Monthly Archives: April 2015

INDUSTRY GREEN SURVEY LAUNCHED BY AIF & AFO

Shambala_Bikes

The AIF (Association of Independent Festivals) and AFO (Association of Festival Organisers) have launched an industry-wide survey as part of an initiative to develop a green manifesto for their members. Working with Kambe Events, the company behind award-winning green festival Shambala, this will be the largest ever industry survey on this topic, exploring what festivals are already doing, what matters to them, and what support they need to take action to green their events.

The survey will reach out to over 300 UK festivals, and results will be presented back later in 2015.

EVENT ORGANISERS – PLEASE TAKE PART IN THE 2 MINUTE FESTIVAL SURVEY HERE

Chris Johnson of Kambe Events, who is leading on the initiative says; “Our vision is to bring the festivals together to share knowledge and inspiration and to regain our industry’s historically pioneering approach to sustainability. Now is the time – being green is becoming the norm endeavour, improving audience experiences, brands and reducing costs”

Information from the survey will also help to inform a vision for the industry in the context of the United Nations International Climate Change talks (COP15) in Paris this November, with UK festival industry think-do tank Powerful Thinking publishing a state of the industry report based on findings.

To find out more about Kambe please visit www.kambe-events.co.uk/services.   Photo credit Danny North

Green Events & Innovations – conference videos now available

Still Getting Wasted in 2015?

Still Getting Wasted in 2015?

Videos of all of the sessions, panels and talks at the 2015 edition of Green Events and Innovations are now online – and it’s all here http://www.agreenerfestival.com/gei/

Many thanks to Bucks New University and to Teresa, Ben and Mel for making this happen.

The winners of the 2015 Environment and Energy Awards!

energy&envirnmentawardsAND THE WINNER IS…

On the 22nd April 2015 over 350 guests congregated at the National Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham, to celebrate the winners of the 16th annual Environment and Energy Awards!

The finalists ranged from single individuals to whole organisations, from large multinational corporations to local businesses, from both the public and private sectors, but all had one thing in common: each of them pushed the boundaries of sustainable innovation to a new level!

Each of their entries showcased the very best advancements in green technologies; excellence in energy and water management and outstanding company performances within the sustainability division.

For the full story from the Awards night please visit: www.edie.net

But now, without further ado, we are pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 Environment and Energy Awards!

 

ENERGY MANAGER OF THE YEAR AWARD

Winner: Louise Hall of Asda Stores

Highly Commended: Gareth Williams of Northern Rail

 

INNOVATIVE ENERGY EFFICIENT PROJECT

Winner: AkzoNobel Decorative Paints UK

Highly Commended: L&Q

ENVIRONMENT PRODUCT/ SERVICE AWARD

Winner: 4Eco

ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERSHIP AWARD FOR ORGANISATIONAL BEHAVIOURAL CHANGE

Winner: Global Action Plan & Sainsbury’s Supermarkets

 

INNOVATION AWARD FOR ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGY

Winner: Desert Aquaponic Company

 

INNOVATIVE AWARD FOR ENERGY FROM WASTE

Winner: NVP Energy

 

INNOVATIVE WATER MANAGEMENT & EFFICIENCY AWARD

Winner: Yorkshire Water

 

ENVIRONMENTAL, HEALTH & SAFETY SKILLS DEVELOPMENT AWARD

Winner: O’Donovan Waste Disposal

 

SUSTAINABILITY COMMUNICATIONS CAMPAIGN AWARD

Winner: HM Revenue & Customs

 

ENERGY PRODUCT/SERVICE AWARD

Winner: Lontra

 

OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO THE ENERGY INDUSTRY

Winner: Terry Casey of Instellastar Europe

SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS OF THE YEAR AWARD

Winner: B&Q

Highly Commended: Forest Centre

 

ANOTHER PLANET?

