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UN chief calls to build on agreements made at Durban

Christiana Figueres, the UN’s climate chief, says the environmental agreement made at Durban has laid the foundations for a “truly, unprecedented, ambitious global climate strategy”. Charlotte Reid has more.

The UN chief has called on the private sector to step up their efforts in support of the agreements made at the Durban climate change conference in December 2011.



Christiana Figueres, the UN’s climate chief, says the environmental agreement made at Durban has laid the foundations for a “truly, unprecedented, ambitious global climate strategy”. Charlotte Reid has more.

The UN chief has called on the private sector to step up their efforts in support of the agreements made at the Durban climate change conference in December 2011.

She acknowledged that businesses have already started to make an effort towards being more environmental; noting that last year saw the trillion dollar mark in renewable energy passed.

However, she told Business Green that businesses can still do more to help, “Can they do more? Should they do more? Absolutely. The challenge here is to hit a virtuous circle of government defining the policy and direction and the private sector adding the impetus to get there”.

Figueres has been in Abu Dhabi for the World Future Energy Summit and told reporters that the agreements made at Durban had not been given the credit they deserved.

During the annual climate change conference, which took place in South Africa last year, it seemed unlikely that any agreements would be made. Throughout the two week conference there was allegations that developed countries were using bullying tactics to get poorer countries to make agreements against their interests. The US and India were opposed to making any deals and there was talk of Canada withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol, which happened once the conference had finished.

Even UN chief Ban Ki-moon said before the conference closed that an agreement “may be beyond our reach – for now”.

Yet somehow a deal was made as discussions overrunning by 36 hours. The deal established a climate fund to help out poorer countries and a new climate treaty was agreed upon, which even the US agreed to.  

However, there were criticisms of the deal from environmental campaigners. Kumi Naidoo from Greenpeace said that Governments leaving the discussions from Durban should be “ashamed”.

Whereas Keith Allot, head of the WWF’s climate team, said enough had been done to “salvage a path forward for further negotiations” but said the outcome “leaves us with the prospect of being legally bound to a world of 4C warming”. Scientists say that a 4C rise in the planet’s temperature would lead to severe droughts, food supplies collapsing and mass migration of people.

Figueres defended the deal and said, “There is no doubt in my mind that Durban [concluded with] a truly unprecedented, ambitious global climate strategy that is by far more encompassing and further reaching than any agreement in the history of the climate change convention”.

Although politicians might be disagreeing about the future of the planet there are some practical steps that you can take to be more environmental. These include speaking to your financial adviser about sustainable and environmentally friendly companies that you can invest in. If you don’t have a financial adviser then fill in our online form and we’ll put you in touch with a specialist IFA.

You could also take the time to switch your energy to a renewable energy provider, Blue & Green Tomorrow recommends Good Energy and when you are shopping then consider visiting the Ethical Superstore.

Photo: UNClimatechange


4 Common Items That Can be Reused Again and Again



reuse reduce recycle plastic bottles etc
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Vanatchanan |

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!


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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These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money




eco-friendly green offices
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Stokkete |

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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