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The battle for the Green Investment Bank location: round three

We’re down to the last eight in Blue & Green Tomorrow’s Green Investment Bank location recommendation, and in round three of the series, we’re narrowing it down to four cities.

We’re right in the thick of our search to find the perfect location for the Government’s proposed £3 billion Green Investment Bank (GIB).



We’re down to the last eight in Blue & Green Tomorrow’s Green Investment Bank location recommendation, and in round three of the series, we’re narrowing it down to four cities.

We’re right in the thick of our search to find the perfect location for the Government’s proposed £3 billion Green Investment Bank (GIB).

In short, this is Blue & Green Tomorrow’s thorough and impartial recommendation to business secretary Vince Cable, who is expected to announce the location later this month.

The final eight bidding cities after two rounds of Blue & Green’s examination are:

Brighton, Hull, Ipswich, Leicester, Nottingham, Southampton, Sunderland and Torbay.

So, let’s just recap how we got to this stage.

Firstly, we shaved the original 32 bidders down by half by plucking the 16 that had either the lowest carbon emissions or significantly improving levels – therefore ensuring our eventual chosen city was actually green.

And as we said, ‘Mucky Grey Investment Bank’ isn’t quite as catchy.

We then went from 16 to eight by analysing the financial services industries in each, working on the basis that a perfect location for the GIB would be somewhere with a small pool of employees in this sector.

This way, the benefits reaped from the GIB would be far greater.

Moving onto round three, this time we’re looking at each city’s higher education (HE) performance and sustainability.

The reason for this is simple. The GIB will immediately create around 100 jobs. But as a result of its green investments, many more positions will be created in the surrounding area.

So in the future, having young, bright, enthusiastic minds to mould is essential in filling these vital roles. After all, as Whitney Houston so elegantly put it, “children are our future”.

Therefore, having a HE institution that was both ranked highly for its performance and its sustainability, is a massive step forward in the UK’s attempt to realise a green economy.

We’ve talked about sustainable education before at Blue & Green Tomorrow, in a feature about how ethical the UK’s universities are.

Using the same data from that feature – People & Planet’s Green League 2011 – as well as the Guardian’s University Guide 2012, we looked at the 11 institutions located in the final eight cities.

Of the eight, Nottingham, Leicester, Brighton and Southampton are all home to two HE institutions. The rest have one, except for Torbay, which doesn’t have any.

Splitting each category into four quadrants, we gave each institution a rank from one to four – the higher the better – and added the two scores together.

So, for example, the University of Leicester was 17th on the Guardian’s University Guide, giving it four points, and it was 83rd on the People & Planet Green League 2012, giving it two points and a grand total of six.

Where there were two institutions from a single city, we took an average, but weighted the total depending on the size of each institution. This is because it’d be unfair to give the same weight to a university with 40,000 students as one with 25,000.

Now that’s all clear with everyone, let’s get onto the eagerly awaited results.

Click to enlarge.There you have it. Brighton, Nottingham, Sunderland and Leicester progress to the fourth round.

For the first three, their advancement was comfortable. Leicester, however, scraped through by the skin of its teeth, beating fifth-placed Southampton by just 0.06 points.

Hull screamed averageness, meaning its four point total wasn’t enough, whilst Green League data for Ipswich’s University Campus Suffolk wasn’t available, but its poor showing in the Guardian’s University Guide meant this was irrelevant anyway.

As mentioned, Torbay’s lack of HE institution meant it didn’t score at all.

At the end of round three, the four contenders still in the hat literally make up the backbone of England. We couldn’t make it up.

A drive from Brighton to Sunderland via the East Midlands duo, Leicester and Nottingham, would dissect the country right through the middle, via the M23, M25 and for the most part, the M1.

Maybe Vince Cable should make that drive in order to fully appreciate the wonder of each of Blue & Green’s top four possible GIB locations? That’s a documentary idea for you.

Cable’s Car”, perhaps? Sorry.

Moving swiftly on, come back tomorrow for round four, where we’ll be placing the remaining four under another microscope – this time, economic development.

Until then, why not have a read up about the GIB on the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ (BIS) website?

And if you’re interested in contributing to the prospect of a green economy, you can. Ask your financial adviser about the best ways to invest your money sustainably, or alternatively, fill in our online form and we’ll show you how.

We’d also love to hear from you about why your city should be home to the GIB. Comment on this article, or get in touch via Facebook or Twitter to voice your opinions.

Here’s a round-up of Blue & Green’s GIB location battle after round three.

Click to enlarge.Infographics: Ben Willers. Picture source: Ryan Hyde.


New Zealand to Switch to Fully Renewable Energy by 2035



renewable energy policy
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Eviart /

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.


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How Going Green Can Save A Company Money



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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