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Blue & Green Tomorrow’s 2014 guides



All our 2014 guides, focusing on various aspects of sustainability, in one place.

In 2013, we published guides on sustainable investment, sustainable tourism, fair trade, corporate social responsibility and more. You can see them all here.

We also did a range of guides in 2012, kicked off by the inaugural Guide to Sustainable Investment. You can see them all here.

Otherwise, here are the latest publications from this year.

January – The Guide to Sustainable Tourism 2014

We begin 2014 with the third annual edition of The Guide to Sustainable Tourism, and a brand new look for Blue & Green Tomorrow’s guides.

With insight and advice from leaders in the travel and tourism space – including the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) and ABTA, the Travel Association – we have compiled a comprehensive guide that details how your wonderful holiday experiences can also balance the needs of people and the planet.

Inside, you’ll hear about trips overseas to places like Vietnam, Cambodia and the Faroe Islands, and how sustainable and responsible tourism is playing a crucial role in communities within each country.

For those who prefer holidaying closer to home, we speak to the Landmark Trust, a charity that works to transform architecturally important and historically significant buildings into attractive holiday lets – the very essence of sustainability – and look at a range of beautiful UK-based properties offered by cottages4you.

Meanwhile, if you prefer bustling urban centres over quiet rural communities, Rachel Dodds of Sustaining Tourism writes about how you can be responsible in the city. We also look at five green European places taking big steps towards a more sustainable future.

The 19th century French writer Gustave Flaubert once said, “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” Not only this, but it allows you to see new and exciting cultures, people, communities and places. It would be selfish and wrong to think that your holiday experience should come above even one of those.

Click here to visit The Guide to Sustainable Tourism 2014 download page.


February – The Guide to Sustainable Transport 2014

It is time to update our transport system to one that is fit for the 21st century. Please welcome, The Guide to Sustainable Transport 2014.

The pace at which transport has evolved since the invention of the wheel is remarkable.

The introduction of Henry Ford’s mass production model for car manufacturing in 1908 set the ball rolling on a way of getting from A to B that was available to almost everyone, at speeds unimagined by previous generations.

Over a century later, and the world seems a much smaller place. But at what cost?

The environmental and social effects of mass transportation were unexpected. Air pollution, increased obesity, urban sprawl and deaths from road, sea and air transport are all depressing negative side-effects of the 21st century’s transport system. But things don’t have to be this way.

In The Guide to Sustainable Transport, we outline some of the ways in which cars, trains, ships and planes are striving to become more efficient and less damaging to the planet.

We talk to transport firms, campaign groups, thought leaders and investors whose collective insight is helping create a new age of sustainable transport.

And we look at the bigger picture; why it really matters that transport becomes less of an ecological burden and more of a societal benefit – just as it was when Ford broke ground 106 years ago.

Click here to visit The Guide to Sustainable Transport 2014 download page.


March – The Guide to Sustainable Investment 2014

The fourth edition of Blue & Green Tomorrow’s flagship publication, The Guide to Sustainable Investment, is here.

The insight from some of the industry’s leading lights helps demystify sustainable investment. It makes a compelling case for balancing the needs of people, the planet and everyone’s prosperity through how and where we invest.

We look at the sector’s evolution, from its Quaker roots in the anti-slavery movement to its future investing in solutions to the most pressing sustainability challenges, like climate change and resource scarcity.

We speak to the fund managers seeking to invest in sustainable companies today, as well as the financial advisers whose clients are the investors making it all happen.

The guide also looks at the big picture, asking why sustainable investment matters, and puts a spotlight on the industry from a UK, Europe and global perspective.

More than anything else, investment shapes our future. So investing in, and buying from, the companies that are leading the way on sustainability is the sensible, smart and necessary option. This guide helps you through it.

Click here to visit The Guide to Sustainable Investment 2014 download page.


May – The Guide to Sustainable Democracy 2014

How do we make democracy sustainable? That’s a question we set out to answer in The Guide to Sustainable Democracy 2014, which is published exactly a year to the day until the 2015 general election takes place.

Providing answers are politicians from the major parties, as well as leading reform organisations, thinktanks and campaign groups. The result is a guide that we hope serves as a starting point on how to combat key issues like voter apathy and falling turnouts at elections.

