Tag Archives: resources

UK as first country where companies need to measure carbon footprint

Nick Clegg announced that the UK wants to measure how quickly natural assets are being lost by recording them as part of GDP. The UK will be the first country in the world to force major companies to measure their carbon footprints. More than 1,000 companies have to measure and report their greenhouse gas emissions so they realize how much they are polluting. The plan is that these companies will stop polluting and start looking for more sustainable ways to form a business.

This is all part of a concept called GDP+, where all countries have to start measuring their natural capital. The main goal is that countries start thinking about more than their material wealth. They will also need to reveal their natural wealth, like rainforests, clean rivers and fresh air. They can put a value on precious resources like forests so they understand what it means when they start chopping them down. Because keeping them would boost the GDP of the country.

GDP shows the growth of a country, but when we think about it, it only shows a little part of a country’s welfare. The GDP doesn’t take into account the quality of the growth, like the natural environment needed for a future prosperity. And an average environmental degradation costs the world around 9 per cent of GDP every year.

So GDP needs to have a broader look, it should be a measurement for individual countries to measure what is important, like the forests, so countries can make informed decisions.

Clegg spoke at the Rio Earth Summit where world leaders came together to discuss global issues on sustainable development. He said that Britain will lead the way for other countries by forcing their businesses to act first in measuring their carbon footprint. And this is the first step to managing the greenhouse gases that create global warming.

Hiding greenhouse gas emissions isn’t a good way to lead a business. Reducing them is has many positive outcomes. Not only for the planet but also for the business, they can save money on energy bills and attract companies with their green reputation.

The treasury plans to bring a ‘green tax’ in next year as part of the Carbon Reduction Commitment. But this will be a burden for lots of companies. Ian McCafferty, CBI Chief Economic Advisor, said that measuring carbon is useful for companies, but taxing carbon makes companies uncompetitive with companies abroad and less attractive for foreign investors. So he want the plans for the Carbon Reduction Commitment to be scrapped.

Starting from April 2013, the businesses listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange will have to start the carbon reporting. In 2015, they will be reviewed and ministers will then decide if they want to extend the program to all large companies.

The EEF, representing UK manufacturers, complained that Mr Glegg should have thought about the impact on the home economy before announcing all these new regulations internationally. British businesses already have to cut carbon and reduce greenhouse gases by 2025 under European regulations.

Glegg also believes that investing in renewable energy  is the best way for the UK to boost their economy in the future. For example he wants to boost the energy subsidies on green technology like wind energy.

The UN Rio+20 summit will probably not be as spectacular as the last Earth summit in 1992, where a large number of global agreements to tackle climate change were made. Now they want to decide on new sustainable development goals like switching to renewable energy and cutting pollutions. But environmentalist say that the summit is too weak to force actions. There is also some anger because David Cameron didn’t attend the summit himself but sent Clegg.

The idea of putting a price on nature has been protested against by many, including Sarah Reader, campaigner from the World Development Movement. She said that putting a price on nature allows multinationals and governments to buy the right to destroy landscapes without having to feel guilty because they paid for it. She said that ecosystems should be protected by law.

Liverpool: The Smart City

The smart cities idea is a massive initiative, covering all aspects of business and life with aim of changing our world for the better. Details of Liverpool’s ambition to becoming the UK’s first smart city were underlined by the city leaders, alongside the heads of business, industry and technology experts.

Six main areas are used to identify smart cities, that of: economy; mobility; environment; people; living and governance. Each of these areas include a wide range of needs that must be met in order to help communities grow and reduce strain on resources. Urban populations are fast growing, placing greater pressure on cities infrastructures which were not designed to service as many people as they are doing. Conversion to a smart city goes a long way in solving this complicated problem.

Speaking at the debate in Liverpool Town hall last week, Mike Parker, the Chairman of Liverpool Vision and Liverpool’s Smart City board had this to say:

“Future investment will flow into those cities that can demonstrate they have an innovative, green, adaptive infrastructure and this is why we want to become, a Smart City.

“Like our competitor cities Liverpool faces many economic, social and technological challenges but we are in a remarkably good position to meet them.

“Our ambition is matched by our determination and our enterprise is matched by our creativity.

“We have an elected Mayor on the Prime Minister’s mayoral cabinet who works closely with Liverpool Vision, an organisation configured for partnership and it is the strength of our relationships with the private sector, the universities, Homes and Communities Agency and other agencies that has enabled us to transform the city and raise our ambition and will continue to do so in the future.”

Concluding Parker’s words came a statement from Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool:

“Ultimately, Smart City is about jobs and it is about economic growth and creating a better future and they are my main priorities as Mayor.”

It would seem that all of Liverpool’s major players in both politics and business are on board with the smart city idea. What we now need to see is how quickly Liverpool can become such a city.

Who will be the showcase smart city for the UK?

As the smart city idea becomes increasingly important in the eyes of the world, the United Kingdom is on the look-out for one city to become its showcase for the technology. The  Future Cities Demonstrator project wished to invest £25 million in the integrated city systems marketing with an aim of demonstrating how transport, communications and other items of city infrastructure can be integrated to improve quality of life, the local economy and to reduce the impact on the environment.

Around twenty cities, Liverpool included, will be competing for the grant. Smaller grants of £50,000 are being given to run feasibility studies and produce proposals as to how the new technology will be integrated into their city. Ultimately only one city will gain the prize grant money needed to carry out their plan.

Cities globally face massive problems in terms of congestion, waste, pressure on resources and changes in population and demographics.  The Smart Cities initiative aims to reduce all of these areas through the use of technology. For now, the question is, who will lead the UK on this venture?