labourWith the UK’s general election fast approaching on May 7th, Labour has  launched a ‘green manifesto’ outlining a wealth of agenda on environmental issues. Labour has committed to the decarbonisation of the UK energy mix, has pledged to lead increased global climate change ambition, and will improve energy efficiency in it’s Green Plan. With the plan Labour intends to separate itself from the pack of political parties whose election manifestos contained few mentions of climate change or green policy.  One area Labour is keen to differentiate itself on is a decarbonisation target for 2030 for the UK’s electricity supply, giving business ‘certainty to invest’ in green technology and infrastructure, it says. It is quick to point out that conversely both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrat parties have blocked such a target in the last Parliament, and the Conservative manifesto explicitly rules one out for the next. Labour would stick to Climate Change Act (CCA). Put climate change “at the heart of foreign policy” as the “most important thing we can do for our children”.  Five Green Laws made up the environmental heart of the Liberal Democrat’s election manifesto, launched by Nick Clegg in London.  The laws are not quite “nailed to the front of the manifesto” as Energy Secretary Ed Davey promised in March, but they do mark the strongest commitment to the green economy issued by any of the three major parties. The Lib Dems say “The successful economies of the future will be ‘circular'” and they will set a statutory target to recycle 70% of waste in England.  They plan to make Britain carbon-neutral by 2050 and have a target of 60% of electricity from renewable sources by 2030.  The Lib Dems say nuclear power stations “can play a role in building a sustainable economy”. Shale can also contribute to a low carbon economy, so a Low-carbon Transition Fund will be set up with shale profits.  The Green Party propose 90% reduction in emissions in the next 15-20 years, spend £35bn over the next parliament on renewable generation and adapting the national grid. The Greens will expand energy storage and biomass, “where sustainable” and would ban fracking and phase out nuclear in ten years. The Conservatives say they would stick to the Climate Change Act (CCA) and “cut emissions as cost-effectively as possible” and provide start-up funding for promising new renewable technologies and research, but only give significant support to those that “clearly represent value for money”. They would end support for new onshore wind farms .  The Conservatives would create a Sovereign Wealth Fund for the North of England, to reinvest shale profits. Support nuclear.  13800_10153768797716002_2061555411241677932_nUKIP would repeal the CCA – “the most expensive piece of legislation in British history”, having done “untold damage”. They support fracking and “UKIP supports and will invest in renewables where they can deliver electricity at competitive prices.” Only hydro meets this criterion, so the party will withdraw taxpayer and consumer subsidies for new wind turbines and solar PV. They say WRAP is “an unnecessary quango” – and it would be axed to apparently save the country £15.5m.  Finally on politics and politicians ….. a film consisting of promotional footage of David Cameron with a flaming seat to his trousers and set to Blondie’s 1988 hit ‘Liar Liar’ has been unveiled by green energy company Ecotricity on YouTube .  The #PantsOnFire film aims to highlight what it sees as a u-turn in Conservative ‘green’ policy by mocking the Prime Minister’s environmental record. The film includes Cameron’s various green ‘stunts’ including hugging huskies nine years ago, cycling across London and claiming to want to be the ‘greenest government ever’.  Its all here and more here. More than one in five Liberal Democrat and Labour election candidates have pledged to oppose fracking in defiance of their parties’ promises to foster the industry during the next parliament.  Seven of the Lib Dem front bench team, including spokespeople for the environment and energy, voiced their opposition to the party line. The pledge, circulated by Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, asked candidates to promise: “If my constituency is at risk of fracking, I will oppose it. If my constituency is not at risk, I will oppose fracking nationwide.”

The amount of discarded electrical and electronic equipment (e-waste) globally reached 41.8 million tonnes in 2014, with the vast majority neither re-used nor disposed of in an environmentally friendly way.  A new United Nations University (UNU) report says the e-waste represents $52 billion worth of potentially reusable resources, but thinks that less than a sixth was recycled properly or made available for re-use. According to the report the United States and China together produced nearly a third of the total sum alone. In the European Union 8% of its e-waste will just be thrown into waste bins – amounting to 0.7 million tonnes.

