Posted 11 August 2017 | | 0 Comments
As you have probably already heard, the UK government recently announced that all new petrol and diesel vehicles, including hybrids, will be banned from sale from 2040 onwards. The key reason given was not climate change but because of public health concerns surrounding air pollution. It follows on from a similar announcement made by the French and Norwegian governments.
There have clearly been efforts to resolutely start delivering on the Paris Climate Accord after President Trump withdrew from the agreement, with multiple countries making major commitments that go beyond what had been pledged in 2015. Norway has arguably the most progressive plan that will phase out sales of fossil-fuel powered vehicles by 2025.
Things are starting to happen in vehicle manufacturing sector too
And from the vehicle manufacturers, we’ve heard from Volvo who announced that from 2019 they will only make electric or hybrid cars; a fully electric version of the Mini is going to be built at BMW’s plant in Cowley, near Oxford. The firm’s German owners BMW said the new model will go into production in 2019 and will be a variant of its three-door hatch model. It expects electric models (which it manufactures at 10 plants across the world) to account between 15% and 25% of sales by 2025; US firm Tesla’s first mass-market electric car, the model 3, has recently be unveiled; and the first manufacturing facility to be built in Britain for more than a decade opened in Ansty, Coventry, in March to produce a new electric London black taxi.
Latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show that 59,000 new alternatively fuelled vehicles have been purchased in the UK so far, this year, up 28% over the same period in 2016, amid growing concern about the impact of diesel cars on air quality.
So regardless of the UK’s target of 2040, It may well be that as more car manufacturers announce similar plans, the death of new fossil fuel based new vehicles may happen way before that point.
The two major obstacles to faster take up of electric vehicles are their relative expense of electric versus their fossil fuel equivalents, and their limited reach (typically 100 miles) before re-charge, though Tesla’s Model S 100D extends the range to 335 miles on a full charge. Both challenges will surely be met over time through competition and government pressure. Indeed, Lithium battery prices are expected to drop another 75% by 2030, which will make electric cars, which have far fewer parts than their combustion counterparts, cheaper by 2025, if not sooner.
Watch electric vehicle sales shoot up
The National Grid are predicting that within five years of petrol and diesel vehicles no longer being manufactured, sales of fossil duel based vehicles will drop to zero, and that by 2050 everybody will be driving an electric vehicle.
Too little too late for the planet?
These announcements have stirred up lots of discussions about the impacts on society. Many environmentalists think that this move is too little too late, and that we should be acting much sooner, given that the planet, and its inhabitants, are already suffering.
The Royal College of Physicians claims that air pollution in the UK, from both indoor and outdoor sources, are already responsible for as many as 40,000 premature deaths per year. Infants and young children are particularly vulnerable.
Areeba Hamid, clean air campaigner at Greenpeace, recently told the Guardian: “The High Court was clear that the government must bring down toxic air pollution in the UK in the shortest possible time. This plan is still miles away from that. The government cannot shy away any longer from the issue of diesel cars clogging up and polluting our cities, and must now provide real solutions, not just gimmicks. That means proper clean air zones and funding to support local authorities to tackle illegal and unsafe pollution.”
Air Pollution in 2017 – monitoring NO2 outside a Primary School
As a keen follower of all things sustainable, I am very much in favour of society moving as quickly as possible towards a much-reduced carbon (and other pollutants) world when it comes to transportation. At a local level, in my capacity as a Parent Governor at a local primary school, I was recently involved with a consultancy company called ThinkTravel (www.thinktravel.info) who worked with our local county council to monitor levels of Nitrogen Dioxide directly outside the primary school’s gates, both within term time at morning drop-off times and during school holidays just after the morning rush-hour.
The location is within a quarter of a mile of a town centre in Gloucestershire, England without heavy industry nearby, so one can assume that these figures are much less than in the middle of a large city. It should be noted that the UK has set limit values for Nitrogen Dioxide (based on hourly mean) of 200 ug/m3 not to be exceeded more than 18 times in a year. So thankfully the actual mean is much lower than 200 ug/m3. It would be interesting to see comparable figures for the centre of a large city, such as London.
The indicative results are in the table below, showing the stark increase in Nitrogen Dioxide during term time, when more cars are travelling near the school, dropping off children for school.
Half Term 13/02/17
Nitrogen Dioxide mean (ug/m3) 21.02
Nitrogen Dioxide max (ug/m3) 26.60
Nitrogen Dioxide min (ug/m3) 19.23
Term Time 20/2/17
Nitrogen Dioxide mean (ug/m3) 38.37
Nitrogen Dioxide max (ug/m3) 68.20
Nitrogen Dioxide min (ug/m3) 24.80
The data supports my concerns about air pollution near the school and has further encouraged the school to encourage parents to avoid coming to school by car.
Evidence of worsening air pollution across the UK
There are 81 major roads in 17 towns and cities where urgent action is required (according to Ministers) because they are in breach of EU emissions standards, which are putting people’s health at risk.
A new analysis has found that 48 of the most polluted roads are in London. Other polluted roads can be found in Birmingham, Derby, Leeds, Nottingham, Southampton, Bristol, Bolton, Manchester, Bury, Coventry, Newcastle, Sheffield, Belfast, Cardiff and Middlesbrough.
Pollution hotspots are mainly found on A-roads, but also include stretches of two motorways – the M4 near London and the M32 in Bristol.
But can we cope with the change in time?
Despite these legitimate concerns that waiting until 2040 is far too slow due to the damage being done, other commentators argue that the UK won’t be ready by then (it starts to sound a bit like Brexit!). Let’s consider the “we won’t be able to cope” argument.
In 2017 only 4% of new car sales are for electric vehicles. Or 1% if you exclude hybrids. Electric vehicle sales will have to start replacing fossil-fuel vehicles at a rate of more than 150,000 cars per year to hit the 2040 target. Expect to see more car manufacturers making similar announcements to Volvo over the next few years, particularly if the governments of the largest markets, United States and China, follow the lead of France and the UK.
That’s a lot of charging points!
It’s probably not going to be such a challenge for the vehicle manufacturing sector to expand the number of electric cars they produce. It’s keeping these electric vehicles on the move which will be the greatest issue.
To switch to 100% electric (no hybrids, remember), the UK will have to massively ramp up the number charging points for this new generation of cars, a huge investment over the next 22 years. Both private and government money will have to flow into providing more charging points in public spaces, as well as residential streets and in office car parks. The UK is going to need thousands of charging points to service tens of millions of electric cars. This is especially so if the current charging speeds aren’t improved; it only takes 2-3 minutes to refuel a petrol or diesel car to drive about 300 miles. However, the average electric car needs 5-6 hours of charge to get enough energy to drive about 100 miles.
Where will the extra renewable power come from?
There is also considerable concern at the national electricity networks' ability to cope with millions of extra cars being plugged into the grid at the same time. It has been estimated that the UK will need an extra 30 GW of energy, the equivalent of nearly ten Hinkley nuclear power stations to cope with the increased demand on the national grid.
Much of this challenge could be addressed by smart charging at off-peak times, but there will be a need for other solutions like home battery units to store electricity. These are just starting to hit the market now, but will become much bigger news over the coming decade.
The UK government recognises that it can’t just wait for 2040 and it must act now to reduce the risk to public health of air pollution. As part of its strategy it is urging local authorities to first try to reduce emissions by retrofitting the most polluting diesel vehicles, changing road layouts, better sequencing of traffic lights and removing speed humps. However, it concedes that as a last resort councils will be allowed to impose tough restrictions on the most polluting diesel vehicles as soon as 2020 to bring down the levels of harmful nitrogen dioxide emissions. Ministers will have to contribute an extra £255 million to help councils implement their plans, which could come into force as soon as 2020.
So, in summary, the 2040 target is achievable but it is still going to take an enormous amount of effort from all sides to make it happen. In the meantime, we all need to support measures that cut air pollution, otherwise the most vulnerable in society will continue to suffer, as well as the negative impact on climate change.
by M Roper | 11 August 2017
Posted 2 August 2017 | | 0 Comments
Following on from our recent blog introducing Green Gas and how it is produced, we have been made aware of a fantastic piece of research work that has been done by a researcher at Queens University Belfast. Ahmed Osman has discovered a way to convert dirty aluminium foil into a biofuel catalyst, which could help to solve global waste and energy problems.
We've spoken to Ahmed, who is keen to open up discussions with UK based biofuel manufacturers. See below the press release which Queens University Belfast have kindly given permission for us to blog:
In the UK, around 20,000 tonnes of aluminium foil packaging is wasted each year - enough to stretch to the moon and back. Most of this is landfilled or incinerated as it’s usually contaminated by grease and oils, which can damage recycling equipment.
However, Ahmed Osman, an Early Career Researcher from Queen’s University’s School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, has worked with engineers at the university to create an innovative crystallisation method, which obtains 100% pure single crystals of aluminium salts from the contaminated foil. This is the starting material for the preparation of alumina catalyst.
Usually, to produce this type of alumina it would have to come from bauxite ore, which is mined in countries such as West Africa, the West Indies and Australia, causing huge environmental damage.
Osman, who took on the project under the University’s Sustainable Energy, Pioneering Research Programme, has created a solution which is much more environmentally-friendly, effective and cheaper than the commercial catalyst which is currently available on the market for the production of dimethyl ether - a biofuel which is regarded as the most promising of the 21st century. Osman says making the catalyst from aluminium foil cost about £120/kg while the commercial alumina catalyst comes in at around £305/kg.
Its unique thermal, chemical and mechanical stability means it can also be used as an absorbent, in electronic device fabrication, as a cutting tool material or as an alternative for surgical material for implants.
The ground-breaking research has been published in Nature Scientific Reports.
Osman commented: “I have always been inspired by Chemistry and I believe that catalysis especially can make the world a better place. One day I took a walk through our laboratories at Queen’s and found lots of Aluminium foil waste so I did a little digging and after speaking to my colleagues, I ran my experiment and was astonished by the ultrapure single crystals – I didn’t expect it to be 100% pure.
“At Queen’s, our scientists and engineers often work hand in hand on common challenging problems for the society. By using our joint expertise, we have been able to tackle the issue of sustainable development and come up with a research solution which lies in an area between chemistry and chemical engineering.
“This breakthrough is significant as not only is the alumina more pure than its commercial counterpart, it could also reduce the amount of aluminium foil going to landfill while also sidestepping the environmental damage associated with mining bauxite.”
Osman is hoping to continue his research into how these catalysts can be further improved and explore the opportunities for commercialisation of biofuel production or use the modified alumina catalyst in the catalytic converters in natural gas vehicles.
Media inquiries to Emma Gallagher at Queen’s University Communications Office T; +44 (0)28 9097 5384 E: email@example.com
by Emma Gallagher (Queens University Communications Office) | 2 August 2017
Posted 19 July 2017 | | 0 Comments
What is Green Gas?
Biomethane, otherwise known as Green Gas, is a gas mixture consisting predominantly consisting of methane. It has similar thermal characteristics to natural gas. Subject to meeting gas quality requirements biomethane is considered as pipeline quality gas and can be injected into the natural gas network and used in existing gas appliances.
How is Green Gas produced?
Step one in the manufacturing process is to collect Biomass - a variety of organic materials, including the biodegradable fraction of domestic and commercial wastes (e.g. food waste, paper, card and wood, agricultural waste, sewage sludge, energy crops, residues from whisky distilling and cheese making).
Step two is to place this biomass into tanks where bacteria breaks it down naturally in an oxygen free environment in a process known as anaerobic digestion (AD). This is the same process that occurs in a cow’s stomach, but while cows burp methane out into the atmosphere the gas produced at AD plants is collected (at this stage known as biogas). Fertiliser is another by-product of this process. Biogas is a combustible gas composed predominantly of methane, carbon dioxide, and other trace levels of hydrogen sulphide, water vapour, ammonia.
At the end of this collection stage, the unpurified biogas can be burned on-site to generate heat, power or both. Or it can be purified to make biomethane, or Green Gas (see step 3 below).
Step three involves the use of a biogas upgrader facility to remove all elements of the biogas other than methane, thereby purifying the biogas up to the levels of methane concentration required to be interchangeable with natural gas (i.e. biomethane gas). One technique for doing this uses amine gas treating. There are four main methods of purifying the biogas, the most popular being water washing. This involves high pressure gas flowing into a column in which the carbon dioxide and other trace elements are scrubbed by cascading water running counter-flow to the gas. This arrangement can deliver 98% methane with manufacturers guaranteeing maximum 2% methane loss in the system. It takes roughly between 3% and 6% of the total energy output in gas to run a biogas purification system.
Why is Green Gas more eco-friendly than natural gas?
