Wednesday 3rd September 2014                 Change text size:

I remember August 2012. That was the month when…



Photo: Hilde Vanstraelen via Flickr

We hope you enjoyed August as much as we did. The Olympics, and Team GB’s outstanding performance, made it a very memorable month. And the sun even showed its face once or twice as well!

It was another busy month in the world of Blue & Green Tomorrow, as we kicked off the month by bringing you the news that as expected, the feed-in tariff for domestic solar installations was being reduced to 16p per kilowatt hour. But the industry maintained that the clean energy source was still an abundantly attractive option for investors.

We also continued our following of two particularly innovative UK renewable energy schemes – community finance platform, Abundance Generation, which announced it had hit its funding target for its first project, and Westmill Solar Co-operative, which also reached a significant milestone by surpassing its £4m investment goal in record time. A similar project to Westmill, this time in Northern Ireland, revealed similarly encouraging figures later in the month.

On the features side of things at the beginning of August, Ben Charig explored the Scandinavian nations that were setting the clean energy pace, whilst Joseph Iddison looked at the international success achieved by the world’s various green political parties.

Our team took a short break in the second week of the month, to celebrate amongst other things, the summer, the Olympic Games, our publisher’s 40th and our editor’s trip to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

But whilst we were away, we looked in detail at the six principles for responsible investment – a round-up of which we published upon our return.

Back into the swing of things after our break, our publisher Simon Leadbetter wrote a piece about whether ‘News Corporation and ethics’ was an oxymoron, on the back of the news that Rupert Murdoch’s organisation were to set up a global ethics team. Simon also penned an article describing why capitalism’s woes won’t be solved by 16th or 19th century economic theories.

Another contributor, Joanna Keeton, then asked whether sustainable tourism was a passing fad or a way of life. She assures us that it’s definitely the latter, saying, “Sustainable tourism is not about making a list of things we cannot do; it’s about improving the ways in which we do them, and ensuring that in 20 years times, those opportunities will still be present.”

Indeed, these sentiments were backed up by one of the world’s leading luxury travel networks, Virtuoso, which picked out sustainable tourism as a “key trend” at its 24th annual Travel Week.

Building on his investigation into Scandinavia’s clean energy charge, Ben Charig looked at south-east Asia’s commitment to renewables, stating that it was Indonesia and Malaysia that appeared to be the most attractive markets in that region.

Staying in Asia, but travelling north-west, a number of major Japanese firms had backed clean energy to fill the void left by the country’s suspended nuclear fleet.

It was also a positive month for Scotland’s renewable energy sector, with a couple of exciting bits of news emerging from the country. First, it was announced that Mainstream Renewable Power had applied for consent over plans to build a 450 megawatt, £1.4 billion wind farm off the coast of Fife. And then, first minister Alex Salmond revealed that the “world’s first community-owned tidal turbine” would be constructed off Scotland’s coast.

Towards the end of August, we reported on how a freedom of information request lodged by The Huffington Post had revealed that some of the UK’s top universities received at least £83m in funding from companies in the arms trade between 2008 and 2011 – much to the dismay of campaigners across the country.

We published a couple of interesting pieces from another contributor, Charlie Wood, who looked at the green credentials of Republican candidate Mitt Romney, and then current US president Barack Obama. Is the grass greener on the other side, though?

Arguably the biggest environmental news to come out of August was brought to us by the National Snow and Ice Data Center in the US, which revealed that Arctic sea ice was at its lowest ever level since records began.

Despite the severity of such news, the British media appeared more interested in the debate surrounding a proposed third runway at Heathrow. We got our priorities right and covered this news the day after.

We featured a couple of infographics in August – one about sustainable travel and one about organic food – and Joseph Iddison also continued our coverage of the Severn tidal barrage project, which looks like it could be resurrected.

Finally, independent financial advisor and friend of B&GT, Julian Parrott, wrote how talk of high returns amongst ethical investors detracts from the point.

Phew! What a month! We hope you enjoyed this round-up, and indeed, all of the content that we’ve published in August. Make sure you stick around in September for the release of our next in-depth report, this time about sustainable banking.


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