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A new ethical bank on the horizon? Church of England targets RBS branches

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The investment arm of the Church of England is considering bidding for a collection of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) branches, in the hope of creating a new ethical bank.

According to the Independent, the Church Commissioners, who manage the church’s investments, could take control of 315 RBS branches.

RBS has been forced to offload the branches by the European commission, because it was bailed out by taxpayers during the financial crisis in 2008.

Earlier in June, RBS chief executive since 2008, Stephen Hester, resigned with £1.6m payoff, with the bank looking at reprivatisation as early as 2014.

Click here to read The Guide to Sustainable Banking 2012

In a conversation with Hester in 2012, the archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who sits on the banking commission, questioned the role RBS plays in society– to which the then-RBS boss said it worked to serve its savers and shareholders and pay its taxes.

The archbishop replied, “That again, is motherhood and apple pie. I am really looking for a bit more of a penetrating analysis of what your duty is to society – other than just obeying the law and paying taxes.”

The Church of England already owns a small stake in Barclays, where it is engaging with directors and staff to push the bank on a more ethical path. Barclays chief executive Antony Jenkins has spoken openly about his desire to turn the organisation into a values-based bank again, since taking over from Bob Diamond in the wake of the Libor scandal in 2012. In January, Jenkins urged the bank’s employees to sign up to its new ethical values or quit.

The Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG), which support the Church Commissioner with the investment policy and is also member of the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance (UKSIF) – avoids investing in companies involved in arms, pornography, tobacco, gambling, alcoholic drinks, high interest rate lending and human embryonic cloning.

UPDATE: Speaking to Blue & Green Tomorrow, Laura Willoughby of the Move Your Money campaign said, “It would be great to see another values-led bank on the high street. It’s what customers are demanding and what British banking needs.”

Further reading:

Small is beautiful: why alternative banks need to step up to the mark

Moving investment onto ethical footing is better for all, says Church of England

Campaigners angry at size of RBS bonus pot after bank records £5.17bn loss for 2012

Barclays chief calls on staff to observe new ethical values or quit

The Guide to Sustainable Banking 2012

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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