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Economy

Green Investment Bank decision “a disgrace”

The location of the Green Investment Bank (GIB) is set. The Government completely ignored Blue & Green Tomorrow’s recommendation of Nottingham, and instead, went down the well-trodden path of predictability and cowardice.

London and Edinburgh have been picked out by Vince Cable and co. as hosts of the GIB, with the headquarters located in Scotland, and the main transaction team in England.

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The location of the Green Investment Bank (GIB) is set. The Government completely ignored Blue & Green Tomorrow’s recommendation of Nottingham, and instead, went down the well-trodden path of predictability and cowardice.

London and Edinburgh have been picked out by Vince Cable and co. as hosts of the GIB, with the headquarters located in Scotland, and the main transaction team in England.

Cable announced the decision on Thursday, March 8, stating, “Harnessing the strengths of Edinburgh and London will support the GIB’s ambition to become a world leader.

Edinburgh has a thriving green sector and respected expertise in areas such as asset management.

London, as the world’s leading financial centre, will ensure that the GIB’s transaction team can hit the ground running.”

The pair were picked from a group of 32 bidding cities – a list that included the likes of Leeds, Manchester, Hull and Leicester.

Surely, the decision – which arguably selected the two most predictable options from the 32 – is undermining the whole ethos of the £3 billion scheme.

In its drive towards a low-carbon or green economy, opting for two already-established financial hubs seems tiresome. The GIB should be about growth in places that need growth. Have we learnt nothing from the financial crisis?

To that end, in February, we decided to present our recommendation for the GIB using a number of critical criteria in a competition that can only be described as an FA Cup –X-Factor hybrid in excitement terms.

After five rounds of deep deliberation, we deemed Nottingham to be the most appropriate host city. The East Midlands city successfully sailed through scrutiny of its carbon levels, financial services sector, higher education institutions, and economic development, before being pitted in a head-to-head battle with Brighton, where after investigation into each city’s transport links, it was eventually chosen as the winner.

The Government’s thought process in choosing Edinburgh as the headquarters is somewhat bizarre. Not only because it already boasts the UK’s second largest economy, but also because of the increasing likelihood that Scotland will eventually achieve independence.

Questions are bound to be raised over the fact that the GIB will have a London office as a supplement to its Edinburgh HQ in that event. But did politics sway the final decision? Apparently not, according to Mike Crockart, the Lib Dem MP for Edinburgh West in The Guardian.

Despite these concerns, the decision has received widespread support from the industry.

Chair of UKSIF, Martin Clarke, said it “welcomes this important step”, whilst Friends of the Earth Scotland’s chief executive, Stan Blackley, said Edinburgh “was always the natural and logical location for the GIB given its unique combination of renewable energy and financial infrastructure and expertise”.

Julian Parrott, partner at Ethical Futures, a group of independent financial advisers based in Edinburgh, commented on the “surprising” but “excellent” news, saying he thought “the independence issue might go against us.

The decision is sensible. Edinburgh is the UK’s second financial centre and Scotland, by dint of geography, is where a lot of the renewable resource is and where many of the new businesses are based.”

On the subject of whether or not Scotland’s independence drive will be affected by the decision, Parrott added, “The cynic would say it is an additional case for keeping the union (i.e., we might lose it), the nationalist or optimist would say that it’s a great opportunity for proving that Scotland is the natural centre for developing green business.”

With the GIB came a chance to not only push the UK towards a greener economy, but also to expand its business and financial centres away from the current leaders – namely, London and Edinburgh.

Instead, in its choice, the Government has succumbed to predictability, which is a shame. Although the GIB will no doubt have a positive impact on the UK economy, the effect it could have had – in building new financial hubs, creating jobs, and forming an additional knowledge base away from the usual suspects – is now but a sad and distant memory.

All is not lost, though. This poor decision doesn’t change the fact that sustainable investment is still imperative in order to realise the green economy. Ask your financial adviser about it, or alternatively, fill in our online form. Furthermore, you can back green energy all the way by talking with Good Energy.

Related links:

The Battle for the Green Investment Bank: The Final

Government to select Green Investment Bank HQ

EU urged towards a green, sustainable economy

Picture source: Liberal Democrats

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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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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