Connect with us

Economy

All I want for Christmas is… more time

Published

on

In 2012, I asked my wife what she really wanted for Christmas. “Time” was her succinct answer. With two energetic boys under four, most parents will understand that request. More than ever, I realise how perfect her response was. Not just for my family but for all of us. Time is running out and the actions we are taking are not equal to the challenges we face.

We need more time to reform our economics, revive our democracies, reduce, reuse, recycle our consumption and renew the energy upon which much else depends.

Sadly, we do not have more time as we approach peak everything and exceed Earth’s carrying capacity. Peak everything is the point where we exhaust Earth’s natural resources and enter a period of inexorable decline. Carrying capacity is the maximum population of a species that the environment can sustain indefinitely.

Using finite resources to fulfil inexorably rising demand, relying on commodities with volatile prices, and sourcing them from unstable or unsavoury regimes, is reckless. It reflects the failure of our economic system to value externalities and our political system to provide real leadership.

Humanity is entering an extended and unprecedented period of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. Rising population, with rising affluence and consumption, while facing declining resources, is a recipe for disaster.

There have been periods when we took great leaps forward. We have seen the abolition and emancipation of slaves, enfranchisement of women and the poor and greater equality (in everything but wealth, which is moving in the other direction). Liberal democracy, with equal rights and the rule of law may not be evenly distributed, but it is moving in the right direction.

Between the 1950s and 70s, the clean air acts, environmental protection laws and the conservation movement began to emerge. We identified CFCs as a threat to the ozone layer and took concerted global action to address the problem. In the 1980s, prime minister Margaret Thatcher, having read and understood the climate science, moved to help create the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). She may have renounced her statesman-like leadership in this area in her later years, but it was the ideological aspects of the debate, not the science, that troubled her.

Her legacy, along with her soulmate Reagan, was unfettered financial speculation. This was not the creatively destructive capitalism that they professed to support. Instead we had crony capitalism, predatory capitalism, cartel capitalism, too-big-too-fail capitalism, underwritten by casino banking. And when those casinos failed, the state raced to the rescue, in the biggest transfer of wealth from poor to rich since the Norman invasion. With capital allowed to move freely across borders, the rule of law was diminished considerably. The people and their elected representatives could be bullied.

Undemocratic, autocratic corporations and countries have prospered, while we have done everything we can to race the bottom. Removing the welfare safety net, privatising monopolies, selling our national assets to other nations, spying on our own people and allies and acting unlawfully in wars of aggression, showing we have no disregard for international law and human rights. If we don’t follow the rules (and we bloody wrote them), why should anyone else obey them?

All the time we are told the developed world is in terminal decline. Leading politicians and the press want you to believe you are powerless; that your voice doesn’t count. Just borrow, consume and die. Thank you very much.

In horrible echoes of the 1930s, they want you to believe it is the ‘other’ that is to blame for our creaking economy, health, education and infrastructure. The illegal immigrant and the skiving poor, or both. This is all to distract you from the fact that is it the wealthiest who have driven us to bankruptcy. The rich take from the poor, the old from the young and those born in prosperity attack those born in fear. This is a reversal of everything we fought for in 1914 and 1939, and throughout most of the cold war.

Our relative decline is because we have sold every moral and ethical constraint we ever had, permitting others to rise. In financial centres around the world, profit maximisation shall be the whole of the law, even if it means selling out your own people and country, while harming other people and the planet.

This behaviour puts us in the perilous situation we now face. Our planet is under threat and our liberal democracies are under threat. Our weak political leaders are in the pocket of those who will most profit over the short-term, even embracing foreign dictators who pay them enough.

We need more time to organise and transition our economy, politics and society onto a more sustainable footing. We need an effective resistance as there is no opposition in town halls, Westminster, Washington or Brussels.

We do not have more time.

There are a lot of meaningless distractions that disguise lazy inaction as action: voting UKIP, signing endless petitions and marching in local high streets. It might make you feel good but these are a proxy for real action.

Our real power is who we invest in, whose products we buy and who we vote for. We have to use the very systems that got us here against those who seek to harm us.

Invest sustainably, buy ethically and vote for those parties that disrupt the status quo.

Buy a sustainable, ethical or green ISA and move your bank account. If you have a considerable portfolio, aim to invest at least a third of your funds in sustainable stocks. Invest in cleantech and renewables. Look for fair trade products and buy locally. Use co-ops or mutuals where you can. Switch to renewable energy suppliers like Good Energy or Ecotricity. And only vote for parties, individual councillors, MEPs and MPs who commit to concerted action to address the serious issues we face. And hold them to it.

We do not have more time.

All I want for Christmas is for all of us to treat each other and our planet with a lot more care. And actually do something to actually make that happen.

Further reading:

Creating a financial enlightenment

The sustainable investment tipping point is now

Climate change aside, we’re harming our children with dirty energy

Would you invest in slavery?