If left to escape into the atmosphere, methane is over 20 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2. Capturing and burning it instead as Green Gas releases the same amount of carbon than the organic matter originally absorbed, meaning no net negative impact on the climate.
Biomethane as a vehicle fuel, known as bio-CNG, delivers all the benefits of natural gas, but with clear advantage; it is renewable and sustainable. Compared to diesel there is around 72% reduction in CO2 emissions. There are significant economic benefits for fleet owners switching to natural gas vehicles, with financial savings of between 40% - 50% compared to diesel.
The UK government is on record as saying: ‘Biomethane-to-grid is a key renewable technology that has the potential to make significant contribution to the UK’s 2020 renewable energy commitments’. This means that the biomethane-to-grid sector has significant government support. It supports the AD industry via the Renewable Heat Incentive and places strict sustainability criteria on the biomethane production process. This ensures that any crops used as feedstock cannot be grown on land that has been converted from valuable natural habits, and that the production process has a carbon footprint 60% lower than the European average for emissions from heat generation. Many producers achieve reductions well in excess of 60% and AD plants also provide a valuable method for dealing with organic waste products, while generating a high-quality fertiliser than is used by farmers around the UK.
How well developed is the existing UK Green Gas supply infrastructure?
The Renewable Heat Incentive for biomethane, set up in 2011, helped create an attractive regime to allow biomethane-to-grid innovation to flourish. Biomethane engineering specialist, CNG Services, worked with gas distribution network companies to find practical ways to connect small producers to the gas grid, and these efforts culminated in the first commercial connection at Rainbarrow Farm, Poundbury in 2012. This is owned and run by J V Energen, a joint venture between local farmers and the Duchy of Cornwall, was Britain’s first AD plant to inject biomethane into the gas grid. Biogas production began in March 2012, with commissioning of a 400 kW CHP plant, with injection to the gas grid commencing in October 2012. The annual raw gas production is around 7.5mn m3 (mcm).
Since that point, and particularly from 2014 onwards, the UK has seen the highest levels of biomethane-to-grid connections growth in the world. To date, there are approximately 80 plants across the UK injecting renewable biomethane into the grid, the largest (food waste) being ReFood in Widnes.
Biomethane plants are like wind turbines and solar farms in terms of how they can receive renewable guarantees of origin for their gas production. These form the basis of Green Gas Certificates that can be purchased by households and businesses to show that they are using biomethane or ‘green gas’.
The Green Gas Certification Scheme (GGCS), run by Renewable Energy Assurance Limited, issues Renewable Gas Guarantees of Origin (RGGOs) for an increasing number of biomethane producers in the UK. Running since 2011, the GGCS ensures that there is no double counting in the supply chain, so when a household or business consumer buys a GGCS Green Gas Certificate they can be assured that units of biomethane have been injected into the grid that match the units of gas they are consuming.
The GGCS has worked with Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHGP) to show how companies using the GHGP accounting methodology can report close to zero Scope 1 CO2e emissions when evidencing their using biomethane use with a GGCS Green Gas Certificate. More details on emission reporting are available via the GGCS website and Jesse (firstname.lastname@example.org) on the GGCS team is happy to receive enquiries about the Scheme and provide the latest information on the green gas market.
In addition to the GGCS, many of the green gas suppliers are ISCC accredited (International Sustainability and Carbon Certification). This is a globally leading certification system covering the entire supply chain and all kinds of bio based feedstocks and renewables. Several Green Gas suppliers/shippers can now deliver green gas to continental Europe as well as the UK via a European partner network.
There is huge potential to scale up UK biomethane production in the future; currently just over 2 million tonnes of food wastes (out of 16 million tonnes generated each year) and less than 1 million tonnes of manures/slurries (out of 90 million tonnes generated each year) is being anaerobically digested.
How much demand is there for Green Gas in the UK?
Around 75,000 UK households are currently being supplied with up to 100% green gas. A survey conducted by the Renewable Energy Association (RHA) has found that 84% of people in the UK would like to switch to using Green Gas in their homes; 55% of people are prepared to pay more to switch to a green fuel. The RHA has estimated that green gas could produce as much as 25% of the UKs equivalent natural gas imports by 2035. And the National Grid has estimated that biomethane can supply 5%-18% of Britain’s gas demand by 2020. This make a significant positive contribution to the Climate Change Act target of an 80% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050. Having an alternative domestic gas supply also supports our energy security as it reduced our dependency on imported gas supply.
A growing number of businesses are using green gas to support their carbon reduction plans. Sainsbury’s is powering some of its stores with green gas and Waitrose has started to move from diesel to biomethane in its haulage fleet. IKEA has launched a project to make plastic for its furniture from biogas.
There is also a growing demand for the Green Gas Certificates provided to businesses who want to demonstrate they operate sustainably. This rising demand has been underpinned by a change in emissions reporting, which means companies can report near zero GHG emission for Green Gas used onsite.
Interested in sourcing Green Gas for your business or household?
We hope this blog has shown you why green gas is eco-friendly, resulting in a massive surge in demand and rapidly expanding supply infrastructure to meet it. So the key question is - how can your business or household join the UK energy revolution, enabling you to demonstrate your commitment to operating sustainably?
The great news is that GreenBuying.co.uk, through its green gas supply broker partners, are now ready to offer your business or household the ability to receive green gas supply. We would be delighted to facilitate the supply of competitively priced green gas to any business that are looking to reduce their reported emissions.
To proceed without obligation, CLICK HERE where you will be sent to a page asking you to complete a short enquiry form. Once we receive this, we will be in touch to guide you on your journey to becoming more sustainable in your energy consumption.
by M Roper (GreenBuying) & S Thomas (Barrow Shipping Ltd) | 19 July 2017
Posted 6 June 2017 | | 0 Comments
With the forthcoming election coming up on the 8th June, we want to share with you a brief insight into some of the key proposed policies of each political party in relation to sustainability.
- The Conservatives will ensure that smart meters will be offered to every household and business by the end of 2020, giving people control over their energy bills which they have not had before.
- They will set up a comprehensive 25 year environmental plan that will chart how we will improve the environment when we leave the EU and take control of the environmental legislation again.
- They will champion greater conservation co-operation within international bodies, protecting rare species, the poplar regions, and international waters. They will work with our overseas territory governments to create a blue belt of marine protection in their precious waters, establishing the largest marine sanctuaries anywhere in the world.
- Labour plan to take energy back into public ownership to deliver renewable energy, affordability for consumers, and democratic control.
- For renters, Labour will improve on existing Landlord Energy Efficiency regulations and re-establish the Landlord Energy Saving Allowance to encourage the uptake of efficiency measures.
- They will ban fracking because it would lock us into an energy infrastructure based on fossil fuels, long after the point in 2030 when the Committee on Climate Change says gas in the UK must sharply decline.
- The Liberal Democrats will expand renewable energy, aiming to generate 60% of electricity from renewables by 2030, restoring government support for solar PV and onshore wind in appropriate locations.
- They will pass a Zero-Carbon Britain Act to set new legally binding targets to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2040 and to zero by 2050.
- They will introduce an Air Quality Plan to reduce air pollution, and generate jobs and exports by supporting green industries that manufacture electric and low-emission vehicles.
- The Green Party plan to create a new Green Investment and Innovation Centre with borrowing powers to help create and finance the transition to a zero-carbon economy.
- They will replace fracking, coal power stations, subsidies to fossil fuels and nuclear with the clean green efficient renewable energy of the future, and investing in community owned energy.
- They will produce an Environmental Protection Act to safeguard and restore our environment, protect and enhance biodiversity, promote sustainable food and farming, and ensure animal protection.
For more details...
These policy promises are not exhaustive. To access the manifestos in relation to sustainability please click on the links below:
by M Roper | 6 June 2017
Posted 5 August 2016 | | 0 Comments
At GreenBuying.co.uk we're delighted to announce our latest eco service for business and school buyers - an independent energy brokerage service with one important distinction - we only consider 100% renewable energy when tendering on your behalf.
We can tender for your gas and electricity
If you're interested in securing 100% renewable electricity or green gas (i.e. carbon neutral gas supply) at the lowest possible prices, please complete the contact form below and we will call you back. There is no charge for this service as we earn a fee from the renewable energy providers.
Cut your carbon footprint without paying premium energy prices
With our energy tendering expertise and buying power, your business or school can now cut your carbon footprint without paying premium prices.
So switch through us - for the good of your organisation and for the planet. Click here to complete the enquiry form. We will then get in touch.
by M Roper | 5 August 2016
Posted 21 April 2016 | | 0 Comments
Get involved with THE BIG PEDAL!
What's the 'Big Pedal?'
Many schools are taking part in the UK's largest inter-school cycling and scooting challenge called the Big Pedal. The Big Pedal inspires pupils, staff and parents to choose two wheels when travelling to and from school. It takes place over 2 weeks every year and there are prizes for those schools who record the greatest number of cycling or scooting journeys.
Let's make this year's event the biggest and best year yet!
Success for Sustrans is when people are able to choose to travel in ways that benefit their health and our environment. This means people of all ages and abilities being able to walk, cycle and use public transport for more of the journeys we make every day. That's why Sustrans are concentrating on the travel and play needs of children. "If we can now create the right space for young people to be out and about by foot and bike,independently and actively, then others will follow." (Malcolm Shepherd - Chief Executive, Sustrans)
While children have aspirations to cycle to school, sadly only 1-2% achieve this UK-wide. Turning this desire into reality is clearly the right thing to do, and has so many benefits:
- Increase physical activity, tackling our chronic obesity problem and even helping improve academic results
- A cleaner environment, lowering both air and noise pollution, and helping us achieve our carbon targets
- Reduced congestion that improves the reliability of our road network
Between the 18th -29th April 2016 The Big Pedal is hosting SUPERHERO FUNDRAISING DAY! Thousands of children across the UK will be transforming into their favourite superheroes for the day to help raise money for Sustrans. There are so many ways to get involved, have fun, celebrate and fundraise for Sustrans. Here's how:
- Dress up! Encourage everyone at your school to dress up as a superhero for the day and donate £1.
- Decorate! Ask pupils to decorate their bikes/scooters as 'Superhero Mobiles' for the day or organise your own 'Bling Your Bike' session and donate £1.
Superhero Day is a great way to involve all pupils in The Big Pedal even if they don't cycle or scoot. If you can't take part on this day, you can choose another day during the challenge or even another time in the year!
All money raised for Sustrans will help to enable thousands of children to walk, cycle or scoot every day - making the school run safer and healthier.
How It Works
- Let The Big Pedal know that you want to take part in the superhero fundraising day by checking the box at registration on the website
- Download the superhero fundraising guide full of hints and tips to make the day a success
- Give the letter for parents to your pupils to take home so their parents or guardians know all about The Big Pedal and the superhero fundraising day
- Purchase some Big Pedal goodies from their online shop to give out during the challenge or on superhero day
- On superhero day, collect £1 from each child and send the total to us at Sustrans upload photos of your superhero kids to the Big Pedal website
by H Burton | 21 April 2016
Posted 23 February 2016 | | 0 Comments
Want FREE tickets to the National Sustainable Schools Conference?
We have some exciting news! We're exhibiting at the National Sustainable Schools Conference (NSSC) on Wednesday 2nd March. We're giving 2 lucky schools a FREE entry ticket worth £75.
On the 2nd March, Sustainable and Environmental Education (SEEd) and Leicester City Council will be hosting the Sustainable Schools Conference in Leicester City Hall and we would like to invite you to join us for a full day of networking and learning about Sustainability and Environmental Education. It's the perfect event for teaching staff interested in all things eco.
Attendance costs £75 but the next 2 schools to purchase Playground Equipment will each receive 1 free ticket.
Why you should attend the NSSC...
- Meet, network and share sustainable insights with other teachers
- Learn about what schools in Leicester and across the UK are doing around sustainability
- Take home lesson plans, tips and resources that you can embed into you teaching, all of which link directly to national curriculum topics
- Interactive workshops (see below)
All workshops are fully participatory, interactive and based on action learning. The majority are cross-curricular in nature and link directly to one or more of the following national curriculum subjects:
- PSHE/ Citizenship
Whether or not you attend, please explore this website to procure all your eco school supplies.
by H Burton | 23 February 2016
Posted 2 February 2016 | | 0 Comments
Test Driving the Tesla Model S Electric Saloon!
Tesla Motors was founded in 2003 by a group of engineers in Silicon Valley who wanted to prove that electric cars could be better than petrol-powered cars. With instant torque, incredible power, and zero emissions, Tesla's products would be cars without compromise. Each new generation would be increasingly affordable, helping the company work towards its mission: to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable transport.
