Monthly Archives: February 2012


Ford is set to launch what it claims will be the most sustainable car on the consumer market next month with its new Focus Electric vehicle, made with recycled plastic bottles.  The global car manufacturer says the initiative will divert around 2 million post-consumer plastic bottles from landfill in total, through the use of Repreve-based interior fabrics which contain recycled PET yarns.  Each Focus Electric car will contain on average 22 recycled PET bottles – Ford says it is the first of its vehicle to have an interior made from 100% clean technology.

Its late February – and a South of England and the Midlands have been told that they are going to be subject to DROUGHT restrictions as two dry winters have dramatically reduced the supply of water. The UK must “find a way to save water” in order to ease the strain on water supplies and reduce the effects of drought, according to environment secretary Caroline Spelman. Farmers have already said that crops – and food prices – will be hard hit by record low moisture levels in soil and bans on farmers extracting water from rivers – with wheat, carrots, outdoors lettuce and salad crops, onions and potatoes all likely to be hard hit.  Organic farmers are better placed as their farms tend to have better soil structure with more organic material dug in and a more varied rotational planting regime, with moisture retaining plants also used. Greenhouse grown crops are also less at risk because of better water management and conservation regimes, with farmers capturing rainwater and recycling water.

Tesco is following on from Marks & Spencer by trialling new packaging to keep its produce fresher for longer and cut down on food waste. The retailer will initially test the packaging out on tomatoes and avocados and estimates it could lead to potential savings of 1.6 million packs of tomatoes and 350,000 packs of avocados each year.  If successful, it could be rolled out across 80% of the varieties of tomato the retailer currently sells. Reports suggest that initial trials further down the supply chain have already been a success.  Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s drive to cut its carbon footprint by 30% by 2020, against a 2005 baseline, is well underway as it switches its 100th store to CO2 refrigeration. reports that Smoothie maker Innocent has been voted the best brand for its environmental approach to packaging according to a new survey . The survey, put together by packaging trade show specialist easyFairs, questioned 289 packaging professionals asking them to name a brand that they really admired for its green packaging approach. In response 10% said Innocent, followed by Marks & Spencer (7%) and Kenco (5%).  Innocent uses food grade recycled plastic in its bottles and its cartons are made from 100% Forest Stewardship Council certified material. The company also adopts a strong sustainable packaging policy when it comes to its products.

And also reports that the UK marine renewables industry has the potential to supply 20% of current energy demand, cut carbon emissions and offer a more “reliable and predictable” source of energy than other renewables. The Energy and Climate Change Committee (ECCC) report ‘The Future of Marine Renewables in the UK’ concluded that the Britain could become a “leading exporter” of wave and tidal power equipment – if the Government adopted a more “visionary approach” to marine renewables development.  It added that developing a “thriving” wave and tidal industry could generate economic benefits to the UK, as companies export marine technologies, such as equipment, specialist skills and expertise.  Chair of committee Tim Yeo MP, said: “Britannia really could rule the waves when it comes to marine renewable energy.

A facility that claims to the UK’s first reprocessing plant just for carpet and carpet tile recycling has been officially opened in the north of England.  The Econpro WDS facility, located at Upton on the Wirral, will serve the North and Midlands and plans to be operational in April. It will initially offer recovery of post-industrial carpets and tile off cuts as well as take back of fitting wastes and uplifted tiles.  All reprocessed materials will be utilised in the cement and asphalt industries – Econpro says it has developed an intellectual property portfolio with regards to uses for bitumen-backed carpet tiles within the construction sector.

The fashion brand HONEST has launched what it claims is a 100% transparency policy in a bid to prove its sustainability credentials right down the supply chain claiming  it is the first company in the world to share the full cost breakdown of its products by revealing every production detail of every garment, from the origination of fabric to the amount of store mark-up.

Green party MP Caroline Lucas is calling for a £70bn programme of ‘green quantitative easing’ (GQE) to be launched, in a bid to set the country on track for a “genuinely green economy”.

Britain’s dream of leading the world in harnessing the power of the sea is in danger of being sunk by risk-averse, under-ambitious policymakers who are letting foreign rivals dominate a multibillion-pound industry. An influential Commons committee warns that without a “more visionary” approach from ministers and officials, the development of wave and tidal technology will stall and other countries will steal a march on British firms. Experts believe that up to 20 per cent of the UK’s electricity could one day come from devices deployed around the coastline. But the technology is still in its infancy, and a report today from the Energy and Climate Change Committee warns that Britain could cede its pioneering status to other countries unless ministers intervene.

