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Body Shop Continue ‘Wildest Christmas Ever’ Campaign

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Body Shop Continue ‘Wildest Christmas Ever’ Campaign

Christmas shoppers are going to help protect endangered animals across the globe including orangutang, tigers and monkeys.

Shoppers will be able to help protect some of the world’s most endangered species this Christmas by buying gifts for their loved ones from The Body Shop. It’s so simple, every specially selected gift a customer buys will help protect endangered animals in Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia and endangered habitat in Vietnam with 1 square metre protected per specially selected gift.

The Body Shop’s successful Bio-Bridges programme aims to regenerate 75 million square metres of forest by 2020 in locations which are rich in biodiversity and home to some of the world’s most endangered animals, helping to protect them from exploitation such as poaching and unsustainable logging. The Body Shop has today extended this pioneering project from its original location in Vietnam to two additional locations in Malaysia and Indonesia exclusively for Christmas, enabling customers to do their bit in helping threatened orangutang, tigers and monkeys.

The Body Shop has always been passionate about tackling some of the world’s most pressing environmental and humanitarian issues and empowering consumers to understand how they can make a difference, from Save the Whale in 1986 to Stop Sex Trafficking in 2013. Malaysia and Indonesia, in addition to Vietnam, were selected as the sites for the new Bio-Bridges projects due to the growing threat of habitat loss in these areas causing animals and habitats to become more fragmented than ever before. Some of the world’s most significant habitat loss occurs in Malaysia and Indonesia, with 11 million hectares of forest – an area the size of Denmark – lost between 2000 and 2010*.

The Body Shop’s customers around the world can participate in the Bio-Bridges project and do their bit to combat habitat loss and help our animal friends. Each time a customer purchases a specially selected gift throughout the campaign from 1 November until 24 December 2016, they will protect 1 square metre of habitat and endangered animals. The Body Shop is aiming to donate £200,000 this Christmas period. The funds will be split between the three projects, with 58% going to Vietnam and 21% each to Indonesia and Malaysia.

This Christmas, which we’re promoting as “The Wildest Christmas Ever”, we will fund projects to help protect endangered species such as the Orangutan, Sumatran Tiger, Malayan Tiger and the Asian Elephant

Christopher Davis, International Director of Corporate Responsibility at The Body Shop says: “Due to popular demand we are extending the Bio-Bridge programme into Christmas 2016 and adding two additional locations in Indonesia and Malaysia. We’ve been delighted with the response to our original Bio-Bridges programme earlier this year and in particular, our customers’ reaction to our campaign to help Reggie, the Red-shanked Douc, find love. This Christmas, which we’re promoting as “The Wildest Christmas Ever”, we will fund projects to help protect endangered species such as the Orangutan, Sumatran Tiger, Malayan Tiger and the Asian Elephant”

Indonesia project

In Indonesia The Body Shop will work with Orangutan Land Trust (OLT) which focuses on supporting the preservation, restoration and protection of forests in areas where orangutans naturally exist or have existed in the past. The funds raisedwill support the establishment of a Forest Management Unit in Sumatra, to help protect the southernmost population of a critically endangered and incredibly rare species of orangutan and other endangered species in the Batang Toru forest.

Malaysia project

In Malaysia The Body Shop is working with Wildlife Conservation Society Malaysia (WCS Malaysia), a subsidiary of international charity the Wildlife Conservation Society. WCS’s goal is to conserve the world’s largest wild places in 15 priority regions, home to more than 50% of the world’s biodiversity. In Malaysia, WCS Malaysia monitors Malayan tigers in their habitats and works with stakeholders to protect them via anti-poaching patrols and securing critical habitats (bio-bridges) for them and their prey. The aim is to increase the population of the endangered Malayan tigers and to protect their native habitat which will allow them and other wildlife to roam in a larger protected landscape of Endau Rompin.

Vietnam project

Launched in summer 2016, the ongoing Vietnam project is based in the Khe Nuoc Trong forest in North Central Vietnam, partnering with World Land Trust and local partners Viet Nature. World Land Trust (WLT) is an international conservation charity, which protects the world’s most biologically important and threatened habitats acre by acre. This Christmas, funds will also be allocated to biological surveys and community engagement projects to raise local awareness of the endangered species, in particular the Red-shanked Douc (“Reggie”).

Davis says: “Bio-Bridges is our programme to restore and protect wildlife corridors within landscapes that are damaged or under threat. All three locations for our Christmas Bio-Bridges – Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam – are located within biodiversity hotspots and contain key endangered species of flora and fauna. Just by buying a Christmas gift, our customers are doing something amazing to protect endangered wildlife and endangered habitat in one of three precious parts of the world.”

He adds: “We want to raise awareness of endangered animals in these areas. The Body Shop has always been committed to fighting cruelty against animals – we’re a vegetarian brand and were the first brand to campaign Against Animal Testing for cosmetics – and we know our customers are passionate about cruelty to animals too.”