In 2012, Tesla launched Model S, the world's first premium electric saloon. Build from the ground up to be 100 percent electric, Model S has redefined the very concept of a four-door car. With room for seven passengers and more than 64 cubic feet of storage, Model S provides the comfort and utility of a family saloon while achieving the acceleration of a sports car: 0 to 60 in about five seconds. The Tesla Model S has become a smashing success, blowing away the automotive industry with the highest ever consumer reports rating of a 99/100, and the highest safety rating in history from the US national highway safety administration.
Here's what Matt Roper (Founder of GreenBuying.co.uk) had to say about his recent Tesla driving experience!
When I was recently invited to test drive the Tesla Model S, I jumped at the chance. In case you don't know, Tesla have created THE most beautiful looking premium electric saloon car in the world. It looks like a cross between an Aston Martin and Jaguar and has zero emissions so I'm bound to be interested!
So out I went with Jonathan from the Tesla store (they don't call them dealerships) at Weybridge in Surrey for a 20 minute spin. The inside of the car is so luxurious, complete with large sat nav screen, very comfy leather upholstery, and a seat warmer which worked too well! The big surprise was when I started the engine - there wasn't an engine to start! Simply one movement of a switch tells the car to go forwards, and a movement in the opposite direction tells the car to go backwards. No gears, completely automatic. And when we started moving, there was no noise at all. No engine, remember.
The journey seemed to last a minute but what a great ride it was. Because the car is relatively wide and has a low centre of gravity, the car felt really solid and yet I was very aware that if I put my foot down (which I couldn't do in Surrey rush hour traffic), I would reach 60 miles per hour in just 2.7 seconds (i.e. in ludicrous mode -Tesla speak for very fast!).
I would have been very tempted to buy the vehicle there and then, if it wasn't for the fact that the retail price of the Model S starts at approx. £52,000. With all the bells and whistles the top of the range model costs £117,000. Fortunately Tesla are due to launch their Project X SUV vehicle within a few months and a less expensive electric saloon car so watch this space. Price point aside, the advantage of this vehicle when compared to other electric vehicles on the road is that the minimum range before having to re-charge the batteries is 200 miles, and the car can reach more than 250 miles without needing to be re-charged. The range is greater thanks to there being more battery space under the vehicle when compared to other vehicles. Plus the servicing costs are less (no need to change oil filters or spark plugs) and no road tax or London congestion charge. From an eco perspective, my only major question mark would be the environmental impact of the battery manufacturing and disposal process. And of course the charging of the car will require electricity which itself will typically have been sourced from the national grid, so not from renewables.
However, we should admire Tesla for their determination to create innovative vehicles which break the mould. The founder of Tesla, Elon Musk, has made the Tesla's patents open for all vehicle manufacturers to use, as Tesla's key mission is to advance the cause of sustainable transport. I can't wait to see what comes next, from Tesla and from the many other manufacturers who are now racing to create the next generation of eco vehicles. - Matt Roper (Founder of GreenBuying.co.uk)
by H Burton | 2 February 2016
Posted 12 January 2016 | | 0 Comments
A Greener Road Ahead
Short of using tyres made from hemp or converting your combustion engine to algae (not as strange as it seems), drivers can often feel there is little more they can do to minimise the ecological impact of their motoring. Yes, there might be an ever-growing plethora of fuel-efficient cars on the market plus tax incentives aplenty, but many motorists suppose they need to summon superhuman levels of green halo-ness to reach forthcoming commissions targets. Which isn't great news for air quality campaigners - in the UK, transport accounts for nearly a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions, more than half or which comes from the humble car.
Yet some great progress has been made in recent years. A 2014 report by the SMMT showed that CO2 emissions have fallen across every strata of cars, and executive cars in particular. Emissions from company motors in 2013 were lower than those from small city cars in 2010.
The increasing popularity of diesel over the last decade also accounts for this CO2 cutback. Diesel-fuelled cars burn less fuel, therefore producing fewer grammes of Co2 per km than those powered by petrol. They're also in demand. In 2010 sales of diesel cars overtook those of petrol for the first time, possibly aided by eco-friendly government legislation. Today, vehicles with high CO2 emissions are penalised by higher fuel duty tax, while diesels with the lowest CO2 emissions are exempt from road tax and congestion charges. (They also receive better insurance premiums too).
But petrol-powered engines appear to be fighting back, thanks to better turbos that make them more fuel-efficient. Four years ago, diesel-fuelled cars from Lex produced 16 per cent fewer CO2 emissions per kilometre than petrol-fuelled cars. By 2013, this had dropped to seven per cent. Furthermore, a 2013 ministry report showed that diesel fumes were more damaging to health than petrol engines. The findings, published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, found that diesel-related air pollution contributes to lung disease, heart attacks and asthma, costing the NHS more than 10 times as much as those problems caused by petrol fumes.
Environmental issues are also being taken more seriously by employers. Recent research by Lex Autolease has shown that 45 per cent of managers have introduced focused policies in the last two years. meanwhile, 42 per cent of fleet managers said they welcome the idea of rentals base don mileage, with 12 per cent saying they liked the idea of employee car clubs in city centres.
Despite this burgeoning eco-awareness, popularity of electric vehicles and hybrids remains fairy debatable. Only two per cent of vehicles in Lex Autolease's fleet is an electric car, reflecting national trends which show they account for 2.3 per cent of the market.
However, SMMT statistics recently revealed that alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) were up 59 per cent in October 2014, while electric carmakers Tesla delivered a record 7,785 sedans in the third quarter of last year. Incentives about for electric, hybrid or AFV's including government grands of up to ?5,000 from the purchase price, exemption from London's pricey congestion charge and benefit-in-kind taxation. This taxation advantageous for company cars, although Lex Autolease has found that it triggers confusion in many executive car drivers. Company car tax was reformed in 2002 to an emission-based system, with the charge calculated by applying figure (determined by fuel type and CO2 emissions) to the list price of the car. If you own a cheap car and emit minimal CO2, you're much less likely to find the taxman scary. Despite this, only 50 per cent of company car drivers surveyed knew that CO2 emissions were involved in calculating their tax bill.
Furthermore, 45 per cent assumed their tax was evaluated by engine size and almost a quarter (23 per cent) believed it was affected by the make of car. One in seven even thought their tax was determined by family of friends driving the car.
A slew of emissions-slashing policies will be ushered in during 2015. This September, the Euro 6 emissions standards for cars comes into force, while all large organisations need to complete their ESOS energy adit assessment by December - something which will no doubt please those 44 per cent of fleet managers who would like stricter emissions standards. However, by 2020 (the European Commission's CO2 emissions target year), green automotive technology may have have radically changes the way we drive. Self-driving cars are due to hit British roads in soon, with cities such as Bristol, London, Coventry and Milton Keynes all hosting trials. A sports ca (the QUANT e-Sportlimousine) that runs on saltwater was recently certified for use on EU roads. Then there's the US firm Sapphire Energy, which produces algae-based crude oil, meaning algae-powered cars could soon be a reality too. However, there are already plenty of environmentally friendly transport options available, as our selection of green vehicles shows here...
FOUR OF THE BEST
Four of the most efficient eco-friendly cars:
1) Mitsubishi Outlander
2) Nissan Leaf
3) BMW i3
4) Renault Zoe
by IoD 'Business Wisdom' | 12 January 2016
Posted 15 December 2015 | | 0 Comments
UN Climate Change Conference
A deal to attempt to limit the rise in global temperatures to less than 2C has been agreed at the climate change summit in Paris after two weeks of intense negotiations.
The outcome of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference outcome was delivered on the 12th December 2015, whereby the 195 participating countries agreed by consensus to the final global pact, the Paris Agreement, to reduce greenhouse gas.
In the document, the members agreed to reduce their carbon output "as soon as possible" and to do their best to keep global warming "to well below 2 degrees C." France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said this 'ambitious and balanced' plan was a historic turning point in the goal of reducing global warming.
What are the key points of the agreement?
- To peak greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible and achieve a balance of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century.
- To keep global temperature increase 'well below' 2C (3.6F) and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5C.
- To review progress every five years.
Share your thoughts with us about the #COP21 by tweeting us @green_buying
To read the full Paris Agreement document please Click Here.
by H Burton | 15 December 2015
Posted 1 December 2015 | | 0 Comments
The UN Climate Change Conference in Paris
See below a brief summary of The Daily Telegraph's report which outlines the events that happened on the 30th November 2015 at the UN Climate Conference in Paris.
David Cameron warned that "world leaders will have no excuses to tell their grandchildren if they fail to reach agreement to tackle climate change when the planet is in peril." He quotes "climate action is not difficult, it is do-able!" Here are Cameron's thoughts on a good deal:
- A deal that keeps the target of a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius global warming alive
- A deal with a binding legal mechanism
- A deal that has a five-year review so monitoring and an evaluation can be made
- A deal for the poorest and most vulnerable countries in terms of finance
- A deal so we can measure and verify what happens with the agreement that we make
- And a deal that transfers technology from the richest countries to the poorest countries
Mr Cameron said the UK was not suffering but thriving as a result of the legally-binding goals, which requires emissions to be cut by 80 per cent on 1990 levels by 2050. Critics in the UK are quick to argue that the rhetoric is out of step with recent changes to renewable energy policies at home - cutting subsidies for wind and solar farms, as well as scrapping a carbon capture and storage competition. These changes are estimated to leave the UK even further off meeting its future emissions-reduction targets.
The Prince of Wales issued an impassioned plea for action, warning that "in damaging our climate we are becoming the architects of our own destruction.?
US President Obama warned the world had almost run out of time to tackle climate change.
The Indian Prime Minster, Narendra Modi said "access to energy and a better life is a universal aspiration and so are green environment and healthy habitats. They must leave room for developing countries to grow."
The Japanese President Shinzo Abe addressed the conference stating "despite the Kyoto Protocol being signed in 1995, global average temperatures have been on the rise ever since."
Geoff Lean of the Telegraph writes that the leaders meeting in Paris will do little to change humanity's direction of travel, though they could affect its pace. Whatever decisions are made in the French capital over the next two weeks, the world is now irrevocably embarked on the greatest transition since the Industrial Revolution - towards a low (and eventually no) carbon economy.
Deep divisions remain between the countries over the different responsibilities that developed and developing countries should face in tackling climate change, with negotiators only just beginning to piece together a vast draft agreement with numerous disputed options.
Click Here to watch a 60 second video - An Introduction to Climate Change by the Royal Society
by H Burton | 1 December 2015
Posted 26 November 2015 | | 0 Comments
Who's ready for Black Friday? We are!
We are offering you a 15% discount off ALL our eco products! valid Friday only
Enter GF15 at the checkout. Don't miss out on this opportunity to get some great eco savings!
by H Burton | 26 November 2015
Posted 19 November 2015 | | 0 Comments
Go Green and Save money
It's really simple!
We supply a range of eco products including eco stationery, non toxic cleaning and bathroom supplies, recycling bins, children's playground equipment, benches and tables and eco classrooms.
We've had fantastic feedback from schools, colleges, nurseries and universities, many of whom have bought through our eco shop for many years.
With budgets being tight you will also be pleased to learn that GreenBuying.co.uk offers competitive prices - plus we offer a special 10% off all our eco products to the education sector!
by H Burton | 19 November 2015
Posted 15 October 2015 | | 0 Comments
Nowadays we're spending more money on new Halloween decorations. Not only does that hurt our wallets, it's also harmful for the environment. Teachers are you interested in creating handmade Halloween decorations by reusing materials you might already have laying around the classroom? We have drummed up 4 really simple and easy creations that are sure to put the spook into spooktacular!
1) Have a go at making your very own skeleton out of old milk bottles, paper sticks and paper mache.
2) Don't throw away empty bottles of pop. Turn them into fantastic pumpkin displays using coloured paper.
3) Re-use your sand bucket and fill with tasty treats.
4) Using old buttons and a black canvas, create goolish ghost characters.
To see images of these Halloween decorations simply Click Here
by H Burton | 15 October 2015
Posted 6 October 2015 | | 0 Comments
Get a 'moooove on! For a limited time only we're offering schools an exclusive discount of 15% off all our eco school supplies. So the 'cowntdown' begins to get your discount ending Tuesday 20th October 2015. To receive the discount simply type 'SCH10' into the discount field on the checkout screen.
This is Calfy Cow from our recycling bins range. He's great at telling jokes.
Q: Why should you never-ever tell a cow a secret?
A Because it will just go in one ear and out the UDDER!
Get your very own Calfy, perfect for making recycling fun and engaging. Buy Now
Say hello to Carly Cow, part of our kids fun furniture range. Want to hear another joke? Of course you do!
Q: What do you call a cow that can't give milk?
A: Milk dud, or an Udder failure!
