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Economy

2016: The Year Business Goes Sustainable

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Professor Fred Lemke (pictured left) is Chair in Marketing and Sustainability at Newcastle University Business School. Professor Henry Petersen (right) is Assistant Professor of Strategy and Sustainability at University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, USA. They write for Blue & Green.

Traditionally, companies have focussed on achieving growth by selling more products to more customers. This business model has fuelled the returns demanded by shareholders, and it has worked well, while consumers have been more concerned with price than quality.

However, the focus on price and the pressure to reduce costs has created a downward spiral in quality and, in some instances, ethics. Recent scandals have prompted consumers to reconsider their preferences. Take the 2014 UK poultry dilemma as an example: customers enjoyed the lower prices until they learned that unhealthy poultry, travelling across a number of countries, avoided safety standards before ending up on the shelves for an unreasonably low price.


Consumers are also troubled that wealthy nations are flourishing at the expense of underdeveloped nations, and with little regard for nature. Customers are becoming increasingly concerned with their impact on the environment. They want to know more about the products they buy and where they come from.

2016 will be an interesting year for consumers and a challenging year for organisations. As the old saying goes “the bitterness of poor quality remains long, after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”.

This year’s 10 business trends are:

  1. 2016 will be the year when sustainable marketing will go mainstream, and businesses will devote more effort on understanding what customers are looking for in sustainable products.
  1. Businesses will begin to move away from profit by overconsumption (i.e. selling more and more of the same) and instead brands will market themselves philosophically as creating value for society. There will be an increase in partnerships as businesses work with other organisations that share their values.
  1. It will be a new era with marketing coming into its own through fundamental customer experiences and businesses will work with consumers to co-create sustainable value.
  1. Within the food sector, consumers will become more health orientated and expect to know where food comes from; vegetarian and vegan friendly brands will gain prominence due to promotion of the environmental benefits of low-meat diets.
  1. The supply chain will become a key business concern as brands see the reputational impact of supply chain partner behaviours.
  1. Transparent supply chains that adopt sustainability practices from start to finish will become the rule not the exception. Recycling will move up the supply chain, with UK businesses likely to follow the German example of recycling being conducted at the retailer stage so customers can simply leave packaging at the site.
  1. CSR will continue to trend as businesses recognise their role within society and adopt more creative means of generating wealth while also addressing societal problems.
  1. New technologies will surge ahead, in particular the clean tech sector, despite low oil prices.
  1. In this ever-advancing technological age, sustainable communities and cities will become a hot topic as more individuals rely on social sharing.
  1. Ultimately, this year significant numbers of consumers will start to vote with their feet and focus on businesses that offer truly sustainable products and experiences.

 


 

 

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Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.


1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.


3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.


Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.


We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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