Energy Seminar – navigating barriers to energy cost control and storage

On 28 January, the EAUC with support from Clean Power Solutions held an energy seminar at the Chimneys Hotel and Conference Centre, Cheshire. This seminar looked to explore and share solutions and expertise from other institutions in areas, such as energy cost control and storage, key energy technologies and carbon management planning.

There was a short welcome and introduction from Wayne Talbot, EAUC, and our hosts Marc Stanton, Clean Power Solutions. Chair of Collectively’s editorial board Martin Wright opened with a keynote speech showing key highlights from some of Collectively’s #go100percent clean energy campaign. He spoke in great length and offered his insights from COP21. Grant Anderson, Environmental Manager at Nottingham Trent University delivered a really fascinating talk entitled “The Dark Art – Setting Carbon Targets”. Grant concisely summarised Nottingham Trent’s carbon management campaign called Carbon Elephant and even alluded to their new carbon neutral building, Pavilion. This presentation was followed by Joel Cardinal, Head of Energy & Sustainability at the University of Warwick who looked in depth at CHP, district heating and thermal storage.

After the short interval, Scott Brooks (Nottingham Trent University) went through the stages and processes required to get a CHP project efficiently, through the use of Salix’s Revolving Green Fund. University of Liverpool’s Peter Birch showed connections between all things energy related on campus from district heating, to their energy centres and CHP engine cells. In the session “Greening our fleet” Katie Stead, Sustainability and Energy Strategy Manager at Sheffield Hallam University offered an overview and key learning points from their hydrogen vehicle trial.

Throughout lunch and before the remaining presentations, delegates were invited to take the short trip to tour Clean Power Solutions energy facility. In the final three presentations Alistair Roberts from iPower Energy, Lars Weber (Neas Energy) and Simon Durrant, CEO of eSight Energy Group offered their solutions to energy monitoring and management. To reflect on the day, delegates were asked to provide their thoughts on barriers to COP21 and solutions for the future. Some of the issues faced at institutions included the continual expansion of their estates. This could be put increased pressure on their ability to cut carbon emissions whilst at the same time continuing to grow. Other issues included limited legal requirements and senior level leadership across the sector. Solutions were identified including looking at longer term thinking and incentivisation.

To find out more about what happened during the energy seminar and to download the presentations, please follow this link here.

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ifs Financial Sustainability Symposium

On 1 October, I attended The London Institute of Banking & Finance (formerly ifs University College) Financial Sustainability Symposium in London. The day programme was packed with inspiring speakers from those working in financial sustainability and sustainable business.

There was a short welcome and introduction from Darran Messem, Managing Director, Carbon Trust Certification. He looked at how to embrace sustainability, which he said involves financial, compliance and reputation. He recognised the need for graduates in sustainability to have the awareness, understanding and belief in the ability to change.

Triodos Bank Managing Director Charles Middleton spoke in great length about balancing financial performance against environmental and social returns. Adam Elman, Head of Global Plan A Delivery at Marks and Spencer offered interesting insights on sustainability and a new business plan.

After lunch, Kathleen Britain gave her perspective on evolving corporate citizenship and Barclays Citizenship Plan. This was then followed by a Q and A panel debate session with the guest speakers Darran, Charles and Kathleen. They took questions from the floor on a range of issues relating to financial sustainability and a fierce debate on divestment.

We ended the day with a roundtable group discussion on embedding financial sustainability and whether attitudes have changed or is it business as usual? Discussions focused on threats and opportunities to sustainable development, and the tools needed to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Take a look at what happened and some of the discussions from the day using the hashtag #sustsym.

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Lucideon’s Sustainability Workshop: Gaining a Competitive Edge

Last Friday Lucideon held a sustainability workshop at their Stoke headquarters. The aim of the workshop was to explore and capitalise on aspects of sustainability in order to gain a competitive edge.

