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Economy

Stefanie O’Gorman of Jacobs on Natural Capital

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This month, Stefanie O’Gorman, Director of Sustainable Economics at Jacobs, will be attending the 2015 World Forum on Natural Capital in Edinburgh (23-24 November) where she is speaking about how an ecosystem services assessment was used as part of the evidence base for the Airports Commission within the stream ‘Understanding and Managing Risk’.

Natural capital: five things every developing financial business needs to know 

1) Be clear about what Natural Capital is: Natural Capital can be defined as the world’s stocks of natural assets which include geology, soil, air, water and all living things. It is from this Natural Capital that humans derive a wide range of services, often called ecosystem services, which make human life possible (source World Forum).These services might be considered the interest from the capital. If we degrade the stock, the value of the stock goes down and the interest we make reduces.

2) Do not underestimate its importance: The World Economic Forum continues to recognise the global environmental risks in the top 10 Global risks – failure of climate change adaptation, biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse, extreme weather events, natural catastrophes and man-made environmental catastrophes, however it is on addressing these risks that the least progress has been made over the past 10 years.  Natural Capital plays a part in the reduction of these risks currently, and its inclusion in decision-making offers us an opportunity to start tackling these risks head on.

3)Understand the relationship of your business to natural capital: that could be where your raw materials come from; how water plays a part in your production cycles or those of your supply chain; how your employees or customers depend on the natural capital around them; or how these questions apply to your investment portfolio.

4) Understand your exposure to risk in this regard: how resilient are your manufacturing sites or your infrastructure to environmental change or natural catastrophes; how dependant are your supply chains to crops sensitive to climatic change; what are the downstream raw materials upon which your business depends; what areas of the globe do you operate and where are these risks more pronounced and ultimately how might these link to wider economic or societal risk such as social instability or the spread of infectious diseases?  Is your business or your investments exposed to the risk of stranded assets where environmentally unsustainable assets suffer from unanticipated or early write-offs, downward revaluations or are converted to liabilities? While issues associated with natural capital (such as climate resilience and water scarcity) maybe only one of the issues at play here, these risks are commonly poorly understood and are regularly mispriced.

5) Know that making a decision informed by considerations relating to natural capital not only makes good environmental sense, it makes good business sense. By identifying value and recognising and managing risk you may realise additional opportunities.

The second World Forum on Natural Capital will take place in Edinburgh on 23-24 November 2015. Bringing together business leaders, government representatives and environmental experts from around the globe, the event will examine the most up-to-date developments in this rapidly evolving field, with a focus on managing risk and driving innovation. More information about natural capital can be found here.

Bookings for the World Forum are now open and reduced-rate Early Bird tickets can be purchased here.

Jacobs, with annual revenues of nearly $13 billion, is one of the world’s largest and most diverse providers of technical, professional, and construction services. Jacobs offers full-spectrum support to industrial, commercial, and government clients across multiple markets and geographies. Jacobs has operations in 250+ locations across more than 35 countries, and employs some 63,000 people worldwide.

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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