The programme is being promoted through The Body Shop’s Christmas in-store and digital marketing campaign, ‘The Wildest Christmas Ever”.

The Bio-Bridges programme is one element of The Body Shop’s Enrich Not Exploit™ Commitment, which aims to make The Body Shop the most ethical and truly sustainable global business in the world.

The Body Shop’s commitment to changing attitudes towards sustainable business does not stop at Bio-Bridges. When visiting one of The Body Shop’s stores over the festive season, customers who choose a ‘create your own’ gift box will be given the opportunity to choose a selection of unique gift boxes and bags from Get Paper Industry, one of The Body Shop’s 27 Community Trade suppliers. Get Paper Industry is a cooperative in Nepal making environmentally-friendly handmade paper and paper products, with their profits reinvested in the community.

Environment

Two Ancient Japanese Philosophies Are the Future of Eco-Living

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Eco-Living
Shutterstock Photos - By Syda Productions | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/dolgachov

Our obsession with all things new has blighted the planet. We have a waste crisis, particularly when it comes to plastic. US scientists have calculated the total amount of plastic ever made – 8.3 billion tons! Unfortunately, only 9% of this is estimated to have been recycled. And current global trends point to there being 12 billion tons of plastic waste by 2050.

However, two ancient Japanese philosophies are providing an antidote to the excesses of modern life. By emphasizing the elimination of waste and the acceptance of the old and imperfect, the concepts of Mottainai and Wabi-Sabi have positively influenced Japanese life for centuries.

They are now making their way into the consciousness of the Western mainstream, with an increasing influence in the UK and US. By encouraging us to be frugal with our possessions, (i.e. using natural materials for interior design) these concepts can be the future of eco-living.

What is Wabi-Sabi and Mottainai??

Wabi-Sabi emphasizes an acceptance of transience and imperfection. Although Wabi had the original meaning of sad and lonely, it has come to describe those that are simple, unmaterialistic and at one with nature. The term Sabi is defined as the “the bloom of time”, and has evolved into a new meaning: taking pleasure and seeing beauty in things that are old and faded. 

Any flaws in objects, like cracks or marks, are cherished because they illustrate the passage of time. Wear and tear is seen as a representation of their loving use. This makes it intrinsically linked to Wabi, due to its emphasis on simplicity and rejection of materialism.

In the West, Wabi-Sabi has infiltrated many elements of daily life, from cuisine to interior design. Specialist Japanese homeware companies, like Sansho, source handmade products that embody the Wabi-Sabi philosophy. Their products, largely made from natural materials, are handcrafted by traditional Japanese artisans – meaning no two pieces are the same and no two pieces are “perfect” in size or shape.

Mottainai

Mottainai is a term expressing a feeling of regret concerning waste, translating roughly in English to either “what a waste!” or “Don’t waste!”. The philosophy emphasizes the intrinsic value of a resource or object, and is linked to hinto animism, the notion that all objects have a spirit, or ‘kami’. The idea that we are part of nature is a key part of Japanese psychology.

Mottainai also has origins in Buddhist philosophy. The Buddhist monastic tradition emphasizes a life of frugality, to allow us to concentrate on attaining enlightenment. It is from this move towards frugality that a link to Mottainai as a concept of waste can be made.

How have Wabi-Sabi and Mottainai promoted eco living?

Wabi-Sabi is still a prominent feature of Japanese life today, and has remained instrumental in the way people design their homes. The ideas of imperfection and frugality are hugely influential.

For example, instead of buying a brand-new kitchen table, many Japanese people instead retain a table that has been passed through the generations. Although its long use can be seen by various marks and scratches, Wabi-Sabi has taught people that they should value it because of its imperfect nature. Those scratches and marks are a story and signify the passage of time. This is a far cry from what we typically associate with the Western World.

Like Wabi Sabi, Mottainai is manifested throughout Japanese life, creating a great respect for Japanese resources. This has had a major impact on home design. For example, the Japanese prefer natural materials in their homes, such as using soil and dried grass as thermal insulation.

Their influence in the UK

The UK appears to be increasingly influenced by thes two concepts. Some new reports indicate that Wabi Sabi has been labelled as ‘the trend of 2018’. For example, Japanese ofuro baths inspired the project that won the New London Architecture’s 2017 Don’t Move, Improve award. Ofuro baths are smaller than typical baths, use less water, and are usually made out of natural materials, like hinoki wood.

Many other UK properties have also been influenced by these philosophies, such as natural Kebony wood being applied to the external cladding of a Victorian property in Hampstead; or a house in Lancaster Gate using rice paper partitions as sub-dividers. These examples embody the spirit of both philosophies. They are representative of Mottainai because of their use of natural resources to discourage waste. And they’re reflective of Wabi-Sabi because they accept imperfect materials that have not been engineered or modified.

In a world that is plagued by mass over-consumption and an incessant need for novelty, the ancient concepts of Mottainai and Wabi-Sabi provide a blueprint for living a more sustainable life. They help us to reduce consumption and put less of a strain on the planet. This refreshing mindset can help us transform the way we go about our day to day lives.

