Connect with us

Economy

Countdown Begins For International Festival of Business 2016

Published

on

There are less than 30 days remaining before the start of the International Festival of Business 2016 (IFB2016). The countdown was announced at an exclusive roundtable event at BT Tower in London last week. Britain’s business leaders came together to mark the date.

The roundtable event featured an exhibition including and showcasing British businesses that epitomise the best of “Brand Britain”. They included:

– Balance Me: Family run start-up that has grown into a hugely successful premium, British-made natural skincare business over the last 10 years with results-focused formulas. The brand has won a legion of fans that include Oscar-winning actresses and British Olympians, amassing over 40 industry and media awards

– Brompton Bicycle: Run by IFB2016 ambassador Will Butler-Adams, Brompton designs, produces and globally distributes over 45,000 bikes each year from their UK factory. The company has grown from £2m turnover in 2002 to £33m and exports account for 80% of sales

– Candy Kittens: A gourmet sweets manufacturer founded by Made in Chelsea star Jamie Laing and Ed Williams. The business currently exports to more than 15 markets worldwide, including the US, Malta, Netherlands and Germany

– Cobra Beer: Founded by IFB2016 ambassador Lord Karan Bilimoria, Cobra Beer has grown into a global brand that exports to more than 40 countries and is produced in three locations worldwide

– Kymira: Established in 2013 in the renowned Science and Technology labs at the University of Reading, its combined team of Scientists and Sport’s enthusiasts has developed a range of performance and recovery enhancing sportswear that incorporates its unique, patented KYnergy infrared technology

– M Squared Lasers: One of the UK’s fastest-growing tech firms, the business produces innovative laser products that are used to do everything from treating cancer and developing regenerative medicines, to detecting chemical warfare agents and teleporting information. M Squared was awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise last month

Attendees were given an update on the plans for this world’s biggest business event by IFB2016 chair Max Steinberg, with the organisers spelling out what delegates can expect from the festival. Dr. Catherine Raines, CEO of UK Trade & Investment, set out the role IFB2016 will play in the government’s efforts to boost UK exports and encourage inward investment.

Max Steinberg CBE, Chair of IFB2016, said: “IFB2016 is a central part of Britain’s ambition to promote economic growth, rebalance the UK economy, and hit our ambitious exports targets.

“As a showcase of all that’s great about British industry, IFB2016 will shed light on the industries that are fueling the UK in the 21st Century, the businesses that are driving these sectors, and the future stars of British enterprise across Energy and Environment, Creative and Digital and Manufacturing.

“These are businesses that are thriving across the country – firms with the ambition and creativity that embody the spirit of Brand Britain that resonates around the globe. It’s this spirit that will be on full display in Liverpool in just 30 days’ time for the start of the International Festival for Business 2016.”

Dr. Catherine Raines, CEO of UK Trade & Investment, added: “The International Festival for Business 2016 will be the premier event of the business calendar this year and I am proud UK Trade & Investment is partnering with BT and Liverpool Vision on this opportunity.

“I am particularly excited by the UKTI programme, which will bring together UK companies of all sizes, experienced exporters and first timers with buyers and investors around world. From UK Food and drink businesses who want to build their e-commerce capabilities to global investors looking for oil and gas opportunities here in the UK – I am calling on all companies to attend by registering for the IFB2016 Business Club today.” 

Backed by HM Government, IFB2016 will open on Monday 13 June and run for three weeks. It will bring together thousands of global businesses, providing a platform for companies to connect and conduct international commerce.

BT, Google and HSBC are the lead sponsors of IFB2016, with the Festival’s commercial partners including ARUP, DLA Piper, DONG Energy, Heathrow, PwC, Siemens and Virgin Trains.

Economy

Will Self-Driving Cars Be Better for the Environment?

Published

on

self-driving cars for green environment
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Zapp2Photo | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/zapp2photo

Technologists, engineers, lawmakers, and the general public have been excitedly debating about the merits of self-driving cars for the past several years, as companies like Waymo and Uber race to get the first fully autonomous vehicles on the market. Largely, the concerns have been about safety and ethics; is a self-driving car really capable of eliminating the human errors responsible for the majority of vehicular accidents? And if so, who’s responsible for programming life-or-death decisions, and who’s held liable in the event of an accident?

But while these questions continue being debated, protecting people on an individual level, it’s worth posing a different question: how will self-driving cars impact the environment?

The Big Picture

The Department of Energy attempted to answer this question in clear terms, using scientific research and existing data sets to project the short-term and long-term environmental impact that self-driving vehicles could have. Its findings? The emergence of self-driving vehicles could essentially go either way; it could reduce energy consumption in transportation by as much as 90 percent, or increase it by more than 200 percent.

That’s a margin of error so wide it might as well be a total guess, but there are too many unknown variables to form a solid conclusion. There are many ways autonomous vehicles could influence our energy consumption and environmental impact, and they could go well or poorly, depending on how they’re adopted.

Driver Reduction?

One of the big selling points of autonomous vehicles is their capacity to reduce the total number of vehicles—and human drivers—on the road. If you’re able to carpool to work in a self-driving vehicle, or rely on autonomous public transportation, you’ll spend far less time, money, and energy on your own car. The convenience and efficiency of autonomous vehicles would therefore reduce the total miles driven, and significantly reduce carbon emissions.

There’s a flip side to this argument, however. If autonomous vehicles are far more convenient and less expensive than previous means of travel, it could be an incentive for people to travel more frequently, or drive to more destinations they’d otherwise avoid. In this case, the total miles driven could actually increase with the rise of self-driving cars.

