Monthly Archives: June 2014

ANOTHER PLANET

The school run – parents driving their children to school in the UK – costs the economy £470 million a year – contributes a quarter of rush hour traffic – adding to congestion, pollution and accidents – and deprives children of much needed exercise from walking and exercising.  Claire Francis, the head of policy at Sustrans “Traffic congestion costs the British economy billions, impacting on on the cost of food, services and wages as well as driving up fuel consumption” adding that it should be a government imperative to make roads safe for school children to walk or cycle to school. A 10% reduction in school trips would reduce cr trips by 118 million and and the distance driven by 265 million miles each year – saving £54.4 million. An average parent spends £642 a year on the school run.

West Cumbrian Mining is planning a new coal mine at Whitehaven, close to the now closed Haig Colliery, and plans to mine under the North Sea. Offshore tests will begin next year after the firm raised £14.7 million in financial backing from an Australian private equity group.

Satao, one of the worlds biggest bull elephants, has been killed in Kenya. His magnificent tusks touch the floor and his head had been removed by poachers who killed the bull with a poisoned arrow. Poaching for ivory is pushing the elephant towards  extinction in Kenya – at least 400 bulls have been killed since the start of 2013.

Lucy Siegle has written an interesting piece in the Observer –  We’re losing faith in global change as local causes boom – saying that we’ve grown sceptical of big-picture environmentalism. A greener future lies in ‘just doing it’ at grassroots level and “Localism is all in the interpretation. So to Eric Pickles, it’s decentralising planning. In surfing culture, it’s the right, assumed by local surfers, to chase non-locals off their wave breaks. And now environmental localism is beginning to mean something too. Something big. Might it even refresh the parts other green movements can’t reach, and take them mainstream?” – lots more here.

ethicalawardsAnd the Observer Ethical Awards have been given out – topped by Queen guitarist Brian May who won Campaigner of the Year for his work fighting against the badger cull in the UK. With wildlife campaigner Anne Brummer, he set up the Save Me trust, focusing on the Hunting Act and possible changes to the hunting ban. These fears have not been realised so far, but the badger cull (first proposed in 2008 by an all party committee) famously has. May was roused into action. Overnight he became King of the Badgers! The full list of winners is:

Peter Willcox, The Greenpeace skipper gets the Lifetime Achievement Award
Mat Fraser – Arts and Culture Award
Mark Constantine, Lush – Best in Business Award
Brian May – Campaigner of the Year
Jon Soar – Community Energy Project Award sponsored by National Grid
Natalie Dean and Heather Whittle, Beyond Skin – Sustainable Fashion Award sponsored by Econyl and Eco Age
Tom Yearley and Delphine Wakes – Great Energy Race Award sponsored by B&Q
Mama Margaret’s – Ecover Young Green Champions – which has teamed students in Bolton with women from the Dagoretti slum in Nairobi make and sell a range of handmade craft items
Anne Power – Local Hero Award
Guy Watson, Riverford – Retailer of the Year
Toni Neubauer, Myths and Mountains/READ Global – Travel Award sponsored by Virgin Holidays