Humpback_Whale_underwater_shotThe National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has proposed removing more than two-thirds of the world’s humpback whale population from the endangered species list. Humpback whales were first classified as in need of protection under the Endangered Species Act in 1970. The NOAA’s proposal would remove 10 of the 14 recognized whale populations from the endangered species list, while two would be listed as endangered and the remaining two would be classified as threatened. Critics say that the move is to appease fishermen in Hawaii.  Protection and restoration efforts have been taking place over the last 40 years after a dramatic reduction in humpback whale numbers.

whales killedUntil the International Whaling Commission gave them protection in 1966, more than 200,000 were killed by commercial whalers.  The International Whaling Commission put a stop to all commercial whaling in 1986. All the whales remain protected under the Marine Mammals Protection Act, and the US is still an active member of the International Whaling Commission. Environmental groups have said North Pacific whales continue to be vulnerable to factors including increased shipping, climate change and ocean acidification, which affects the prey stock.  The world’s leading zoo organisation has suspended its Japanese member over its involvement in the controversial dolphin hunts in Taiji. The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (Waza) has suspended the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (Jaza) following a unanimous vote by its council.

The monetary value of the world’s oceans has been estimated at US$24tn in a new report that warns that overfishing, pollution and climate change are putting an unprecedented strain upon marine ecosystems. The report, commissioned by WWF, states the asset value of oceans is $24tn and values the annual “goods and services” it provides, such as food, at $2.5tn. This economic clout would make the oceans the seventh largest economy in the world although the report’s authors, which include the Boston Consulting Group, say this is an underestimate as it does not factor in things such as oil, wind power and intangibles, such as the ocean’s role in climate regulation. The economic value is largely comprised of fisheries, tourism, shipping lanes and the coastal protection provided by corals and mangroves. More on the Guardian here.

bpThe BP archive containing scientific knowledge on renewable energy projects collected over decades as a result of a multi-billion-pound research programme is still closed to the public despite promises to the contrary. Critics said BP’s integrity was at stake and the archive held next to the Modern Records Office at Warwick University must be opened immediately. The oil company told its shareholders at the annual general meeting last week that BP shared all the information it had held on to – unless it was particularly commercially sensitive. Carl-Henric Svanberg, the BP chairman, was specifically asked about the store of research material kept under wraps in a corporate archive at Warwick University: “Nothing is locked away. We share everything happily.” But a spokesman at the company’s headquarters later confirmed what the Guardian had already reported: that no material for the last 40 years was available to the public.

And the overwhelming majority of BP shareholders have backed a resolution forcing the company to be more transparent about its impact on climate change.  Resolution 25, tabled at the BP AGM by a £170bn coalition of investors, was passed with 98% support and the backing of BP’s chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg. The company has committed to publishing more information on its resilience to climate action, including whether limits on carbon emissions will damage the value of its oil and gas. HOWEVER – while BP has agreed to transparency, Svanberg made it clear to the Guardian that it would not be setting targets for its own greenhouse gas emissions any time soon, saying such targets could be “counter-productive”.

Three-quarters of known fossil fuel reserves must be kept in the ground if humanity is to avoid the worst effects of climate change, a group of leading scientists and economists have said in a statement timed to coincide with Earth Day. The Earth League, which includes Nicholas Stern, the author of several influential reports on the economics of climate change; Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, a climate scientist and adviser to Angela Merkel; and the US economist Jeffrey Sachs, urged world leaders to follow up on their commitments to avoid dangerous global warming. Spelling out what a global deal at the UN climate summit in Paris later this year should include, in its ‘Earth Statement’ the group demanded governments adopt a goal of reducing economies’ carbon emissions to zero by mid-century, put a price on carbon and that the richest take the lead with the most aggressive cuts.

