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Economy

George Osborne is renationalising British energy for the French and Chinese

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The Conservative party conference attacked Red Ed’s (Miliband) socialist leanings. The Daily Mail joined in the McCarthyism, attacking Miliband’s late father and crashing his uncle’s memorial service. In the meantime, George Osborne was arranging to negotiate with communist China and socialist-run France to sell our vital future energy interests to their own nationalised companies.

While the UK’s ownership of foreign assets is considerable and the openness of our economy to inward investment is to be welcomed, some assets should probably not be for sale, especially those of strategic national interest and where transparency and safety are vital, such as nuclear power. Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima, anyone?

Electricité de France (EDF) is owned by the French state. A partial privatisation in 2005 left 85% of the shares in government hands. But the British like the French these days. Most of the time. Well, as much as they like us.

China’s state capitalism means all strategic assets are state-owned or subject to total oversight by the Communist party. Transparency International declared Chinese companies the least transparent and most at risk from corruption of any they investigated.

It seems that for George Osborne, state ownership is just fine, as long as it is any state other than the UK’s, and preferably a left-wing one at that. It is strange that a Conservative student of modern history should be so naive about such a strategically shortsighted development.

UK plc has been for sale for years, but now it seems that our vital strategic interests are for sale, too.

We’ve gone from a nation where the vast majority of strategic British assets were effectively owned by the British people through the state, to a nation where a dwindling bunch of small-scale privatisation investors have been eclipsed by pension funds, corporations and sovereign funds – many of them foreign, who have little concern for the British or our long-term national interests.

This is fine in theory if the regulatory framework, regulators and government see serving the public as their sole focus, and stand up to foreign and corporate interests. Sadly, this is not the case.

The revolving door between senior civil servants, regulators and ministers, coupled with the significant sums of corporate money paid into party coffers and the access it secures, means the private, domestic citizen comes very low in the priorities of government decisions. If that money is a foreign governments’, then who exactly is the British government working for?

British governments love wrapping themselves in the union flag, while attacking our teachers, doctors, nurses and the many hardworking, underpaid people in the public sector and selling our national assets to carpet baggers, profiteering cartels and other governments.

Far from being more of a shareholding democracy than we were in 1979, we are now a foreign owned plutocracy.

In September, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that 53% of UK share ownership was foreign. Meanwhile private share ownership recovered only slightly to 10.2% from its historic low of just over 10%.

Once you have declared that everything that generates a profit is for sale to the highest bidder, or that the provision of public services will be given to the lowest bidder, with all gruesome details hidden from public scrutiny behind commercial confidentiality agreement, you have created a toxic mix of ingredients that acts against the interests of the citizen, society as a whole, our long-term economic stability and the environment.

This stuff really matters

The fifth domain of warfare is in the technology or digital arena. The first four being land, sea, air and space.

It is alleged this covert technological war has been going on since 1982 when then CIA sabotaged the trans-Siberian pipeline in Soviet Russia through the supply of faulty turbines and technology in retaliation for the theft of Canadian technology. The US is alleged to have developed the computer worm Stuxnet, to do the same to Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities in 2010.

In a similar worry about their enemies’ cyber warfare, the US has raised doubts about Huawei, the giant Chinese telecoms company, participating in US technology projects. Despite strong warnings from our own Houses of Parliament, we have welcomed them with open arms, as we have with Chinese Investment Corporations’ stake in Thames Water and the Thames super sewer, Canary Wharf and London Heathrow.

Does anyone think it is a good idea to give access to such strategic and dangerous assets such as nuclear power plants to the People’s Republic of China? Keen students of geopolitics will see selling such vital infrastructure to an undemocratic, secretive, totalitarian state (China, not France), as naive to the point of reckless.

Richard Nixon was right and brave to openly engage with China. Collaboration with China is in our national interests. But the country’s history and social, political and economic interests may diverge with our own and we should proceed with extreme caution.

The Observer’s Will Hutton described Osborne in China as “wide-eyed, innocent and deeply ignorant”. We fear for Britain that in the not too distant future, he will be proved horribly right.

Further reading:

UK to build first nuclear plant in a generation, as Hinkley C is given go-ahead

UK nuclear projects open to Chinese investment

British-Chinese nuclear deal ‘extremely close’, says Davey

UK needs ‘major investment’ to avoid electricity shortages

Government nuclear strategy ‘outdated and expensive’

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

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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