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The battle for the Green Investment Bank: the final

After four rounds of thorough and impartial scrutiny, Blue & Green Tomorrow is ready to announce its final recommendation as to where we think the Green Investment Bank should be located. The golden envelope is on the table, so let’s find out whose name is on it.

And so there were two. In the beginning, we had 32 UK locations all vying for the Blue & Green Tomorrow winner’s crown, but now, just Brighton and Nottingham remain.



After four rounds of thorough and impartial scrutiny, Blue & Green Tomorrow is ready to announce its final recommendation as to where we think the Green Investment Bank should be located. The golden envelope is on the table, so let’s find out whose name is on it.

And so there were two. In the beginning, we had 32 UK locations all vying for the Blue & Green Tomorrow winner’s crown, but now, just Brighton and Nottingham remain.

But which will we choose as our ultimate recommendation for the location of the Government’s £3 billion Green Investment Bank (GIB)? We’ll find out soon.

Both cities passed the previous four rounds with flying colours, and so possess what we deem to be the ideal qualities for the eventual host site.

In this final round we’ll be implementing the deciding factor. The criteria that, in a Blue & Green world, elects whether Vince Cable will be shaking hands with representatives from Brighton or Nottingham.

The two remaining candidates have been so far judged on their carbon levels, financial services sectors, higher education institutions, and economic development.

This means that, in theory, both cities are green (and/or getting greener), need a boost in their financial services industries, are home to a respectable, sustainable university, and have a currently low, or decreasing, average weekly wage.

Here’s a summary of the battle for the GIB so far, with indicators that show whether Brighton or Nottingham scored better in each section.

Click to enlarge.

As you can see, it’s very tight going into the final stage.

In round two, in which we analysed the finance and insurance sectors of each city, several readers have pointed out the inverse logic of our choice. They have suggested that it would make more sense to locate a financial services brand where there is already a core of financial service people.

We don’t think so.

We take the view that to build a sustainable economy, we need to spread wealth and investment across a large proportion of the British Isles.

Whilst financial centres act as a boom to their local economy, too much concentration can have a negative effect on the surrounding towns.

Someone who questioned stage two was Martin Dean, head of the Leeds Initiative who, on Twitter, called our logic “bonkers”.

Perhaps this was because Leeds was omitted from this round, but regardless, outside London, Leeds has one of the UK’s most thriving economies, with one in every 25 finance and insurance employees working in West Yorkshire.

Therefore, by our reasoning, it would be pointless to pick Leeds, and certainly not beneficial for the area to site the GIB there.

Hopefully that’s cleared a few things up.

Before we get onto the fifth and final round, Blue & Green Tomorrow asked two councillors – one from each remaining bidding city – to sum up their case for the GIB location.

Councillor Bill Randall, leader of Brighton & Hove City Council, is up first.
I believe we have the talent pool, commercial infrastructure, credible international brand and sheer ambition to host the Green Investment Bank in our city”, he said.

“Brighton & Hove is concerned about climate change and, with two universities; the city is a centre of economic innovation.

“Financial services are at the heart of the city’s economy and therefore there is an existing workforce with the necessary skills to take up employment opportunities if a Green Investment Bank located in the city“.

Councillor Alan Clark, Nottingham City Council portfolio holder for energy and sustainability, fights his city’s corner.

“The location of the Green Investment Bank in Nottingham would be excellent news for the city”, he said.

“Nottingham is currently forging ahead with many energy and carbon related projects, building on the fact that we are already the most energy self-sufficient city in the UK.

“We want to be Britain’s Energy City and the Green Investment Bank would be a major boost to our reputation and could lead to a concerted growth of green business opportunities, jobs and training in the city”.

Both plant compelling points on the table, and it appears both believe the GIB would be hugely beneficial for their city. They talk the talk at least.

With the pre-match hype out the way, the selection process for the final needs explaining.

Whilst Blue & Green’s ideal GIB location would be a city that doesn’t already have a thriving financial hub, we realise that until a wholly sustainable economy is achieved, there will be a need to access the current financial centres in Britain.

Therefore, we’ve judged the two finalists on their access, by car and train, to the British capitals – London, Cardiff and Edinburgh – and here’s what we found.

Click to enlarge.

Nottingham’s central location in England means it quite considerably trumps Brighton’s access to the three capitals by car and train, and subsequently pokes the East Midlands city ahead in the search for the overall crown.

Although Brighton is only 52 miles away from London, it’s also 462 miles from Edinburgh, bringing its journey time up significantly.

Next, we looked at airport access. In an ideal situation, the GIB would become an international phenomenon, meaning good air travel links are essential.

Looking at the closest five airports to each of the two cities, these are the results.

Click to enlarge.

Nottingham comes out on top again, with a closer average distance to airports than Brighton.

WINNER: Nottingham

This means that the East Midlands city of Nottingham is Blue & Green Tomorrow’s GIB metropolis, and the place that we deem the most appropriate out of the 32 to host such an innovative project.

Its low, decreasing levels of carbon, its under-strength financial sector, its admirably sustainable universities, its average weekly wage, and its transport links, mean it ticks all our boxes.

So that’s it. Will it be Nottingham in real life? Who knows.

We’d love to hear your feelings about what you thought about our GIB recommendation series.

Maybe you’re aggrieved with the fact your city missed out? Maybe you think a certain city progressed too far? Perhaps you think Nottingham doesn’t have what it takes?

We’d love to hear from you. Comment on this article, or get in touch via Facebook or Twitter to voice your opinions.

We’ll keep you up-to-date with which of the 32 cities is actually chosen.

But, if Blue & Green Tomorrow hasn’t totally quenched your thirst for information about the GIB then you can always read up about the Bank 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.

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

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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