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Economy

Research Reveals Community Investment Risks

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The growth of Corporate Community Investment (CCI) over the past few years is significant, but a research report reveals that not all is as it seems. Corporate Citizenship’s report published today highlights a surprisingly large gap between commercial ambitions and reality in terms of CCI.

CCI has grown rapidly in recent years as more companies give philanthropic donations and run employee volunteering schemes. Many Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reports talk about “impact” in the community, such as “transforming communities” and “improving lives”. But the reality is that most companies are confused about key terms, fail to accurately measure them and don’t live up to the hype.

Based on the insights from more than 130 sustainability and corporate responsibility practitioners around the world, the study reveals that three quarters of companies aspire to achieve long-term impact with their corporate community investment, but less than one quarter currently feel that their organisation is delivering on the promise. This is because less than one in four are measuring their long-term impacts on the community and benefits to the business.

The report describes the ‘impact-aspiration’ gap between what business seeks on the one hand and is able to deliver on the other. The study suggests that the gap is caused by confusion over how and what to measure. A lack of clarity over what to measure, a lack of a clear approach to measurement, and a perceived lack of resources are creating barriers to effective impact measurement.

Jon Lloyd, Associate Director at Corporate Citizenship and the report’s author, said: “Companies need to invest their resources where they can genuinely make a difference in the community. But impact cannot just be a buzzword. It requires measurement of long-term change. For many companies, that means doing things differently.

“It requires asking some searching questions about how best to approach community investment and what can realistically be achieved. In a world where more and more businesses are making such assertions, having tangible and concrete data on impact has never been more important. This focus on achieving hard outcomes, not hollow promises, is all part of an exciting new area in responsible business that we call impact for change.”

Corporate Citizenship’s new report entitled Hard Outcomes or Hollow Promises: Realising the True Impact of Corporate Community Investment helps companies to close the impact-aspiration gap by overcoming challenges and barriers to measurement. The report guides practitioners through the process to effectively measure community investment impacts – creating benefits for both business and society. It can be downloaded here.

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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