As an added consideration, the increase or decrease in drivers on the road could result in more or fewer vehicle collisions, respectively—especially in the early days of autonomous vehicle adoption, when so many human drivers are still on the road. Car accident injury cases, therefore, would become far more complicated, and the roads could be temporarily less safe.

Deadheading

Deadheading is a term used in trucking and ridesharing to refer to miles driven with an empty load. Assume for a moment that there’s a fleet of self-driving vehicles available to pick people up and carry them to their destinations. It’s a convenient service, but by necessity, these vehicles will spend at least some of their time driving without passengers, whether it’s spent waiting to pick someone up or en route to their location. The increase in miles from deadheading could nullify the potential benefits of people driving fewer total miles, or add to the damage done by their increased mileage.

Make and Model of Car

Much will also depend on the types of cars equipped to be self-driving. For example, Waymo recently launched a wave of self-driving hybrid minivans, capable of getting far better mileage than a gas-only vehicle. If the majority of self-driving cars are electric or hybrids, the environmental impact will be much lower than if they’re converted from existing vehicles. Good emissions ratings are also important here.

On the other hand, the increased demand for autonomous vehicles could put more pressure on factory production, and make older cars obsolete. In that case, the gas mileage savings could be counteracted by the increased environmental impact of factory production.

The Bottom Line

Right now, there are too many unanswered questions to make a confident determination whether self-driving vehicles will help or harm the environment. Will we start driving more, or less? How will they handle dead time? What kind of models are going to be on the road?

Engineers and the general public are in complete control of how this develops in the near future. Hopefully, we’ll be able to see all the safety benefits of having autonomous vehicles on the road, but without any of the extra environmental impact to deal with.

Continue Reading

Economy

New Zealand to Switch to Fully Renewable Energy by 2035

Published

on

renewable energy policy
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Eviart / https://www.shutterstock.com/g/adrian825

New Zealand’s prime minister-elect Jacinda Ardern is already taking steps towards reducing the country’s carbon footprint. She signed a coalition deal with NZ First in October, aiming to generate 100% of the country’s energy from renewable sources by 2035.

New Zealand is already one of the greenest countries in the world, sourcing over 80% of its energy for its 4.7 million people from renewable resources like hydroelectric, geothermal and wind. The majority of its electricity comes from hydro-power, which generated 60% of the country’s energy in 2016. Last winter, renewable generation peaked at 93%.

Now, Ardern is taking on the challenge of eliminating New Zealand’s remaining use of fossil fuels. One of the biggest obstacles will be filling in the gap left by hydropower sources during dry conditions. When lake levels drop, the country relies on gas and coal to provide energy. Eliminating fossil fuels will require finding an alternative source to avoid spikes in energy costs during droughts.

Business NZ’s executive director John Carnegie told Bloomberg he believes Ardern needs to balance her goals with affordability, stating, “It’s completely appropriate to have a focus on reducing carbon emissions, but there needs to be an open and transparent public conversation about the policies and how they are delivered.”

The coalition deal outlined a few steps towards achieving this, including investing more in solar, which currently only provides 0.1% of the country’s energy. Ardern’s plans also include switching the electricity grid to renewable energy, investing more funds into rail transport, and switching all government vehicles to green fuel within a decade.

Zero net emissions by 2050

Beyond powering the country’s electricity grid with 100% green energy, Ardern also wants to reach zero net emissions by 2050. This ambitious goal is very much in line with her focus on climate change throughout the course of her campaign. Environmental issues were one of her top priorities from the start, which increased her appeal with young voters and helped her become one of the youngest world leaders at only 37.

Reaching zero net emissions would require overcoming challenging issues like eliminating fossil fuels in vehicles. Ardern hasn’t outlined a plan for reaching this goal, but has suggested creating an independent commission to aid in the transition to a lower carbon economy.

She also set a goal of doubling the number of trees the country plants per year to 100 million, a goal she says is “absolutely achievable” using land that is marginal for farming animals.

Greenpeace New Zealand climate and energy campaigner Amanda Larsson believes that phasing out fossil fuels should be a priority for the new prime minister. She says that in order to reach zero net emissions, Ardern “must prioritize closing down coal, putting a moratorium on new fossil fuel plants, building more wind infrastructure, and opening the playing field for household and community solar.”

A worldwide shift to renewable energy

Addressing climate change is becoming more of a priority around the world and many governments are assessing how they can reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and switch to environmentally-friendly energy sources. Sustainable energy is becoming an increasingly profitable industry, giving companies more of an incentive to invest.

Ardern isn’t alone in her climate concerns, as other prominent world leaders like Justin Trudeau and Emmanuel Macron have made renewable energy a focus of their campaigns. She isn’t the first to set ambitious goals, either. Sweden and Norway share New Zealand’s goal of net zero emissions by 2045 and 2030, respectively.

Scotland already sources more than half of its electricity from renewable sources and aims to fully transition by 2020, while France announced plans in September to stop fossil fuel production by 2040. This would make it the first country to do so, and the first to end the sale of gasoline and diesel vehicles.

Many parts of the world still rely heavily on coal, but if these countries are successful in phasing out fossil fuels and transitioning to renewable resources, it could serve as a turning point. As other world leaders see that switching to sustainable energy is possible – and profitable – it could be the start of a worldwide shift towards environmentally-friendly energy.

Sources: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-06/green-dream-risks-energy-security-as-kiwis-aim-for-zero-carbon

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-hydrocarbons/france-plans-to-end-oil-and-gas-production-by-2040-idUSKCN1BH1AQ

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Facebook

Trending