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Energy

What Should We Make of The Clean Growth Strategy?

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Clean Growth Strategy for green energy
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By sdecoret | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/sdecoret

It was hardly surprising the Clean Growth Strategy (CGS) was much anticipated by industry and environmentalists. After all, its publication was pushed back a couple of times. But with the document now in the public domain, and the Government having run a consultation on its content, what ultimately should we make of what’s perhaps one of the most important publications to come out of the Department for Business, Energy and the Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in the past 12 months?

The starting point, inevitably, is to decide what the document is and isn’t. It is, certainly, a lengthy and considered direction-setter – not just for the Government, but for business and industry, and indeed for consumers. While much of the content was favourably received in terms of highlighting ways to ensure clean growth, critics – not unjustifiably – suggested it was long on pages but short on detailed and finite policy commitments, accompanied by clear timeframes for action.

A Strategy, Instead of a Plan

But should we really be surprised? The answer, in all honesty, is probably not really. BEIS ministers had made no secret of the fact they would be publishing a ‘strategy’ as opposed to a ‘plan,’ and that gave every indication the CGS would set a direction of travel and be largely aspirational. The Government had consulted on its content, and will likely respond to the consultation during the course of 2018. And that’s when we might see more defined policy commitments and timeframes from action.

The second criticism one might level at the CGS is that indicated the use of ‘flexibilities’ to achieve targets set in the carbon budgets – essentially using past results to offset more recent failings to keep pace with emissions targets. Claire Perry has since appeared in front of the BEIS Select Committee and insisted she would be personally disappointed if the UK used flexibilities to fill the shortfall in meeting the fourth and fifth carbon budgets, but this is difficult ground for the Government. The Committee on Climate Change was critical of the proposed use of efficiencies, which would somewhat undermine ministers’ good intentions and commitment to clean growth – particularly set against November’s Budget, in which the Chancellor maintained the current carbon price floor (potentially giving a reprieve to coal) and introduced tax changes favourable to North Sea oil producers.

A 12 Month Green Energy Initiative with Real Teeth

But, there is much to appreciate and commend about the CGS. It fits into a 12-month narrative for BEIS ministers, in which they have clearly shown a commitment to clean growth, improving energy efficiency and cutting carbon emissions. Those 12 months have seen the launch of the Industrial Strategy – firstly in Green Paper form, which led to the launch of the Faraday Challenge, and then a White Paper in which clean growth was considered a ‘grand challenge’ for government. Throughout these publications – and indeed again with the CGS – the Government has shown itself to be an advocate of smart systems and demand response, including the development of battery technology.

Electrical Storage Development at Center of Broader Green Energy Push

While the Faraday Challenge is primarily focused on the development of batteries to support the proliferation of electric vehicles (which will support cuts to carbon emissions), it will also drive down technology costs, supporting the deployment of small and utility-scale storage that will fully harness the capability of renewables. Solar and wind made record contributions to UK electricity generation in 2017, and the development of storage capacity will help both reduce consumer costs and support decarbonisation.

The other thing the CGS showed us it that the Government is happy to be a disrupter in the energy market. The headline from the publication was the plans for legislation to empower Ofgem to cap the costs of Standard Variable Tariffs. This had been an aspiration of ministers for months, and there’s little doubt that driving down costs for consumers will be a trend within BEIS policy throughout 2018.

But the Government also seems happy to support disruption in the renewables market, as evidenced by the commitment (in the CGS) to more than half a billion pounds of investment in Pot 2 of Contracts for Difference (CfDs) – where the focus will be on emerging rather than established technologies.

This inevitably prompted ire from some within the industry, particularly proponents of solar, which is making an increasing contribution to the UK’s energy mix. But, again, we shouldn’t really be surprised. Since the subsidy cuts of 2015, ministers have given no indication or cause to think there will be public money afforded to solar development. Including solar within the CfD auction would have been a seismic shift in policy. And while ministers’ insistence in subsidy-free solar as the way forward has been shown to be based on a single project, we should expect that as costs continue to be driven down and solar makes record contributions to electricity generation, investment will follow – and there will ultimately be more subsidy-free solar farms, albeit perhaps not in 2018.

Meanwhile, by promoting emerging technologies like remote island wind, the Government appears to be favouring diversification and that it has a range of resources available to meet consumer demand. Perhaps more prescient than the decision to exclude established renewables from the CfD auction is the subsequent confirmation in the budget that Pot 2 of CfDs will be the last commitment of public money to renewable energy before 2025.

In short, we should view the CGS as a step in the right direction, albeit one the Government should be elaborating on in its consultation response. Its publication, coupled with the advancement this year of the Industrial Strategy indicates ministers are committed to the clean growth agenda. The question is now how the aspirations set out in the CGS – including the development of demand response capacity for the grid, and improving the energy efficiency of commercial and residential premises – will be realised.

It’s a step in the right direction. But, inevitably, there’s much more work to do.

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