Tag Archives: Sustainable economy

Five ways to tell if a company has gone fluffy on sustainability

painting a wall in lime greenThis is a guest post by Ramon Arratia, sustainability director of carpet maker Interface EMEAI. 

There’s been a huge amount of activity in the corporate sustainability field over the past decade. But although the overall the impression is that we have achieved a lot, few have actually reduced their environmental impacts where it really counts. That’s because they’re wasting too much time and effort on what is effectively just fluff.

And companies (as well as consultants and membership-reliant think tanks) have been tremendously innovative in coming up with new forms of fluff – changes that are easy and quick to implement or make for nice marketing soundbites, but won’t make any real difference because they focus on the wrong things. It’s time we began to identify and expose this fluff for what it really is so companies can cut the fluff and refocus their energy on what sustainability is fundamentally about: reducing impacts on the environment. Read more

Cities are moving faster to a low carbon future

Salford Quays ManchesterThis post by Green Alliance’s Alastair Harper first appeared on the New Statesman’s Current Account blog.

Our cities are the R&D facility for the country. From 4G rollout to community energy, they let us experiment with what’s possible. This is useful, because we’ve just agreed to change everything. The recent Energy Bill accepts how inevitable a low carbon future is for the UK. It also guarantees the money to deliver it on time – all we have to do now is actually do it. Read more

Government must lead the way to a more sustainable capitalism

This exclusive article by opposition leader Ed Miliband is published today in Green Alliance’s journal Inside Track.

The world economy is struggling to recover from a crisis caused by inadequately regulated financial activity. Governments are dealing with deficits that are too high and growth that is too low. And, long before the credit crunch, people in the middle were struggling with squeezed living standards. For too long, economies have encouraged wealth creation focused on short term returns which failed to reward productive behaviour and skewed distribution towards the top. It is a problem that requires a fundamental re-examination.

But there is a further, deeper crisis underlying this.  This is the crisis of the global environment which is now rebounding on the real economy. Resource scarcity is affecting prices, for example failed crops in one part of the world lead to rocketing food prices in another part. Energy prices have continued to rise despite the global slowdown. These are resource scarcities right at the heart of the global economy. Read more

Government’s £40bn savings subsidies must encourage responsible investment

This post is by Green Alliance associate Chris Hewett, based on a new report Saving for a sustainable future, published today.

The post-Budget row over tax relief for charitable giving has obscured the fact that there are many other tax reliefs given for savings and investment activity. Indeed, the government currently subsidises savings and investments by nearly £40 billion each year in Pension Tax Relief, Individual Savings Accounts (ISA) allowances and Capital Gains Tax relief for residential property sales.  Rather than arguing over whether these should be capped, Green Alliance has been looking at how government might use these subsidies to encourage more responsible investment and transparent banking. Read more