There was a short welcome and introduction from Tony Kinsella, CEO, Lucideon. This was then followed by Andrew Smith, Head of Sustainability & Construction Materials at Lucideon, who delivered the first talk on the current policy landscape. He investigated various policy trends such as the post 2015 development agenda, resource efficiency driving the green economy and the UK interpretation of sustainable development.

Anthesis Director Ann Durrant spoke in great length about how to engage employees with your sustainability plan. Using case studies from a variety of sectors including recycling at Keele University, Northern Rail style Dragon’s Den and SABMiller, Ann offered many simple but effective methods on how to motivate and create an enlightened and sustainability conscious workforce. Making action simple and meaningful was message to take away from this presentation. On better, smarter procurement David Dowson (Environmental Advisor at Skanska UK) provided an overview on how to procure services with a minimised environmental impact. He alluded to some examples including the supply chains school project and solar power bins.

After lunch, Tracy Clewlow from Staffordshire University gave an academics perspective into what is driving sustainability forward in marketing and procurement. Tracy presented key findings from research showing how marketing is important to help ‘normalise’ green behaviours, products and services. Using academic research she concluded that companies who implement sustainability now are more likely to prosper and succeed in the future.

The last guest speaker of the day was David Tovey, UK Environment & Risk Prevention Manager at Michelin Tyre PLC. He discussed the Michelin Performance and Responsibility (PRM), their sustainable governance programme. In addition to briefly highlighting third-party analysis by external companies and information disclosure.

In his final presentation, using case studies Andrew Smith demonstrated the benefits of operating an inclusive approach to enable key sustainability and resource efficiency objectives to be met. The event ended with a panel Q&A session with all of the guest speakers. They took questions from the floor on a range of issues such as incorporating sustainability into design, ethical breaches and corruption and sustainability and social impact.

To sum up, this workshop offered up some very interesting insights on future trends in sustainability, ways to learn from others and navigating the most effective course of action for business.

Read more about the event and resource efficiency on their website. Also take a look at what happened during the day using the hashtag #sustainwshop2015

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2015 guide to the top international sustainable and green festivals

With the summer festival season now upon us, I have been looking in-depth at ten of the most sustainable or eco-friendly events taking place outside of the UK in 2015. Here is a rundown and mini-guide to the most sustainable festivals in the world you should explore or even visit this year, glancing briefly at their sustainability and green commitments.

This piece follows on from last year’s article on the UK’s top sustainable and green festivals: https://sethkirby.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/2014-guide-to-the-uks-top-sustainable-and-green-festivals/

Lightning in a Bottle Festival, USA  

Set in the San Antonio area of California and running for over a decade the festival celebrates art, music and sustainability.

When: May 21-25

Tickets: Adult weekend tickets are £175-185

Website: www.lightninginabottle.org

Sustainability: The ethos of the festival is focused around water, energy and education. Since 2006 the festival has been giving away free water; an environmental impact assessment is undertaken to ensure their activities do not negatively impact Lake San Antonio. Biodiesel, solar and wind are some of the key renewable energy technologies used to power the festival. This includes a solar and wind generator, LED lighting and solar lights. A contribution is made to local projects for any carbon emissions that cannot be offset. There are a range of environmental workshops and educational initiatives which bring together the community to discuss and share new ideas and solutions. It has been awarded outstanding for the last five years of A Greener Festival Awards, making it one of the most green and environmentally friendly festivals in the world.

We Love Green Festival, France      

A pioneering music festival committed to respecting the environment and a desire to promote sustainability.

When: May 30-31

Tickets: An adult two day pass is £37 (approx)

Website: www.welovegreen.fr

Sustainability: The festival’s mission is to raise awareness of sustainability and it is run by renewable energy sources, solar and wind power – the main stage is powered by solar energy. It is committed to “zero impact” and provides free drinkable water fountains, selects local service providers and uses disposable and reclaimed furniture and signage. Waste and recycling is managed and sorted on site, with food waste distributed to farms around the festival. We Love Green was rated outstanding by A Greener Festival in 2011, 2012 and 2014, in addition to being awarded the Green Operations European Festival Awards in 2012.

