Monthly Archives: May 2012

Winners announced for the Environment and Energy Awards 2012

The winners of the Environment and Energy Awards 2012 – widely regarded as one of the highest accolades for sustainability in the corporate sector – have been announced, Donna Bushell, Event Director said  ““Once again we were very impressed by the quality of this year’s entries, which made choosing the winners a difficult task for the judges. A number of first-time entrants also highlighted an encouraging trend – that even during difficult economic times, companies are maintaining their commitment to sustainable practices and continuing to invest in new technology and employee training.”

•ESTA Energy Manager of the Year Award
o Winner: Matt Hastings, Eden Project
o Highly Commended: Richard Tarboton, BT and Jaz Rabadia, Sainsbury

 •NEMEX Renewables Innovation Award,

o Winner: B&Q

 Energy Product/Service Award, sponsored by The Energy Institute

o Winner: EnerNOC
o Highly Commended: Miele Professional and Phlorum

 SME Award for Energy Efficiency, sponsored by EiBi

o Winner: The Alumet Group

•Energy-Efficient Refurbishment Award, sponsored by UKTI

o Winner: Alliance Boots
o Highly Commended: Ingleton Wood

Energy Supplier Customer Service Award, sponsored by The Energy Brokers

o Winner: Phoenix Supply Ltd

Environmental/Sustainability Manager of the Year, sponsored by Sustainable Business Magazine

o Winner: Steven Judd, Tube Lines
o Highly Commended: Rich Chandler, Solutia

•Innovation Award for Environmental Technology, sponsored by Energy from Waste Expo

o Winner: Gloucestershire County Council and Atkins
o Highly Commended: Veolia Water Central

Environment Product/Service Award, sponsored by edie.net Supplier Directory

o Winner: Best Foot Forward
o Highly Commended: Plastic Surgeon

Environmental Leadership Award for Cultural Change, sponsored by Sustainability Live

o Winner: Molson Coors Brewing Company
o Highly Commended: Amey

Sustainable Business of the Year Award, sponsored by NQA

o Winner: Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd
o Highly Commended: Willmott Dixon

 Sustainability Communications Campaign Award, sponsored by Utility Week

o Winner: Anglian Water
o Highly Commended: Schneider Electric

Outstanding Achievement Award, sponsored by The Energy Saving Trust 

Andrew Warren, Association for the Conservation of Energy

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Two more UK festivals cancel

Following an admission from Vince Power’s Music Festivals plc that ticket sales in the UK festivals sector this year were “currently slower than last year”, as was Bencassim in Spain, two more music events have pulled the plug this week, the Cheshire-based Cloud 9 and Golden Down in Winchester, joining the already cancelled Sonisphere, Rough Beats and The Big Chill:  Cloud 9 ticket holders will all get refunds, while those with tickets for Golden Down can opt to take a refund or swap their ticket for access to this year’s Glade Festival.

There is a very good article in the Observer newspaper on May 27th -“Beat surrender: why the heart of British rock music is under threat” looking at small venue closures – its all here at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/may/26/rock-music-venues-bust-britain

Could musicians fall foul of US environmental law?

A US senator has made it his mission to save musicians from a federal environmental law that could be cited to confiscate the instruments of US performers travelling abroad for the summer concert season. Republic Senator Lamar Alexander from Tennessee (its capital is Nashville, better known as Music City) says that the law should be clarified or ‘tweaked’ if necessary.   “I don’t want the musicians from Nashville who are flying to Canada to perform this summer to worry about the government seizing their guitars,” Alexander said in a statement.

Why seize guitars? Because many of those instruments are made from exotic woods that were outlawed by a 2008 amendment to the century old  Lacey Act, an amendment Alexander himself proposed, by adding wood and forest products to Act, which was  first passed to protect endangered birds whose feathers were being used to decorate womens’ hats,   However, he now seemingly accepts that the law was not meant to apply to musical instruments made pre-2008 and wants to create a ‘safe harbour’ for instruments made before that date – saying “the law was never intended to apply to those instruments”.