Millions of dicarded plastics bags pollute our oceans

Millions of dicarded plastics bags pollute our oceans

Millions of plastic bags are being given away in the UK despite plans for a 5p charge per bag – and a consensus amongst retailers that the move will reduce waste as environmental and anti-litter campaigners say the UK government has left its new scheme riddled with loopholes ignoring calls to include all retailers in the 5p plastic bag charge, which numerous experts insisting this would reduce litter, slash carbon emissions and cut down on waste. The Environmental Audit Committee’s (EAC) recent Plastic Bag Inquiry urged the Government to change the levy system so that the 5p charge on single-use bags in England – due to come into force in October 2015 – was extended to smaller shops, pointing to the success of universal schemes in Wales and Ireland.  But in response to that Inquiry, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said it wanted to ‘reduce the burden on start- up and growing businesses in England at a time when the Government is supporting new growth in our economy’ – any business employing less than 250 people is excluded – and all retailers can switch to giving away paper bags. Wales has vut the number of bags  used by 76% since introducing a 5p charge in 2011. The Association of Convenience Stores which has 33,000 members, mostly small shops, said the flawed scheme was ‘massive missed opportunity’. Image from Ecowatch here http://ecowatch.com/2013/12/11/court-upholds-san-francisco-plastic-bag-ban/ – millions of plastic bags end up causing environmental devastation in our seas. Actor Leonardo DiCaprio brought his celebrity power to the Our Ocean conference in Washington DC on Tuesday when he joined John Kerry on stage. The actor and environmental activist, announced he was pledging $7 million from the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation to ‘meaningful conservation projects’ in the next two years.  In a taped video message, President Barack Obama announced plans to create the largest ocean preserve in the world and protect marine life by banning drilling, fishing and other activities in a massive stretch of the Pacific Ocean.

Climate change is having a direct impact on 95% of fresh produce stocked in Asda stores, with food sourcing, processing and transportation all facing an growing threat from environmental issues. The Climate Adaptation Framework study, developed with PwC, maps out the risks that climate change poses across Asda’s entire trading operations and looks at potential obstacles that lie ahead.  And high water stress is jeopardising one-third of the world’s corn crop, sparking food and biofuel security fears within the agricultural industry and related supply chains. A report just out from sustainability think-tank Ceres highlights how US corn farmers, suppliers and investors are particularly vulnerable from water-related risks that could disrupt this $65bn industry. The US accounts for nearly 40% of global corn production.

2014-tesla-modelElectric carmaker Tesla Motors is opening up its technology patents for others to use in a bid to accelerate the development of zero-emissions vehicles across the globe. In an unprecedented move, the firm’s founder and CEO Elon Musk announced that Tesla “will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology’” and “Tesla Motors was created to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport,” Musk wrote in a blog post. “If we clear a path to the creation of compelling electric vehicles, but then lay intellectual property landmines behind us to inhibit others, we are acting in a manner contrary to that goal.”

One of the world’s largest wind farms has been given the green light to be built off the Suffolk coast, supporting almost 3,000 jobs and bringing over £520m of investment to the UK economy.  The East Anglia One offshore wind farm has this week been given consent from the Government, marking a strong vote of confidence for the nation’s offshore wind sector.

Use of coal for power generation and other purposes grew by 3% in 2013 – faster than any other fossil fuel. Coal has reached its highest market share of global energy consumption for more than 40 years, figures reveal, despite fears that its high carbon emissions make it a prime cause of climate change.  The use of coal for power generation and other purposes grew by 3% in 2013 – faster than any other fossil fuel – while its share of the market breached 30% for the first time since 1970, the BP Statistical Review reports.

It’s time to move on from the basics of whether global warming is happening to how best to respond, says the UK’s chief science adviser, calling for researchers to speak out about the risks and benefits of strategies for tackling climate change before national policies are set by the government.  Edie.net reports that Sir Mark Walport, the government’s top science adviser, said the climate change debate had to move on from arguments over the reality of global warming to more pressing questions of what the country should do in response.

windturbines_300Which? has warned that planned green energy subsidies may not be value for money, as more cost effective options may be overlooked. The leading consumer group has warned Ed Davey that his proposed subsidy scheme will encourage the construction of more higher-cost energy projects such as offshore wind farms that might not deliver value for money. Which? has written to the secretary of state for energy and climate change saying plans for electricity market reform “could result in expensive generation projects being prioritised over cheaper, more cost-effective options”. Recebtly some campaigners noted that subsidies for anaerobic digestion meant perfectly edible food was being used to create so called “green” energy.

Car giant Ford Motor Company and food giant H.J. Heinz Company have announced that they are working together to explore the use of tomato fibres in developing bioplastic materials that can be used in vehicle manufacturing. Cool beanz!  And Coca-Cola and Danone are among a consortium of companies that are looking to scale up the next generation of bioplastics by investing in a commercial scale facility for the production of PEF (polyethylene furanoate).