Its fracking mad!!! Fracking – the extraction of shale gas by pumping high pressure water and chemicals into underground shale – was halted last year after being linked to earth tremors in Lancashire – but drilling companies hope that a decision will so allow them to re-start operations. Common sense tells us its madness, and protesters say fracking will cause water contamination and methane leaks – and we now all await a report by the Department of Energy and Climate Change in the next few weeks. More at





09.30 – 10.00      REGISTRATION

10.00 – 10.15      WELCOME AND INTRODUCTION:   Teresa Moore (BNU) & Ben Challis (Glastonbury Festival/AGF)

10.15 – 11.30      FESTIVAL FOOD:  On-site sense, sustainable sources. Panel discussion curated by Sustain

11.30 – 11.45      Coffee Break

11.45 – 12.15      GREEN INNOVATIONS: with Claire O’Neill (AIF/AGF)  Ali Owen Thomas (Firefly Solar) and updates from the Green Festival  Alliance. Presentations

12.15 – 12.45      THE GREENER FESTIVAL AWARD 2012: presentation and discussion with Helen Wright (AGF)

12.45  – 14.15     Lunch

14.15 – 14.30      KEYNOTE with Sandy Strallen, WaterAid

14.30 – 15.30      WATER – the stuff of life – Panel Discussion

15.30 – 16.00      WHATS NEW IN TELEVISION AND FILM? A presentation on the BAFTA “Albert” initiative with Richard Smith (BBC) and Luke Westbury (NEP Visions OBs/AGF)

16.00 – 16.15     Coffee break

16.15 – 17.45      THE ECONOMICS OF GREEN. What’s worth it? What’s not?  Panel discussion chaired by Teresa Moore, with question and answer session to close.

* all panels and timings subject to change


Mellisa Hayles  (Sustain), Kelly Parsons  (Sustain), Petra Barren  (Eat Street Collective),Andy Marsh  (London Remade Solutions), Claire Pritchard (GCDA), Rob Scully  Croissant Neuf Summer Party),  Richard Smith (BBC), Adrian Mills  (WaterMills), Chris Johnson  (Shambala Festival), Sinclair Eiloart  (London Green Fair) and David Hanton (KPMG)

At the SouthBank Centre, Level 5 function room. The nearest tubes are Waterloo (Northern/Bakerloo/Jubilee) and Embankment (Northern/Bakerloo/Circle/District) and the nearest rail stations are Charing Cross and Waterloo.

The postcode is SE1 8XX and the website is

agenda and panellists subject to change

Book your place online at  £75 / £50 AIF/student rate


The second Green Events & Innovations Conference is taking place at London’s Southbank on Friday March 16th, hosted by A Greener Festival and Bucks New University and supported by the Association of Independent Festivals. Confirmed panels include minimising water use at festivalssustainable food and catering at events and the economics of sustainable events – as well as updates on wasterecyclingenergy use and new innovations from the festival and event business, from other cultural industries notably TV and film, and updates on the Greener Festival Award scheme for 2012.

Last year’s hugely successful conference was attended by delegates and panellists from festivals including Leeds & Reading Festivals, Truck and Wood, NozStock, Sunrise Celebration, Glastonbury, Waveform, Isle of Wight, Sonisphere, Lounge on the Farm, Hadra Trance Festival, Kendal Calling, Splendour, End of the Road  and Roskilde; delegates and panellists from universities including De Montfort, Leeds Metropolitan, Sheffield Hallam, Bucks New University, Manchester Metropolitan, Dundee, London Metropolitan, Gloucestershire,  and Glamorgan University: suppliers included delegates and panellists from WaterMills, Frank Water, Robertson Taylor Insurance brokers, Firefly Solar, Network Recycling, Big Green Coach, Liftshare, Buffalo Power, Innovation Power, Eco-Action Partnership and Eco-charge Technology; and representatives from Julies Bicycle and the Association of Independent Festivals.

The day runs from 10.00am to 18.00 and costs £75 per delegate. Students and AIF members have a discount rate of £50.00. Please note to reduce cost this does NOT include lunch but there are plenty of cafes, bars and restaurants at the SouthBank Centre. The venue is the Level 5 Function Room at London’s SouthBank Centre. The nearest tubes are Waterloo (Northern/Bakerloo/Jubilee) and Embankment (Northern/Bakerloo/Circle/District) and the nearest rail stations are Charing Cross and Waterloo. The postcode is SE1 8XX and the website is

Delegates who attend the full day are entitled to the certificate of attendance from Bucks New University, which is an entry level requirement for any aspiring environmental auditors for the Greener Festival Awards team.


Registration: please go to:

Supported by Robertson Taylor, insurance brokers


Its Valentines Day and the Isle of Wight Fesitval has announced its 2012 eco-initiative – LOVE YOUR TENT

Hot on the heels of the success of 2011’s Let it Bee, Love Your Tent has been created by Eco Action Partnership, sustainability consultants to the Isle of Wight Festival, and supported by AGreenerFestival, the campaign is designed to bond people with their tents. Whether it’s a tipi or a two-berth, reusing your Festival home reduces the impact on landfill sites and saves you money.

