology globally. These events will cover the following areas:

2017 and beyond – Energy Industry Challenges & Solutions (20th June) – The event will also look at how technologies and the future demands on them will contribute towards global carbon reduction targets in the next 30 years. Speakers include Philip New (Chief Executive – Energy Systems Catapult)

Oil & Gas: Connecting the UK’s Capabilities to the World (21st June) – An event including interactive discussions with leading experts and senior business executives. It will provide a unique networking opportunity for both regional and international oil and gas communities. Speakers include Jon Fredrik Muller of Rystad Energy

Green Finance: Changing the Colour of Money (22nd June) – This roundtable event will bring together UK and international investors, industry practitioners and senior policy makers to increase momentum in both the UK’s green finance offering

From Innovation to Industrialisation: How UK Renewables are Delivering Global Carbon Reduction (23rd June) – Influential players from the renewable energy industry will discuss current and future ambitions for implementing the renewable technologies that will contribute to global carbon reduction targets.

Selling your Products and Services to Global Aid Organisations (25th June) – Delegates will hear from, and have the chance to have 1-2-1 meetings with, UKTI specialists from Washington, New York, Geneva, Brussels, Manila and Abidjan.

In addition to the events focused on the energy and environment sectors, IFB2016 offers services through the free membership of the IFB2016 Business Club. They include inspiring talks from leaders in the fields of business, innovation and technology as well as:

“Meet Your Future Deal” – one-to-one appointments with suppliers, buyers and investors, export and investment opportunities.

“Meet the Specialist Advisor” a range of free international business services including legal, financial and marketing advice.

World-renowned events – including Wireless Global Gongress, TEDx, Accelerate 2016 and the Horasis Global Meeting.

Delivered by Liverpool Vision in partnership with UK Trade & Investment, the Great Britain Campaign, IFB2016 will feature the Great British Showcase – an exhibition of UK innovation, technology, design and creativity – the Exporting is Great Export Hub, and a changing, interactive display of UK industry sectors and inward-investment opportunities.

IFB2016 will highlight the UK as the go-to place to do business and will build on the success of IFB2014, which attracted companies from 92 countries and facilitated export and investment deals worth over £280 million.

Attending the festival is free, but to get involved with the many and varied aspects of the festival, delegates must register for the IFB2016 Business Club here.

Membership of the IFB2016 Business Club will give representatives and visitors access to free advice from specialists in legal, accounting, translation, regulation and exporting. In addition, there is a digital matching service that will arrange meetings from delegations looking to do deals. Finally, all the details of the attendees at events that a visitor registers for thorough the IFB2016 Business Club will be available.


Is Wood Burning Sustainable For Your Home?



sustainable wood burning ideas

Wood is a classic heat source, whether we think about people gathered around a campfire or wood stoves in old cabins, but is it a sustainable source of heat in modern society? The answer is an ambivalent one. In certain settings, wood heat is an ideal solution, but for the majority of homes, it isn’t especially suitable. So what’s the tipping point?

Wood heat is ideal for small homes on large properties, for individuals who can gather their own wood, and who have modern wood burning ovens. A green approach to wood heat is one of biofuel on the smallest of scales.

Is Biofuel Green?

One of the reasons that wood heat is a source of so much divide in the eco-friendly community is that it’s a renewable resource and renewable has become synonymous with green. What wood heat isn’t, though, is clean or healthy. It lets off a significant amount of carbon and particulates, and trees certainly don’t grow as quickly as it’s consumed for heat.

Of course, wood is a much less harmful source of heat than coal, but for scientists interested in developing green energy sources, it makes more sense to focus on solar and wind power. Why, then, would they invest in improved wood burning technology?

Homegrown Technology

Solar and wind technology are good large-scale energy solutions, but when it comes to small-space heating, wood has its own advantages. First, wood heat is in keeping with the DIY spirit of homesteaders and tiny house enthusiasts. These individuals are more likely to be driven to gather their own wood and live in small spaces that can be effectively heated as such.

Wood heat is also very effective on an individual scale because it requires very little infrastructure. Modern wood stoves made of steel rather than cast iron are built to EPA specifications, and the only additional necessary tools include a quality axe, somewhere to store the wood, and an appropriate covering to keep it dry. And all the wood can come from your own land.

