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Renewable energy investment; wind farm opposition; sustainable finance – Quote Bank: June 9-15

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A good quote makes all the difference. Here’s the pick of the past week.

“Even if we do increase agricultural output by 60%, the world would still have 300m people hungry in 2050” – Jose Graziano da Silva, FAO director-general. Sustainability at the heart of food and agriculture.

“Socially responsible investing can create sustainable long-term wealth for all stakeholders. We need to learn to appreciate that doing business better will ultimately make for better business. Responsible investment is no longer a niche: it makes good business sense” – Neville White, senior socially responsible investment analyst at Ecclesiastical. Ecclesiastical report maps historic sustainable investment progress.

It’s not a case of profit at all costs, which can damage the environmentPeople are looking for socially responsible investments, where they’ve got a feel-good factor about them” – Andrew Steel, CEO of the Treedom Group. New forestry fund is out to benefit people, planet and profit.

“Whatever the drivers, the strong and sustained growth of the sector is a major factor that is assisting many countries towards a transition to low-carbon, resource efficient green economy– Achim Steiner, UN under-secretary general and UNEP executive director. Record-breaking year for renewable energy investment.

Environmental business delivers value to our clients, return for our shareholders, and helps strengthen the economyWe met our prior goal in about half the time we set for ourselves, so more than doubling our target is ambitious but achievable” – Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America. Bank of America pledges $50 billion worth of sustainable investments.

“There is a school of thought that says if we cannot sort out this global climate change risk, then temperatures are going to rise, water is going to become scarcer, there is going to be more flooding and society as we know it on a global basis will change very radically. There needs to be investment on a massive scale in goods and services that are going to help mitigate and adapt to it” – Gordon Morrison, managing director at FTSE. FTSE’s ESG unit can “shed light” on responsible investment.

With the global economy in turmoil, and the plight of many vulnerable parts of society worsening, there is a unique opportunity for sustainable finance institutions to shape the response of governments and influence corporate behaviour in resolving our most pressing global problems– Nena Stoiljkovic, a vice president at the IFC, and Lionel Barber, FT editor. Inspiring innovation in sustainable finance: FT/IFC Conference.

As a start we hope to see shareholders given a binding vote on executive remunerationWe’re also pushing for mandatory voting disclosure from investors on the way they voted on executive pay packagesThis increased transparency would ensure that investors can be held to account over their voting records” – Matthew Butcher, media and communications officer at FairPensions. Pay-packets of top FTSE executives increase by 12%.

“People enjoy living in Lincolnshire because we have a great way of life, not because of landscape’s blighted by wind farms. On top of that, there are also issues around the damage caused by roads during the construction and decommissioning of turbines” – Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire county council. Wind farm storm in Lincolnshire as county council says, “Enough is enough”.

“The fact that the Scottish government had continued with its policies of promoting renewable energy has provided the industry with confidence” – John Wilson, deputy head of Holyrood’s energy committee. Scotland surges on in renewable energy investment.

There are two main challenges in tourism; the economic and the environmental, and the ‘centre of gravity’… The nature of our industry is that it is sensitive, but it is absolutely resilient” – Taleb Rifai, secretary-general of the UN World Tourism Organisation. Sustainable tourism: an essential link in the world’s ‘value chain’.

The winners of this year’s awards should be congratulated as they stand out from a very strong group of financial institutions that are leading the way on making environmental and social considerations a major part of their business” – Martin Dickson, deputy editor of the FT. FT/IFC Sustainable Finance Awards: the winners.

“We have embarked on a once off transition to a sustainable economy. All forms of renewable energy, from solar energy to tidal energy, will contribute to delivering this transition in the UK” – Eddie O’Connor, chief executive of Mainstream Renewable Power. Report forecasts big economic rewards from UK offshore wind investment.

Today’s defeat of WPP’s remuneration report is unsurprising given shareholder comments in the last few monthsIt is difficult to know whether the WPP board underestimated the level of shareholder anger or simply chose to ignore it” – Louise Rouse, director of engagement at FairPensions. WPP ‘unsurprisingly’ loses vote over Sir Martin Sorrell’s pay.

“In a fast changing world, I believe it is important to understand both the forces behind today’s headlines as well as underlying trends that are shaping the new energy landscape that our children and grandchildren will inherit” – Bob Dudley, BP chief executive. Continued exploitation of fossil fuels sees global carbon emissions rise.