The Isle of Wight Festival is supporting LOVE YOUR TENT with loads of onsite stuff going on, to get festivalgoers involved and be a part of the action. There will also be a Love Your Tent showcase camping field called RESPECT, which is free to book for all of those people who want to do their bit for the environment. Campers will sign up to abide by the 10 Tent Commandments (see below!) and in return they will be given a Greenback loyalty card which will give discounts on goods and services across the island. The Greenback loyalty cards are supplied in association with the Eco Island initiative

At the 2011 Isle of Wight Festival, 1 in 6 people left their tent on site. There was 152.62 tonnes of waste collected from the campsites, which were made up of tents, camping equipment and gazebos, equating to 25% of the landfill waste from the whole Festival. And The Isle of Wight Festival is just one of 450 festivals which take place across the UK each year, none of which are immune to the problem of discarded tents which makes it one of the biggest environmental issues facing festival organisers today. So please … LOVE YOUR TENT!


•      1. Thou shalt Love Your Tent.

•      2. Thou shalt not buy cheap, one-use tents, but invest in one that will last for years to come.

•      3. Thou shalt never leave your tent anywhere for someone else to dismantle and take to landfill (recycling facilities for all tent components currently don’t exist)

•      4. Thou shalt RESPECT your tent and the area in which you pitch it, making sure you clean up after yourself……even during and after a weekend of partying at the Festival.

•      5. Thou shalt spread the word and encourage others to Love Their Tent

•      6. Thou shalt clearly demonstrate your devotion to your tent and send evidence to  for a chance to win 2013 Isle of Wight Festival tickets. (Keep it clean people)

•      7. Thou shalt love thy neighbour and not disturb them by playing bongos at 4am.

•      8. Thou shalt follow all additional on-site guidelines in order to keep the respect for others and the environment.

•9. Thou shalt join our community and keep up to date on news from Festival land as well as the chance to enter other exclusive competitions.

•      10. Thou shalt be happy campers and share the love.

There is more here

and a lovely SHORT FILM here  – go on – Love Your Tent!

The Isle of Wight Festival takes place 22 – 24 June @ Seaclose Park, Newport, Isle of Wight . Headliners include Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. Keep up to date with the Festival at

Boom 2012 social ticket price

Are smart meters really that clever?

Now you would have thought that as a member of the A Greener Festival team I would be very keen on smart meters that accurately measure energy use wouldn’t you? Well I’m not and let me try and explain why. Last week four of us from the AGF team went down to the British Library for a fascinating talk from their ‘Myths and Realities’ season on whether or not sustainable lifestyles really were possible (Great Theory: Impossible Practice). One thing that came out of the fascinating talks from Ian Christie (University of Surrey) and Professor Dale Southerton (University of Manchester) was that despite pressure on the world’s resources that mean we are increasingly encouraged to consume less power, water, and even food – few of us make more than minimal efforts to change our behaviour. We have more efficient lighting in our homes – but we have more lighting and so our energy use inexorably increases. We know we are using too much water so we use showers – but we spend more time in them, we have power showers and we wash our bodies more and more.  We have more efficient boilers – but we make our homes get warmer and warmer. And we are obsessed with fridges and freezer – which take up 25% of household energy use now. The freezer used to be a small box designed to cope with seasonal gluts in cheap or home grown produce – now these enormous white goods drive our lifestyles and eating habits. Mad!

Now smart meters (intelligent metering systems) would allow consumers to monitor and hopefully reduce energy and water use. Wouldn’t they? Well apart from some evidence that they don’t actually get used like that, my main worry is twofold – the cost and use of information. Let’s look at the cost. The current estimate of installing smart meters in place of the 53 million existing gas and electricity meters in the UK (by the Public Accounts Committee) is £11.7 billion. This means that household bills will need to be increased by something like £350 to cover the cost – but estimated savings are something like £23 per annum. Hmmmmm! And homes that are already energy efficient save even less. And we all know what happens with estimated costs. They never go down, they always go up – especially when someone else is paying or the state is regulating. It looks like one big gravy train. One enormous £11.7 billion publicly funded gravy train and (as ever) any attempts at state regulation will fail – as they always do, despite no doubt the best efforts of the Department for Energy & Climate Change.

With smart meters, details of energy use are pulsed to your utility company via Wi-fi every half hour and stored digitally. But will the date be stored safely? Well whatever the government may promise it is particularly BAD at keeping data safe: ministers throw documents in bins in parks; HM Revenue & Customs lost 25 million child benefit records in 2007; the Driving Standards Agency lost 3 million records of driving test applicants (also in 2007); PA Consulting lost the details of all prisoners in the UK 2008 and the Ministry of Justice lost details of 5000 prison officers. I am afraid that the information will just not be kept safely – and indeed despite assurances to the contrary, might be just too tempting to the utility companies to use it themselves – even if they can keep it safe. Who is going to guarantee that no-one knows if I go away on holiday for a month or even out for the day?  How is my privacy and my home security going to be protected? Who will be protecting systems against hackers who could target the data? What will stop the utility companies using data for marketing or other purposes? Who will deal with complaints?

Poorly designed scheme in the Netherlands, Australia and California have prompted ‘mass consumer rejection’.  Let’s hope the UK is not next in line for an expensive, badly designed and frankly dangerous scheme. I remain unconvinced, despite the fact that the EC require all member states to have installed smart meters for a80% of all domestic gas and electricity use by 2020.

More on smart meters here and More on UK data loss here