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Economy

The Crowd’s Green Corporate Energy conference – review

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The Crowd, formerly Green Mondays, has been putting on excellent events since 2008. Bringing together senior business leaders, thought leaders, academics and policymakers, this year’s Green Corporate Energy conference was no exception.

The Greek Revival-style block of Portland stone that is the home of the Royal College of GPs dominates the corner of Euston Road and Melton Street, facing the Wellcome Trust. Opened by the Duke of Edinburgh in March this year, the building made an ideal setting for the conference, with a cool auditorium and the hottest gents in the world (Editor: I’m compelled to point out here that it is the temperature of the toilets, and not the attractiveness of the male delegates, that Simon is referring to).

Jim Woods, CEO of the Crowd, was master of ceremonies and introduced acclaimed economist and author Prof Noreena Hertz. Hertz’s talk explored making decisions in an increasingly complex world. Mixing an eclectic range of real-life anecdotes, she explained the weakness in relying on ‘experts’ and the importance of divergent and different thinking in to avoid group-think when faced with uncertainty. Her book, Eyes Wide Open: How to make smart decisions in a confusing world, should be essential reading for all senior leaders and a business school core text.

She was then joined on stage by Sir David King, the foreign secretary’s special representative on climate change, and Peter Atherton of Liberum Capital. Chaired by Financial Times contributor Sarah Murray, the stark divide between a City view and the scientific one was explored as both King and Atherton clashed over subsidies, the ‘high cost’ of renewables and the merits of government intervention.

Energy and cleantech adviser Dr Steven Fawkes then launched the energy investment curve – a ground-breaking crowdsourced initiative to gather feedback on multiple energy investments, payback and additional benefits. Over 40 companies input multiple projects with an investment value of over £1 billion, creating a unique database of projects, their payback and rating – with additional comment. This system can now be used by participants to learn from others success and connect.

I chaired a lively discussion in one of the many breakout sessions concerning energy company Open Energi, which has created an exceptional technology allowing companies to earn money by selling or absorbing energy from the national grid through in their appliances its dynamic demand system.

This system operates with heaters, pumps, chillers, refrigerators and air conditioning units and turns them into smart devices which can react instantaneously, by turning them off, down, on or up, to deal with changes in electricity supply and demand across the UK network, within the operating parameters of the units.  The National Grid then buys this capacity to balance the network.

Following lunch, Neil Carson, CEO of Johnson Matthey, and Estelle Brachlianoff, CEO of Veolia Environment, gave the executive perspective. For them, top-level leadership is critical, especially when new talent expects to work for companies with a genuine sustainable ethic. Core was embedding sustainability into the businesses values and seeing it as just good business.

We were then joined via Skype from the US by Robin Chase, founder of Zipcar and CEO of Buzzcar. After exploring the nexus of excess capacity (we only use cars 5% of the time), the power of people and platforms that underpinned her ventures, she explored the concept of peer incorporated. Using the diversity and creativity of individuals and their peers, with the leverage of corporate platforms. You can see her TED talk here.

Chase illustrated how Intercontinental Hotel Group had built up 645,000 hotel beds over 65 years, but by deploying the excess capacity of people’s rooms, airbnb.com had created 650,000 rooms in just four years, while couchsurfing.com had created 2.5m in just nine.

This powerful use of excess capacity – stuff that has already been paid for and built and is therefore underutilised, such as car sharing or bed sharing (in the non-intimate sense) – with peer groups and platforms is genuinely revolutionary.

The final session of the day consisted of short presentations by Tim Brooks of Lego (simply the best toy in the world), Kathy Loftus of Wholefoods and Jaz Rabadia of Debenhams. Through their own stories, they explored how they made the case for green energy and the value of applying energy data to drive down costs and emissions.

Green Corporate Energy was a genuinely inspiring and thought-provoking event. The Crowd has a reputation for throwing very impressive events and from the feedback of those I spoke to, they exceeded their own high standard this year.

Photo: @EnergyDeck via Twitter

Further reading:

Investment conundrum: solar panels or a pension?

The myth of renewable energy ‘intermittency’

Renewable energy: debunking the subsidy and efficiency myths

The government’s admission at Ecobuild hides bigger issues with energy strategy

The Guide to Limitless Clean Energy 2013

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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