Connect with us

Economy

And another thing: Politicians need to get a grip and defend people and planet

Published

on

You have to wonder the depth of corporate scandal we need to plummet to, before politicians finally get a grip and protect the people they really work for and the planet we live on. From the Medici Bank in 1494 to Banco Espirito Santo in 2014, corporate scandals, corruption, speculation and collapse have always been with us. Banking and finance is a persistent offender. In a new series of Friday soapboxes, Blue & Green writes.

The UK has been embarrassed by the South Sea Company, Overend Gurney & Co, Polly Peck, BCCI, Barings, Equitable Life, MG Rover, Northern Rock and RBS collapses. BAE systems, BP, Compass Group, HSBC, Shell, Standard Chartered and Tesco have all been involved in their own little scandals. Payment Protection miss-selling, Libor rate-fixing, money laundering and insider-trading have blighted our reputation as jolly good chaps.

Across the pond AIG, Arthur Anderson, Bear Stearns, Enron, Lehman Brothers and Worldcom have all provided their own bursts of economic and corporate excitement. Not forgetting Standard Oil’s monopolistic activities at the other end of the 20th century. Even our friends in Ireland gave us Allied Irish Bank, ABN-AMRO from the Dutch and the saintly Norwegians had their own Nordbanken – another trio of bankers if you hadn’t guessed.

Even our most prestigious educational establishments and rating agencies colluded with big finance before the 2008 crash to turn sub-prime junk into triple-A rated gold. Did they have a philosopher’s stone?

Big banks, big oil, big pharma, big retail, big defence and big advertising, aided and abetted by the subtle propaganda of big media, have done everything they can to game the economic system in favour of a small group, and against the people. All the time, they are consuming corporate welfare, evading tax, funding dishonest think tanks, while nationalising market failure and privatising any profit.

Governments and regulators across the developed world seem wilfully blind and utterly impotent in the face of corporate skulduggery and degradations. Our professional, well-fed politicians create sophisticated legislation, ever more complex regulations with new regulators and task forces, but do nothing to halt the tsunami of mismanagement, corruption and failure, most recently represented by Volkswagen and dieselgate. With VW it seems that no action was taking by any government anywhere even after it was known that there was a systemic problem.

Markets are supposed to be a free and creatively-destructive servant of prosperity. Innovation equals growth. Sustainable innovation equals sustainable growth. Corporate-sponsored politicians, vested-interest business leaders and the paid-for, captive media are determined to prevent innovation that threatens their narrow interests, and will scream foul should any constraint on the market even be suggested. Meanwhile a few organisations have created a cartel, of power and wealth, which acts against the free working of the very market they claim to be defenders of.

As Mark Carney pointed out on Tuesday at Lloyd’s of London, current and future threats to our way of life are no longer just economic but ecological and even more catastrophic.

Lord Drayson (former UK Government minister): diesel cars are “killing people.”

When will politicians get a grip and defend people and planet? Set climate change aside for a moment. Pollution kills people – globally, seven million every year. Volkswagen didn’t care about lying about its emissions, thus it did not care about causing more deaths than were already tragically seen as a price worth paying to drive cars. VW has lost its social ‘license to operate’, should be dismembered and constituent brands given to companies that commit to honouring and improving on current emission regulations. Why not gift it to Elon Musk of Tesla fame? What could he do with those facilities, those engineers and designers, its distribution network and that brand muscle?

What does Blue and Green think about a free market? We think it would be a very good idea. But if politicians can’t give us a free market that works for everyone, we’d rather try something else.

Image: Speakers’ Corner via Flickr by www.CGPGrey.com

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