It’s no secret that American timber companies were being undercut by foreign sources of wood, many of which were illegally logged and many environmental groups supported Senator Alexander’s  amendment for curbing illegal logging in rainforests by imposing criminal penalties for trading in endangered species of wood. It was that same amendment that allowed federal agents to raid the factories of Gibson Guitars in 2009 and again in 2011 – raids in which substantial quantities of musical instrument-grade wood were seized. It also ignited a firestorm of fear among musicians that their instruments put them at risk to offending, unless they had extensive documentation on when the guitar was made and where the wood was from.

After questions from another Tennesseee republican, Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Fish and Wildlife Service issued a letter assuring musicians that they would not be targeted for “unknowingly” possessing instruments that were manufactured from illegal wood. But now Senator Alexander wants to make clear that the Lacey Act “was not intended to seize instruments made of wood harvested before 2008.” He said he and co-sponsor Senator Ron Wyden (Democrat, Oregon) plan to write a letter to the federal agencies to clarify that point.

Alexander said he hoped to reduce “confusion, uncertainty and paperwork for wood importers and musical instrument manufacturers through administrative regulation.” Failing that, he promised he and Wyden would move to amend the Lacey Act. Alexander also offered an olive branch to Gibson saying “instrument makers like Gibson Guitars in Tennessee are an important part of our music industry. And if the Lacey Act as written is keeping them from being able to get the wood they need to make instruments, we need to make every effort to fix the regulation”. Gibson has had to switch to alternative woods, even composite materials, because they have been unable to import Indian ebony and rosewood since last year’s raid. Buyers of their expensive, high-end products are picky about the type of wood that is used in a Gibson guitar. Gibson is concerned it may lose market share to other manufacturers if it can’t resupply with Indian woods.

The acknowledgement that the Lacey Act may need “fixing” is a significant development in the dispute surrounding Gibson, exotic woods and the musical instrument industry.  And months after the raid against Gibson, there is still no word from the Justice Department whether the company will even face charges.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/05/18/law-could-be-used-to-seize-musicians-guitars-may-need-fix-senator-says/  and http://www.ottawacitizen.com/sports/Pickin+grinnin+targets+stars+guitars/6651188/story.html and http://www.agreenerfestival.com/2011/10/gibson-its-the-wood-its-the-trees-but-is-it/

ANOTHER PLANET

New guidance launched by WRAP provides UK local authorities with practical advice on how best to collect non-bottle rigid plastics in a drive to push up recycling and reduce contamination at reprocessing plants.  Currently, only around 10% of rigid plastic packaging is recycled from household collections. This is despite studies, which show that householders are keen to recycle this material and where collections are provided, yields of all recyclables increase. According to WRAP, the challenge for local authorities is how to best collect these materials and communicate with residents about what can and cannot be collected.

A third of drivers in the UK could be off the road within twelve months as fuel costs rise says car valuation company glass.co.uk. Up to 38% of drivers say they will give up if prices continue to rise.

Twickenham Stadium has appointed a full time sustainability manager and says that it is committed to further develop its environmental programme in five core areas: governance; waste management; energy management; transport; procurement.  The stadium has already hit a 65% recycling target  and is reducing food miles with a local sourcing policy.

Plans to advance water management innovation and efficiency in Europe have been unveiled, with a new partnership agreement to drive innovation forward.  As part of the agreement the European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry (SUSCHEM) and the European Water Supply and Sanitation Technology Platform (WSSTP) have formalised their long-standing alliance and pledged to collaborate on key priorities.  This includes the implementation of the European Innovation Partnership which was also unveiled by the European Commission and aims to pair strong innovation in the water industry with the chemical sector’s track record of providing solutions across manufacturing and process industries.

With rooftops across the world being used to grow food, raise chickens, and provide habitat, how does the enterprising urban grower up the ante? Perhaps with a rooftop fish farm says Treehugger! The prototype Globe/Hedron “is a bamboo greenhouse designed to organically grow fish and vegetables on top of generic flat roofs. The design is optimized for aquaponic farming techniques: the fish’s water nourishes the plants and plants clean the water for the fish,” according to designer Antonio Scarponi/Conceptual Devices, who is collaborating on the project with the Zurich-based group UrbanFarmers. http://www.conceptualdevices.com/2012/02/hedron-good-food-from-the-roof-taking-on-buckminster-fuller-2012-challenge/

Wembley Stadium, Birmingham NEC and the SouthBank Centre were amongst the venues turning off their lights for Earth Hour.