Also included are the results of a survey that we conducted with Vote for Policies, the online blind taste test that encourages people to vote for the parties whose policies they most agree with, and not the one with the most charismatic leader, for example. We asked nearly 7,000 people what measures they thought would help best reform the political system and the results are fascinating.

We look at the timely issue of Scottish independence and analyse whether Russell Brand is right in telling people not to vote. Meanwhile, crucial context is provided in the form of a feature on the Magna Carta – which turns 800 years old in 2015 – and a review of a recent Intelligence Squared event on the effectiveness of democracy.

Click here to visit The Guide to Sustainable Democracy 2014 download page.


June – The Guide to Sustainable Philanthropy 2014

The Guide to Sustainable Philanthropy 2014 looks at the current state of charitable giving – and delves into where the future of philanthropy lies.

At Blue & Green Tomorrow, we spend most of our time writing about sustainable investment, which is about balancing the needs of society and the environment while also making a healthy financial return. But another important and popular use for money is philanthropy or charity, which, like sustainable investment, is about balancing the needs of society and the environment – but this time because it’s simply the right thing to do.

Leading from the front are some of the world’s richest people – Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Richard Branson and co. The Sunday Times’s annual giving list outlined recently that more than 280 individuals featured on its acclaimed rich list had collectively given away £2.387 billion to charity in the past year. This includes the Sainsbury family, who in donations and through its network of trusts gave away £165.3m – or 30.62% of their wealth.

But of course, it’s not just the super-rich doing their bit. The average Briton gives £10 to charity a month, according to the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF). In a 2013 survey of CAF customers, 97% said their motivation for giving was their personal values and 96% their morals or ethics.

The Guide to Sustainable Philanthropy 2014 takes a look at the philanthropists who are truly changing the world for the better, while also casting an eye on how the future of giving might look. With a range of important social and environmental issues increasing in prominence, the chief causes people give to are slowly changing. Only time will tell whether their good work will be enough.

Click here to visit The Guide to Sustainable Democracy 2014 download page.


July – The Guide to Sustainable Clean Energy 2014

In 1860, then-US president Abraham Lincoln described the wind as “an untamed and unharnessed force”. He continued, “Quite possibly one of the greatest discoveries hereafter to be made will be the taming, and harnessing of it.”

It is anyone’s guess what Lincoln would make of the faults and possibilities of energy generation in 2014. But after 154 years, he might say we are long overdue in making the most of the vast potential renewable energy has to offer.

Countless studies have outlined just how feasible – and financially sensible – it would be to vastly ramp up our clean energy output. The economy would benefit, society would thrive and the environment would be cleaner.

What’s clear is that the biggest stumbling block is political.

The debate all too often comes back to aesthetics – and whether something spoils the landscape. Nimbyism (‘not in my back yard’) is quickly turning into bananaism (‘build absolutely nothing anywhere near anyone’).

But if ever a document has existed to convert the most ardent bananaist, it is the Guide to Sustainable Clean Energy 2014.

Blue & Green Tomorrow’s comprehensive new report expertly sets out the necessity, benefits and opportunities of sustainable energy.

If Lincoln did travel through time into this world of wind farms and climate change, there would be no better text to get him up to speed on the state of energy today.

The guide, now in its third annual edition; delves into the surprisingly distant history of renewable energy, dissects the biggest challenges facing the sector today, and asks what might be powering our hoverbikes in the faraway future.

Along the way, you’ll meet some of the leaders going to great lengths to bring about the low-carbon transition. Prepare to be utterly inspired. 

Click here to visit The Guide to Sustainable Clean Energy 2014 download page.


July – The Guide to Ethical ISAs 2014

Ethical Bank Triodos tells Blue & Green Tomorrow’s readers how to save and invest their money ethically in the 2014 Guide to Ethical ISAs.

No-one likes to pay more tax than necessary, so it’s easy to see what makes ISAs such a popular and widely recommended choice for savers and investors.

But what if, as well as protecting your money from the taxman, you also want to use it to help bring about positive change in the world?

In that case, opening an ethical ISA could be the way to go.

And who could be better to guide you through the ins and outs of saving or investing with an ethical ISA than Triodos Bank, a leading name in sustainable banking.

Click here to visit The Guide to Ethical ISAs 2014 download page.


2013 guides / 2012 guides


Will Self-Driving Cars Be Better for the Environment?



self-driving cars for green environment
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Zapp2Photo |

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.

Driver Reduction?

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.

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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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