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Economy

Steve Burt answers 20 questions on life, sustainability and everything.

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Steve Burt is the Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, founder and original investor in EQi. Steve has spent the past 14 years working with economics data relating to sustainability value, P&L resiliency and investor risk.

We want the world to be as blue and green tomorrow as it was yesterday.

What’s your mission?

My mission is to democratise sustainability knowledge to allow all humans to make personal choices regarding the way they wish to contribute to reducing human impact.

I believe we all need to understand how we can maintain our economic profitability within the ecological balance needs of the planet and enhance our diverse global societies through business and lifestyle compatibility.  Marketing spin and Guru opinions need to be banished and untarnished information needs to be made readily available throughout our society.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I can honestly state that I had no single objective or career path; I naively lived for the moment and learnt what interested me. As a dyslexic I found it sometimes challenging to focus on a career direction hence pursued knowledge that captured my imagination.

How would your friends describe you?

I would like to think my friends would say I am honest, ethical, a straight talker, a dreamer who likes a glass of red and good whisky … and has never grown up….

What was your ‘road to Damascus moment’ in terms of sustainability?

I realised some 15 years back that there was a disconnection between what was being observed and measured by science and people’s understanding of the reality and how it will affect them in their lifetimes. It became apparent to me after reading Lord Stern’s Economics of Climate Change that we need to help people and business better understand and relate to the consequences of unbridled consumption.

I distinctly remember walking down Pall Mall in London after a meeting with analysts about how to factor in climate change into fund management and thinking that we need to understand that, if there is a risk, what it really is and how can we mitigate its effect.

I realised that we needed a real-world measurement mechanism to accurately understand operating and P&L risks that could impact economic growth and resilience. We need financial grade metrics that provide clear measurement that cannot be fudged or gamed to identify success or failure.

Who or what inspires you?

Ordinary people who do extraordinary things. I have been blessed or lucky to have met many people throughout my life who have touched my soul with their honesty and actions.

My children and grandchildren inspire me to think about how my actions today will impact their tomorrow.

What really grinds your gears?

Apathy irritates me since that’s a copout. Second would be dishonesty which we experience everyday through media hype and political speak.

Describe your perfect day.

Cooking meals from breakfast to evening dinner for my children and grandchildren; then having a night time dram or two when only the adults are left to shoot the breeze and admire the stars.

What do you see when you look out your window at home?

A rolling garden with stream and wildlife that changes each day and each season. As autumn sweeps in the colours change from the many greens to vibrant yellows, oranges and reds.

What do you like spending your money on?

My family and friends

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

I have a few, the South of France, Southern Turkey and, Tennessee and the Carolinas.

What’s your favourite book?

The Shakespeare play, The Merchant of Venice

What’s your favourite film?

I have a few for very different reasons, A Good Year by Ridley Scott with Russell Crowe; Lawrence of Arabia by David Lean with Peter O’Toole and; Casablanca by Michael Curtiz with Humphrey Bogart.

You’re elected prime minister with a thumping majority. What’s the first thing you do?

Greatly improve communication between the elected and electors to provide an open channel that promotes an interactive democracy. Building local and national consensus, community and wellbeing is key to building a strong and vibrant economy. Hence, making people feel they have a voice is critical to engagement to seek understanding for the hard decisions and support for the policies that are best for the country.

If you were stuck on a desert island, which famous person would you like to be stuck with and why?

Russell Crowe since he seems to enjoy life, doesn’t take things too seriously, appears to have a good sense of humour, is not afraid to rip into a subject tongue and cheek and likes a little bevy now and again..

What was the best piece of advice you have ever been given? And the worst?

The best advice was from my father who told me:  “Son, the most precious thing you have is your name. Whatever you do in life or whoever you meet, always be fair and honest so people will be proud to say they know you.”

The worst was when I listened to someone who advised me to buy a company when I did not really understand the market. I ended up closing it down. Expensive school fees …

What’s your biggest regret?

Not learning languages, big mistake …

What one thing would you encourage readers to do to make their life more sustainable?

I would recommend that they consider what aspects of their lives are needs vs. wants – not to restrict consumption or purchases, but to empower sustainable decisions.

Sustainability is not about denial but a balanced understanding of what the effects are of certain types of consumption.  The western world has built a society on convenience, fashion and self-gratification without linking a product to the resources it took to put that product in our hands.

What’s the one idea that you think could change the world for the better?

Shared Value Process, a mechanism to balance and connect financial reward throughout a supply chain. Since all resources are either extracted or grown, and each generates its own impact on its journey from source to use to end or life, providing a mechanism to understand, manage and share a resources value from origin to end incentivises all stakeholders to work together to develop sustainable processes.

What’s your favourite quote?

A student once asked Master Zen “When is now?”  Master Zen answered “One instance is eternity and eternity is now.”

What would you like to be doing five years from now?

Doing what I am doing today with a bit more time on the beach…

And the bonus questions: How would you like to be remembered? – what will they carve on your gravestone?

Don’t live your life by someone else’s script

What is the one question you wanted us to ask you and didn’t?

What makes you tick?

 

To read other 20 questions with, click here.

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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