You can own your very own farm animal piece of furniture. Minus the joke telling!) Buy Now
by H Burton | 6 October 2015
Posted 21 September 2015 | | 0 Comments
The World's Largest Lesson
The Global Goals and UNICEF have launched the World's Largest Lesson, an initiative to teach children in over 100 countries about the new Sustainable Development Goals that will be adopted by the UN General Assembly later this month.
As part of the campaign to tell everyone about the Global Goals, the World's Largest Lesson will engage children and young people in the global effort to build a more sustainable future for every citizen. The initiative has already attracted support from influential leaders and public figures including Eminent Advocate for UNICEF Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan; UNICEF ambassadors Nancy Ajran and Serena Williams; PLAN International global ambassador Freida Pinto; and Dani Alves, Hrithik Roshan, Kolo Toure, and Neymar and the Neymar Jr. Institute.
"The World's Largest Lesson will do more than teach children about the global goals. It will engage them in the effort to achieve those goals - educating them about the challenges that are shaping their futures and encouraging them to drive change in their own communities," said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. "Young people can help achieve the global goals by holding their leaders accountable for the promises they are making - and by holding themselves accountable for building a better future for everyone."
The World's Largest Lesson will be held in classrooms on every continent during the week of 28th September. A potential 500 million girls and boys between the ages of 8 and 14 will have the chance to learn about the Global Goals, which range from ending extreme poverty for all people everywhere, to tackling climate change, and giving all children the opportunity to gain a quality primary and secondary education. Government leaders and ministers from a number of countries will be teaching and participating in lessons.
Specially created lesson materials include an animated film by Aardman and author and education expert Sir Ken Robinson that introduces the Global Goals, and a downloadable comic book by Josh Elder, Karl Kesel and Grace Allison. SOme of the public figures backing the campaign have recorded their own introductions to the World's Largest Lesson, including Serena Williams, Kolo Toure, Neymar and Dani Alves. Additional lesson plans and information are available for teachers to select based on the themes more relevant to their pupils.
"The World's Largest Lesson is a fantastic opportunity to tell all children, everywhere what the Global Goals are and how they can play their part to make sure they are achieved. By making the Global Goals famous we can give them the best chance of working around the world - and help make us the first generation to end extreme poverty, the most determined generation in history to end injustice and inequity, and the last generation to be threatened by climate change." said Richard Curtis, founder of the Global Goals
The World's Largest Lesson provides a unique opportunity to foster global citizenship in schools across the world. It supports student learning across a range of subject areas such as Science, Geography, Citizenship and Technology and help teachers explore important global issues such as human rights, poverty and climate change.
How can my school get involved?
There are numerous ways in which your school can get involved with The World's Largest Lesson. By doing various activities and lesson plans in the classroom you are helping to build a more sustainable future for every citizen.
Please follow the links below which will take you to lesson plans and other activities to help you.
by H Burton | 21 September 2015
Posted 17 September 2015 | | 0 Comments
On Wednesday 9th September 2015 GreenBuying.co.uk visited the winners of our Art Competition- Dormer House School - to deliver their prize, a fantastic personalised eco table.
It was a delight to meet the welcoming staff and friendly pupils. We also gave a presentation about the importance of the 3R's 'Reduce, Re-use and Recycle' and the journey of the eco table. It was great to see lots of hands raising, and questions being answered and we were very impressed with how much the children knew about the importance of 'going green'.
Next came the very exciting part where we presented the lovely personalised eco table that the children had personally designed. Everybody was super excited when we brought out the eco table and the smiles on both the teachers and children's faces was lovely to see. Lots of photographs were taken with eco table, the certificate and the buddy artists. Way to go Dormer House School!
by H Burton | 17 September 2015
Posted 27 August 2015 | | 0 Comments
For the first time ever, the Government has laid down in law a commitment to act upon the decline in people walking.
National charity Living Streets is celebrating the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy being made into law as a positive step towards walking and calling for this commitment to be matched by the government earmarking funds in the upcoming Spending Review.
People today walk almost a third less than they did just twenty years ago. Whilst for our grandparent?s generation, walking to school was the norm, nowadays it?s becoming more and more uncommon. This is a serious issue and one that, until now, hadn?t been taken seriously enough.
Tompion Platt, Head of Policy at Living Streets says: ?Most of us say we?d walk more if it was safer, more attractive or more convenient. And when we walk, it?s good for us. It?s also good for our local economy and for the environment.?
Inactivity is responsible for 17 per cent of early deaths in the UK. It increases the risk of serious illnesses like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers, and makes it more likely that people will be overweight or obese.
Platt says: ?As our lives become more sedentary, we are growing fatter and unhealthier and generally costing the NHS and the tax player an awful lot of money (an estimated cost of ?8.2 billion per year to England?s economy).
?As our population gets older and we need more care, we?re getting more and more expensive. In fact we?re becoming unaffordable ? there?s a very real danger that if we can?t improve the health of 40-60 year olds now, we?re going to bankrupt the NHS of the future.
?Because of all this, the buzz word right now in health is prevention. And that means getting people more active.?
The government has already made a big step by committing to reverse the decline in walk to school (by getting 55 per cent of children walking by 2025). Now, with the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy being laid down in law, it has committed for the first time to set out a long term plan for improving walking and cycling for everyone.
?As you might expect, the details in all this will decide whether this really is the beginning of the step change we so urgently require, to reverse the decline in walking,? says Platt. ?Organisations like Living Streets will be doing all they can to make sure that the final strategy is the kind of ambitious game changer that?s needed.?
Not only is it a known fact that walking is better for our health and overall wellbeing. But it also has massive impacts on the environment. Walking reduces the amount of cars and vehicles on the roads, which not only reduces the amount of congestion but reduces the emission on your village, town and/ or city. Emissions from driving contribute significantly to global warming, as well as local scale-pollution. In cities driving creates smog, a condition in which pollution is trapped in an urban area. The poor air quality results in significant health problems.
There are many significant benefits that walking has to our overall health that we might not necessarily think of. When reaching for those car keys, take a second to stop and think - do I need to use the car today? Could I ride my bike? Could I walk? And if you must use your car, think about car pooling. (More information regarding car pooling can be found here: http://www.carpooling.co.uk/)
Article courtesy of SustainableNews.co.uk & Homeguides
by H Burton | 27 August 2015
Posted 14 August 2015 | | 0 Comments
A campaign group is calling on fashion brands to act to ensure their supply chains are free from deforestation and human rights abuses.
The Rainforest Action Network (RAN) said endangered forests in Indonesia are being destroyed for the pulp that is used to produce rayon, viscose, and other fabrics.
Its report, Lessons from the Incense Forest documented the expansion of mega-plantations and illegal land-grabbing in Indonesia, resulting in the loss of land, livelihoods and resources for the local communities.
RAN said it was virtually impossible to know exactly which products on US shelves came from which forests, due to the complexity and the lack of transparency of the wood-based fabric supply chain.
It calls on fashion brands to commit to strong, transparent policies and implementation plans to protect forests, people and animals.
It said: ?Choices about suppliers should be based on evidence of chain of custody and independently verified improved on-the-ground outcomes from plantations and supply chain partners.?
The group is calling for fashion brands to:
? Articulate social and environmental commitments
? Adopt a comprehensive sourcing policy that eliminates fibre and companies that contribute to deforestation or forest conversion, expansion on carbon-rich peatlands, and fail to address violation of human and labour rights
? Develop a robust time-bound implementation plan
? Require suppliers to eliminate sources of controversial fibre
? Become an advocate for protecting rainforests, peatlands, climate, biodiversity and human and labour rights
?Every year, tens of millions of trees are turned into clothing through the use of forest fabrics like rayon and viscose,? said Brihannala Morgan, senior forest campaigner at RAN. ?These forests have played a critical part of local community livelihoods for generations, and are now being seized and clear cut for forest fabrics.
?Without strong policies from fashion companies, rainforest destruction and human rights abuses can become part of our clothing."
by Marino Donati | 14 August 2015
Posted 7 August 2015 | | 0 Comments
We thought our readers might be interested to know what's happening in the electric car marketplace in the UK. There is certainly a growth in demand as technology improves, but what are the trends and why does it make sense from a financial and environmental perspective to consider buying an electric car?
The UK Market for EVs
In November 2014, with 646 all-electric cars and 1,225 plug-in hybrids registered, the segment's market share passed 1% of monthly new car sales for the first time in the UK. Again in January 2015, the segment's market share was over 1% of new car sales with 1,715 plug-in electric cars registered that month.
Nissan Leaf (the UK's most popular electric car) sales in September 2014 achieved a record of 851 units, up from 332 units the same month in 2013, representing not only the best monthly sales ever in the UK, but also the largest volume of Nissan Leafs ever sold in one month in a European country. Sales of recently introduced BMW i3 and i8 models exceeded 1,600 units during 2014. The Outlander P-HEV was among the new models with a significant effect in the market, released in April 2014, it captured a 35.8% market share of total plug-in sales during the first half of 2014.
The Mitsubishi plug-in hybrid became the top selling plug-in electric vehicle in July 2014 and captured 43% of all applications to the Plug-in Car Grants scheme that month.The Outlander P-HEV ended 2014 as the top selling plug-in electric car in the UK that year with 5,370 units sold. The Nissan Leaf sales also experienced a significant growth in 2014, with 4,051 units sold, up 124% from the 1,812 units sold in 2013.
As of December 2014, the Leaf continued ranking as the top selling plug-in electric car ever in the UK with cumulative sales of 7,197 units since its introduction in March 2011. Sales of the Mitsubishi Outlander P-HEV in the British market reached the 10,000 unit milestone in March 2015, allowing the plug-in hybrid to overtake the Leaf as the all-time top selling plug-in electric vehicle in the UK.
Focus on the Nissan Leaf
Click here to watch a video presented by Mark Goodier, the BC radio broadcaster who owns two Nissan LEAFs.
What are the benefits of running a Nissan Leaf?
Firstly there are clear environmental benefits. The 100% electric cars leave no trail of CO2. The Nissan Leaf has zero emissions, hence there is no exhaust pipe. So no nasty polllutants and smells in the air.
Secondly, there are substantial financial savings. These include:
- No need to ever pay for diesel of petrol again!
- No London Congestion Charge
- No road tax (Vehicle Excise Duty)
- For businesses, the LEAF is in the lowest Benefit-in-Kind band.
- Free parking at a network of public charge points
- Charging the battery is free at Nissan dealerships across the UK
- Electric cars should be more reliable since they have fewer parts so low running costs
- They are powered by lithium-ion batteries that are more durable than traditional lead-acid batteries. That said, they do require the purchase of a replacement battery about every 4 to 5 years.
Thirdly, the Nissan Leaf offers dynamic acceleration (0 to 60 in 7 seconds) and incredible torque (the force that powers acceleration). This means it pulls away as well or better than a petrol-fuelled car. Its speed is impressive too, with a top speed of 93mph. Its also very quiet - at 21 decibels, that's less noise than a ceiling fan (26db).
It also carries lots of other features e.g. sat nav, rear view camera and climate control. Using your smartphone or computer, you can remotely start or stop the car's climate control or start charging, so everything's ready to go when you are. On the road, the CARWINGS telematic sat nav system tells you the exact amount of energy required to reach your destination and where the nearest charging stations are, so you can charge your Nissan LEAF on the go.
So how much does a Nissan Leaf cost?
The Nissan Leaf Visia Flex "On the Road" price is currently ?21,490 incl VAT. Take off the Government's Plug-In Car Grant (up to 25% of price of the vehicle - see paragraph below) and the true price after VAT drops to ?16,490. On top of this, you have to pay between ?70 and ?130 per month to lease the battery. And the price of the electricity needs to be considered too - though if you happen to own solar panels, you're generating your own fuel for your vehicle.
Alternatively you can now get your hands on a second hand Nissan Leaf as they were introduced in 2011. The residual value can drop sharply - one source stated a 55% drop - so buying second hand may be a sensible route to save even more money. However you miss out on the Plug-in grant if you buy second hand.
Government Plug-In Car Grant
The Plug-in Car Grant program started on 1 January 2011 and reduces the up-front cost of eligible cars by providing a 35% grant towards the cost of new plug-in cars capped at ?5,000. Both private and business fleet buyers are eligible for this grant, which is received at the point of purchase and the subsidy is claimed back by the manufacturer afterwards. The grant will remain in place until either 50,000 grants have been issued or 2017, whichever is first.
The Plug-In Car Grant was extended to include vans in February 2012. Van buyers can receive 20% - up to ?8,000 - off the cost of a plug-in van. To be eligible for the scheme, vans have to meet performance criteria to ensure safety, range, and ultra-low tailpipe emissions. Consumers, both business and private can receive the discount at the point of purchase.
As of January 2015, the cumulative number of eligible registered plug-in electric vehicles totalled over 25,000 units since the launch of the programme. Of these, a total of 21,680 were eligible cars registered since January 2011.
