A fat green cat has emerged in the world of scrap. The Sunday Times reports that last year the boss of Britain’s biggest scrap metal merchant, Philip Sheppard, paid himself a whacking £9m in salary and bonus. His firm European Metal Recycling (EMR) has benefited from an underlying sales rise of 25% over the past 12 months. ERM’s pre-tax profits were £63m. More recently, they have secured £17m funding to build a plastics recycling plant with JV partner MBA Polymers. The plant will open next year with capacity to process 80,000t per year.
Their web site looks great and they have a number of community pledges including
. Our community relations programme includes:
- By providing funding to support local authority recycling projects
- By pledging money to a community foundation project, which works to reach people from deprived and socially excluded backgrounds
- By buying the fishing rights to rivers running next to our depots and setting up angling clubs for local residents and employees
- By volunteering financial support and practical help to re-mediate local environmental problems
- By sponsoring photographers and artists to convey their impressions of the recycling industry to the wider world
I think that this is all good news and shows that green does pay although a little part of me is concerned about the level of payout and I guess I would feel a lot better if I knew more about the communities projects you are supporting and the actual funds you are investing.
But well done Philip and the board anyway.and I look forward to hearing more details (and numbers) about some of the good environmental causes that you are putting your well earned millions towards.
10th October 2009
According to the today’s Guardian (page 29), Sainbury’s are committing switching all of their fridge technology away from F-gas to CO2 refrigerant reducing their global warming impact considerably. Good move guys, and I know that this is not the only thing you are doing as I know we are working with you to reduce the embodied carbon in your supply chain.
Not to take away from the praise that you should receive, on the same page the Guardian also writes that ‘Miliband unveils plans to fast-track (nuclear) reactors’. The irony should not be lost on anyone; if we had only got our act together, then we would not know need to be considering these things!!
Just back from Tel Aviv where I am working as a client representative on a new eco-building. The project is called the Porter school of Environmental Science and is being funded through a donation by the Porter Foundation. They want it to be the greenest building in Israel and they are looking to achieve at least LEED Gold, if not then Platinum. Quite ambitious, but having just had a 2 day review with the team I very optimistic that we will be able to deliver.
However, it is becoming increasingly clear to me that delivering a green building is a very different process and we are having to challenge the old ways of working. Bottom line is that more work has to be done earlier and that there is a far greater requirement for integration of disciplines and good communication. It is also clear that the process of delivery requires a different attitude; one that is proactive and hungry for innovation. As you can imagine, I have had to bang the table quite a few times in order to get things moving along as we want. We submit next month for permit.
The building seems to have caught a moment in time when a new momentum is building to find green solutions. It’s like the country has suddenly awoken from a deep green sleep to find that everyone else has moved on! So now there is the new Israeli Green Building Council and new initiatives popping up all over the country. The interesting thing is because there is so much solar radiation that they have a fantastic opportunity to develop ultra low carbon buildings using on-site renewables. They also have a feed in tariff for PV cells.
Climate Bill Passes Congress
Today The US House of Representatives has passed a climate change bill aimed at reducing the country’s emissions.
The legislation will put curbs on pollution and apply market principles to attempts to tackle global warming.
It was passed by a narrow margin of 219 votes to 212. President Barack Obama said the vote represented “enormous progress”.
But the bill still has to be passed by the US Senate before it can become law, and it faces another tough fight.
“Today the House of Representatives took historic action with the passage of the American Clean Energy and Security Act,” Mr Obama said after the vote. “It’s a bold and necessary step that holds the promise of creating new industries and millions of new jobs, decreasing our dangerous dependence on foreign oil.”
Details of the bill are as follows
· To cut emissions by 17% below the level in 2005 by 2020, then by 83% by 2050
· Imposes national limits and requires polluters to acquire emissions permits
· Permits are either free (85%) or bought at auction (15%)
· Permits can be traded, allowing major polluters to offset surplus emissions
I have worked in the USA for over 8 years and believe me when I say, this is an historic day and Congress needs to be congratulated. However, this brings America to the place where it should have been over 5 year ago and as the bill still has to pass through the Senate and given the resistance that is still ot there, it is clear that there is still much work to do!
