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Economy

Energy firms pull out of large scale UK nuclear power project

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RWE and E.ON have pulled out of a joint nuclear power venture on “strategic grounds” that would have seen them install six gigawatts (GW) of reactors at two UK sites.

Horizon, the name of the project, is to be scrapped after nearly three years of planning. It is feared that the news could spark a negative reshuffle in the nuclear industry.

RWE and E.ON both cited the global economic crisis as a big factor in coming to the decision, as well as the “accelerated nuclear phase out” in Germany – where both companies’ headquarters are located.

Horizon chief operating officer Alan Raymant said that the team will “now focus on consolidating the progress made and working with our shareholders as they investigate the opportunities for new ownership”.

It is rumoured that French firm EDF Energy – another big player in the UK nuclear energy sector – is in line to take over the running of the sites at Wylfa and Oldbury, though nothing is confirmed.

The repercussions of Horizon’s demise ripple out much wider than the nuclear industry: UK energy policy could be affected, too.

This seems to be virtually game over for new nukes in the UK”, said Friends of the Earth’s energy campaigner, Paul Steedman.

With energy firms abandoning plans for nuclear across Europe, the Government should end its fixation with a technology that has always delivered late and over budget, on the odd occasion it has delivered at all.

The Government must now listen to the overwhelming majority of people who want the UK to turn to the plentiful clean energy sources from the wind, sun and sea on our doorstep, which would create thousands of jobs.”

Meanwhile, Gaynor Hartnell, chief executive of the Renewable Energy Association, said, “In comparison with nuclear and carbon capture and storage, renewables win hands down”.

Renewable energy is cheaper, proven and reliable. It assists with security of supply, creates more jobs, the fuel doesn’t run out, and there is no need to find permanent storage for wastes, which must be isolated indefinitely.

Government is bending over backwards to assist all other energy sources, including gas, which it has just exempted from the emissions performance standard for the next thirty years. In contrast it seems lukewarm on renewables.”

Indeed, the level of subsidy given to the nuclear power industry is constantly under scrutiny. According to Energy Fair: “Several of these subsidies are so large that withdrawal of just one of them would make nuclear power entirely uncompetitive”.

One such subsidy is the low requirements for insurance against disaster. The Washington Post wrote in January 2011, “From the U.S. to Japan, it’s illegal to drive a car without sufficient insurance, yet governments around the world choose to run over 440 nuclear power plants with hardly any coverage whatsoever”. Certainly, the events at Fukushima over the last year will have given many governments cause to reconsider this particular area.

George Osborne’s budget statement earlier this month lacked a strong agenda for renewables. Instead, he focused on increasing the UK’s reliance on gas, stating that gas can meet our energy needs.

Several days later, a gas leak at a North Sea rig stole the headlines and brought the UK’s gas-powered future into question. The cancellation of the Horizon project, though good news to some, does take us one step further away from reducing our dependency on fossil fuels.

And while the nuclear debate will no doubt continue, it is clear that the UK must seriously reflect on its future energy mix. When all things are considered, embracing renewables, particularly in the UK, makes a great deal of sense.

Read our report, The Rise of Renewable Energy, for a deeper look at the renewable sector.

We also recommend visiting Good Energy, the UK’s only 100% renewable electricity provider, who can help you connect your home or business to a clean energy source.

Further reading:

Onshore wind development is an opportunity we can’t afford to miss

Fukushima: one year on

The Rise of Renewable Energy

Economy

How Going Green Can Save A Company Money

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going green can save company money
Shutterstock Licensed Photot - By GOLFX

What is going green?

Going green means to live life in a way that is environmentally friendly for an entire population. It is the conservation of energy, water, and air. Going green means using products and resources that will not contaminate or pollute the air. It means being educated and well informed about the surroundings, and how to best protect them. It means recycling products that may not be biodegradable. Companies, as well as people, that adhere to going green can help to ensure a safer life for humanity.

The first step in going green

There are actually no step by step instructions for going green. The only requirement needed is making the decision to become environmentally conscious. It takes a caring attitude, and a willingness to make the change. It has been found that companies have improved their profit margins by going green. They have saved money on many of the frivolous things they they thought were a necessity. Besides saving money, companies are operating more efficiently than before going green. Companies have become aware of their ecological responsibility by pursuing the knowledge needed to make decisions that would change lifestyles and help sustain the earth’s natural resources for present and future generations.

Making needed changes within the company

After making the decision to go green, there are several things that can be changed in the workplace. A good place to start would be conserving energy used by electrical appliances. First, turning off the computer will save over the long run. Just letting it sleep still uses energy overnight. Turn off all other appliances like coffee maker, or anything that plugs in. Pull the socket from the outlet to stop unnecessary energy loss. Appliances continue to use electricity although they are switched off, and not unplugged. Get in the habit of turning off the lights whenever you leave a room. Change to fluorescent light bulbs, and lighting throughout the building. Have any leaks sealed on the premises to avoid the escape of heat or air.