Where can I charge the battery on the move?
One of the biggest concerns voiced by potential buyers of electric vehicles is the lack of range before having to re-charge the battery. To counter this, and to boost demand for electric vehicles, the Government is supporting the ?Plugged-In Places? programme to install vehicle recharging points across the UK.
The scheme offers match-funding to consortia of businesses and public sector partners to support the installation of electric vehicle recharging infrastructure in lead places across the UK. There are eight Plugged-In Places: East of England, Greater Manchester, London, Midlands, Milton Keynes, North East, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
Where do I find out the locations of electric plug-in stations across the UK?
There is plenty of help on the internet. For example, you can visit Zap-Map.com, a website dedicated to all aspects of electric vehicles and charging. There you will find a charge point map, search tools, up-to-date stats, in-depth charge point and Electric Vehicle (EV) info and all the latest news. So Zap-Map.com is a helpful resource for all users of EV.
Research sources: Nissan website, Wikipedia
by M Roper | 7 August 2015
Posted 30 July 2015 | | 0 Comments
Google's digital maps will soon be able to provide detailed information about the pollution levels in urban areas, thanks to a new partnership with US tech start-up Aclima.
Yesterday Aclima revealed it has been working with Google Earth Outreach to fit Google's Street View cars with air quality sensors, enabling the vehicles to measure levels of pollution on specific city streets.
The cars can measure the presence of nitrogen dioxide, nitric oxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane, black carbon, particulate matter and volatile organic compounds in the surrounding environment, providing a detailed picture of local air quality.
From the autumn the sensor- enabled cars will hit the roads of San Francisco to gather data on the city's air quality. Aclima hopes the data will help inform local health studies and community planning decisions.
The city's existing air quality monitoring network, which is managed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), often misses fine-scale changes in pollution levels, according to Aclima. It says its mobile sensing platform will complement the EPA's network by providing information on the air quality at street level.
Dan Costa, national program director at the EPA's office of research and development, said Aclima's data will help the agency better understand air pollutants at the local level. "New mobile air measurements can complement existing stationary measurements for a more detailed picture of personal and community air quality." he said in a statement.
Aclima already works with Google to map the air quality in 21 of its offices around the world. The system processes 500 million data points each day on everything from humidity levels to light intensity and air pollution.
Last year, President Obama took steps to tackle America's air pollution, announcing the EPA plans to tighten ground level ozone standards. Earlier this year, the administration also made moves to crack down on methane emissions from America's booming fracking industry.
Governments around the world are under mounting pressure to get a better view of air pollution levels in their cities, following a series of health studies that have shown many thousands of people are dying prematurely each year as a result of poor air quality. In April the UK's Supreme Court ordered the UK Government to address the country's high level of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution. According to the ruling, the government must submit its plan to bring pollution levels within legal limits to the European Commission by 31st December 2015.
Original post sourced from BusinessGreen.com
by H Burton | 30 July 2015
Posted 6 July 2015 | | 0 Comments
Two of GreenBuying's team attended last week's National Sustainable Schools Conference at the University of Bristol's Student Union Building. We wanted to meet like minded people and to understand how schools should best be engaging with their pupils and other stakeholders to encourage a deeper knowledge of sustainable development. The Conference was organised by SEEd and was well received by the 170 delegates.
There were several keynote speakers, including Quinn Runkle from the NUS who shared the results of a recent survey of young people. 85% said that they believed sustainable development to be very important. And yet many felt that the education system was not providing them with sufficient knowledge on the subject.
At the end of the conference there was an opportunity for delegates to give a talk about their own beliefs. Matt Roper, Founder of GreenBuying.co.uk, talked about the importance of sustainable procurement. He said that many schools were buying products without considering the environmental impact of the purchase.
Given that there was an acknowledged case for promoting sustainability to pupils, Matt feels strongly that the schools themselves must reflect upon their own environmental impact and that their procurement strategy was arguably the most important determining factor. That's why GreenBuying.co.uk was established - to help organisations such as schools procure eco friendly products more easily.
by H Burton | 6 July 2015
Posted 7 May 2015 | | 0 Comments
After seemingly months of electioneering, the day of reckoning has arrived and the UK populace decides who will rule over them for the next 5 years. Here at GreenBuying.co.uk we thought we'd consider what each of the main Parties are offering in relation to the environment and climate change. So we've looked at the manifestos and found the following pledges, starting with the Party who you would expect to be the most eco friendly...
The Green Party
The Greens believe that Government must prioritise action on climate change to avoid devastating hardship to our economy, society and environment.
What are they offering?
- Take serious action on climate change by working with other countries to ensure global temperatures do not rise beyond 2 degrees.
- Phase out fossil-fuel based energy generation and nuclear power.
- Invest in a public programme of renewable generation, flood defences and building insulation.
How will this benefit the public?
A rapid transition to a zero-carbon sustainable economy will create millions of jobs and secure a safe climate for our children and grandchildren.
The Labour Party
They claim that a Labour Government will play a leading global role in tackling climate change.
What they are offering?
- An ambitious adaptation programme will be produced.
- A new infrastructure commission will prioritise investment in flood prevention.
- The problems of air pollution will be tackled by giving local authorities the powers they need, backed up by a national framework.
- Protect and improve wildlife habitats and green spaces, and make them an important part of our thriving tourism industry.
- Put a stop to the government?s ineffective and cruel badger cull.
- Improve the protection of dogs and cats, ban wild animals in circuses, defend the hunting ban and deal with wildlife crime associated with shooting.
How will this benefit the public?
Cleaner air, creating a healthier environment for generations. Protecting the natural environment, and ensuring a kinder life for animals.
The Conservative Party
The Tories have set themselves the goal of being the first generation to leave the natural environment in a better state when they leave office than when they entered office.
What they are offering?
- Invest ?3bn from the Common Agricultural Policy to enhance England's countryside
- Put it place a new ?blue belt? to protect precious marine habitats.
- Invest in clear air and water for you and your family.
- Keep our forests in trust for the nation.
- Meet our climate change targets, cutting carbon emissions
- Working with other countries to ensure global temperatures do not exceed 2 degrees.
- Tackle international wildlife trade.
- High animal welfare standards.
- Develop 25 year plan to restore the UK's biodiversity.
How will this benefit the public?
?3 Billion will be spent in order to enhance England?s countryside and keep the much loved, treasured greenery. We will continue to do even more to tackle our pollution and clean up our rivers and waterways, including supporting the Thames Tideway Tunnel.
The Liberal Democrats
They spearheaded the UK's push to persuade the EU to set an ambitious target of reducing carbon emissions by at least 40% by 2030. They will carry on greening electricity, getting rid of coal generation by 2025 and setting an ambitious power sector ?decarbonisation? target.
What they are offering?
- Renewable energy will make up a third of our energy by 2020.
- Cut council tax for green homes by at least ?100 a year for 10 years.
- Invest in research and development in cleaner energy.
How will this benefit the public?
Encouraging people to live a healthier, greener lifestyle.
So there you have it. Which one gets your vote? Whilst there are many important challenges ahead for the UK Government, of whatever Party, we can't think of an issue more critical than the health of our environment.
by Matt Roper | 7 May 2015
Posted 27 March 2015 | | 0 Comments
We've had lots of great feedback from customers about our range of Children's Playground Equipment - all made from recycled plastics diverted from landfill.
Here's what one customer said today, having just received our very popular Jimmy's Tractor - so called as it was originally commissioned by Jimmy's Farm, as seen on TV:
"Just to let you know and say thank you, the tractor is brilliant." Kelly, the Cornish Birds of Prey Centre.
by M Roper | 27 March 2015
Posted 25 December 2014 | | 0 Comments
On behalf of the team here at GreenBuying.co.uk, may I wish all our customers (and everyone else!) a very Happy Christmas! Remember to recycle all the excess packaging.....
All the best,
by M Roper | 25 December 2014
Posted 13 November 2014 | | 0 Comments
It is already a legal requirement for waste producers to treat waste in line with the waste hierarchy. Once you've considered waste reduction and re-use, you need to ensure that all recyclable materials are recycled where possible to avoid landfill.
But as of 1st January 2015, the revised EU Waste Framework Directive 2008 requires that the UK government must make arrangements for the collection of waste paper, metal, plastic and glass separately where 'technically, environmentally and economically practicable' and 'appropriate to meet the necessary quality standards for the relevant recycling sectors.'
This law covers both commercial, industrial and domestic waste. The information stated below does not constitute legal advice and is no substitute for legal or other professional advice.
How does this affect your organisation as a waste producer?
We believe that as of start 2015 you will need to considering the following:
- Keep a well-documented audit trail when deciding which collection system to use and hold regular reviews to ensure your waste management system remains compliant.
- As a minimum, you will be expected to separate mixed dry recyclables (paper, metal, plastic, glass) from general waste prior to their collection unless space for containers, cost of collection or any other genuine barriers prevent this.
- If it is not technically, environmentally and economically practicable (TEEP) to do this, you will need to implement the most suitable alternative solution and ensure you have evidence as to why a separate collection is not practicable. If you are already separating out the recyclable materials into a combined waste collection, you will need to consider the suitability of this, and whether your waste contractor has the capability to separate these out into separate individual waste streams. As a minimum you are likely to be required to have a separate glass collection.
- Whether or not you separate out your waste into individual waste streams or combined, you will need to ensure that the quality of these collections is of a high standard and not contaminated with non-recyclable waste.
- Although not a legal requirement, it is advisable to verify the end destination of these wastes, as a best practice measure, to ensure that they are sent for recycling and not landfill.
The diagram (below) is the Waste Regulations Route Map, and for general information only.
We can help you become compliant
GreenBuying.co.uk is committed to ensuring that its customers are compliant. Our UK national waste partners will review your waste practices. They can:
- Work with you to assess the practicalities and options for implementing combined or segregated collections if you're not already doing so and implement any agreed service changes on your behalf.
- Provide assistance to communicate with your staff and other stakeholders to ensure that materials separated are of a sufficient quality and not contaminated with non-recyclable waste.
- Regularly check the quality of your recyclables to ensure that high standards are being consistently applied. If issues are found, they will work with you to resolve the problems and improve the quality of your recyclables.
- Ensure you have a well-documented audit trail and regular reviews of your waste management system.
You're running out of time to ensure compliancy by 1st January 2015 so we urge swift action!! Just call 0845 217 8995 or email email@example.com and we'll help you.
by M Roper | 13 November 2014
Posted 12 November 2014 | | 0 Comments
GreenBuying.co.uk has a dual mission ? first to inform, and then to provide practical help for buyers who seek to procure supplies in a way that does least harm to the environment. We do of course sell products via our webshop, but that?s not where it starts and ends. We believe that too many buyers are not considering the environmental impact of their activities, partly due to lack of knowledge, partly due to a misconception that buying ?green? products necessarily cost more money. We also recognise that there are other ways in which organisations can help the environment ? by encouraging recycling (using our recycling bins), by encouraging the re-use of waste materials (hence ScrapShop.co.uk ? our free to use waste exchange)
That?s why, when we were recently invited to make a presentation on ?The importance of Recycling? during an assembly for Year 8?s at Droitwich Spa High School in Worcestershire, we jumped at the chance! The invite came from Mrs Whitehouse, Head of Year 8, who had previously been aware of GreenBuying.co.uk as a customer. The school has previously purchased recycling bins from the website.
We spent a quarter of an hour talking to the whole of Year 8 about the impact on the environment of throwing rubbish into landfill. We gave them some amazing facts to consider - for example, did you know that the amount of rubbish thrown away by homes in the UK every day is enough to fill 190 Olympic sized swimming pools and weighs as much as 12,000 elephants!
We finished the presentation by examining ways in which the children and staff at the school can improve their recycling practices. Droitwich Spa are well advanced in their thinking about recycling but we know that many schools have yet to take the initiative and get everyone involved to reduce landfill waste.
Says Mrs Whitehouse "It was great having Matt and Hattie from GreenBuying.co.uk in school to reinforce the message of the importance of recycling in our school. The children were given interesting facts and information about recycling and also good advice about how they could do more. They were encouraged to believe that every small step adds up to make a big difference to our environment."
Would YOUR school like our recycling presentation?
If your school is located within 100 miles of Cheltenham and you would like us to come and deliver our recycling presentation at an assembly, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
by Hattie Burton | 12 November 2014
Posted 30 September 2014 | | 0 Comments
Join the Ice Ride!
Let's raise awareness of the threats to the fragile Arctic environment.
Only six days to go before the global Ice Ride to raise awareness of the threats to the fragile Arctic environment from oil exploration and climate change - which are surprisingly linked! Manchester Greenpeace and other friends and supporters will be meeting with their bikes in Albert Square, Manchester on Saturday October 4th to join millions of others around the world with the message Save the Arctic! If you've got a bike or can borrow one, put on some white or blue clothing and come along - it'll be a gentle ride around the city centre.