Environmental Technology Verification (ETV), a new scheme to promote innovative green technologies, has been launched in the UK by the European Commission.  Defra’s Dan Rogerson, said the voluntary scheme aims to increase the uptake of green technologies and help overcome a lack of confidence still associated with some green products. ETV will become an official proof verification for companies working in the water, waste and energy sectors.

 

Advertisements

Newsweek 2014 top green companies list

Tnewsweek-coverhe Newsweek 2014 green rankings of the worlds 500 biggest companies have been announced and taking the top spot  is the French media and telecoms giant, Vivendi. The firm’s high ranking is partly due to tying the remuneration of its senior executives to corporate environmental performance targets. In close second is California-based pharma company, Allergen. The firm, best known as the world’s largest producer of Botox, has been tracking its sustainability performance since 1992.

“What we’re seeing more and more is a direct link between corporate sustainability, reputation, and financial success,” said Elijah Wolfson , senior editor at Newsweek. “Many of the world’s largest public companies have begun to recognize that in order to be successful moving forward, they need to openly account for their environmental impact. The goal of Newsweek’s Green Rankings is to add to and push for this type of accountability.”

It seems that accountability is on the rise, as the project found that a majority of the world’s largest companies are now disclosing environmental data to the market. In fact, over 75% of the Global 500 now disclose data on their carbon emissions to investors. This is impressive when you consider that there was almost no disclosure a decade ago.

Here’s the rankings:

Global 10

1. Vivendi (telecommunication services) – 85.3%

2. Allergan (healthcare) – 85.1%

3. Adobe Systems (IT) – 84.4%

4. Kering (consumer discretionary) – 83.6%

5. NTT Docomo (telecommunication services) – 83.1%

6. Ecolab (materials) – 82.6%

7. Atlas Copco (industrials) – 77.2%

8. Biogen Idec (healthcare) – 75.7%

9. Compass Group (consumer discretionary) – 75.3%

10. Schneider Electric (industrials) – 75.3%

Elsewhere in corporate news,  just two weeks after being given a dressing-down by Greenpeace for lagging behind in meeting its commitments to create a toxic-free supply chain, adidas has announced plans to get it back on course. Adidas says it will eliminate all polyfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) by 2020. As part of a new agreement, the sportswear giant says it will phase out 99% of all polyfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) – hormone-disrupting chemicals used to repel dirt and water in shoes and clothing – by the end of 2017, leading to full elimination by 2020. And it has agreed to publicly disclose discharge data from 99% of its Chinese suppliers by the end of this year, as well as 80% of its global suppliers by the middle of 2016. This is all building towards “full supply chain transparency” by 2020.

And the Coca-Cola Company says it is on track to meet its 2020 water replenishment goal by balancing an estimated 68% of the water used in its finished beverages, based on 2013 sales volume. Coca-Cola supports projects across India including providing safe water access. The soft drinks business has replenished an estimated 108.5 billion litres of water back to communities and nature through more than 500 community water projects in over 100 countries.

http://www.newsweek.com/green/top-10-green-companies-world

 

RELIANCE COMPOST PARTNERS WITH GREENPOP AT TREES FOR ZAMBIA 2014

greenpopTrees for Zambia: The Project

Reliance and Greenpop have returned to Livingstone for the third annual Trees for Zambia Festival of Action: an exciting reforestation and eco-education festival of action at the mighty Victoria Falls! Just like in previous years, Greenpop will be planting thousands of trees over the next three weeks in sites in need all over Livingstone, Zambia, in an effort to fight the drastic deforestation experienced in the region. Reliance Compost is proud to be both a long-termpartner of Greenpop and a supporter of the project, co-sponsoring the vehicles used to transport volunteers to and from the project and from site to site in Zambia, as well as sending several team members to assist on the project. Finally, Reliance Compost provided two tickets (with flights) to two competition winners, who are serving as ambassadors on the project in addition to planting trees!

