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Business can be sustainable and profitable, says Unilever boss



The chief executive of Unilever, Paul Polman, has heavily criticised the business world for focusing solely on profits and failing to take sustainability and global challenges into account. He argued that businesses don’t need to choose between financial gain and having a positive impact.

Speaking ahead of Unilever’s Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneur Awards in London, the chief executive argued that business should not focus on the bottom line alone but also consider having a positive impact and reducing negative effects, adding that being sustainability doesn’t have to mean compromising on profits.

According to the Telegraph, he said, “Profit is not a purpose, it’s an end product. I always want a deeper result. People assume that if you do something good, it must cost money. I don’t know where they get that idea from.” 

As an example Polman said, “If you make closed loop systems, you de-risk your model and it’s good for the planet.”

Unilever consistently ranks as one of the most sustainable companies in the world and still delivers significant financial returns for shareholders. Unilever’s full year figures, released earlier this month, show that despite a turnover decline of 2.7%, to £37 billion, pre-tax profits hit £5.84 billion, a 7% increase in the previous year.

“If we invest smartly now, then we can have our cake and eat it too. Our share price is up 25% over the past four months alone, showing the world that you can address tough issues without touching economic viability of your business model,” Polman added.

He continued that it would take $90 trillion (£59tn) in infrastructure investment over a 15-year period to build a sustainable global economy that could effectively fight climate change. Polman noted that companies make up 60% of the global economy and if they didn’t play a role and take action solving the crisis would not be possible.

During last year’s Conference on Inclusive Capitalism, Lynn Forester de Rothschild, chief executive of EL Rothschild, also called on businesses to look past the bottom line and consider the long term in order to restore faith in capitalism.

Photo: DebMomOf3 via Flickr 

Further reading:

CDP: greener S&P 500 corporations are more profitable

Impact investment taskforce calls for UK government to free $1 trillion finance

Climate change a long-term threat to investment, UN tells investors

Business needs to focus on the long-term to restore faith in capitalism

Paul Robinson: capitalism isn’t working – speech


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




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



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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