Connect with us


The principles for responsible investment: a round-up



You may have seen our recent series about the UN-backed Principles of Responsible Investment (PRI). If you didn’t, you now have a chance to browse through our thoughts about each of the six principles individually, as well as what we think the future should hold.

Preluding our pieces on the PRI was an interview with its executive director, Dr James Gifford, in July. He talked to Jamie Mckenzie about the work being done in his organisation, the good news to come out of Rio+20, and what is required of investors and governments to accelerate the transition to a sustainable global financial system.

So, onto our PRI series.

We began with an introduction, examining how and why the PRI was set up. It’s an incredibly important organisation, uniting some of the world’s biggest investors, and Blue & Green Tomorrow has an awful lot to thank it for. Indeed, if the PRI didn’t exist, the chances are we wouldn’t either.

We summarised the values of the principles using a sentence that Dwight D. Eisenhower said in his opening address as US President in 1953: “A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both”. 

Moving onto the opening clause of the PRI now, which talks about the “duty to act in the best long-term interests of our beneficiaries” and outlines how “environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) issues can affect the performance of investment portfolios“, before leading onto the first principle.

The first principle of the PRI is, “We will incorporate ESG issues into investment analysis and decision-making processes“. These issues are vital in our search for a sustainable economy, but the reality is, investments that meet ESG criteria are often amongst the most lucrative in the market. Clean energy, recycling and sustainable transport are just three examples of areas that continue to be pumped with investment, much to the benefit of the three Ps – people, planet and prosperity.

Principle two is, “We will be active owners and incorporate ESG issues into our ownership policies and practices“, whilst principle three states, “We will seek appropriate disclosure on ESG issues by the entities in which we invest“.

The latter is all about an institution declaring the nature of its investments. Organisations such as the Carbon Disclosure Project don’t simply name the companies that have disclosed their ESG activities; they shame those that don’t, thus leaving the impression that these particular firms have something to hide. We wrote about how it is only in an environment of complete knowledge that investors can make the informed choice they have a right to.

Moving on to principle four now, which reads, “We will promote acceptance and implementation of the principles within the investment industry“. We published a complete list of asset owners and managers in the UK that are signatories of the PRI. If a firm is not on the list, this means they’re not signatories, and we wholly encourage you to challenge them over why this is.

Principle number five is, “We will work together to enhance our effectiveness in implementing the principles“. We explained how there is no environmental or societal problem that we cannot solve collectively and that we face some massive challenges in both areas. Business and investment must play their role and work together to address these challenges.

The sixth and final principle states, “We will each report on our activities and progress towards implementing the principles“, and this is where Blue & Green Tomorrow’s role comes in. With the right kind of leadership and message, the investment industry might just create a sustainable tomorrow for future generations.

Bookending out series on the PRI was a look to the future, and we’ll round off this piece with our founder Simon Leadbetter’s final paragraph in his lookahead piece:

Six years ago, a brilliant global statesman, Kofi Annan, established UN PRI. We have a framework that has hundreds of signatories representing trillions of pounds worth of investment. The principles are necessarily aspirational and voluntary to encourage the widest participation and engagement. That is just the beginning. The next six years represent an exciting new chapter for UNPRI. The opportunity exists to create a rapidly-growing and inclusive rather than exclusive movement that informs and educates as wide an audience as possible of the possibilities of responsible investment.

Before it is too late.


What Kitchen Suits Your Style? Modern, Classic or Shaker?




shaker kitchen designs

A kitchen is the centre of the home. Your kitchen ranges between where friends and family gather, talk about their day, cook meals, have drinks, to somewhere you can just enjoy each other’s company. The kitchen is the heart of the home. But, everyone’s lifestyle is different. Everyone’s taste is different. So, you need a kitchen that not only mirrors your lifestyle but matches your taste too. Whilst some prefer a more traditional design, others want a modern feel or flair – and it’s all down to personal taste.

When it comes to redesigning your kitchen, what style would you go for? It’s a difficult one isn’t it. With so many different styles to go for, how can you know exactly what you want until you’ve seen it in action? Leading kitchen designer, Roman Kitchens, based in Essex, have provided three examples of bespoke kitchens and styles they specialise in, accompanied with beautiful images. This design guide will get you one step closer to picking your dream kitchen for your home.

1. Modern

New home in the city centre? Or even a sleek new modern build? You want a trendy and modern kitchen to reflect your city lifestyle. In modern kitchen design, colours are bolder and fresher, with sleek design and utilities that are distinctive and vibrant.

modern kitchen designs

This modern kitchen is sleek and smooth with flawless design and beauty. Minimalism doesn’t stop this kitchen standing out. Featured walls of wood and vibrant mint green draw the eye, whilst the white surfaces reflect the light, illuminating every nook and cranny of this kitchen. This kitchen features products from Rotpunkt, innovators of modern kitchen design. Made with German engineering, a Rotpunkt Kitchen is the ultimate modern addition to your home. Rotpunkt Kitchens have timeless design and amazing functionality, they work for every purpose and are eco-friendly. Sourced from natural materials, a Rotpunkt kitchen uses 37% less timber, conserving natural forests and being more environmentally conscious.

