How retailers can help the UK get more circular – and profit from it

This post first appeared on BusinessGreen.

What comes to mind when you think of the British economy? A land of supermarkets and call centres? If so, you wouldn’t be far wrong, as retail business accounts for one fifth of our economy, part of a service sector contributing 78 per cent of GDP. Yet discussions about increasing the circularity of the UK economy often leapfrog retail. They tend to skip straight from the changes manufacturers can make to product design to how to get householders to recycle more. Continue reading

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More jobs, less carbon: why we need landfill bans

Our latest infographic below shows the benefits to the UK economy of keeping resources out of landfill.

More jobs less carbon spread

[click on the image to expand]

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David Cameron’s EU performance tomorrow is more important to the UK’s future than the Budget

Prime_Minister_David_Cameron,_speaking_GAVI_Alliance_cropThis post was written with Nick Mabey, chief executive of E3G. It first appeared on BusinessGreen.

Who says politics is short term? Tomorrow David Cameron and Europe’s other premiers will debate the shape of the region’s economy in 2030. They’ll do so through the lens of climate and energy policy, in a rerun of the historic decision they took six years ago to commit to a 2020 carbon target, which continues to drive investment and innovation in the transport, power and building sectors. Continue reading

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Three ways green policy can reassure voters at the next election

Anonymous crowd of people walking on city streetThis post first appeared on The Guardian’s Environment blog.

After years of economic uncertainty and falling living standards the 2015 election will have a defensive feel to it. The electorate will want reassurance, not big change. Whoever ends up in government will be pursuing small ‘c’ conservative ends: stability and security.

The 2010 general election was not a cautious one. The banking crisis required national renewal and David Cameron, in optimistic mode, issued a manifesto invitation for the public to ‘join the government of Britain’. All three parties promised ‘revolutions’ in green technology.

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Why don’t economists care more about rising resource prices?

resource price levelThis post was first published on The Huffington Post.

Britain faces many economic challenges: the need to restore macroeconomic stability, improve competitiveness, protect living standards and address rising inequality. These challenges have spurred much creative thinking by economists in areas such as monetary policy, taxation, labour market reform and education and training. Yet far less prominence has been given to an issue that affects all of these economic challenges: the impact of rising resource prices. Continue reading

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The case for urbanism: reminding Labour what it stood for

New_House_BuildingThis post is by Shaun Spiers, chief executive of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE). It is a version of a post featured on CPRE’s blog.

Good ideas can lose political currency for no good reason.  For example, the government has simply chosen to ignore the evidence that building new roads is not the solution to congestion.  A long-standing political and academic consensus has been abandoned without explanation.  Perhaps the government just got bored of the evidence. Continue reading

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From huskies to now: 10 examples that show Tory green thinking is alive and well

letwinSome Conservative commentators have argued that the vote blue/go green period of David Cameron’s leadership was unconsidered advertising, not built on any foundation of conservative philosophy. But a review of recent conservative writing on green issues suggests otherwise.  The writers are building upon the ideals of Burke and the actions of Thatcher. After a period of relative quiet after the 2010 election, we are now seeing a new wave of green conservative thinking, which suggests the environment remains close to the heart of many conservatives. Here’s a roundup of ten the best from 2007 to now: Continue reading

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The great resource price shock

The great resource price shock (infographic)-1Today, Green Alliance has published new analysis on the ‘great resource price shock’.

We show that food and energy prices have risen faster than other prices in the past ten years and how, if the cost of these resources had kept pace with other prices, the average household could have saved over £1,000 on food and household energy bills in 2012.

If this trend continues, by 2020 household food and energy bills could have risen by another £1,675. Continue reading

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Learning from Merkel’s approach to energy politics

CC-BY-NC-ND Number 10This post is by Matthew Lockwood, a senior research fellow in the Energy Policy Group at the University of Exeter.

Angela Merkel’s visit to London yesterday is being widely reported in the context of David Cameron’s efforts to secure EU reform. However, the presence of Europe’s electorally most successful leader is also a reminder of some contrasts between Germany and the UK in the area of energy policy. Continue reading

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Why is the coalition keeping the coal fires burning?

Live coalsThis post is by Stephen Tindale, climate and energy consultant and associate fellow at the Centre for European Reform. It was first published on Climate Answers.

In the 20th century, the British political party which supported the coal industry was Labour. The relationship between the Tories and the miners was confrontational. A miners’ strike contributed to Edward Heath’s loss of power. The miners then tried to bring the Thatcher government down in 1984-85.

However, thirty years on, it is a Conservative-led coalition which is planning to keep coal power stations open through public subsidy,  supported by the Liberal Democrats in an apparent retreat from their longstanding climate commitments. And Labour is opposing coal subsidies to unabated coal, despite its leader and shadow energy and climate secretary having constituencies in Doncaster, a historic coal community. Continue reading

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