Each year, people come from all over the world to Livingstone for one, two or three weeks to plant trees, educate children, learn about environmental issues through a range of lectures and workshops, enjoy brilliant live music, and explore a beautiful corner of Africa at the mighty Victoria Falls!

Trees for Zambia 2013: The Numbers

At last year’s project, Greenpop planted 3358 trees over a 21-day period. Over the course of the project, 16 schools, 1 women’s group, 1 church, and 1 community farm participated in our tree-planting projects. A few projects of note included our plant day at Livingfalls Bioplant, where we planted 1000 banana trees (which are now over two metres tall!), our reforestation project at Dambwa Forest where weplanted 1064 indigenous trees over the course of Trees for Zambia, and our work with the community farm Sons of Thunder, where we planted over 600 fruit and indigenous trees, and to which we’ll be returning this year to continue working on a food forest (see below). Lastly, Greenpop volunteers and staff produced 20 solar cookers and ran 2 eco-workshops, ensuring the long-term sustainability of alternative energy initiatives in the region.

Additionally, Greenpop has, for three years running, organised a fundraising programme called Trees for Fees, where volunteers can earn free weeks on the project by fundraising trees to be planted in Zambia. This year, Greenpop reignited its Trees for Fees programme, and together the participants raised 3205 trees – equivalent to 145 weeks in Zambia earned through fundraising. Tree-mendous!

Trees for Zambia 2014: What’s Next?

With its third annual Trees for Zambia Festival of Action, Greenpop aims to continue to expand and evolve the project. First of all, Greenpop will build on tree-planting efforts in the region by planting a projected 4000 to 5000 additional indigenous and fruit trees in Livingstone over the course of the 3-week project. Furthermore, Greenpop will continue to highlight alternative, energy-efficient solutions to make the project effective over the long term as well as the short term – for example, introducing rocket stoves as alternative cooking mechanisms that use far less of the charcoal that serves as one of the leading causes of deforestation in the region. In the same vein, Greenpop supplements all of its urban greening and reforestation projects in Livingstone with education, to ensure that the communities where trees are planted can continue to share and build upon the knowledge learned and trees planted over the course of the project. Finally, in an effort to increase the participatory element of the project and integrate the various fields of sustainability involved, Greenpop is launching the first-ever Participation Project Programme: a programme designed to let all who possess expertise in any field relevant to sustainability to share their knowledge with the project at large through workshops and presentations.

This year, Greenpop is planting indigenous and fruit at 12 schools, 1 hospital, 1 prison, 1 police station, 2 churches, 3 community farms, a biogas digester site and the Victoria Falls. In addition, the community will create permaculture gardens, food forests, eco-brick benches, rocket stoves and more, including painting environmentally themed murals at a school through a facilitated workshop created by the children.

The Participation Project Programme:

“Know Your Trees”:  An initiative of Meg Coates Palgrave (co-authorof Trees of Southern Africa), this project aims to educate participants on how to identify indigenous trees in the field through labels highlighted in her book Key to Some Trees of Victoria Falls and Livingstone. The user-friendly key created by Meg is a fun way for people to identify trees in the area. The course allows people to open up to a whole new world of being able to identify indigenous trees and continue to do so after the course is over.

“ColourIkamva”: Ricky Lee Gordon and Megan King are leading this venture, which uses energy and art to add inspiration and love to education. Their goal is to instill a sense of pride and self-awareness in students bydrawing upon their own creative power and expression while stimulating learners and educators by transforming the school space into positive, nurturing environment. The project is inspired by the life-changing work of IkamvaYouth, an after-school tutoring and mentoring programme that helps students lift themselves and each other out of poverty and into university and employmentopportunities. ColourIkamva is also an officially recognized project of World Design Capital Cape Town.