Reducing the common paper waste

paper waste

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Yury Zap

Modern technologies and state of the art equipment, and tools have almost eliminated the use of paper in the office. Instead of sending out newsletters, brochures, written memos and reminders, you can now do all of these and more by technology while saving on the use of paper. Send out digital documents and emails to communicate with staff and other employees. By using this virtual bookkeeping technique, you will save a bundle on paper. When it is necessary to use paper for printing purposes or other services, choose the already recycled paper. It is smartly labeled and easy to find in any office supply store. It is called the Post Consumer Waste paper, or PCW paper. This will show that your company is dedicated to the preservation of natural resources. By using PCW paper, everyone helps to save the trees which provides and emits many important nutrients into the atmosphere.

Make money by spreading the word

Companies realize that consumers like to buy, or invest in whatever the latest trend may be. They also cater to companies that are doing great things for the quality of life of all people. People want to know that the companies that they cater to are doing their part for the environment and ecology. By going green, you can tell consumers of your experiences with helping them and communities be eco-friendly. This is a sound public relations technique to bring revenue to your brand. Boost the impact that your company makes on the environment. Go green, save and make money while essentially preserving what is normally taken for granted. The benefits of having a green company are enormous for consumers as well as the companies that engage in the process.

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Economy

Report: Green, Ethical and Socially Responsible Finance

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“The level of influence that ethical considerations have over consumer selection of financial services products and services is minimal, however, this is beginning to change. Younger consumers are more willing to pay extra for products provided by socially responsible companies.” Jessica Morley, Mintel’s Financial Services Analyst.

Consumer awareness of the impact consumerism has on society and the planet is increasing. In addition, the link between doing good and feeling good has never been clearer. Just 19% of people claim to not participate in any socially responsible activities.

As a result, the level of attention that people pay to the green and ethical claims made by products and providers is also increasing, meaning that such considerations play a greater role in the purchasing decision making process.

However, this is less true in the context of financial services, where people are much more concerned about the performance of a product rather than green and ethical factors. This is not to say, however, that they are not interested in the behaviour of financial service providers or in gaining more information about how firms behave responsibly.

This report focuses on why these consumer attitudes towards financial services providers exist and how they are changing. This includes examination of the wider economy and the current structure of the financial services sector.

Mintel’s exclusive consumer research looks at consumer participation in socially responsible activities, trust in the behaviour of financial services companies and attitudes towards green, ethical and socially responsible financial services products and providers. The report also considers consumer attitudes towards the social responsibilities of financial services firms and the green, ethical and socially responsible nature of new entrants.

There are some elements missing from this report, such as conducting socially responsible finance with OTC trading. We will cover these other topics in more detail in the future. You can research about Ameritrade if you want to know more ..

By this report today: call: 0203 416 4502 | email: iainooson[at]mintel.com

Report contents:

OVERVIEW
What you need to know
Report definition
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The market
Ethical financial services providers: A question of culture
Investment power
Consumers need convincing
The transformative potential of innovation
Consumers can demand change
The consumer
For financial products, performance is more important than principle
Competition from technology companies
Financial services firms perceived to be some of the least socially responsible
Repaying the social debt
Consumer trust is built on evidence
What we think
ISSUES AND INSIGHTS
Creating a more inclusive economy
The facts
The implications
Payments innovation helps fundraising go digital
The facts
The implications
The social debt of the financial crisis
The facts
The implications
THE MARKET – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Ethical financial services providers: A question of culture
Investment power
Consumers need convincing
The transformative potential of innovation
Consumers can demand change
PUTTING FINANCIAL SERVICES IN AN ETHICAL CONTEXT
An ethical economy
An ethical financial sector
Ethical financial services providers
GREEN, ETHICAL AND SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE ISSUES IN FINANCIAL SERVICES
The role of investing
Divestment
The change potential of pensions
The role of trust
Greater transparency informs decisions
Learning from past mistakes
The role of innovation
Payments innovation: Improving financial inclusion
Competition from new entrants
The power of new money
The role of the consumer
Consumers empowered to make a change
Aligning products with self
THE CONSUMER – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
For financial products, performance is more important than ethics
Financial services firms perceived to be some of the least socially responsible
Competition from technology companies
Repaying the social debt
Consumer trust is built on evidence
Overall trust levels are high
THE ETHICAL CONSUMER – SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE ACTIVITIES
Payments innovation can boost charitable donations
Consumer engagement in socially responsible activities is high
Healthier finances make it easier to go green
SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE COMPANIES
37% unable to identify socially responsible companies
Building societies seen to be more responsible than banks….
….whilst short-term loan companies are at the bottom of the pile
CONSUMER TRUST IN THE BEHAVIOUR OF FINANCIAL SERVICES COMPANIES
Overall trust levels are high
Tax avoidance remains a major concern
The divestment movement
Nationwide significantly more trusted
Trust levels remain high
CONSUMER ATTITUDES TOWARDS GREEN AND ETHICAL FINANCIAL PRODUCTS
For financial products, performance is more important than principle
Socially conscious consumers are more concerned
CONSUMER ATTITUDES TOWARDS TRANSPARENCY
Strategy reports provide little insight for consumers
Lack of clarity regarding corporate culture causes concern
Consumers want more information
THE ROLE OF FINANCIAL SERVICES FIRMS IN SOCIETY
The social debt of the financial crisis
THE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES OF FINANCIAL SERVICES FIRMS
For consumers, financial services firms play larger economic role
Promoting financial responsibility
CHALLENGER COMPANIES AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Consumer trust is built on evidence
The alternative opportunity
The target customer

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