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#COP21: Leading Businesses Join Fairtrade And Gold Standard In Fight Against Climate Change

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Some of Europe’s biggest businesses are among the first companies to commit to buying the innovative Fairtrade Carbon Credits which were launched during the UN climate change talks in Paris today.

Logistics company Deutsche Post DHL Group and international retailer Marks & Spencer are among a raft of businesses to partner with Fairtrade in a new initiative to support farmers and vulnerable rural communities in their fight against climate change. Others who have committed to join the scheme include a renewable energy supplier and two leading coffee roasters.

Fairtrade Carbon Credits, which are regulated through the Fairtrade Climate Standard, have been developed in partnership with the Gold Standard, an internationally recognized organization with expertise in climate security and sustainable development. They enable vulnerable communities in developing countries to reduce emissions while also strengthening themselves against the effects of climate change.

A minimum price ensures costs are covered, and producers receive a Fairtrade Premium for each credit sold, money which they can then invest in adapting to the effects of climate change on their farms and communities. For businesses, Fairtrade Carbon Credits can help them take responsibility for any unavoidable emissions once they’ve done everything to minimise their carbon footprint.

“Increasingly, consumers and shareholders are demanding that businesses reduce their carbon footprint and compensate for unavoidable emissions.” said Fairtrade International CEO Martin Hill. “At the same time, small-scale farmers and workers are among the most affected by climate change even though they have contributed the least to causing it. Extreme weather conditions, increasing plant diseases such as coffee rust, and lower yields are just some of the problems they face.”

“The fact that major international companies like Deutsche Post DHL Group and Marks & Spencer have committed right from the outset shows there’s a real demand for Fairtrade Carbon Credits,” said Hill.

“This new scheme gives business added assurance that their investment in climate security directly supports those who need it most, while also contributing additional sustainable development impacts—from improved health to increased local income—that can be transformational for vulnerable communities,” said Marion Verles, CEO of Gold Standard.

“The Fairtrade Climate Standard enables cooperatives like ours to combat the effects of climate change,” said Dessalegn Jena, General Manager of Oromia Coffee Farmers’ Union, which is one of the first cooperatives to pilot the Fairtrade Climate Standard, with the support of FairClimateFund. “If climate change continues at the rate it is currently going, we will struggle to grow coffee in Ethiopia. By selling Fairtrade Carbon Credits, farmers will be able to build their resilience.”

Deutsche Post DHL Group will apply the new Fairtrade Climate Standard to its own project in Lesotho. With its partner atmosfair, the logistics company distributed efficient cooking stoves to local communities, reducing emissions and improving health and quality of life. “Driving climate protection has been top of our agenda for years: Already a decade ago we developed a climate neutral service including social benefits. Hence it was very clear for us that we would commit to Fairtrade certification, too. The new Fairtrade Climate Standard emphasizes that it does matter what you buy and will make it easier for our customers and ourselves to contribute to a better planet,” said Katharina Tomoff, responsible for the GoGreen program of Deutsche Post DHL Group.

Marks & Spencer is committing to purchase Fairtrade Carbon Credits that will fund new clean, efficient cook stoves for M&S coffee producers in Ethiopia. Carmel McQuaid, Head of Sustainable Business at Marks & Spencer said: “This is a scheme that will deliver real benefits to businesses and communities. It will make a difference to M&S, helping us maintain our carbon neutral commitment, a difference to our suppliers as all the credits will be spent with M&S suppliers in Ethiopia and it will make a difference in communities by providing a safer, cleaner and healthier way to cook. That’s why we’re investing in Fairtrade Carbon Credits and we’re proud to be one of Fairtrade’s first partners.”

Among other early adopters of the Fairtrade Carbon Credits are Dutch renewable energy company Eneco, who aims to offer climate neutral products to its customers; Belgian coffee roasters Beyers, who are going to make their Fairtrade certified coffee climate neutral, and the Java Coffee Company who have committed to Fairtrade climate neutral coffee for the European institutions in 2016; and German honey producers Breitsamer who have committed to buying credits in 2016 to compensate for their 2015 CO² emissions.

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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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