Roskilde Festival, Denmark               

One of the largest music and culture festivals in Northern European, running since 1971.

When: June 27-July 4

Tickets: Adult weekend tickets are £190 (approx); one day tickets are £95 (approx)

Website: www.roskilde-festival.dk

Sustainability: According to the festival’s food strategy their ambition is for 90% of the festival food to be organic by 2017. In 2013, the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration and Roskilde Festival developed an organic food label, Det Økologiske Spisemærke. At the 2014 festival they joined forces with the Stop Wasting Food Denmark and produced a total of 27.5 tons of excess food. This food waste was given to a number of homeless shelters. It was awarded the Green Operations European Festival Awards in 2014.

Ilosaarirock Festival, Finland             

Ilosaarirock Festival is an outdoor lakeside festival founded in 1971 and set in Joensuu.

When: July 17-19

Tickets: Adult weekend tickets are £75 (approx); one day tickets are £50 (approx)

Website: www.ilosaarirock.fi

Sustainability: 70% of the electricity used at Ilosaarirock is produced from water, wind or wood and each of the stages use LED lighting. Festival items are made from ethically and ecologically sourced cotton, decorations for the festival site are made primarily of recycled materials and fair trade coffee and tea is sold on site. In 2014, nearly 70% of the festival’s rubbish ended up in recycling. It has the aim of recycling 70% of waste in 2015 and houses recycling facilities for biodegradable waste, glass and cardboard. One of their campaigns “disposability is a four-letter word” looks to get attendees to think about disposable goods and their purchases. Festival partners have to show a commitment to environmental values and action. For example they work with a print house called PunaMusta which has received a Nordic Ecolabel for its practices. A Greener Festival rated it outstanding in 2014.

Splendour in the Grass Festival, Australia     

An Australian music festival that has been held annually since 2001 and takes place near the beautiful Byron Bay.

When: July 24-26

Tickets: Adult weekend tickets are priced at £185, alongside a camping pass of £50 (approx)

Website: www.splendourinthegrass.com

Sustainability: Splendour’s sustainability strategy demonstrates how they have undertaken significant steps to enhance their environmental management and stewardship and community engagement. Their strategy is broken down into three categories – environment, social welfare and market supply and demand. The festival looks to respect the local community and environment. It seeks to engage with industry services to help place greater importance on sustainability through a track record of ethical practice. They possess an environmental procurement policy which underpins their sustainability ambitions. It was higher commended by A Greener Festival in 2014.

Øya Festival, Norway         

One of Norway’s biggest annual music festivals set in Oslo since 1999.

When: August 11-15

Tickets: Adult week passes are £235 (5 days); one day tickets are £79 (approx)

Website: www.oyafestivalen.no

Sustainability: The festival aims to be one of the greenest festivals in the world and has a significant focus on the environment. It is powered by a hydro-electric dam and is widely regarded as one of the most environmentally friendly festivals in Norway. In 2014, recycling cut their Co2 emissions approximately amounting to 13,000 cars a year. In addition, 72% of waste has been recycled and transformed into new products and 95% of all food was certified organic. It was the first palm oil free festival in Norway in 2014. With a procurement plan and other environmental criteria, including waste management and sustainable food plans, they aim to reduce and reuse as much as the festival produces. It achieved outstanding by A Greener Festival in 2014.

Way Out West Festival, Sweden     

An annual music festival founded in 2007 and held in the city of Gothenburg, Sweden.

When: August 13-15

Tickets: Adult weekend tickets are £180 and teenage tickets are £130 (approx)

Website: www.wayoutwest.se

Sustainability: It serves only vegetarian meals and organic food at the festival. This has enabled them to decrease their Co2 emissions by around 80%. In 2010, it became one of the first festivals in Sweden to be Krav-certified (a food eco-label that promotes agricultural sustainability). Sustainability, environment and social responsibility are important aspects of the festival since its inception. In 2013, it was the world’s first major music festival to be certified with ISO20121; it was also rated outstanding by A Greener Festival and received the Green Operations European Festival Award for that year.

