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Lib Dem conference: activists approve climate change policies

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Liberal Democrat activists have voted unanimously in favour of a policy motion on climate change, approving measures to improve Britain’s flood defences and require companies to disclose their environmental risks.

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At the party’s annual conference in Glasgow on Monday, activists set the Liberal Democrat’s policy on climate change.

The motion, which passed without dissent, calls on the government to ensure flood defence spending keeps pace with the increasing impacts of climate change.

Similar measures would also introduce regulations that would set higher standards for buildings in threatened locations and help landowners in adapting to flood risks. This comes after the wettest British winter for a hundred years caused devastation across the UK.

“The widespread flooding of last winter shows how urgently we need to prepare for the side effects of climate change. We can expect more extreme weather events in the future and without sufficient planning we will suffer untold damage to our lives, communities and economy,” said Lib Dem DEFRA minister Dan Rogerson. 

“The proposals, which have been put forward, and supported, by our party members, will further protect this country from what is undoubtedly the biggest long term threat to this nation in modern times.” 

The motion would also extend existing rules, which require firms to report on their greenhouse gas emissions, to force large companies to disclose how they plan to adapt to climate change. 

“The simple fact is too many of our large corporations today are overstating their future earnings potentially because they are failing to prepare for climate change. And that will hit your and my pensions,” said Mike Tuffrey, a former member of the London assembly, during the debate.

After the vote, climate change secretary Ed Davey said his party had long taken the lead on climate action, praising advancements in renewable energy under the Coalition government. His party, he said, is “doing everything [it] can to halt the onset of a changing climate”.

Davey went on to claim that his party’s efforts in government had helped the UK become one of the most attractive countries for renewable energy investment.

While the Liberal Democrats have often been praised by environmentalists for taking a more pro-active, united approach to climate issues than the other main parties, their achievements in the Coalition have been scrutinised. Under Davey’s watch, the UK has recently slipped down renewable investment attractiveness tables.

The party did advance its green credentials in September with a package of ‘green laws’ that, if well received by the public, will feature in its 2015 general election manifesto.

The proposed rules would put in place legal targets for clean air and access to green spaces and establishing new marine and coastal reserves.

Explaining the Lib Dems’ moral position on the environment, deputy prime minister and party leader Nick Clegg added, “We do not have a right as this generation to rob future generations of clean air, good drinking water and the kind of sustainable environment to which they are entitled.”

Further reading:

Government must invest more in flood defences, say MPs

Liberal democrats set out ‘green laws’

UK at all-time low in attractiveness for renewable energy investment

Climate change increasing flood risk in the UK

Political parties urged to make environment key part of election manifestos

Environment

4 Common Items That Can be Reused Again and Again

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reuse reduce recycle plastic bottles etc
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Vanatchanan | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/vanatchanan%20buahom

As a society we are getting much better at taking our obligations to the world and environment around us more seriously. This is undoubtedly a good thing! The effects of climate change are beginning to manifest across the world, and this is turning the issue from an abstract threat into a very real danger. Trying to introduce some greener, more eco-friendly practices into your life isn’t just a great way of doing something beneficial for society and the world around you. It is a wonderful way of engaging positively with the world and carries with it numerous psychological benefits.

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Being a greener, more ecologically friendly person doesn’t require any dramatic life changes. Breaking or making a few small habits is all it takes to make your life a greener one. In this article we look at one of the easiest, yet most effective green practices to get into: reusing everyday items.

Jars and Containers

Glass and metal are widely recycled, and recycling is a good thing! However, consider whether any containers you buy, whether it’s a tub of ice cream or a jar of coffee, can be washed out and reused for something else. Mason jars, for example, can be used to store homemade pasta sauce and can be washed for future use. Once you start thinking about it, you will find endless opportunities to reuse your old containers.

Soda Bottles

An ice-cold soda is a wonderful treat on a hot day, but buying soda can get expensive, and the manufacturing and distribution of the drinks themselves isn’t great for the environment. However, by holding on to your old soda bottles and repurposing them as water bottles, you can save money on drinks, or use them to measure out water for your garden.

Plastic Bags

Most of the time groceries come in paper bags, which are better for the environment than the plastic alternatives, but they are less durable and thus harder to reuse. Whenever the store places your items in a plastic bag, hang onto it so you can reuse the bags again. If you want to take it one step further, consider looking into buying some personalized recycled bags. These bags are designed to last for a long time and are made of recycled materials. They look striking and unique, they’ll turn heads, and maybe even attitudes!

Seeds

If you’re a keen gardener, then you will already probably know how to reseed your plants in order to ensure a fresh crop after each plant’s lifecycle. If you have space in your garden, or haven’t yet tried your hand at gardening, then consider planting a small vegetable plot. Growing your own veggies means that you’ll be helping to cut back on the emissions generated by their transport and production. The best part about growing your own food in this way is that, by harvesting properly and saving the seeds, you can be set up with fresh vegetables for life!

Reusing and recycling common household items is an easy way to make your world a little bit greener. Once you start looking for these opportunities you’ll realize that they’re everywhere!

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Environment

These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money

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eco-friendly green offices
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Stokkete | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/cyano

The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.

Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.

Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.

Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale

The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.

Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.

Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI

It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.

Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.

Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.

Implementing green changes without a plan

Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.

Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:

  • How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
  • How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
  • How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
  • How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?

The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.

Not considering the benefits of green printing

Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.

Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.

According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:

  • They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
  • They consume less energy than traditional printers.
  • They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.

You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.

Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers

Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.

The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.

You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.

Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.

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