Further reading:

Banks creating money; Islamic investments; sustainable agriculture – Quote Bank: June 2-8

Guide to Sustainable Tourism; climate change reporting; German solar – Quote Bank: May 26-June 1

Energy bill; unethical investments; Delingpolegate – Quote Bank: May 19-25

Solar in Suffolk; Marks and Spencer; SRI+20 – Quote Bank: May 12-18

World’s largest solar project; sustainable fashion; Olympic sponsorship – Quote Bank: May 5-11

Royal Society; European Commission; UNWTO – Quote Bank: April 23-May 4

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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Energy

5 Easy Things You Can Do to Make Your Home More Sustainable

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sustainable homes
Shutterstock Licensed Photot - By Diyana Dimitrova

Increasing your home’s energy efficiency is one of the smartest moves you can make as a homeowner. It will lower your bills, increase the resale value of your property, and help minimize our planet’s fast-approaching climate crisis. While major home retrofits can seem daunting, there are plenty of quick and cost-effective ways to start reducing your carbon footprint today. Here are five easy projects to make your home more sustainable.

1. Weather stripping

If you’re looking to make your home more energy efficient, an energy audit is a highly recommended first step. This will reveal where your home is lacking in regards to sustainability suggests the best plan of attack.

Some form of weather stripping is nearly always advised because it is so easy and inexpensive yet can yield such transformative results. The audit will provide information about air leaks which you can couple with your own knowledge of your home’s ventilation needs to develop a strategic plan.

Make sure you choose the appropriate type of weather stripping for each location in your home. Areas that receive a lot of wear and tear, like popular doorways, are best served by slightly more expensive vinyl or metal options. Immobile cracks or infrequently opened windows can be treated with inexpensive foams or caulking. Depending on the age and quality of your home, the resulting energy savings can be as much as 20 percent.

2. Programmable thermostats

Programmable thermostats

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Olivier Le Moal

Programmable thermostats have tremendous potential to save money and minimize unnecessary energy usage. About 45 percent of a home’s energy is earmarked for heating and cooling needs with a large fraction of that wasted on unoccupied spaces. Programmable thermostats can automatically lower the heat overnight or shut off the air conditioning when you go to work.

Every degree Fahrenheit you lower the thermostat equates to 1 percent less energy use, which amounts to considerable savings over the course of a year. When used correctly, programmable thermostats reduce heating and cooling bills by 10 to 30 percent. Of course, the same result can be achieved by manually adjusting your thermostats to coincide with your activities, just make sure you remember to do it!

3. Low-flow water hardware

With the current focus on carbon emissions and climate change, we typically equate environmental stability to lower energy use, but fresh water shortage is an equal threat. Installing low-flow hardware for toilets and showers, particularly in drought prone areas, is an inexpensive and easy way to cut water consumption by 50 percent and save as much as $145 per year.

Older toilets use up to 6 gallons of water per flush, the equivalent of an astounding 20.1 gallons per person each day. This makes them the biggest consumer of indoor water. New low-flow toilets are standardized at 1.6 gallons per flush and can save more than 20,000 gallons a year in a 4-member household.

Similarly, low-flow shower heads can decrease water consumption by 40 percent or more while also lowering water heating bills and reducing CO2 emissions. Unlike early versions, new low-flow models are equipped with excellent pressure technology so your shower will be no less satisfying.

4. Energy efficient light bulbs

An average household dedicates about 5 percent of its energy use to lighting, but this value is dropping thanks to new lighting technology. Incandescent bulbs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. These inefficient light sources give off 90 percent of their energy as heat which is not only impractical from a lighting standpoint, but also raises energy bills even further during hot weather.

New LED and compact fluorescent options are far more efficient and longer lasting. Though the upfront costs are higher, the long term environmental and financial benefits are well worth it. Energy efficient light bulbs use as much as 80 percent less energy than traditional incandescent and last 3 to 25 times longer producing savings of about $6 per year per bulb.

5. Installing solar panels

Adding solar panels may not be the easiest, or least expensive, sustainability upgrade for your home, but it will certainly have the greatest impact on both your energy bills and your environmental footprint. Installing solar panels can run about $15,000 – $20,000 upfront, though a number of government incentives are bringing these numbers down. Alternatively, panels can also be leased for a much lower initial investment.

Once operational, a solar system saves about $600 per year over the course of its 25 to 30-year lifespan, and this figure will grow as energy prices rise. Solar installations require little to no maintenance and increase the value of your home.

From an environmental standpoint, the average five-kilowatt residential system can reduce household CO2 emissions by 15,000 pounds every year. Using your solar system to power an electric vehicle is the ultimate sustainable solution serving to reduce total CO2 emissions by as much as 70%!

These days, being environmentally responsible is the hallmark of a good global citizen and it need not require major sacrifices in regards to your lifestyle or your wallet. In fact, increasing your home’s sustainability is apt to make your residence more livable and save you money in the long run. The five projects listed here are just a few of the easy ways to reduce both your environmental footprint and your energy bills. So, give one or more of them a try; with a small budget and a little know-how, there is no reason you can’t start today.

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