The participants of the St James’s Palace Nobel Laureate Symposium agreed on a Memorandum, which urges “governments at all levels, as well as the scientific community, to join with business and civil society to seize hold of this historic opportunity to transform our carbon-intensive economies into sustainable and equitable systems.”
(IDW) For three days more than twenty Nobel Laureates have debated the dimensions of climate change and the current global sustainability crisis with some of the world’s leading climate scientists, politicians and business leaders. The participants also discussed strategies to meet these challenges. With the symposium’s patron, The Prince of Wales, present, the St James’s Palace Memorandum was signed in London today. The US secretary of energy and Nobel Laureate Steven Chu was one of the keynote speakers at the symposium.
“After the cold war, mutually insured disarmament was the logic of good global governance. Facing the global climate challenge, mutually insured emissions reductions should become the logic”, says Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), who initiated the Global Sustainability Symposia series. As stated in the Memorandum, in a spirit of trust, “every country must act on the firm assumption that all others will also act”.
The participants of the symposium call for a global deal on climate change “that matches the scale and urgency of the human, ecological and economic crises facing the world today”. Climate impacts such as droughts, sea level rise and flooding could lead to mass migration and conflict. “Political leaders could not possibly ask for a more robust, evidence-based call for action,” the signatories state in the Memorandum. They identified as key requirements an effective and just global agreement on climate change, low-carbon energy infrastructure and tropical forest protection, conservation and restoration.
I am particularly encouraged by the Symposium’s call for a Low carbon Infrstructure to decarbonise our society. This is not a passive solution , but rather a solution that activley REMOVES carbon…at last!.
In a leading article in the Times, Chu says
‘Under Mr. Obama, America is embracing a leadership role in addressing the world’s energy and climate change problems. At home, we are committed to reducing our carbon emissions by more than 80 per cent by 2050, and a key committee in the US Congress passed a Bill last week to do just that. Abroad, the United States has pledged’
The good news this time is that the US secretary of Energy was on the inside of the circle and therefore at the very heart of the debate. I am looking forward to seeing some real action.
29th May 2009
Symposium Statement (pdf)
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Yesterday The Independent reported that one-time opponents of nuclear power, who include the former head of Greenpeace, have said that they have now changed their minds over atomic energy because of the urgent need to curb emissions of carbon dioxide.
They all take the view that the building of nuclear power stations is now imperative and that to delay the process with time-consuming public inquiries and legal challenges would seriously undermine Britain’s promise to cut its carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.
This news comes on top of a call by the famous environmentalist James Lovelock who has been saying the same for over a year now.
So what, I ask myself, does this all mean?
I knew the threat was bad but for these 5 guys who have been arch opponents to nuclear for decades to suddenly turn around, well it must be serious! Indeed one of them has even put his job on the line (Independent 24.02.09).
I guess the answer is that desperate times do call for desperate measures and whilst I have been morally against nuclear for many years, perhaps now is the time to reconsider.
But once one sacred cow has gone, what about the next? Should we now be reconsidering GM crops to feed all of those who will surely die from starvation as climate change takes a grip, and what about allowing more wind turbines on our ‘sacred hills’?
It seems that the gloves are off and nothing now should be ruled out
Two pieces of news today that struck me both reported on BBC Radio 4 this morning;
Beckham reaches England milestone
You might think that these two news pieces are unconnected, but at Planet Positivewe have been pondering how to get our message out across to all ages especially the young and It is clear to me that to do this not only do we have to embrace the ‘converted’ but we must also engage celebrities and influencers in the public eye who can, by example lead people in making the right choice
David, you need to be congratulated on your determination and your focus on achieving your goals. This is a fantastic achievement. We wish you luck in negotiating your transfer to Milan. We also congratulate you in your endeavours at your Academy.
But now, David, The Planet Needs You!
We need you and your fellow celebrities to put the environment at the top of the agenda; we want you to become and Ambassador for Planet Positive!
Please ask your agent and your friends’ agents to contact me below!
And, if anyone out there has any ideas about whom else we should approach then please let me know.
12th february 2009
Here’s a link to the fabulous website Age of Stupid.
Produced by Lizzie Gillett, this film should be watched by everyone. It is a thought-provoking and entertaining film that has grown from a seed to this massive achievement through the work of many.