London_smog-_UKEdie.net reports that the UK Supreme Court will hear ClientEarth’s case against the UK Government over its ‘failure’ to meet deadlines for legal limits on air pollution in what will be the culmination of a four year battle.  ClientEarth, a group of activist lawyers, want the Supreme Court to order the Government to produce a new plan to deliver urgent cuts to illegal UK air pollution levels. Under current EU Directive, member states had to comply with air pollution limits for nitrogen dioxide by 2010. But the UK Government does not plan to meet these limits until after 2030 in 16 cities and regions across the country, including London, Leeds, Birmingham and Glasgow. That’s despite scientists estimating that at least 29,000 people die early in the UK from air pollution and Nitrogen Dioxide, mainly produced by diesel vehicles.

Edie.net reports that the proportion of a business’ energy bill that comes from the energy itself will drop below 50% by 2050. Currently, the cost of wholesale electricity currently makes up 65% of an energy bill but, according to Gavin McCormick, the business development manager at energy consultancy EnergyQuote, this will drop to 49% by 2050.

The National Trust has taken another step closer to reaching its ambitious renewable energy targets by installing an innovative hydro-electric scheme at one of its properties in Cheshire.  Quarry Bank, an 18th century cotton mill on the banks of the River Bollin, will switch on the new Kaplan turbine this week, generating 55% of the site’s on-site energy requirements. The National Trust – which has a target of generating half of its energy from renewable sources by 2020 – says it has taken inspiration from Quarry Bank’s past for the installation of this new energy scheme.

 

Green Events Europe conference report free to download now

green-events-europeGreenEvents Europe have released the “Full Conference Report from the 5th GreenEvents Europe Conference . It’s free for download to everybody. You can also access the report here.

The Conference Report with minutes, links, reports and pics gives a brilliant overlook on each and every session, filters major questions and summarizes the discussions during the panels. 

Use the Report as a pool of creative ideas and search for best and worst practices, new techniques and approaches to make the live music and event industry more sustainable!
The conference focused on ‘Food & Events’ and raised urging topics such as

  • ‘Food, drinks and Rock’n’Roll’
  • ‘Social Impact of events’
  • ‘Foodprints’
  • ‘Food, health & body’
  • ‘Food waste’
  • ‘Energy efficient music culture’
  • ‘Post consumerist economy’
  • ‘Attitude – behaviour gap’
  • ‘Greener touring’
  • ‘Sustainable Event Design’
  • ‘Sustainability in extreme situations’
  • ‘Greener Arena’
  • ‘Transport and mobility’
  • ‘Culinary Upcycling’
  • Pre-conference Workshop: ‘Food & Events’
  • ‘Die große Kartoffelshow’ – How the public can avoid Food Waste
Best wishes from Bonn and enjoy the  Full Conference Report

EARTH DAY TODAY

earth-day

ANOTHER PLANET?

Lady Elliott Island, Great Barrier Reef by Jasmine ChallisAustralia’s Great Barrier Reef is likely to be listed as ‘in danger’ by Unesco’s World Heritage Committee in a few weeks- despite the fact its worth £2.6 billlion (A$5 billion) in tourism revenues each year to the Australia economy. The reef has been substantialy damaged by climate change and rising sea temperatures, ocean acidification, the pollution from sewage and run off fertilisers from farmland, and the damage caused by the expansion of ports on the East coast of Australia, built to deliver coal to China and India. In the past 30 years half of all the coral has been lost. Coral reefs around the World also face a new threat from industrial fishing: A recent report by Brityish and Australian researchers at over 800 reefes in 64 different locations showed that 83% had lost more than half of their fish, and the removal of fish has further detroyed the thriving coral which gets smothered by algae and invertebrates which the fish eat. Image: Lady Elliott Island, Great Barrier Reef by Jasmine Challis

