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Prince Charles: capitalism should serve humanity’s ‘interests and concerns’

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Capitalism should serve society’s “long-term interests and concerns”, and not the other way around, the Prince of Wales has said at a major financial conference in London.

The Conference on Inclusive Capitalism, taking place on Tuesday at the Mansion House and Guildhall, brings together delegates who represent around $30 trillion (£18 trillion) worth of assets under management.

Former US president Bill Clinton, Bank of England governor Mark Carney and International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde are delivering keynote speeches. Other speakers and panellists include leading investor Jeremy Grantham, Unilever chief executive Paul Polman and lord mayor of the City of London Fiona Woolf.

In an address at the start of the day, Prince Charles argued that capitalism’s “primary purpose” should be to serve society, rather than society serving capitalism.

He said, “Either we continue along the path we seem collectively determined to follow, apparently at the mercy of those who so vociferously and aggressively deny that our current operating model has any effect upon dangerously accelerating climate change, which I fear will bring us to our own destruction, or we can choose to act now before it is finally too late.”

The prince has acquired a reputation as an ardent environmentalist after a series of similar comments in the past. In February, he likened people who deny climate change to “headless chickens and last year criticised the pensions industry for focusing on what he called “quarterly capitalism, rather than on long-term sustainability issues.

The Conference on Inclusive Capitalism is running under the banner, “The Will To Make Capitalism Fairer; The Means To Do It.” It is hosted by the City of London Corporation and the investment holding company EL Rothschild.

In comments to the BBC, EL Rothschild’s chief executive Lynn Forester de Rothschild said, “If investors say we are only going to put our money in companies that have a long-term view towards society then, surprise surprise, the corporations will behave that way. So our time horizon is 20 years not 12 weeks. That’s the immediate objective.”

In his speech, Prince Charles noted that he was “somewhat bewildered be being asked to join such a stratospheric group of financial, economic and business experts”.

He also told delegates, “There will of course be hard choices to make, and take it from me, in the short-term, you will not be popular with your peers. But if you stand firm and take the kind of action that is needed, I have every confidence the rewards will be immense.”

The prince’s appearance at the conference comes just a few days after he courted controversy with comments that compared Russian president Vladimir Putin’s actions in Ukraine to those of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

Photo: Dan Marsh via Flickr

Further reading:

Business needs to focus on the long-term to restore faith in capitalism

Building a sustainable global economy

Energy, pensions and banks: can we fix our broken markets for the long-term?

We salute capitalism’s disruptive insurgents

Can we have capitalism back now, please?

Economy

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

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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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Economy

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

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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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