“Eco-Brick”: This project uses earth and eco bricks – plastic bottles stuffed with non-recyclable materials – to demonstrate how to utilise waste and traditional cob methods to create much needed structures. The team will be designing and building a few static benches with the Livingstone community to show how easy and affordable building can be as well as showing the value of goods normally cast aside as waste.

“Permaculture Adventure”: This project takes participants on a journey into the wonderful world of permaculture by teaching people how to make self-sufficient gardens and enjoy the many benefits of organic food. Groupsinvolved in the project will practice recycling by creating container gardens and learn about planting seasons, types of soil, and how to compost. As participants dig deep and get their hands dirty, they will develop an understanding about the different layers of the ecosystem, differences between organic and inorganic, and also the benefits of medicinal plants. The goal of this project is to change the culture of food consumption by showing people how they can get active and be their own producers.

“Sons of Thunder Food Forest”: The project will begin by discussing design considerations and the theory behind food forests, and be followed by practical layout, landscaping to prevent erosion and improve water infiltration, and the planting of various layers of plants from groundcover to trees. By stackingplants in functional layers, the project will maximize production per unit area while maintaining the ecosystem advantages of natural forests such as resilience, functional interconnection, and self-renewing fertility. The result is a system that is self-fertilizing, self-maintaining, diverse, highly productive and resilient.

earthfestEarth Fest: The Celebration: Greenpop recognises the incredible efforts and hard work of everyone who volunteers on the project – planting trees is not easy! Therefore, in true Greenpop style, Greenpop ends each week with a concert featuring local live musicians. Additionally, Greenpop is proud to announcethat for the second year running, Earth Fest will return on the second weekend of the project! From 27-28 June, Greenpop will host Earth Fest: A music and sustainability festival that aims to bring the finest artists from around southern Africa to perform in Livingstone – in the shadow of one of the world’s greatest natural wonders, the Victoria Falls. Greenpop invites all who can to party for trees supporting Greenpop as they go on their mission to plant 4000 trees in their “Trees for Zambia” project. Featuring a selection of local and international artists including DJ Claudous, Yes Rasta, Chikenbus Band, and Grassy Spark, this event is not to be missed. Additionally, Greenpop is excited to announce that director and rising global star Jeremy Loops will be popping into the project to play a few songs! MORE HERE

Reliance Compost – www.reliance.co.za

Earth Fest Africa Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/earthfestafrica

Earth Fest 2014 Facebook Event – https://www.facebook.com/events/542066122572912/

 

 

POWERFUL THINKING LAUNCHES 10 NEW FACT SHEETS – USE THEM!

PT_logo-300x190The final set of ten fact sheets from POWERFUL THINKING cover a wide range of key topics around the usage of energy at festivals and events. They are a fantastic resource and comprise of:
  1. Sustainable energy tips for traders (partner The National Caterers Association)
  2. Ten top tips for reducing fuel bills at festivals (partner Association of Independent Festivals)
  3. Using hybrid power at events (partner Firefly Solar)
  4. Communicating green energy at events (partner A Greener Festival)
  5. Biofuels at festivals (Partner Midas UK)
  6. Tips for energy contracts at outdoor events (partner Production Services Association)
  7. Roles at a glance (partner Kambe Events)
  8. A crash course in energy types (partner Julies Bicycle)
  9. Five easy steps to greener power at small events (partner Association of Festival Organisers)
  10. Power sources on location (partner Media Greenhouse)
These are all available to read and download at:

ANOTHER PLANET?