Le Cabaret Vert Festival, France     

A French medium-sized music festival that celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2014 and features a range of genres.

When: August 20-23

Tickets: Adult four day passes are £65 (approx); one day tickets are £25 (approx)

Website: www.cabaretvert.com

Sustainability: Although it has grown in stature over the years from its small roots, Le Cabaret Vert still shares an ambition of being a responsible cultural event leading on environmental, economic and social practices. It has four main action areas – waste management, energy consumption, water and transportation. Recyclables are separated for waste collection, water is preserved and controlled, in addition to encouraging more sustainable forms of transports to the site, including bus, train or car-sharing. The festival also follows a responsible purchasing policy. It was highly commended by A Greener Festival in 2013.

Rocking the Daisies, South Africa

An annual music festival which takes place near Cape Town, South Africa.

When: October 1-4

Tickets: Adult weekend passes are priced between R650-750 (approx)

Website: www.rockingthedaisies.com

Sustainability: An integral part of the festival are its green and eco-friendly goals and it continues to follow the motto “Play Hard, Tread Lightly”. It carries out a comprehensive environmental audit and impact assessment each year. The audit covers and monitors areas such as procurement, water, transport, waste and energy. The events aims to be as carbon neutral as possible by reducing and off-setting any carbon directly from running the festival. A Greener Festival highly commended the event in 2014.

Island Vibe Festival, Australia

An annual celebration of world music, performing arts and island culture set in the stunning backdrop of Minjerribah, Stradbroke Island.

When: October 30-November 1

Tickets: Adult season tickets are £100 (approx)

Website: www.islandvibe.com.au

Sustainability: Island Vibe Festival takes a long term view and commitment towards sustainability and the environment. It produces a range of environmental policies, from transport to waste and recycling. Within its environmental policy it outlines its approach to a number of themes. These include areas like conservation, education, community engagement and leading by example. The festival understands its responsibility to the environment and stewardship of the planet. A Greener Festival rated it outstanding in 2014.

About the awards

A Greener Festival are a global awards scheme set up in 2007 that recognises festivals that deliver environmental best practice. www.agreenerfestival.com

The European Festival Awards, established in 2009, are an annual European awards ceremony, covering a variety of festival categories including the green operations award, best indoor festival, best small festival and much more. eu.festivalawards.com

Photo: Thomas Rousing via Flickr

Cowes Week 2014: sustainability unwrapped at world famous sailing regatta

A spectacular highlight of Britain’s sporting calendar, the annual racing regatta of Cowes Week is set to open with a ‘Green Blue Day’ on Saturday, which will encourage acts of sustainability, and provide a platform to raise awareness of the impact of boating on the environment.

Cowes Week has a glorious history and tradition as it is one of the oldest sailing regattas in the world. The yacht club, Royal Yacht Squadron, were the first to organise the prestigious race in 1826, which later grew into the event it is today. They also helped to formulate the early rules and regulations of sailing.

This long standing spectacle will attract around 100,000 spectators to the shores of the Isle of Wight, and 7,000 competitors will compete in 1,000 yachts across 40 classes.

As part of the week, the organisers have joined forces with The Green Blue and Sunsail to support green and environmental programmes at the regatta.

The Green Blue, created by the British Marine Federation and the Royal Yachting Association, is an environmental initiative to help boats reduce their impact on the environment.

Sailing holiday company, Sunsail, has been an instrumental player behind some of the recommendations for green initiatives, and continues to show its support for sustainable boating at Cowes Week. It has also made major advancements in environment management to the fleet in Port Solent.

Many of the green offerings, advice and incentives being promoted in 2014 include simple actions like bringing a reusable water bottle to the event, which can refilled for free during the week, and a range of free environmental products.

