Sustainability titles Blue & Green Tomorrow and GreenWise Business unite to create independent sustainable publishing powerhouse. GreenWise Business founder Louise Bateman is to become editor of Blue & Green, as title launches £260,000 Crowdcube share offer.
Blue & Green Tomorrow, the fastest-growing sustainable lifestyle magazine in the UK, and GreenWise Business, the independent UK green business-to-business (B2B) online news and information publisher, are merging to create the leading online independent publishing powerhouse dedicated to consumers, businesses and investors that want to live, work and invest sustainably.
The merger will enable GreenWise and Blue & Green to rapidly expand the breadth and volume of their high quality B2B and B2C content, and accelerate their readership numbers and their influence in the rapidly growing global ethical and sustainability sectors. The announcement comes as Blue & Green launches a share offer on Crowdcube to raise £260,000 in order to quickly build its team, grow its audience and launch a series of new offerings, including a ground-breaking new green investment option for its investor audience.
Upon completion of the Crowdcube, Greenwise will become an entirely-owned brand of Blue & Green Communications Limited. Crowdcube investors in Blue & Green Communications will be taking a share in the merged enterprise. The anticipated merger was priced into the initial offer price.
Under the deal, Louise Bateman, co-founder and editor of GreenWise, will become editor of Blue & Green, and a key member of the new leadership team. Commenting on the merger, she said: “I am very excited about this deal and my new role as editor of Blue & Green. I am joining a team of highly experienced professionals who have worked across a number of sectors, including publishing, marketing, events and investment. My role will be to ensure we grow our readership and audience engagement by creating and delivering the highest quality news, views, features and other content across Blue & Green and GreenWise. I can’t wait to get started.”
The merger comes at a critical and fascinating time for businesses, consumers and investors looking to build a sustainable future. 2015 is crunch year for a global deal on climate change, when worldwide leaders meet for a UN conference in Paris later this year. Meanwhile, in the UK, the implications of a new Government running the country are still being weighed up by the country’s £78 billion green sector.
Blue & Green founder Simon Leadbetter, said: “This is a critical period for sustainability generally and Blue & Green specifically. Attracting someone of Louise’s calibre and experience while also bringing GreenWise into the Blue & Green fold, means our future growth can only be more rapid. With Louise at the helm we’ll be a highly credible cheerleader for sustainability and a thorn in the side for the unsustainable.”
Since it launched in 2010, Blue & Green has been extremely successful in building its readership quickly, reaching over half a million unique readers last year. Its mission is to serve the needs of those interested in sustainable investment and living. By joining forces with GreenWise, it will be able to double its readership and impact overnight, while getting a foothold in the rapidly expanding green business sector.
GreenWise launched in 2008 and has established itself as the UK’s leading online news and information destination for SMEs making the transition to a green economy.
Following a successful share offer, which launched on Crowdcube last week, Blue & Green Communication, the owners of Blue & Green Tomorrow, will acquire GreenWise Business and its related assets through a stock swap with the directors of The Sixty Mile Publishing Co Ltd, which owns GreenWise Business.
Commenting on the share offer, Leadbetter, said: “Crowd funding represents a very real democratisation of the investment world, allowing everyone to be an angel investor in high growth, dynamic businesses that share their values. We’ve always funded ourselves from internal cash flow, but with this investment round we can become the leading independent media voice for sustainability. We would love as many of our combined readership to become shareholders, large or small, and own a stake in our tomorrow.”
There will be no immediate changes to the Blue & Green and GreenWise brands following the merger, but Blue & Green is planning to redesign its website and launch smartphone and tablet apps following its Crowdcube share offer. There are also plans to create a series of small-scale events in the autumn for Blue & Green to create a new investment option for financial advisers and investors that will allow them “to invest in a basket of the bluest and greenest funds and stocks”, said Leadbetter.
Bateman is expected to take up her new position on June 1st.
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Will Self-Driving Cars Be Better for the Environment?
Technologists, engineers, lawmakers, and the general public have been excitedly debating about the merits of self-driving cars for the past several years, as companies like Waymo and Uber race to get the first fully autonomous vehicles on the market. Largely, the concerns have been about safety and ethics; is a self-driving car really capable of eliminating the human errors responsible for the majority of vehicular accidents? And if so, who’s responsible for programming life-or-death decisions, and who’s held liable in the event of an accident?
But while these questions continue being debated, protecting people on an individual level, it’s worth posing a different question: how will self-driving cars impact the environment?
The Big Picture
The Department of Energy attempted to answer this question in clear terms, using scientific research and existing data sets to project the short-term and long-term environmental impact that self-driving vehicles could have. Its findings? The emergence of self-driving vehicles could essentially go either way; it could reduce energy consumption in transportation by as much as 90 percent, or increase it by more than 200 percent.
That’s a margin of error so wide it might as well be a total guess, but there are too many unknown variables to form a solid conclusion. There are many ways autonomous vehicles could influence our energy consumption and environmental impact, and they could go well or poorly, depending on how they’re adopted.
One of the big selling points of autonomous vehicles is their capacity to reduce the total number of vehicles—and human drivers—on the road. If you’re able to carpool to work in a self-driving vehicle, or rely on autonomous public transportation, you’ll spend far less time, money, and energy on your own car. The convenience and efficiency of autonomous vehicles would therefore reduce the total miles driven, and significantly reduce carbon emissions.
There’s a flip side to this argument, however. If autonomous vehicles are far more convenient and less expensive than previous means of travel, it could be an incentive for people to travel more frequently, or drive to more destinations they’d otherwise avoid. In this case, the total miles driven could actually increase with the rise of self-driving cars.
As an added consideration, the increase or decrease in drivers on the road could result in more or fewer vehicle collisions, respectively—especially in the early days of autonomous vehicle adoption, when so many human drivers are still on the road. Car accident injury cases, therefore, would become far more complicated, and the roads could be temporarily less safe.
Deadheading is a term used in trucking and ridesharing to refer to miles driven with an empty load. Assume for a moment that there’s a fleet of self-driving vehicles available to pick people up and carry them to their destinations. It’s a convenient service, but by necessity, these vehicles will spend at least some of their time driving without passengers, whether it’s spent waiting to pick someone up or en route to their location. The increase in miles from deadheading could nullify the potential benefits of people driving fewer total miles, or add to the damage done by their increased mileage.
Make and Model of Car
Much will also depend on the types of cars equipped to be self-driving. For example, Waymo recently launched a wave of self-driving hybrid minivans, capable of getting far better mileage than a gas-only vehicle. If the majority of self-driving cars are electric or hybrids, the environmental impact will be much lower than if they’re converted from existing vehicles. Good emissions ratings are also important here.
On the other hand, the increased demand for autonomous vehicles could put more pressure on factory production, and make older cars obsolete. In that case, the gas mileage savings could be counteracted by the increased environmental impact of factory production.
The Bottom Line
Right now, there are too many unanswered questions to make a confident determination whether self-driving vehicles will help or harm the environment. Will we start driving more, or less? How will they handle dead time? What kind of models are going to be on the road?
Engineers and the general public are in complete control of how this develops in the near future. Hopefully, we’ll be able to see all the safety benefits of having autonomous vehicles on the road, but without any of the extra environmental impact to deal with.
New Zealand to Switch to Fully Renewable Energy by 2035
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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