springwatch2014BBC’s Springwatch is one of the first British TV programmes to demonstrate to viewers that it has met high environmental standards by displaying an on-screen certification badge on its credits. The debut of the ‘albert+’ rating on Springwatch, and also on the BBC’s ‘From There to Here’ drama, marks the first step of the BBC’s and the British Academy of Film & Television Arts’ (BAFTA) drive to take the industry towards a low carbon future.  In March edie reported that BAFTA was refining its industry carbon calculator Albert to enable better reporting for television and film productions. Using the calculator, programmes can work towards achieving the albert+ badge, which demonstrates that senior staff have taken a strong lead on sustainability. This includes sharing goals with cast and crew, measuring carbon footprints, and adopting sufficient low-carbon production techniques to address the overall environmental impact of the programme.  On Springwatch, there are plans to introduce new technology such as waste vegetable oil and solar powered generators to power the facilities base on location at RSPB Minsmere, to achieve carbon-neutral emissions instead of using a diesel generator.

jb sustaining creativityThe business benefits of being environmentally friendly have been made clear in the creative and cultural sector, with a new industry report revealing a significant financial boost for firms that have put sustainability in the spotlight. SUSTAINING CREATIVITY, from Julie’s Bicycle, reveals that 55% of cultural institutions from music, theatre, visual arts, museums, literature and combined arts have reported financial benefits of being more sustainable.  Moreover, 40% of the 335 responding organisations said they have experienced reputational benefits from their commitment to environmental sustainability, while 62% believe it will become increasingly important to their business over the next two years. Julie’s Bicycle’s chief executive Alison Tickell said: “This survey shows us that people are absolutely engaged with the issues facing the sector, and the wider world, and are beginning to reap the opportunities inherent in placing the environment alongside financial and artistic priorities. However, there is still a long way to go in terms of closing the value/action gap and really making the critical creative leap in the way we operate” adding “Between now and March 2015, the ‘Sustaining Creativity‘ programme will continue to inspire and engage the cultural sector to scale up best practice and develop the capacity for leadership on the most pressing issue of our time – climate change and environmental sustainability.”

Severn Trent Water has announced that it will be investing £13m in a new anaerobic digestion (AD) plant that will convert household food waste into energy. The AD plant will be situated in Coleshill, Warwickshire. It will be the first of a number of plants the company plans to build across the Severn Trent region.

The unsustainable use of natural resources will continue to have a ‘crippling’ impact on price volatility and the environment unless economic growth is decoupled from resource consumption, according to a new report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The report – Decoupling 2: Technologies, Opportunities and Policy Options – is based on research undertaken by UNEP’s International Resource Panel (IRP. It points to a 260% hike in energy prices since the year 2000, along with a 176% rise in metal prices and 350% increase in rubber costs as just a few examples of the costly results of current consumption of non-renewable resources.

Slipper_orchidMany rare plants and animals face growing challenges from habitat destruction, agriculture, hunting and climate change  – but often their very rarity adds to their problems as illegal collectors drive them to the point of extinction. Slipper orchids have almost disappeared from the remote hills and mountains where they were once found in North America, Europe and temperate regions of Asia – the orchid is prized by collectors who are now the biggest threat to the species. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) also pointed out that 94% of lemur species are threatened with extinction along with the Japanese Eel and the three banded Armadilo in Brazil.

Farmers in the UK have said that EU bans on various pesticides will make it increasingly difficult to sustain crop yields. The NFU says that a EU wide ban on fungicides used on barley, oilseed rape, oats and wheat from next year will affect production – the fungicides contain triazoles that can interfere with hormone activity in humans and affect fertility. Potato and carrot growers fear a ban on nematicides which protect root crops from roundworms. In Healthy Harvest The NFU says the UK is over regulated and is loosing out to foreign growers who have access to the pesticides.

BT has signed long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) worth £440m with three wind farms in Scotland, Wales and Lancashire, securing more than 100MW of renewable energy capacity to help power its UK operations. The energy will be supplied from the 48-turbine Fallago Rig wind farm located 35km southeast of Edinburgh in the Scottish Borders, the new Heysham South Wind Farm in Lancashire and nine-turbine Mynydd Bwllfa Wind farm in South Wales.

India has branded Greenpeace is a threat to it’s economy, saying the group wants to derail plans for the country to develop coal fired electricity generating plants. They say Greenpeace protests against coal power, nuclear power and mining had curbed GDP between 2% and 3% and that Greenpeace is a “potential threat” to national security.