Jane Swan, The Green Blue project manager, said “The Solent [Isle of Wight] is a unique backdrop to this amazing event and the perfect platform to raise awareness of how easy sustainable boating can be and how important it is to keep the sailing waters around us in great shape.”

For sailing to continue to expand and thrive organisers of this and other events like the America’s Cup should look to recognise prominent environmental issues associated with the races and embrace landmark steps in sustainability, in order to continue to attract enthusiastic boaters and sailors and create a new era of responsible boating.

Photo: Christian Beasley via Flickr

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Sustainable Investment Bootcamp, Edinburgh – review

Blue & Green Tomorrow hosted a Sustainable Investment Bootcamp for financial advisers on June 26 in Edinburgh.

Four leading funds presented and discussed a range of sustainable and responsible investment themes to a number of interested advisers, which was hosted by Standard Life in its central Edinburgh office.

The bootcamp was the third of six taking place around the UK in 2014, and it followed on from previous events in London, Leeds and Liverpool.

Opening the event, Blue & Green Tomorrow founder and publisher Simon Leadbetter spoke in great length about some of the environmental and social trends the world faces. He added how sustainable investment can rebalance and address people and planet and lead to sustainable wealth and prosperity for all.

Clare Brook, founding partner of the listed equities team at WHEB, was the first of the funds to speak. She delved into some of the failings of the fund management industry – its short-termism, its lack of transparency and its focus on benchmarks which are backward-looking and may miss the bigger picture.  She said how a sustainable investment strategy can add value to the investment process, by investing in solutions to major challenges facing the human race.  She emphasised that the team at WHEB sets great store by being long-term and transparent, in contrast to much of the mainstream fund management industry.

Neville White, head of socially responsible investing at Ecclesiastical Investment Management, was up second to speak. He gave a comprehensive overview of the firm’s important positive investment pillars, and explained how to apply positive criteria to an investment portfolio. The case study he used was whether it is ethical to invest in gold bullion. To answer this question, Ecclesiastical engaged with the World Gold Council which resulted in it being actively involved with the industry body in pioneering a new globally accredited standard for conflict-free gold.

Following on from this, Peter Michaelis, head of sustainable and responsible investment at Alliance Trust Investments, identified a variety of prominent sustainability challenges – including climate change and corruption. He said today’s dynamic and rapidly adapting society and economy favour those companies driving sustainability and will ultimately benefit them in the long-term.

The fourth and final fund to present was Quilter Cheviot’s Climate Assets fund. Investment director William Buckhurst detailed how the merging of large-scale drivers like climate change, population growth and resource scarcity will bring about investment opportunities in a new economy. In the new economy, investing in themes like energy efficiency can be very rewarding, he explained.

Finally, before the lunch break, there was a Q&A session with two specialist ethical financial advisers, Julian Parrott (Ethical Futures) and Scott Murray (Virtuo Wealth). The pair took questions from the floor on performance, engagement and some of the possible barriers that are hindering the ethical and sustainable investment sector’s growth.

After the break, advisers in the room were shown data from Blue & Green Tomorrow’s latest Voice of the Adviser survey. The report surveyed around 400 financial advisers about a range of issues, from their opinions on sustainable investment and the economy to the timely debate of Scottish independence.

The bootcamp was then split up into two workstream groups with two funds in each session. Delegates were invited to quiz the investment houses as well as share their own thoughts on sustainable, responsible and ethical investment.

Lesley Duncan, investment director at the bootcamp’s host Standard Life, wrapped up the day with a presentation highlighting recent trends in ethical investment and the power of the shareholder in improving corporate governance.

Photo: Seth Kirby

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Philanthropy is about giving ‘a hand up, rather than a handout’

David Krantz from the Centre for Responsible Travel (CREST) speaks with Seth Kirby about its Travellers’ Philanthropy programme – where tourism businesses and travellers are going to extraordinary lengths.

How would you define philanthropy?