Two years after the Deep Water Horizon drilling platform exploded, the true impact of the Gulf Oil Spill remains in question—and justice is elusive. Why not take a look at photographer Daniel Beltra’s shocking visual journal of the disaster here http://www.danielbeltra.com/

It’s International Compost Awareness Week and a perfect opportunity to “Give Back to the Earth” in the form of rich, healthy compost that will nourish it and your garden. More here http://www.treehugger.com/lawn-garden/dos-and-donts-backyard-composting.html

www.festivalrideshare.co.uk is a new carpooling website looking to fill empty seats in cars going to festivals.

FESTIVAL WOOD GETS MORE TREES!

With our first  300 trees in ‘FESTIVAL WOOD’ already planted, we are delighted to announce that hundreds more trees will be planted this year with support from our founding festivals including two of Scotland’s finest events, T-in-the-Park and Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival, as well as BestivalYorkshire’s Deer Shed Festival, the End Of The Road festival and the Glastonbury Festival which will add to the 100 trees donated by Big Green Coach from their coach trips to and from events in the 2011 festival season and the 100 trees from A Greener Festival’s volunteer team. The Wood is a partnership with Trees for Life who are working to restore Dundreggan’s forest. Dundreggan is a 10,000 acre area of wild land in Scotland near Loch Ness, between Inverness and Fort William, where Trees for Life are now working to restore native forests and wildlife habitats.  Dundreggan has full public access, visitor parking and nature trails. Ben, Claire and Helen planted Aspens on a sloping hill that had already been planted with some hazel trees.

Claire said “Festival Wood is a positive reforestation initiative from A Greener Festival. It is not an offset scheme. Festival Wood is an opportunity for the festival community to give something back to the great outdoors that we love to enjoy. A festival legacy that will grow and grow and be there for future generations”

Dundreggan will be a very different place in 50 years time. Natural woodland, with open glades intermingled with denser areas, will stretch up from the banks of the River Moriston. This diverse forest of oak, pine, aspen, hazel, juniper and birch will grade into montane scrub that will cover much of the higher slopes. Wildlife flourishing in this abundant woodland habitat will include red squirrel, capercaille, European Beaver, wild boar, osprey, badger, black grouse and wood ants. The wild boar were hiding when the AGF team got there – they tried to find them! Twinflower, creeping ladies tresses and other rare woodland plants will thrive. The forests of Dundreggan will no longer be isolated, but part of a larger expanse of native woodland from Glen Affric Nature Reserve in the north to Glan Moriston, and the shores of Loch Ness in the south east – a new Caledonian Forest.

More here http://www.treesforlife.org.uk/groves/festival_wood.php  and you can make  individual donations online – and more festival donations – and supplier donations – would be most appreciated!

Another Planet

Air pollution during the London 2012 Olympic Games is set to be monitored using pioneering 3D technology developed by the University of Leicester (UoL).  The technology, developed by a team of researchers from UoL gathers scattered sunlight to scan whole cities and takes readings of air quality to help assess the impact of increased traffic levels on pollution.

A smartphone wheelie bin application to notify householders of changes in waste collection services will be launched by two of England’s top performing recycling councils this summer. The Binfo app, which will go live in time for the Jubilee weekend on 2-5 June, will be available for Android and iPhone users and has been designed to alert residents to new recycling services as well as service changes.

The UK’s Green Party says that the UK’s drought status and hosepipe ban during a period of torrential rain is the result of mismanagement by water companies who said that the current water restrictions demonstrate an urgent need for better water management by companies, as well as for climate change issues to be addressed. The Green Party also called for water companies to tackle leaks, which it says will save water, reduce costs and provide thousands of jobs. .And Lib Dem MEP George Lyon says that Europe’s need to increase food production is being blocked by energy and water constraints saying the last time the ERU needed to improve food production “In the 1950s and 60s unused land was put into production, poor land was improved, lots of water was used for irrigation and energy, which was dirt cheap at the time, was thrown at the problem,” adding “The challenge today is to achieve the same output boost while trying to reduce the amount of energy and water used in production and doing so without any new land being available.”