uk-first-natural-public-swimming-pool-537x407Londoners will soon be able to take a dip in a new chemical-free swimming pool, in Kings Cross  in the new Lewis Cubitt Park. The man-made freshwater pond will be filtered and kept clear through natural processes. Designed by Rotterdam Studio Ooze architects and artist Marjetica Potrč, the “Of Soil and Water: King’s Cross Pond Club” project was commissioned as part of the public art program RELAY and the 27-hectare King’s Cross redevelopment. The 40-meter-long bathing pond which is 2m above  ground level can accommodate over 100 bathers and explores the relationship between nature and the urban environment. Users will also be educated about the pond’s ever-changing landscape and how the pool operates within a small-scale, self-sustaining ecosystem. Wetland plants will be used to clean the water and provide habitat for fauna. Read more: The UK’s first natural public swimming pool will use plants, not chemicals, to stay clean | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building.

BP pumped billions of pounds into low-carbon technology and green energy over a number of decades but gradually retired the programme to focus almost exclusively on its fossil fuel business, the Guardian has established. At one stage the company, whose annual general meeting is in London on Thursday, was spending in-house around $450m (£300m) a year on research alone – the equivalent of $830m today. The energy efficiency programme employed 4,400 research scientists and R&D support staff at bases in Sunbury, Berkshire, and Cleveland, Ohio, among other locations, while $8bn was directly invested over five years in zero- or low-carbon energy. But almost all of the technology was sold off and much of the research locked away in a private corporate archive.

Amazon burningThe recent surge in deforestation-free pledges is an exciting development, but needs definition, focus and accountability to turn the objective into reality. That’s the view being put forward by the Rainforest Alliance in a new position paper – ‘Halting Deforestation and Achieving Sustainability’.  The past few months have seen a selection of individual business pledges on deforestation from the likes of Unilever, Yum Brands and Dunkin’ Donuts; as well as collective deforestation commitments such as the New York Declaration on Forests.

And more from the Guardian – the World Bank increased its financing for fossil fuel projects in the last financial year, according to a new analysis, despite repeated calls by its president to end the global subsidies for oil, coal and gas. In a report released on Friday, Oil Change International (OCI) identified $3.4bn (£2.3bn) of loans, grants, guarantees, risk management and equity for fossil fuel-related projects in the developing world in the 2013-14 financial year. This was the highest recorded in four years and up 23% on the year before although the bank said it disagreed with lumping in both direct and indirect funding. The bank’s president Jim Yong Kim told the Guardian “we need to get rid of fossil fuel subsidies now”, echoing his previous comments on such “harmful” subsidies. The World Trade organisation’s definition of a subsidy is a “financial contribution by a government or any public body”, including loans and loan guarantees.

The Abbott government found $4m for the climate contrarian Bjørn Lomborg to establish his “consensus centre” at an Australian university, even as it struggled to impose deep spending cuts on the higher education sector. A spokesman for the education minister, Christopher Pyne, said the government was contributing $4m over four years to “bring the Copenhagen Consensus Center methodology to Australia” at a new centre in the University of Western Australia’s business school.

Solar giant Hanergy has renewed a research collaboration with Aston Martin in a bid to develop the world’s first solar-powered car for the general public.  The partnership, originally announced in June last year, will continue to develop the capabilities of the thin-film solar panels affixed to an Aston Martin GTE racing-car roof (pictured). The project will help Aston Martin maximise the performance of its racing cars and help Hanergy develop the technology for a consumer car market.

Environmentalists have walked out of an influential EU shale gas group, which they say has been taken over by industry groups who are using it as a platform to promote fracking. Advice from the expert panel on unconventional hydrocarbons is expected to inform the European commission’s future decisions on the exploration of shale gas in Europe, which the UK and Polish governments have strongly backed.  The panel is led by five chairmen; two executives from the shale firms Cuadrilla and ConocoPhillips, two officials from pro-shale ministries in UK and Poland, and a director of IFP Energies Nouvelles, who is also an advisor to the Shale Gas Europe lobby group. These chairs oversee and approve the work of task forces drawn from an invite-only network. But less than 10 environmentalists were welcomed to the last meeting in February, compared to around 70 attendees who were largely from industry.