When we refer to philanthropy, we’re really talking about giving back through time, talent or treasure. Time and talent refer to volunteering, which could be manual labour such as maintaining a nature trail in the case of time, or a voluntarily applying a developed skill in talent. Treasure could be cash donations to a charitable organisation or donated goods (used or new) to a charitable cause. With these forms of give-back, the idea is to improve the world around us.

What is Travellers’ Philanthropy and what does it mean for the global travel industry?

Travellers’ Philanthropy is tourism businesses and travellers making concrete contributions of time, talent and treasure to local projects beyond what is generated through the normal tourism business. This form of strategic giving has tremendous potential for the global travel industry. All over the world, travellers and travel companies are giving financial and material resources as well as volunteering time and expertise to further the wellbeing of local communities and conservation in travel destinations.

Travellers’ Philanthropy is not about collecting loose change for charities; rather, it is about integrating tourism company and visitor support for local communities into the core definition of responsible travel. Travelers’ philanthropy helps support and maintain the unique communities/environments travelers want to visit, which ensures their ability to remain and prosper into the future.

Where does CREST’s interest in philanthropy come from?

Our interest in philanthropy stems from our desire to use travel as a mechanism for stewardship of the Earth and its people, which is at the core of responsible travel. We’ve found that donations and volunteerism here and there at a travel destination do not create a reliable and sustainable form of support, as well-intentioned as they are. But there is a huge desire on the part of tourists to give back, so we’re trying to harness that good will and use it to drive change. In order for travel giving, in all forms, to have lasting impact, it must be strategic.

What challenges are you seeing in philanthropy?

We’re seeing increasing evidence that consumers want to give back. We also know from research for our recent publication, The Case for Responsible Travel: Trends & Statistics, 50% of global consumers are willing to pay more for goods and services from companies that have implemented programs to give back to society, according to a 2013 Nielsen Global Survey on Corporate Social Responsibility poll of more than 29,000 online consumers in 58 countries. This represents a 5% increase over a similar poll in 2011.

How can philanthropy add value to ecotourism or sustainable tourism?

Travellers’ Philanthropy is a value added for tourism businesses and their guests. When tourism businesses donate a portion of their profits, for example, they earn good will in the community.  Then when the business needs something in the future from those who live nearby, they are more likely to get a positive response. Community members are also more likely to warmly receive visiting guests from a company that gives back.

From the traveller perspective, it feels good to know that your holiday is about more than just taking for yourself. You’ve come a long way to enjoy a particular place on the planet, and making sure your holiday destination stays wonderful enriches your experience on this trip and the next.

When westerners go abroad, we’re likely to see things we may not be used to seeing at home, such as poverty, illiteracy, pollution, and environmental destruction.  This can elicit feelings of guilt, which one typically isn’t looking for on their next vacation. So having a structured way to ‘do something’ about what we see, makes us feel less like voyeurs and more like part of the solution.

How can tourists and tourism businesses get involved in Travellers’ Philanthropy?

Where and how to get started isn’t necessarily obvious. A good first step would be to contact us at the Centre for Responsible Travel, as we can advise tourism businesses (lodging providers, tour operators, restaurants, etc) on which steps to take first and how to move from there. Soon, we can add the business to our database of companies that are giving back and provide an online giving platform to collect and make secure donations that make a difference.

One first step we often recommend is to take a company policy decision to begin giving back. Start a small task force of staff members or assign one person who will be responsible for any Travellers’ Philanthropy initiatives, then give them the space and support from the top to begin working on it.  The annual or quarterly budget review can be a good time to start, as senior leadership might elect to dedicate a certain percentage of profits to a charitable organisation, or to match donations made by employees.

What are your predictions for the future of philanthropy?

CREST has seen strong growth in Travellers’ Philanthropy since we started looking at the issue over 10 years ago, and we see no reason why the growth shouldn’t continue or accelerate further. It has become both more widespread and more professional over the years, and we expect this to continue.

David Krantz is CREST’s programme director and facilitates a variety of the centre’s projects.

Photo: Sarapiqui Conservation Learning Center – Costa Rica – Holbrook Travel

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