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Finding the right balance between nature conservation and fisheries management – who will pull the strings?

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While our oceans are under threat, important decisions must be made over the management of fisheries and Marine Protected Areas in European Seas, write Hanna Paulomäki and Magnus Eckeskog from marine conservation group Oceana. But will nature conservation directors have equal input to fisheries leaders, or will economic concerns prevail in talks held behind closed doors?

The seas of Europe are under great threat from pressures like pollution and overfishing. The current management systems in place visibly favor economic activities over nature conservation. Overfishing has led to a steady decline of commercial fish stocks in EU waters and human activities such as trawling, dredging and offshore oil exploration have taken their toll on marine habitats.

The designation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) is an efficient way to protect important marine species and habitats, by limiting human activities like fishing and other forms of exploitation. The main instrument in the EU to protect valuable ecosystems is called the Natura 2000 network. Unfortunately, there are very few examples where fisheries have actually been restricted in European MPAs, despite fishing being identified as one of the major threats to species and habitats.

Currently the procedures for developing fisheries restrictions inside Natura 2000 areas are being discussed among high level staff from the fisheries administrations in EU countries. The discussions are primarily taking part in the North Sea Scheveningen group and in a Baltic Sea discussion forum called BALTFISH. Denmark is taking the lead in both groups by drafting the proposals for the procedures for establishing management measures for fisheries within the Natura 2000 network.

The end result of the discussions in these groups will likely affect how this is dealt with in the rest of the EU, as Northern Europe is the forerunner of regionalisation of fisheries management under the Common Fisheries Policy.

It is a highly welcomed fact that authorities are finally starting to discuss management measures inside MPAs. However, it is worrying that most of the discussions on the matter occur behind closed doors, with little insight from the public and without the relevant nature conservation authorities who are responsible for ensuring adequate protection of marine species and habitats.

Our fear is that the authorities responsible for securing sustainable use of fisheries lack the necessary conservation expertise to determine what type of measures are needed in order to ensure the conservation and protection of marine species and habitats, as in practice, they are not responsible for implementing EU Environmental legislation.

We have been trying to follow the work of these groups. It has been increasingly difficult to get hold of the draft documents produced by the Danish Ministry for agriculture and fisheries, where the process describing the procedures for establishing fisheries in Natura 2000 areas is laid out. This is quite remarkable considering that Denmark has a rather good track record of consulting stakeholders when the management of Natura 2000 areas are discussed at the national level.

Nevertheless, according to the information that we have managed to receive, the proposals for fisheries measures will be approved by an expert group consisting of representatives of the High Level Group in the Scheveningen and the Baltfish cooperation, before presented to the European Commission. The High Level Group consists of representatives from the national fisheries administrations. As we have understood it will be left to the hands of the Member States to ensure that adequate environmental competence is being consulted throughout this process.

We know that the dialogue between the fisheries and environmental authorities is very well established in some countries, while in others it is very poor – some environmental ministries are even unaware that this process is taking place. We therefore feel that it is of importance to formally include environmental authorities in this process, as we otherwise fear that environmental protection will be deprioritised in favour of exploitation interests.

The newly established Juncker commission took a stand on this by nominating Karmenu Vella as the commissioner responsible for both fisheries and the environment. Our hope is that this will lead to better balanced work and coordination between the two areas, building upon the successful reformation of the Common Fisheries Policy, which recognises the centrality of the ecosystem-based approach to human activities. However, we fear that there will be an even stronger focus on economic development and that environmental protection and conservation will be given less priority.

Nature conservation and economic activities have to be dealt with in a more integrated manner, equally incorporating both Nature and Marine Directors and Fisheries Directors and measures need to be based on advice already developed at the EU level such as the European Habitats Forum, and should engage stakeholders such as NGOs and the fishing industry.

A way forward would be for Scheveningen and BALTFISH to be in better collaboration with working groups under the regional conventions set up to protect the marine environment, namely OSPAR for the North Sea and HELCOM for the Baltic Sea. Running parallel processes with counteracting goals is a waste of time for all parties involved, and will prohibit finding the best possible measures, and to achieve both economically and environmentally sustainable results.

Oceana is the largest international organisation focused solely on ocean conservation, with offices based around the world. Hanna Paulomäki is the project manager at Oceana’s Baltic Sea Office in Copenhagen, Denmark. Magnus Eckeskog is the policy advisor, also at Oceana’s Baltic Sea Office.

Photo: Oktaviani Marvikasari via freeimages

Further reading:

Scotland designates 30 new marine protected areas

EU looks to remove barriers for sustainable investment in ‘blue economy’

27 new marine conservation zones to be created around English coasts

Marine conservation could be worth ‘billions’ to UK economy

Scientists disappointed with government’s protection of seas

Economy

How Going Green Can Save A Company Money

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going green can save company money
Shutterstock Licensed Photot - By GOLFX

What is going green?

Going green means to live life in a way that is environmentally friendly for an entire population. It is the conservation of energy, water, and air. Going green means using products and resources that will not contaminate or pollute the air. It means being educated and well informed about the surroundings, and how to best protect them. It means recycling products that may not be biodegradable. Companies, as well as people, that adhere to going green can help to ensure a safer life for humanity.

The first step in going green

There are actually no step by step instructions for going green. The only requirement needed is making the decision to become environmentally conscious. It takes a caring attitude, and a willingness to make the change. It has been found that companies have improved their profit margins by going green. They have saved money on many of the frivolous things they they thought were a necessity. Besides saving money, companies are operating more efficiently than before going green. Companies have become aware of their ecological responsibility by pursuing the knowledge needed to make decisions that would change lifestyles and help sustain the earth’s natural resources for present and future generations.

Making needed changes within the company

After making the decision to go green, there are several things that can be changed in the workplace. A good place to start would be conserving energy used by electrical appliances. First, turning off the computer will save over the long run. Just letting it sleep still uses energy overnight. Turn off all other appliances like coffee maker, or anything that plugs in. Pull the socket from the outlet to stop unnecessary energy loss. Appliances continue to use electricity although they are switched off, and not unplugged. Get in the habit of turning off the lights whenever you leave a room. Change to fluorescent light bulbs, and lighting throughout the building. Have any leaks sealed on the premises to avoid the escape of heat or air.

Reducing the common paper waste

paper waste

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Yury Zap

Modern technologies and state of the art equipment, and tools have almost eliminated the use of paper in the office. Instead of sending out newsletters, brochures, written memos and reminders, you can now do all of these and more by technology while saving on the use of paper. Send out digital documents and emails to communicate with staff and other employees. By using this virtual bookkeeping technique, you will save a bundle on paper. When it is necessary to use paper for printing purposes or other services, choose the already recycled paper. It is smartly labeled and easy to find in any office supply store. It is called the Post Consumer Waste paper, or PCW paper. This will show that your company is dedicated to the preservation of natural resources. By using PCW paper, everyone helps to save the trees which provides and emits many important nutrients into the atmosphere.

Make money by spreading the word

Companies realize that consumers like to buy, or invest in whatever the latest trend may be. They also cater to companies that are doing great things for the quality of life of all people. People want to know that the companies that they cater to are doing their part for the environment and ecology. By going green, you can tell consumers of your experiences with helping them and communities be eco-friendly. This is a sound public relations technique to bring revenue to your brand. Boost the impact that your company makes on the environment. Go green, save and make money while essentially preserving what is normally taken for granted. The benefits of having a green company are enormous for consumers as well as the companies that engage in the process.

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Economy

Report: Green, Ethical and Socially Responsible Finance

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“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

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