Sainsbury’s has teamed up with Google to launch a new mobile and online tool that the supermarket giant hopes will help to reduce food waste in households across Britain. Sainsbury’s Food Rescue fuses mobile voice recognition technology with recipe inspiration to give users practical help and advice on using up ingredients that would otherwise be forgotten about and go to waste.

think smallThe European Commission has admitted that it needs to do more to bring small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) ‘to the centre’ of its plans for a transition to a circular economy. Speaking to edie.net at European Green Week (3-5 June) the Commission’s directorate-general for enterprise and Industry, Lisbeth Bahl-Poulsen, said better collaboration with national and regional governments from the EU’s member states is also needed to focus environmental efforts on SMEs. Also un Green week – “There is no place for waste,” proclaimed Janez Potocnik as the Commissioner for Environment announced details of a revised package of measures to accelerate Europe’s transition to a circular economy. Speaking at a press debriefing on the final day of European Green Week in Brussels, Potočnik said that the new policy package will include higher recycling rates and the elimination of landfill from waste legislation, with a particular focus on food and construction waste.

Conservationists, tourist chiefs and politicians are all protesting against planned oil exploration several miles off the coast of the beautiful island of Ibiza – famed for its parties and dance music extravaganzas – and Greenpeace is supporting the move and last week sent the Rainbow Warrior to campaign to protect the ecologically sensitive island and the glittering Mediterranean sea, home to dolphins, turtles, whales and the beds of Posidonia – the giant sea grass.

SumatraRhinoHornbill (1)We can end on a good news story – the campaign to protect the Virunga National Park in The Democratic Republic of the Congo – Africa’s oldest national park and home of the last remaining mountain gorillas – has succeeded! Supported by celebrities such as Anna Friel and the WWF, oil company Soco International  has now scrapped plans to conduct exploratory drilling in  the 7,800 sq km Viurunga park  and issued a joint statement with the WWF agreeing that Soco would “not undertake or commission any exploratory or other drilling in the Virunga National Park unless Unesco and the DRC government agrees that such activities are not incompatible with it’s world heritage status”.

FESTIVAL NEWS

BråvallaPromoter FKP Scorpio has announced its Bråvalla festival in Sweden will go cashless this year. Customer’s wristbands will contain an RFID chip. This chip can be loaded with money and all sales in the festival area will only be made through the wristband. “This means that the festival will become smoother and safer and quicker,” says a spokesman adding “the big difference is that during the festivals the ‘money’ on each wristband and cannot be misplaced. As soon as someone swipes the bracelet, they will also find out how much money they have left on the wristband.” Bråvalla festival takes place in Norrköping 26-28 June. Headliners include Iron Maiden, Kings of Leon and Kanye West.

and Intelligent venue Solutions (IVS) expects over £6 million cashless transactions at UK festivals this summer. The British Event Technology & RFID Specialist is confirmed to deploy at over 50 major live events in 2014 and the deployment of RFID enabled wristband technology is expected to increase by a huge 70% this year. With over 3.5 million smart wristbands being issued across the summer season, event organisers will be anticipating a significant increase in on-site spending. The UK-based company has this year already deployed its systems at UEFA Champions League Final in Lisbon, the French Open in Paris, the Grand National at Aintree as well as a debut appearance at BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Glasgow recently which saw them deliver a managed fast card payment system for VIP guests.

Mobile phone carrier Orange has announced it will stream highlights from the 13-15 June Orange Warsaw Festival, following a partnership with music media company, LoveLive. Orange Music Live will be available across eight European countries including France, Poland, Spain, Romania, Slovakia, Luxembourg, Armenia and Moldova providing selected live video streaming of performances by major international artists, to be unveiled in the coming weeks. Accessible across multiple screens including smartphones, tablets, computers and televisions, Orange Music Live will be enhanced by Orange’s 4G and fibre networks, where available.