Green-Go_Logo_2-copy_Framed_faceCEEweb for Biodiversity is organizing the International Green-Go Short Film Contest for the 5th time. The Contest is awaiting creative/shocking/funny/explicit eye-opener short films in the following three categories:

  • 1. Our footprint on Earth
  • 2. Two faces of exploitation
  • 3. You are part of Nature. Live with it! (co-organisers of the category: Eurosite and ECNC)

Deadline for submissions: 15 September 2015. The category winners are awarded with 700 Euros and the public award winner with 500 Euros. More here: http://greengofest.eu/

UK election update: Well here’s a synopsis! The Conservatives still say they have been the “greenest government ever”  but there was actually very little mention of climate change, renewable energy or environment issues in the 82-page manifesto, which was immediately slammed by green groups as “anti-green growth” and “a recipe for higher energy bills”.  It follows the launch of Labour’s manifesto which highlighted Labour’s commitment to decarbonise the electricity supply by 2030, and for onshore ‘unconventional’ oil and gas, (read: fracking) Labour said it will establish a “robust” environmental and regulatory regime before extraction can take place. The Green Party manifesto  contains a host of bold pledges to drive the renewables revolution.  “The climate is the ultimate common good,” states the Green Party’s election manifesto, which pledges to ramp up spending on renewables, prioritise home energy efficiency and put an end the UK’s dependency on fossil fuels and the manifesto pledges an £85bn commitment towards £35bn to renewables; £5bn to flood defences and £45bn to building insulation.

Clean energy investment has slumped by 15% in the first quarter of 2015 to its lowest level in two years according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).  Global investment only managed a low of $50.5bn, down from $59.3bn in the first quarter of 2014, due to a decline in wind and utility-scale projects, BNEF said. The big fear that clean energy investment would be affected by falling oil prices has not been the case, and after currency variations and some large offshore wind investments in 2014 are taken out of the equation, investment “this year would have been pretty much level-pegging with last year” BNEF’s chairman of its advisory board Michael Liebreich said. More here.

Sheringham_Shoal_Wind_Farm_2012A windfarm in Scotland is set to provide the cheapest electricity ever produced by an offshore wind farm by using two recently launched technologies, developer Mainstream Renewable Power said.  The 448MW Neart na Gaoithe windfarm – one of only two offshore wind farms awarded a Contract for Difference (CfD) by the Government in February – will be the first to install the new Offshore Transmission Module (OTM) by Siemens, and a ‘Boom Lock’ system from High Wind.

The University of Edinburgh is expected to approve plans to divest from companies involved in coal and tar sands extraction, but campaigners said the action did not go far enough.  The university’s central management group made the partial-divestment recommendation on Tuesday and students have been informed that it is expected to be approved at the next meeting of the University Court in May. However, a separate proposal to divest from natural gas was not supported, prompting student campaigners to call for the university’s £230m endowment to move away from all fossil fuels. Investors who have dumped holdings in fossil fuel companies have outperformed those that remain invested in coal, oil and gas over the past five years according to analysis by the world’s leading stock market index company MSCI.

Ikea has taken its sustainability ethos into the food hall for the first time, offering a new vegan meatball known as GRÖNSAKSBULLAR.  The new ‘meatball’ consists of only vegetables, to avoid the vast carbon footprint associated with rearing cattle for beef.

An oil well containing up to 100 billion barrels of oil has been discovered under West Sussex, but environmental groups have warned that the oil should stay in the ground in favour of the UK’s clean energy transition.  Burning the estimated haul would produce around 37.5GtCO2 – equivalent to one year of current global emissions, although experts suggest only around 15% of the oil can actually be recovered. A recent UCL study warned that the majority of the world’s fossil fuels must not be burned if we are to stay within the 2°C global warming target.

And finally, CONGRATULATIONS to Keswick Football Club for their victory in the Westmorland Senior Cup on the 18th April 2015. Well done!