Wood heat is also ideal for people living off the grid or in cold areas prone to frequent power outages, as it’s constantly reliable. Even if the power goes out, you know that you’ll be able to turn up the heat. That’s important if you live somewhere like Maine where the winters can get exceedingly cold. People have even successfully heated a 40’x34’ home with a single stove.

Benefits Of Biomass

The ultimate question regarding wood heat is whether any energy source that’s dangerous on the large scale is acceptable on a smaller one. For now, the best answer is that with a growing population and limited progress towards “pure” green energy, wood should remain a viable option, specifically because it’s used on a limited scale. Biomass heat is even included in the UK’s Renewable Heat Initiative and minor modifications can make it even more sustainable.

Wood stoves, when embraced in conjunction with pellet stoves, geothermal heating, and masonry heaters, all more efficient forms of sustainable heat, should be part of a modern energy strategy. Ultimately, we’re headed in the direction of diversified energy – all of it cleaner – and wood has a place in the big picture, serving small homes and off-the-grid structures, while solar, wind, and other large-scale initiatives fuel our cities.

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7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees



As an energy startup, you’re always looking to offer the most competitive packages to entice top-tier talent. This can be tough, especially when trying to put something together that’s both affordable but also has perks that employees are after.

After all, this is an incredibly competitive field and one that’s constantly doing what it can to stay ahead. However, that’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful benefits that could be what bolsters you ahead of your competition. Check them out below:

Financial Advising

One benefit commonly overlooked by companies is offering your employees financial advising services, which could help them tremendously in planning for their long-term goals with your firm. This includes anything from budgeting and savings plans to recommendations for credit repair services and investments. Try to take a look at if your energy company could bring on an extra person or two specifically for this role, as it will pay off tremendously regarding retention and employee happiness.

Life Insurance

While often included in a lot of health benefits packages, offering your employees life insurance could be an excellent addition to your current perks. Although seldom used, life insurance is a small sign that shows you care about the life of their family beyond just office hours. Additionally, at such a low cost, this is a pretty simple aspect to add to your packages. Try contacting some brokers or insurance agents to see if you can find a policy that’s right for your firm.

Dedicated Time To Enjoy Their Hobbies

Although something seen more often in startups in Silicon Valley, having dedicated office time for employees to enjoy their passions is something that has shown great results. Whether it be learning the piano or taking on building a video game, having your team spend some time on the things they truly enjoy can translate to increased productivity. Why? Because giving them the ability to better themselves, they’ll in turn bring that to their work as well.

The Ability To Work Remotely

It’s no secret that a lot of employers despise the idea of letting their employees work remotely. However, it’s actually proven to hold some amazing benefits. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers that allow their employees to telework reported an increased rate of retention, saving on both turnover and sick days. Depending on the needs of each individual role, this can be a strategy to implement either whenever your team wants or on assigned days. Either way, this is one perk almost everyone will love.

Health Insurance

Even though it’s mandated for companies with over 50 employees, offering health insurance regardless is arguably a benefit well received across the board. In fact, as noted in research compiled by KFF, 28.6% of employers with less than 50 people still offered health care. Why is that the case? Because it shows you care about their well-being, and know that a healthy employee is one that doesn’t have to worry about astronomical medical bills.

Unlimited Time Off

This is a perk that almost no employer offers but should be regarded as something to consider. According to The Washington Post, only 1-2% of companies offer unlimited vacation, which it’s easy to see why. A true “unlimited vacation” program could be a firm’s worse nightmare, with employees skipping out every other week to enjoy themselves. However, with the right model in place that rewards hard work with days off, your employees will absolutely adore this policy.

A Full Pantry

Finally, having a pantry full of food can be one perk that’s not only relatively inexpensive but also adds to the value of the workplace. As noted by USA Today, when surveying employees who had snacks versus those who didn’t, 67% of those who did reported they were “very happy” with their work life. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this could make, especially when considering the price point. Consider adding a kitchen to your office if you haven’t already, and always keep the snacks and drinks everyone wants fully stocked. Doing so will increase morale tremendously.

Final Thoughts

Compiling a great package for your energy company is going to take some time in looking at what you can afford versus what’s the most you can offer. While it might mean cutting back in other areas, having a workforce that feels like you genuinely want to take care of them can take you far. And with so many different benefits to include in your energy company’s package, which one is your favorite? Comment with your answers below!

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