Efit-after-Parklife-assaultIn the UK the Police have launched a manhunt after a man died following a beating at the Parklife festival on June 7th in Manchester after his girlfriend was hit with an inflatable doll, police said. The BBC say that Robert Hart, 26, was knocked unconscious in front of the main stage at the Parklife Weekender on Saturday at around 9.15pm. He was given CPR at the scene by two off-duty medical personnel. He died on Jun 11 in hospital. The offender is described as a mixed race male, aged in his late 20′s and around 6ft 1 tall. He has a muscular build and short, dark hair which was shaved at the sides. He was also wearing shorts and a blue, bomber-style jacket with the letter ‘A’ in white on the front. Police have also issued an efit. Anyone with information should contact the incident room on 0161 85 69283 or by email (and please attach any footage):  mit.syndicate8@gmp.police.uk 

welovegreenThe 14,000-capacity We Love Green festival in France – The nature-centric opener of the Parisian festival season –  has again been powered entirely by eco-friendly fuel sources, according to organisers. The event is one of Europe’s most sustainable festivals set in the majestic scenery of Parc de Bagatelle in Paris and a winner of the Greener Festival Award. We Love Green has a wide range of environmental initiatives covering many aspects of the production including local service providers, saving water and energy, recycling, managing waste, car sharing, deposit system for glasses, providing free drinkable water fountains, safe storage for bikes and adopting renewable energy across the site.

chineselantEvent organisers in the UK have called for a national ban on Sky Lanterns branding them dangerous to the public, livestock and buildings. Already banned at a number of events including the Glastonbury Festival after one of organiser Michael Eavis’s cows died after ingesting the remains of a lantern, the new campaign by the National Outdoor Events Association has a three-pronged approach aiming to raise awareness among the public, event organisers and to gain a parliamentary debate in the bid for an outright ban. Launched in the South West at England’s biggest agricultural show, the Royal Bath and West in Somerset, the campaign is now being rolled out nationally. Susan Tanner, NOEA’s chief executive said: “In essence balls of fire are being sent into the air uncontrolled and unmonitored causing damage to animals and property. Ultimately there is a risk to human life; we have already seen firefighters injured while tackling a blaze caused by a lantern.” Back in 2011 Michael Eavis said  that once the lanterns fall to the ground, the metal frames partially disintegrate: “The wire is then eaten by the cows and sheep and can actually kill them by causing bleeding or blockages in their stomachs. I have had a couple of my own cows die from eating the metal-like needles” adding “We’re not arable farmers, but when the crops get tinder dry they will go up in no time if a lit lantern were to land on them. I would like to see them banned nationwide.”

Britain’s food waste shame

food-waste-hierarchyBritain has come in a miserable fifteenth place in redistributing food waste from supermarkets – we managed to redistribute just 5,904 tonnes in 2013,  0r  9.2 tonnes per 100,000 people – 9th place Hungary managed to redistribute 4,939 tonnes – or 49.8 tonnes per 100,000 citizens – and top of the table Spain 118,638 tonnes – or a whopping 253.9 tones per 100,000 people.

Why is the UK doing so badly? There has been recently disquiet voiced over the subsidies given to anaerobic digestion plants in the UK – meaning perfectly edible food is being sent to be converted into energy   And Frank Field, the former MP and labour welfare minister, has called on UK supermarkets and the UK government to work together to ensure surplus food gets to needy humans:  other EU countries use EU subsidies to subsidise the redistribution of food to poor families, and Mark Varney, FareShare’s director of food, said that Britain had only drawn 10% of the £30 million of EU monies available – and also called on the government to allow companies to claim tax relief on food they donate saying “the reason the UK food industry does not redistribute more of the 300,000 – 400,000 tonnes of surplus food each year is that people do not like throwing good money after bad. It costs a business money to make sure that we, or another charity , get that food.”

FareShare1Fareshare here

Sustainable Food Trust here