Click Here to find out more information.
Join in on the Twitter conversation beforehand (#IceRide)
by M. Roper | 30 September 2014
Posted 20 May 2014 | | 0 Comments
Recycle Week is a celebration of everything about recycling. Now in its 11th year it is organised by WRAP under the 'Recycle Now' brand and delivered to the public by a range of partners across the country. It encourages people to recycle more things more often by thanking them for their efforts and showing what more can be done such as explaining the importance of recycling good quality materials and reducing contamination.
The theme for this year ?Recycling at Home and Away?. It is a great opportunity to encourage people to recycle more things more often and show how it is now easier to recycle away from the home environment.
Some facts and figures...
- Commercial and Industrial waste accounts for 23% of total waste produced in the UK so there is huge potential benefit for both the economy and the environment of increasing recycling in this area.
- In the UK we send 700,000 tonnes of clothing to be reused or recycled every year ?
- enough to fill 459 Olympic sized swimming pools every year.
- Did you know that 9,201,000 tonnes of food is thrown away by the hospitality sector each year and 3/4 of this food could have been eaten.
- All steel cans are 100% recyclable. They can be recycled over and over again, into anything from cars to motorcycles to more steel cans.
- More than 60% of householders in the UK say they have unwanted clothes and textiles stored in their homes.
- In a whole year, an individual drinks can could be recycled eight times, saving enough energy to make 160 new cans.
- Recycling seven steel cans saves enough energy to power a 60-watt
- light bulb for 26 hours.
How Business & Schools can get involved
- Cascade information about recycling services at team meetings, through the intranet, internal newsletters and e-zines, as well as verbally and by using posters.
- Introduce the removal of individual ?under desk? bins and install single waste and recycling points. This increases the amount of material recycled by removing the temptation for people to ?easily? throw away. It is important that this is clearly communicated in advance. You are likely to see initial resistance, but people soon get used to the new system.
- Use posters to help get the message out, including some that can be stuck on or near the recycling bins to indicate what can and cannot be recycled.
- Encourage senior management to get involved. Their buy-in is important and it is beneficial for messages to come from them.
- Tell staff why you are recycling and stress why it is important to put items in the right bins.
- Tell staff how it will save money and what the environmental benefits will be.
- Speak to cleaning staff to ensure that they recycle correctly.
- Send round daily tips and facts to all staff.
- Provide a new screen saver relating to Recycle Week.
In preparation for Recycling Week, please email us links to your YouTube clips showing what you're doing at your school or business to encourage recycling. We'll then add them to our YouTube TV Channel.
by M Roper | 20 May 2014
Posted 13 May 2014 | | 0 Comments
How many of us would like to eat more fruit and veg but just don't seem to have the time? I have certainly in the past bought fruit and veg that's ended up in the bin a few days later. Making sure i had my "five a day" just didn't seem to fit in with a busy work schedule and the school run.
But all this changed when my wife told me about 'Juicing' and it all started from there. Wednesday 14th May 2014 will be my 13th day of doing the Juice Detox. I'm following Jason Vale superjuiceme.com juicing detox plan. So far i've enjoyed a range of colourful drinks, from bright greens to brilliant reds (thanks to raw betroot juice!). And amazingly, all being well, i will have lost 1 stone on this day (just 13 days from the start of the plan!) Fingers Crossed!
But it strikes me that there is a great further benefit of doing this detox, other than weight loss and "detoxification"- and that's the benefit to the planet. Imagine if huge numbers of the UK population decided that they would juice detox for just two weeks a year.. think of all the food packaging that would not be going into landfill! Think of the reduction in manufacturing processes (with all the power and carbon being generated) that is caused by the fall in processed food manufacturing. And that's before we consider the drop in NHS resources required through the fall in obesity and diseases that appear to be diminished too- that's a lot of carbon reduction!!
by M Roper | 13 May 2014
Posted 27 March 2014 | | 0 Comments
A housing association will compete against firms from across Europe to win a top environmental award after being chosen to represent the UK.
The European Commission?s EMAS (Eco Management and Audit Scheme) Awards are the most prestigious in environmental management and are presented to top performing companies and public authorities.
West Bromwich-based the Accord Group has been chosen to represent the UK in the 'Private ? Large Company' category, competing against nine firms from countries such as Germany, Italy and Spain.
Each company will have to show judges how they have delivered eco-friendly innovations that have boosted environmental performance in their organisations, to be in with the chance of winning.
The Accord Group has a long standing commitment to sustainability, becoming the first housing association in the UK to achieve the EMAS and the first to open its own low carbon timber home factory in Walsall.
John Bedford, Head of Project Development at the Accord Group, said: ?To be chosen to represent the UK in this award category is a fantastic achievement and one that we are very proud of.
?Over the last seven years, we have made huge efforts to reduce our carbon footprint and develop environmentally-friendly homes, such as our timber framed properties in Walsall, Wolverhampton and Redditch.
?We are looking forward to the awards and sharing ideas, best practice and our experiences of environmental management with other organisations from across Europe.?
Andrew Fletcher, Environment, Training and Systems Director at ESP, which helped Accord to put together its award submission, said: ?ESP has worked with Accord for seven years or more and in that time we have seen the company continually make great strides in improving its environmental performance.
?The EMAS Awards are a great opportunity for Accord to showcase their excellent work to date and to reaffirm their commitment to being the greenest social housing provider in the UK."
The winners of the awards will be announced on 7 April 2014.
The Accord Group is one of the largest housing associations in the West Midlands and manages 11,000 homes and provides services to more than 60,000 people.
In 2011, it made history by becoming the first housing association in the country to open its own timber home manufacturing hub, LoCaL Homes in Beechdale, Walsall, which manufactures one timber home every day.
This blog was originally published by www.24dash.com
by 24dash.com | 27 March 2014
Posted 3 March 2014 | | 0 Comments
Nowadays all companies need to demonstrate their green credentials to stay ahead of the game. One of the most high profile UK based companies who have taken sustainability to the heart of their business is Marks & Spencer plc. I have written this blog to consider the success of their 'Plan A' sustainability strategy and how it has been boosted profits as well as helped the environment.
Plan A came to fruition in 2007 as M&S struggled to built their profits after a decade of tough trading. The then CEO, Stuart Rose, had been inspired by Al Gore's ground breaking film, "An Inconvenient Truth" and Plan A was established to make M&S the world's most sustainable retailer. Extensive customer research showed that M&S customers felt that going green was important to them.
Plan A set 100 targets were drawn up, built around five key pillars in dealing with customer and suppliers - climate change, waste, natural resource, fair partnership, health and wellbeing. Initiatives to set up to significantly reduce packaging by 26%, landfill waste was cut by 28% and refridgerator emissions dropped by 60%. And food bags were reduced by an amazing two billion!
Other projects included reducing energy consumption in store and the "shwopping" scheme to encourage shoppers to donate clothing to charity. Clothes hangers and bin bags were recycled and staff were trained to become more energy efficient.
The return of investment shows how important it is for a company to keep the long term view; M&S invested ?200 Million in the 5 year initiative. It took two years before the investment broke even. But by end of the third year it had made a net profit of ?50 million, rising to ?70 million in year 4 and ?105 million in year 5.
A further 80 projects were added in 2010 and the net profit of the initiative has reached ?135 million in the last financial year. M&S can now claim to be UK's first carbon neutral major retailer and has cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 22% since 2007 thanks to reducing its electricity consumption, gas leaks from refridgerators and improved fuel efficiencies. And this is over the same period of time when sales went up by 18%. M&S sends no waste to landfill and all its fish and most of its paper, packing and wood being responsibly sourced.
by M Roper | 3 March 2014
Posted 12 February 2014 | | 0 Comments
We have just experienced the wettest January in England since 1766. And February seems to be equally atrocious. I think the depressing reality is that we will be experiencing a lot more of this freak weather over the coming years and decades (and beyond!) What have we done to deserve this?
The most respected climate scientists must all be thinking 'we told you so'. All the previous talk of likely climate change is now being physically shown to be real. And things are likely to get worse even if we stop acting in such a harmful way to our planet - which is difficult to see happening.
The problem is that there has yet to be a concerted global political effort to challenge the status quo i.e. the perceived wisdom that states that economic growth, never mind the resources needed, is vital. As the world population continues to grow there will inevitably be a need for economies to develop and grow. But we think that we have to start using our collective brain power to examine how to slow down the crazy global system that is eating up the Earth's finite resources. Something has to give.
But we cannot assume that our governments will lead the way. Its down to the individual citizen and organisations to take a stance and force the politicians to wake up. GreenBuying.co.uk in its tiny way is about shifting peoples perceptions away from thinking that buying recycled products or products with a smaller carbon footprint have to be more expensive or be of an inferior quality. That is not true if you consider the whole life cost of procurement, including disposal cost and resale values. And the cost to the planet must surely be factored into this! Purely thinking unit price is not going to help anyone in the long term.
To be clear, we don't pretend that buying eco friendly products is in itself going to stop all the floods and freak weather events. Nor do we believe that buying anything is perfectly eco friendly. But if everyone changed their purchasing habits and took many other steps besides to consider their environmental impact then something fundamentally positive would happen, for the good of all. Small steps sadly won't stop the trends but GreenBuying.co.uk will continue to consider ways to support organisations to improve their green credentials. We really cannot see an alternative.
by M Roper | 12 February 2014
Posted 6 February 2014 | | 0 Comments
"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty? (Sir Winston Churchill)
Against an ongoing background discussion on the role of public sector spending in a recovering post-recession economy, many governments around the world have committed themselves to spending reviews.
The UK has adopted ambitious public sector spending cuts, now in their fourth year of implementation. With few exceptions all Government departments still face cuts, the scale of which goes well beyond the reach of mere efficiency measures.
For the private sector, such an approach to austerity in difficult times is nothing new. But from Whitehall to Town Halls, from board rooms to factory floors an austerity agenda presents an opportunity to reconsider the more profligate business models and process.
Food production, water scarcity, inequality, climate change, energy security, disease and natural resource shortages; these are the seemingly expensive challenges on a grand scale which we must continue to address whilst making the books balance once again.
The sustainability agenda is concerned not just about doing more with less, but finding better ways to do things. This paper applies lessons from sustainability to spending cuts, in search of doing better. It identifies four areas in which cost savings can help improve the long-term viability of an organisation. It is aimed at those who need to achieve cost savings, but believe there is a more intelligent approach than simply swinging the axe.
Austerity should drive intelligent efficiencies in the short term. But something more is required if long term aspirations for the organisations are to be met. Sustainability can drive innovation and entrepreneurialism whilst achieving efficiencies. This relates to necessity being the mother of invention and how you achieve more with less. Organisations need to do more than hope that adversity drives innovation; they must create the circumstances to facilitate it.
There is therefore a need to create a culture of ideas generation and discussion paralleling the Government?s ?Spending Challenge?.
The process of identifying spending cuts is an excellent opportunity to reflect on the fundamental purpose of an organisation. Those looking for medium term growth in size, turnover or scale of delivery, need to consider what the purpose of that growth is? All organisations exist primarily to enhance quality of life in some way. Once that goal is recognised the mechanism by which it is achieved can be determined
Corporate sustainability encourages a complete understanding of operations now and into the future and seeks to adapt internal process providing an enduring, balanced approach to economic activity, environmental responsibility and social stewardship.
These points may be of philosophical interest in abstract, but are only of value when grounded in reality. This document therefore sets out the basis of a practical approach, seeking benefits from the austerity agenda in:
? Process efficiency
? Resource efficiency
There are four areas in which the drivers of sustainability and austerity can be easily aligned. These are mapped below and provide the structure for this document.
These four elements represent the greatest synergies between the objectives of spending cuts and sustainability. Each of these presents an area in which cost management may provide the catalyst for finding new and better ways of doing business or delivering services.
The order usually begins with a review of strategy as with current austerity measures; however, in some instances innovation can be a viable starting point. These elements are now considered in turn.
? Understanding the principles of sustainability and placing them at the heart of your corporate ethos enables changes and improvements which are necessary but otherwise unattainable.
? The question at a strategic level is not how to achieve a better ROI on sustainability programmes but how a better understanding of sustainability might deliver the short, medium and long term business goals. Hence the sustainability strategy must be founded on the goals of the business plan
? The goals of the business plan should be compatible with the goals of sustainability and changed to reflect the austerity drive
? There is a hierarchy of strategic approaches ? Organisational, departmental, brand, project. Whilst each is subservient to its precedents any can become the de facto primary driver of change, depending on the economic model of the organisation.