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has come under fire from leading environmental figures after what was heralded as a keynote green economic speech was downgraded. Reacting to the speech made by the Prime Minister at the Clean Energy Ministerial in London, a number of green NGOs, businesses and politicians have disputed claims that new policies and reforms enacted by the Coalition have been responsible for driving the UK’s green economy.  Labour shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint MP criticised the PM for failing to deliver a “proper” speech, saying it demonstrated the Government’s real lack of support for the green economy.  Energy secretary Ed Davey launched the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) by pledging that the UK would develop a policy framework with ministers worldwide that supports clean tech innovation.

Sustainability may be past the toddler stage but it’s not much more grown up than that, according to Forum for the Future deputy chief executive Dr. Sally Uren. Speaking at the ‘Sustainable Business in Practice’ conference Dr Uren said that while “sustainability language” had hit the mainstream that she wasn’t sure it was fully embedded in business as “if it was we would be much closer to a sustainable economy”. Rather, she said that sustainability is in its “teenage years as it has had a growth spurt and got us to where we are now.” It has also left the toddler stage where people didn’t really understand it”, she added saying it is “coming of age”.  And in the wake of the Clean Energy Ministerial in London, Lib Dem peer Lord Redesale who is chair of the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association, said that while the coalition has set out an ambitious goal to be the ‘greenest Government ever’ and made some positive steps that progress towards renewables remains “painfully slow”.  NHS hospitals have been told that they could make significant savings in the future by tapping into the waste they produce to power their sites as part of a decentralised energy strategy.  This is according to MITIE, a leading outsourcing firm, which is working with a number of NHS trusts to improve their sustainability ratings.

Edie.net reports that twelve EU regions are to join forces to develop a common framework in a bid to improve the consistency of recycling and recovery rates across Europe.  The partnership project ‘Regions 4 Recycling’ (R4R) will run over three years and will formulate a methodology for waste data observation, selective collection and recycling rates that will enable participating regions to share best practice to improve their recycling performance. Countries involved include France, Belgium, Denmark, Portugal, Greece, Austria, Romania, Estonia and Ireland. So far, there is no UK involvement.

May Field Derby Festival goes green again

This weekend is the second edition of the May Field Derby Festival held on the grounds of the MVV equestrian stadium in Mannheim, Germany. The premiere in 2011 was a great success with 3,000 visitors. The event is “warm and cozy, climate-friendly and geared it has a relaxed atmosphere”. Visitors can expect an international program twith music, readings and short films. This year, among other things, features Blood Red Shoes, Olli Schulz, Friska Viljor, We Have Band, John K. Samson and chip shop (Weakerthans).

The organizers place great emphasis on regionality and sustainable event management and in cooperation with students from the Academy, Baden-Wurttemberg and the Green Music Initiative (including advising the Melt! Festival and the Berlin Music Week), an environmental management system has been developed for the May Field Derby. This green master plan is titled “Greener Maifeld Derby” and summarizes a package of measures that improve the environmental performance of the festival now and to improve in the coming years, piece by piece.

Among the highlights of the green measures for 2012 are:

* Bicycle Rodeo May Field – a bike ride to the festival site, followed by secret concert for all participants
* Additional local buses for night departure from the festival site
* Matching car-sharers with passengers
* The purchase of green power for the festival site
* Increased use of energy-saving LED technology for lighting the stage
* Intelligent, fuel-efficient power amplifier systems
* Locally based  catering with a high proportion of vegetarian dishes
* Discounted bike (pedal-power generation) in the Green Music Lounge
* Environmentally sound printed materials
* More online marketing, less flyer
* Eco-fair Merchandising
* Waste reduction and waste separation

For more information go to  http://www.maifeld-derby.de/2012/greener.htm