2. Classic

Prefer a homely and traditional feel? Classic kitchens are warm, welcoming and filled with wood. Wood flooring, wood fixtures, wood furniture – you name it! You can bring a rustic feel to your urban home with a classic kitchen. Subtle colours and beautiful finishes, Classic kitchens are for taking it back to the basics with a definitive look and feel.

classic kitchen designs

With stated handles for cupboards, Classic kitchens are effortlessly timeless. They convey an elegant but relaxing nature. Giving off countryside vibes, natural elements convey a British countryside feel. The wood featured in a classic kitchen can range between oaks and walnut, creating a warmth and original feel to your home. Soft English heritage colours add a certain mood to your home, softening the light making it cosier.

3. Shaker

Any kitchen planner will tell you that the meeting point between traditional and modern design, is a Shaker kitchen. They have a distinctive style and innovative feel. Shakers are fresh, mixing different colour tones with stylish wood and vinyl. The most important feature of a Shaker kitchen is functionality – every feature needs to serve a purpose in the kitchen. Paired with stylish and unique furniture, a Shaker kitchen is an ideal addition to any home.

shaker kitchen designs

The ultimate marriage between Classic and Modern kitchens, this Shaker kitchen has deep colour tones with copper emphasis features. All the fittings and fixtures blur the line of modern and tradition, with a Classic look but modern colour vibe. Unique furniture and design make Shaker Kitchens perfect for the middle ground in kitchen design. Minimal but beautifully dressed. Traditional but bold and modern at the same time. Storage solutions are part of the functionality of Shaker kitchens, but don’t detour from conveying yours as a luxury kitchen.

Whatever you choose for your new kitchen, be it Modern, Classic or Shaker – pick whatever suits you. Taste is, and always will be, subjective – it’s down to you.

Continue Reading


Ways Green Preppers Are Trying to Protect their Privacy



Environmental activists are not given the admiration that they deserve. A recent poll by Gallup found that a whopping 32% of Americans still doubt the existence of global warming. The government’s attitude is even worse.

Many global warming activists and green preppers have raised the alarm bell on climate change over the past few years. Government officials have taken notice and begun tracking their activity online. Even former National Guard officers have admitted that green preppers and climate activists are being targeted for terrorist watchlists.

Of course, the extent of their surveillance depends on the context of activism. People that make benign claims about climate change are unlikely to end up on a watchlist, although it is possible if they make allusions to their disdain of the government. However, even the most pacifistic and well intentioned environmental activists may unwittingly trigger some algorithm and be on the wrong side of a criminal investigation.

How could something like this happen? Here are some possibilities:

  • They could share a post on social media from a climate extremist group or another individual on the climate watchlist.
  • They could overly politicize their social media content, such as being highly critical of the president.
  • They could use figures of speech that may be misinterpreted as threats.
  • They might praise the goals of a climate change extremist organization that as previously resorted to violence, even if they don’t condone the actual means.

Preppers and environmental activists must do everything in their power to protect their privacy. Failing to do so could cost them their reputation, future career opportunities or even their freedom. Here are some ways that they are contacting themselves.

Living Off the Grid and Only Venturing to Civilization for Online Use

The more digital footprints you leave behind, the greater attention you draw. People that hold controversial views on environmentalism or doomsday prepping must minimize their digital paper trail.

Living off the grid is probably the best way to protect your privacy. You can make occasional trips to town to use the Wi-Fi and stock up on supplies.

Know the Surveillance Policies of Public Wi-Fi Providers

Using Wi-Fi away from your home can be a good way to protect your privacy.However, choosing the right public Wi-Fi providers is going to be very important.

Keep in mind that some corporate coffee shops such a Starbucks can store tapes for up to 60 days. Mom and pop businesses don’t have the technology nor the interest to store them that long. They generally store tips for only 24 hours and delete them afterwards. This gives you a good window of opportunity to post your thoughts on climate change without being detected.

Always use a VPN with a No Logging Policy

Using a VPN is one of the best ways to protect your online privacy. However, some of these providers do a much better job than others. What is a VPN and what should you look for when choosing one? Here are some things to look for when making a selection:

  • Make sure they are based in a country that has strict laws on protecting user privacy. VPNs that are based out of Switzerland, Panama for the British Virgin Islands are always good bets.
  • Look for VPN that has a strict no logging policy. Some VPNs will actually track the websites that you visit, which almost entirely defeats the purpose. Most obviously much better than this, but many also track Your connections and logging data. You want to use a VPN that doesn’t keep any logs at all.
  • Try to choose a VPN that has an Internet kill switch. This means that all content will stop serving if your VPN connection drops, which prevents your personal data from leaking out of the VPN tunnel.

You will be much safer if you use a high-quality VPN consistently, especially if you have controversial views on climate related issues or doomsday prepping.

Continue Reading