? Sustainable procurement provides tools and tactics for enacting part of the strategy
? Every organisation has established mechanisms for reviewing what it does and how it does it. Sustainability provides a new mechanism which looks at different inputs and thus produces different outputs.
? Improvement is incremental whereas innovation is radical and transformational. Small cost savings can be achieved with incremental improvements, large-scale austerity cuts require radical approaches
? Philips send electrical engineers on sustainability masters level degree courses so they can design better future proof products
? Innovation is often the preserve of research and development or those in senior management. Organisations become truly transformational and adaptive when staff at all levels are enabled and encouraged to innovate
? Beauty in design often comes from constraint. Imposing new constraints presents new opportunities for beautiful solutions.
? Stakeholders should contribute to product, service and process innovation. This can be achieved during the procurement process by stipulating the problem and not the solution. This encourages supply chain innovation therefore placing the challenge with those that have the technical expertise.
? It is, in essence a shortening of the distance between the start of your activities and customer satisfaction.
? All organisations, systems and processes have multiple drivers. Cost is just one of these. If a process has already been cost optimised yet further savings are needed there are two options: A) Radically re-engineer the process B) Terminate the process.
? Delivering projects to budget is now even more crucial than ever. Generating project processes using sustainability principles will assist. For example; the Birmingham Construction Partnership delivered regenerative construction works. In supporting Birmingham City Council, the Office of Government Commerce and the Local Government Task Force enabled an innovative approach to the project that has harnessed sustainability within procurement. The benefits have seen a 52% improvement in projects delivered to time and a 29% improvement in projects delivered to budget.
? A sustainable approach may be to explore staff retention and redeployment over redundancy. However, it is acknowledged that to achieve organisational sustainability, strategic redundancy may be necessary on occasion.
? Ford Motor Company has always been a keen advocate of business sustainability. This has resulted in step changes to society and industry. Providing transport and independence to the masses required ingenuity. Ford pioneered the production line process but also and less well known were its experimentation with soy based materials and ethanol with the Model T. In another example of forward thinking the crates used to ship the Model A truck were dismantled at its destination and became the trucks floorboards.
? The UK Government?s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has undertaken a study relating to its grey fleet (business travel using employee owned vehicles) management. They discovered that DWP staff travelled approximately 45 million miles per year and this accounted for 57% total business mileage. The study?s objectives aimed to improve the health, safety and welfare of its staff, seek out business and financial efficiencies and discover environmental improvements. The DWP established a travel hierarchy and policy that provides employees with guidance and has subsequently benefited in the following ways:
o ?3.6M direct savings;
o 3000 tonnes carbon prevented;
o An increase of utilised work hours (non-travel);
o Enhanced health, safety and welfare;
o Promotion of more sustainable modes of transport.
? Some of the benefits available to organisations adapting their processes are:
o Improvements to process that are proactive not reactive and therefore provide continual organisational advantage;
o More informed decision making at all organisational levels enabling reduced complexity;
o An ability to thrive not just survive;
o An aptitude for questioning process validity will achieve improvements in speed and process adoption;
o Process adaptation engenders a culture of sustainable thinking that enables efficiency of processes providing organisational longevity;
o Acknowledgement of sustainability considerations that impact or have the ability to impact the organisation now and into the future such as resource availability, water scarcity, work force migration trends, organisational opportunities and threats and so on;
o Streamlined operational functions;
o Supply chain resilience, important as no organisation is an island and indeed most organisations often have critical suppliers that could cause considerable disruption to operation should they fail.
? Every organisational system requires a flow of materials and energy that can be defined as inputs, outputs and by-products. Each input, output and by-product carries a variable quantity of economic, environmental and social consequence and opportunity.
? Eliminating, reducing and altering the flow of material and energy at each of these points provide considerable opportunities for efficiencies.
? Add to this the opportunities that can be realised with effective deployment and placement of knowledge, a powerfully efficient organisation is achievable.
? In essence organisational sustainability assists in achieving more for less. However, it does go a number of steps further. For example, many energy companies are moving ahead of their competitors by using more renewable sources and encouraging consumers to use less. Even though this may appear counterproductive these organisations have realised that to continue to thrive in the long term they need to maintain their resources. In the short term they understand that customers welcome environmental initiatives.
? Achieving efficiency at input provides greater reduction of economic, environmental and social consequences than efficiencies realised at output or by-product.
? Peterborough City Council have installed innovative energy saving software on 4,500 PC?s in order to minimise the energy resource that they use. This has resulted in a saving of ?50,000 and a reduction of 250 tonnes carbon dioxide. The payback period of the software purchase is less than 6 months.
? Kent County Council have made significant resource efficiencies with LED traffic lights and important improvements to its social and economic performance. Replacing traditional traffic lights with LED?s provides ?1.8M direct savings in the first five years, reduces energy consumption by 70% and as they last for 10 years compared with the 6 months of the tungsten-halogen lamps they replace will result in greater health, safety and welfare and re-deployable resources due to the significantly reduced need to carry out maintenance and replacement. The by-products and outputs are also far more efficient due to the reduction in the number of units to be disposed and associated packaging.
? Advancements in the field of sustainable procurement are seeking better outcomes with better cost management, both upstream and throughout the product lifecycle.
? No one organisation operates as an island and systems therefore go beyond the boundary of the organisation. This is where sustainable procurement is gaining momentum.
This checklist provides simple questions to help establish whether your organisation is likely to achieve the greatest benefits from necessary austerity.
1. Is there a proper strategic approach to corporate sustainability in your organisation?
2. Are sustainability goals directly linked to and driven by overarching corporate strategy?
3. Have strategic goals been reviewed in light of recent spending cuts?
4. Are the resources still going to be available to deliver the strategy?
1. Has there been a structured approach for engaging staff ideas for ways to reduce costs?
2. Are all staff aware of the sustainability strategy and their role in delivering it?
3. Are staff supported and rewarded for finding efficiencies and better ways of delivering organisational objectives?
1. Are all business functions that are currently undertaken necessary to achieving the fundamental purpose of the organisation?
2. Do all business functions enable effective and efficient progression towards the fundamental purpose of the organisation?
3. Do any business functions exist entirely to facilitate a link between business functions?
1. Is the relationship between the outputs of the organisation and that of its inputs acceptable?
2. Does an analysis of inputs and outputs present an imbalance? For example; unnecessarily high overheads, under-utilisation or significant raw material or energy wastage.
3. Can comparisons be sought of resource use models at similar scope organisations?
Conclusions / Summary
There is a true synergy between intelligent cost management and some elements of sustainable development. Reengineering systems, processes and organisations to meet sustainability targets can generate cost savings. Reengineering to reduce cost can give rise to more sustainable outcomes. But this won?t happen by accident.
An organisation can cut costs in a downward spiral of worsening performance or create a virtuous circle where sustainability and cost targets are driven concomitantly for the benefit of all.
? An understanding of sustainability can help identify new ways of managing costs
? The principles and practices of sustainability align well and naturally with those of austerity cuts
? Savings are required in the short term but opportunities for future development must still be nurtured
? To realise the greatest savings and benefits from cost cutting, the application of sustainability principles must be strategic and system/organisation wide.
There is benefit in recognising and nurturing the drivers of sustainable growth. These include:
? Cutting costs through designing better systems, not cutting costs by devaluing systems
? Using an understanding of current limitations to gain foresight on future trends and opportunities
? Aligning systems with stakeholders? current and future needs
? Inbuilt sustainability in project delivery rather than a costly add on
? Use efficiencies as an opportunity to build relationships with key partners for future development
Further benefits of this approach include:
? Ongoing continual professional development
? Development of organisational stakeholder capital
? Social licence to operate
? Foresight and market intelligence
? Beyond cost unique selling points
? A culture of trench loyalty or even better optimism instead of disenfranchised staff
? New product/service innovation
The metaphor of weight loss is often invoked to describe spending cuts. Companies ?become less flabby?, processes ?more lean?. It is a well suited analogue which bears further consideration. Crash diets may lead to rapid unhealthy weight loss which cannot be sustained and are usually followed by rapid weight gain. This is because consideration is not given to the overall goals of the system, the focus instead being placed exclusively on just one part. This corresponds to the hatchet approach to spending cuts.
Alternatively, weight loss through a lifestyle transformation of better diet and more exercise addresses the holistic needs of the system and can therefore have lasting and positive benefits. This corresponds to a more thoughtful and strategic approach to cost management and efficiency, characterised by a desire to make fundamental and often difficult changes which put the system into balance.
? Co-operative ecoInsurance where premiums for car insurance are linked to emissions
? Zip cars innovation in car rental
? 30M bike rentals in the first year of the Parisian velib scheme by J C Decaux
? Technology convergence in mobile phones minimises production processes, material use and packaging whilst maximising customer value
? Coca Cola?s long-term water strategy in response to business pressure and climate change ? WWF claim over 200L water are required in the lifecycle of a can of coke
? Unilever is using brands such as Ben & Jerrys to develop consumer consciousness about worklife balance and environmental scarcity and in doing so build long term customer loyalty
? Nike started with sustainability at the supply chain level then moved it to a systems based approach which adopted a more holistic view and became part of the overall business strategy
? Google is lobbying for more energy efficient technologies which will in turn reduce its own operating costs
? Time Warner exploring opportunities across all its media output to disseminate sustainability messages.
? Traditional economic models of nationhood reward those countries that consume greater resource with superior wealth. However, sustainable growth cannot be permanently dependent on the one-way transformation of finite natural resources to wealth
? Value-added economies create prosperity by managing the flow and circulation of materials and labour, permitting the possibility of sustainable economic development
? Sustainable growth combines the concept of objective wealth creation for the poorest and subjective wealth creation for the affluent.
? Economic growth where one nation or people succeed at the expense of another cannot be sustainable. However, competition and markets do have a role to play in sustainable economies
? Sustainable technologies and solutions have the potential to lift markets, employment etc
? How do you balance the time taken for careful planning against the need for urgent action?
? Value is created over time ? although this may be harder in some markets e.g. FMCG
? Werner Sombart?s concept of Creative Destruction presents a necessary role for entrepreneurs in disrupting established commercial order
? Cost cutting is often introduced on a reductionist basis whereby each spending decision is made on an individual basis. Finding the best points for intervention requires system thinking to maximise outcomes
Author Contact : Mark Hedges (Cala Sustain)
Follow Cala Sustain for further resource, tools, discussion and useful links at:
by M Hedges and Del Redvers | 6 February 2014
Posted 29 January 2014 | | 0 Comments
A survey has found that 80% of Britons say a brand's green credentials at least influences their purchasing decisions.
The Post Office Shop reveals the UK high street could be missing out on millions of pounds as consumers report a perceived lack of effort by businesses to be more eco-friendly, with only 15% of Brits believe high street brands are doing enough to reduce their impact on the environment.
One in five shoppers say that a company?s eco-friendliness is their main priority when deciding where to shop, it appears many businesses could be compromising their market share. And a further 60% of Brits also admit to taking a business? green efforts into consideration when shopping ? though cost and quality are more important.
The survey was commissioned by the Post Office as part of its effort to get the British public buying more green-friendly goods for the home and office. Over twelve hundred responses were gathered relating to people?s perceptions of their own and businesses? eco efforts.
It showed a clear gender difference in attitudes towards the environment, as 21% of men don?t consider environmental impact a priority at work, while this figure is just 12% for women.
The survey also suggests that the British public is sceptical of the government eco policies such as the Green Deal, with nearly a third believing that green legislation will either have no effect on the UK economy or that businesses will simply avoid it.
Other findings include:
? 57% of Brits contribute to eco-friendly efforts at work as well as at home
? 59% think their employer could do more to go green
? 14% of people don?t place any importance on green efforts
? Only one in five consider the UK as a leading force in world environmental responsibility
Professor William Young from the Sustainability Research Institute at the University of Leeds, said: ?Consumers are doing their bit at home and expect high street brands to do it [as well] ? but without compromising quality or value for money.
?The most successful retailing brands have environmental responsibility at the heart of their strategies, operations and products. Today, environmental responsibility is one of the key factors for a successful high street brand.?
Professor Young added: ?Consumers now expect high street brands to offer ?super green? product ranges. However, they also expect them to have significantly reduced environmental impacts in all product ranges, in shops and within supply chains.
?Consumers are more likely to buy ?super green? product ranges from retailers and brands they trust. They also trust green behaviour messages from them rather than from government but are becoming more sophisticated at spotting weak or false green claims.?
by Clickgreen.org.uk | 29 January 2014
Posted 18 January 2014 | | 0 Comments
Our Eco Cleaning Supplies manufacturer, Delphis Eco, has been granted a Royal Warrant of Appointment to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, for the provision of Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products.
