Author Archives: Matthew Spencer

The intern debate: four lessons from Green Alliance

The moral and practical dilemmas around internships are one of the hardest issues to manage if you run a charity. It has required soul searching, time and planning for Green Alliance to resolve them and through the process we’ve learnt a few things.

The moral case against unpaid internships is laid out very well by the campaigning organisation intern aware. There are two principle arguments: first, that unpaid internships exploit young people desperate for work experience; and, second, that they lock-in privilege by excluding those who can’t afford to work unpaid.   Read more

How to get UK energy and climate policy back on track

21660736191_b33a880c4d_zSometimes it takes an outsider to reveal an uncomfortable truth. In his speech this week to Green Alliance’s Beyond Paris event, held in association with the CBI, Al Gore held up a mirror to the UK and it wasn’t pretty.

He described a UK out of step with the new found ambition of China and the US on green growth, a welter of low carbon energy policies being cancelled and a prime minster who is not providing public leadership on climate action. An audience of over 400 studiously phlegmatic business and NGO leaders got to their feet and gave him a standing ovation. It must have been a first for a buttoned up London policy audience. Read more

Big questions for a Greener Britain from Green Alliance

Greener BritainMy biggest fear for the environment in this coming election is not that it won’t feature as a major issue. That may be a blessing given the quality of the debate so far. It’s that our next government won’t have a plan for what it wants to do. So my big question to the parties is ‘What’s your green programme for the first year of government?’ Read more

Labour’s infrastructure plans won’t tackle the biggest barrier to delivery

AirlinerThis post appeared first on BusinessGreen.

Heathrow was the elephant in the room at Tuesday’s Infrastructure Commission launch by Labour in Westminster. Most people there heard the shadow chancellor’s commitment to take early decisions on infrastructure as an indication that he’d approve a third runway if Labour gets back into power. Read more

What’s the role of the environment in business success?

BuchenwaldThis post first appeared on the CBI’s The Great Business Debate.

The environment has been the bank that keeps on giving for business:  it is the source of materials, and the sink for waste products. The sheer size of our oceans and continents and the absorption capacity of the atmosphere has meant that this free business support service has been central to many companies’ success. Read more

Unpicking the modernisation of the UK economy one step at a time

Infrastructure_info_homeIt generally pays to remain sanguine in the face of the ups and downs of the public policy debate, because it’s usually driven by short term concerns that don’t have a lasting effect in the real world.

Last week, however, I found myself looking at data from one of the dustiest corners of Whitehall and feeling shocked that the reverse had happened: a series of short term decisions is unpicking long term plans to modernise our economy. Read more

A new strategy for the next era of green policy

Strategy 2015-18-1A lot has changed since Green Alliance was founded 35 years ago. Most of the people who partied with us at our celebration last night were still at school, and some hadn’t been born.  So let’s just remind ourselves: in 1979 we had one lumbering energy giant – the Central Electricity Generating Board– providing electricity to all of our homes and offices, the majority of which was generated by coal. Read more

Five items for the next PM’s in tray

Big Ben & Houses of ParliamentThis article features in the latest issue of Green Alliance’s journal Inside Track which focuses on priorities for the next parliament.

The fog surrounding the next government’s priorities couldn’t be thicker. We are heading into an election that no one can call, with a possible EU referendum that could obscure all other issues. Nevertheless, it is useful to consider what, in normal weather, the political landscape would look like, and what will be in the next PM’s in tray irrespective of the party they represent.

At Green Alliance we have identified five areas of action which we think will be central to successful green outcomes in the next parliament and which we would expect ministers to resolve within a year of coming to power: Read more

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