Ethical investment: better a diamond with a flaw, than a pebble without

Simon Leadbetter is the founder and publisher of Blue & Green Tomorrow. He has held senior roles at Northcliffe, The Daily Telegraph, Santander, Barclaycard, AXA, Prudential and Fidelity. In 2004, he founded a marketing agency that worked amongst others with The Guardian, Vodafone, E.On and Liverpool Victoria. He sold this agency in 2006 and as Chief Marketing Officer for two VC-backed start-ups launched the online platform Cleantech Intelligence (which underpinned the The Guardian’s Cleantech 100) and StrategyEye Cleantech. Most recently, he was Marketing Director of Emap, the UK’s largest B2B publisher, and the founder of Blue & Green Communications Limited.

Economy

Report: Green, Ethical and Socially Responsible Finance

Published

on

“The level of influence that ethical considerations have over consumer selection of financial services products and services is minimal, however, this is beginning to change. Younger consumers are more willing to pay extra for products provided by socially responsible companies.” Jessica Morley, Mintel’s Financial Services Analyst.

Consumer awareness of the impact consumerism has on society and the planet is increasing. In addition, the link between doing good and feeling good has never been clearer. Just 19% of people claim to not participate in any socially responsible activities.

As a result, the level of attention that people pay to the green and ethical claims made by products and providers is also increasing, meaning that such considerations play a greater role in the purchasing decision making process.

However, this is less true in the context of financial services, where people are much more concerned about the performance of a product rather than green and ethical factors. This is not to say, however, that they are not interested in the behaviour of financial service providers or in gaining more information about how firms behave responsibly.

This report focuses on why these consumer attitudes towards financial services providers exist and how they are changing. This includes examination of the wider economy and the current structure of the financial services sector.

Mintel’s exclusive consumer research looks at consumer participation in socially responsible activities, trust in the behaviour of financial services companies and attitudes towards green, ethical and socially responsible financial services products and providers. The report also considers consumer attitudes towards the social responsibilities of financial services firms and the green, ethical and socially responsible nature of new entrants.

There are some elements missing from this report, such as conducting socially responsible finance with OTC trading. We will cover these other topics in more detail in the future. You can research about Ameritrade if you want to know more ..

By this report today: call: 0203 416 4502 | email: iainooson[at]mintel.com

Report contents:

OVERVIEW
What you need to know
Report definition
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The market
Ethical financial services providers: A question of culture
Investment power
Consumers need convincing
The transformative potential of innovation
Consumers can demand change
The consumer
For financial products, performance is more important than principle
Competition from technology companies
Financial services firms perceived to be some of the least socially responsible
Repaying the social debt
Consumer trust is built on evidence
What we think
ISSUES AND INSIGHTS
Creating a more inclusive economy
The facts
The implications
Payments innovation helps fundraising go digital
The facts
The implications
The social debt of the financial crisis
The facts
The implications
THE MARKET – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Ethical financial services providers: A question of culture
Investment power
Consumers need convincing
The transformative potential of innovation
Consumers can demand change
PUTTING FINANCIAL SERVICES IN AN ETHICAL CONTEXT
An ethical economy
An ethical financial sector
Ethical financial services providers
GREEN, ETHICAL AND SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE ISSUES IN FINANCIAL SERVICES
The role of investing
Divestment
The change potential of pensions
The role of trust
Greater transparency informs decisions
Learning from past mistakes
The role of innovation
Payments innovation: Improving financial inclusion
Competition from new entrants
The power of new money
The role of the consumer
Consumers empowered to make a change
Aligning products with self
THE CONSUMER – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
For financial products, performance is more important than ethics
Financial services firms perceived to be some of the least socially responsible
Competition from technology companies
Repaying the social debt
Consumer trust is built on evidence
Overall trust levels are high
THE ETHICAL CONSUMER – SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE ACTIVITIES
Payments innovation can boost charitable donations
Consumer engagement in socially responsible activities is high
Healthier finances make it easier to go green
SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE COMPANIES
37% unable to identify socially responsible companies
Building societies seen to be more responsible than banks….
….whilst short-term loan companies are at the bottom of the pile
CONSUMER TRUST IN THE BEHAVIOUR OF FINANCIAL SERVICES COMPANIES
Overall trust levels are high
Tax avoidance remains a major concern
The divestment movement
Nationwide significantly more trusted
Trust levels remain high
CONSUMER ATTITUDES TOWARDS GREEN AND ETHICAL FINANCIAL PRODUCTS
For financial products, performance is more important than principle
Socially conscious consumers are more concerned
CONSUMER ATTITUDES TOWARDS TRANSPARENCY
Strategy reports provide little insight for consumers
Lack of clarity regarding corporate culture causes concern
Consumers want more information
THE ROLE OF FINANCIAL SERVICES FIRMS IN SOCIETY
The social debt of the financial crisis
THE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES OF FINANCIAL SERVICES FIRMS
For consumers, financial services firms play larger economic role
Promoting financial responsibility
CHALLENGER COMPANIES AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Consumer trust is built on evidence
The alternative opportunity
The target customer

Continue Reading

Economy

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

Published

on

By

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

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Facebook

Trending