C’mon fellow bloggers, let’s support them.
Three pieces of news over the weekend
- The World Glacier Monitoring Service announces that most glaciers will vanish by 2050 ‘Many Glaciers’
- David Cameron and the Conservative party launch their new vision for a ‘Low Carbon Economy’
- Delhi, India bans the plastic bag as reported in The Guardian 17 January 2009
All significant in their own way.
Firstly, the Guardian reports that Figures released by the WGMS for 2005-06 showed the biggest loss of ice in a single year since those records began, and based on historic reconstructions, it was thought to be the worst year for 5,000 years.
The latest data for 2006-07 shows that 22 of the 27 reference glaciers for which data has been supplied lost mass, as did 55 of a longer list of 74 glaciers. The total losses were half that of the previous year, but still the third largest on record. In Europe it is thought glaciers have lost one quarter of their mass in the last eight years alone, said Haeberli.
Professor Haerbli the director of the WGMS said “If you have a realistic, mid-warming scenario, then there’s no hope for the small glaciers - in the Pyrenees, in Africa, in the Andes or Rocky mountains. The large glaciers in Alaska and the Himalayas will take longer, but even those very large glaciers will change completely; they will be much, much smaller, and many of them will disintegrate, forming lakes in many cases. - “This means many will simply be lost in the next decades - 10, 20, 30, 40 years.
This is sobering news and re-empasises the massive task ahead of us!
The second piece of news is that The Conservative Party have released their vision for a low carbon economy. It is well crafted document that proposes some very interesting strategies although at present it is devoid of specific targets other than saying that their strategy WILL meet the 80% reduction set by the present government. But despite this, the party deserves real congratulations, making it quite clear that this issue cannot be ignored just because the economy is failing.
Of course this does beg the question ‘What the hell is Labour playing at, not least with their decision over heathrow’. It does strike me that since the departure of David Milliband from the scene ( departed to foreign huts in India) that the department has lost its bite.
The final piece of news is from India; Delhi is banning the plastic bag for reasons of pollution. For me this is the most significant of all of the latest news I have read. Perhaps the 5 year potential jail sentence is a bit steep but the sentiment is absolutely correct. If we wait for change of culture, then we could be waiting at least 2 generations. Governments need to take the bull by the horn, take the hard decisions that they all talk about and drive change through legislation.
So my question is - do we really need to wit for the legislators or is it possible to influence and change in a single generation?
20 January 2009
On the 17th December the UK government published its proposals for achieving zero carbon developments. The proposed definition of a zero carbon home includes a very high level of energy efficiency plus the ability to import offsite and near site energy efficiency measures. See New Zero Carbon Targets.
A minimum level of carbon reductions that would need to be achieved (carbon compliance level) compared to today’s Building Regulations of between 44 and 100 percent of emissions from the home (not including cooking and appliances, which are not at present covered by Building Regulations).
The remaining carbon emissions (including from cooking and appliances) would need to be addressed via a proposed list of allowable solutions comprising:
i) Credit for any energy efficient appliances or advanced forms of building control system (such as smart systems which automatically adjust energy settings if the home is unoccupied) installed by the house builder that reduce the anticipated energy demand from the home
ii) Where, as a result of the development, low carbon or renewable heat (or cooling) is exported from the development itself, or from an installation that is connected to the development, to existing properties that were previously heated (or cooled) by fossil fuels, then credit will be given for the resulting carbon savings
Near-site carbon offsetting
iii) Credit for S106 Planning Obligations paid by the developer towards local low and zero carbon energy infrastructure
iv) Retrofitting works undertaken by the developer to transform the energy efficiency of existing buildings in the vicinity of the development
v) Any investment by the developer in low and zero carbon energy infrastructure (limited to the UK and UK waters) where the benefits of ownership of that investment are passed to the purchaser of the home
vi) Where offsite renewable electricity is connected to the development by a direct physical connection, a credit for any carbon savings relative to grid electricity
This is great news for not only developers, but also the climate and renewables industry as it is clear that the UK Government has finally recognised the fallacy of requiring 100% on-site renewables and has now allowed ( in consultation at least) the concept of carbon offsetting to meet demands.
The real question is where will this take us and what will it inspire…watch this space
January 5th 2008