2013, although tough economically, saw Delphis Eco not only win the Business 2 Business Category at the EU Ecolabel Communication Awards, just the second time a UK company has won this prestigious award, but has also ended the year with an incredible accolade from The Prince of Wales.
The decision to award a Royal Warrant is made by The Lord Chamberlain?s office and comes after a company has delivered consistently high-quality services to one or more of the Royal Households for a period of five years. Royal Warrants have always been regarded as demonstrating service, quality and excellence, and are highly prized - and now Delphis Eco has earned the honour of displaying the Royal Arms in recognition of its service.
Mark Jankovich, Chief Executive at Delphis Eco, welcomes the Royal Warrant:
?We are delighted that Delphis Eco and the teams? hard work and dedication to providing quality environmentally-friendly products has been recognised in this way. We are honoured that the Prince of Wales would choose to bestow this award on us and hope that it will encourage other people to select more environmentally friendly products. We are also proud to join an elite group that is able to show the Royal Arms in recognition of their commitment to the highest standards of service, quality and excellence. It is truly a great start to the year!?
Delphis Eco manufactures award winning green cleaning chemicals, nothing else. It is the only company in its sector to exclusively manufacture its product range in the UK and was the first UK company to get EU Ecolabel accreditation for its cleaning products. In fact, Delphis Eco has the largest accredited product range available and it is ever growing.
With a vision to be the world?s leading innovator of ecological cleaning products, Delphis Eco ensures every aspect of their development and manufacture delivers the best possible solutions for the end user whilst maintaining our deep sustainability ethos.
Delphis Eco looks forward to another exciting year helping schools, universities and catering facilities switch to our more environmentally friendly range.
by M Roper | 18 January 2014
Posted 13 December 2013 | | 0 Comments
Do you fancy having a green Christmas this year? Here are some ideas to help you do just that...
- Buy a real Christmas tree - artificial trees are often made of non-recycled plastics and have travelled a long way to reach the UK. Who knows where they've come from and whether the labour used were treated well. Not just that, real trees remove carbon whilst growing and can even be used next year (if you've bought one with roots). Alternatively, many garden centres and councils offer a recycling service for old trees. Bear in mind that only 10% of the 6 million or so Christmas trees are recycled, with millions going into landfill which is a wasted biomass opportunity.
- Send an e-card or buy charity recycled cards - saves on the carbon, and helps a worthy cause if proceeds go to charity.
- Compost your food peelings - break down your vegetable waste into valuable nutrients for your garden plants.
- Donate all your old clothes locally - remember that someone less fortunate would value your old dress or jacket. Please don't throw them away.
- Purchase locally and organic turkeys are best!Support your local farmers and independent retailers, to help your local community and reducing carbon footprint. And try buying an organic turkey to ensure it was reared humanely. And try to avoid buying all the vegetables in plastic packaging - buy loose or if you have to buy packaging, make sure its recycled packaging.
- Turn off the Tree lights when not needed - tree lights left on for 10 hours a day throughout the Christmas period produce enough CO2 to inflate 12 balloons. So try to turn them off if not needed.
- Use less packaging - whether its shopping bags or gift packaging, there is far too much wasted plastic packaging around. Try to avoid gifts with excessive packaging and use cotton eco shopping bags.
- Buy British and local gifts - help British manufacturers and cut the carbon footprint (think of all that energy used to ship products from China!). And try to buy gifts which will last and that don't rely on disposable parts such as batteries. Or consider solar powered products. And what about buying an experience rather than a physical gift? Something like cinema tickets, animal sponsorship, gift tokens. Just not things which will be discarded on December 26th.
- Recycle all your discarded festive waste - remember to take all discarded bottles and card to your local recycling bank. You will be amazed how much waste you generate over the Christmas period.
- Buy a woolly Christmas jumper and turn the heating down - OK so if you do receive a completely untrendy jumper for Christmas, wear it and turn down the thermostat in your home by 1 degree Celsius. You will be saving heating costs and reducing your carbon footprint. If you leave the curtains closed this will also help to insulate the house.
- Wrap up presents using recycled paper - avoid spending lots of money on virgin Christmas wrapping paper. Why not use newspaper or last year's excess paper instead? Or recycled brown paper perhaps?
- Use the appropriate size saucepans - Don't heat more water than you need else you will be wasting energy. And only boil the kettle with the amount of water you need.
We hope these ideas are of help - Have a wonderful Christmas, and remember our Christmas offer of 5% off all eco friendly products for sale on GreenBuying.co.uk. Simply type "XMAS5" into the checkout discount field to enjoy the savings. Offer ends at 5pm on December 24th.
by Green Santa | 13 December 2013
Posted 4 December 2013 | | 0 Comments
We're thrilled to announce that one of our principle UK based bin manufacturer partners has won an international award for its 100% recycled plastics bin, the 70L uBin which you can buy on our website!
Green Warehouse beat 150 European rivals that entered the annual recycled products award held by the European Plastics Recycling and Recovery Organisation (EPRO).
The uBin was voted the ?best recycled plastic product of the year? by the majority of 200 delegates that attended IdentiPlast, Plastics Europe?s recycling and recovery conference, held in Paris.
The uBin is made entirely with post-consumer plastic polypropylene and can be completely recycled. It was launched in the UK in 2012 and GreenBuying.co.uk started selling it soon afterwards as we love it too!
Said the bin's designer, ?Most of the bins that claim to have recycled content are made with post-processed waste, materials that have never left the factory. But uBin is made with 100% post-consumer plastics ? pots, tubs and trays.?
So what are you waiting for? Click here to buy one today!
by Matt Roper | 4 December 2013
Posted 11 November 2013 | | 0 Comments
GreenBuying.co.uk brings you 4 top tips to help you reduce your waste management costs.
1. Increase your recycling
It may be an obvious thing to say but separating more materials for recycling is the quickest and easiest way to reduce your waste management costs. Sending waste for recycling doesn?t incur landfill tax whereas sending waste to landfill incurs a specific tax that currently stands at ?72 per tonne and is rising annually.
Can you start recycling? Can your staff recycle more of the same? Can you introduce recycling of different materials? Have you considered a zero waste to landfill solution?
2. Carry out a waste audit
When was the last time you looked at your waste management system? Organisations often overlook the process of waste management, seeing it as a non-critical activity.
Are you handling your waste efficiently? Are you using your waste containers to their maximum capacity? Are they always full when your supplier comes to empty them? Have the wastes you generate or where you generate them changed? A waste audit might not only identify waste handling efficiencies but help you ensure you are complying with complex waste management legislation.
3. Ask for a rebate
The increasing scarcity of raw materials has created a significant worldwide market for recyclables. If you generate large quantities of high value materials and separate these for recycling, they can be traded as a commodity. If you are not making money from your high quality recyclables, somebody else is likely to be so ask for a rebate!
4. Use raw materials more effectively
The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) estimates that UK organisations can save up to ?23billion through improvements in the efficient use of resources. Using raw materials more effectively and generating less waste in the first place doesn?t necessarily require huge investment but can result in significant cost savings.
How can GreenBuying.co.uk help?
In two ways. First, we sell a broad range of recycling bins which can help your staff to separate out different waste streams.
Secondly, Buying Support Agency (BSA), parent company of GreenBuying.co.uk and a procurement consultancy, can offer your organisation a more cost effective waste management solution. BSA has handpicked a highly respected and capable recycling and waste management broker with national coverage to help find the right solution for you.
For more details visit BSA website or email email@example.com with your contact details and mention that you seek further information about waste recycling and we will arrange for someone from BSA to call you to discuss how we can deliver better value for money.
by M Roper | 11 November 2013
Posted 2 October 2013 | | 0 Comments
It was great seeing so many childcare professionals last week at Childcare Expo 2013. It was great fun and allowed us to showcase the best of British manufacturers of eco friendly school and business supplies. We've had a lot of demand for our green products from nurseries, pre-schools, childminders and primary schools, and sourcing supplies from our website can help you to acquire and maintain Green Flag status.
Remember that all schools and nurseries in both state and independent sectors can enjoy a 5% discount off all items for sale on our site. And for the month of October only, we offer free logo engraving on our award-winning Broadleaf One eco computer.
by M Roper | 2 October 2013
Posted 23 August 2013 | | 0 Comments
If you're a nursery or primary school manager and you're attending this year's Childcare Expo at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry on September 27th & 28th, please come and see us at stand A12. We'll be showcasing some of the Eco supplies, plus we'll give you the special 5% discount code to use whenever you buy products from GreenBuying.co.uk! And take part in our prize draw to win a box of Delphis Eco cleaning products. We look forward to seeing you there!
by M Roper | 23 August 2013
Posted 5 April 2013 | | 0 Comments
We think this short video clip should be seen by everyone, it is truly inspiring:
by Matt Roper | 5 April 2013
Posted 4 March 2013 | | 0 Comments
Are you a school looking to achieve Eco Flag status? Why not use our online webshop at GreenBuying.co.uk to purchase your eco friendly supplies, which will help support your drive to help the environment. Our most popular products with schools are recycled stationery supplies, non toxic cleaning supplies, recycling bins and children's outdoor playground equipment (made of 100% recycled plastic).
by M Roper | 4 March 2013
Posted 18 February 2013 | | 0 Comments
We are really thrilled at GreenBuying.co.uk to be offering a brand new range of recycling bins made out of 100% post consumer plastic waste - and what is more, the carbon footprint is lower as all of the waste materials come from the good old United Kingdom!
Called the Ubin, they are 70 litres in capacity and come as standard with an specially designed insert and WRAP colour coded sticker which displays the appropriate waste stream being collected. Waste streams covered include general waste, mixed glass, plastic bottles, mixed recycling, cans and paper and card. As a special introductory offer, we have priced them at just ?59.99 (?44 if general waste bin which has no insert). So hurry whilst we keep these prices artificially low! Click here to see the range on our website.
by M Roper | 18 February 2013
Posted 7 January 2013 | | 0 Comments
Happy New Year from our team at GreenBuying.co.uk!
We've all suffered from terrible weather conditions over the last 12 months, with UK having officially the second wettest weather since records began. We all know that something very strange and troubling is happening with our climate with lots of extreme weather and that our purchasing behaviour around the globe is a major contributory factor.
Now we don't pretend that buying more recycled business supplies will make a huge impact, but to borrow a phrase from a well known supermarket, "every little helps"...so make this the year that you start taking steps to reduce your environmental impact - and what better than to re-direct your stationery and office supplies spend to GreenBuying.co.uk!!
Remember that unlike the vast majority of stationery and office supplies suppliers, we ONLY sell eco friendly products. We also care about customer service and work hard to ensure that your items arrive quickly and in the right quality. Plus we are determined to maintain very low prices.
So why not give us a try?!
by Matt Roper | 7 January 2013
Posted 11 December 2012 | | 0 Comments
I love Christmas - with young kids it makes it even more special. But if only children's toys weren't so over packaged. Plus wouldn't it be great if the vast majority of toys weren't made of non recyclable mixed plastics and shipped half way round the world!! I am also increasingly uncomfortable with the concept of sending out christmas cards in the post. All that paper and card, all that fuel in moving the cards around.
Now I don't pretend that I've never sent a Christmas card, and my kids will tell me I'm a fibber if I say I've never purchased a plastic toy from overseas (to boycott such things would deem me to be an unfit Dad!). But that said, I'm constantly on the look out for ways to minimise my carbon footprint at Christmas time. Here are some thoughts...
E-cards; recycled presents from charity shops; old scrap paper for wrapping presents with; recycled cardboard boxes from supermarkets to contain larger presents; selecting gifts which use least amount of packaging; making presents yourself or buy presents that have been made by local people which will in turn help local shops...
Please leave comments about your own ideas for reducing the carbon footprint this Christmas..
And finally, as a special gift of our own to everyone this festive season, simply add "TWT1212" into the discount field of our online shop to enjoy a 5% discount off items (this discount lasts until Father Christmas has done his rounds on Christmas Eve!)
Happy Christmas to all our customers, thanks for supporting GreenBuying.co.uk in 2012 and we look forward to helping you go green in 2013!
by Matt Roper | 11 December 2012
Posted 5 January 2012 | | 0 Comments
GreenBuying.co.uk, which sells thousands of eco friendly office supplies online, offers the following ten tips for a greener office.
?These are simple yet effective steps that every office should take to reduce its environmental impact. These tips carry additional benefits and will appeal to a financial or business director.?
Use less paper
Following the growth in the internet and email, the use of paper within offices has grown significantly. The ?paper-less office? that was predicted has not materialised as people print off every email, map and countless documents. Most documents have a life expectancy of less than one day and are then thrown away. By reducing the amount of paper used in your office you can cut both the environmental impact and financial costs of running your business. As a standard your office should switch to double-sided or ?duplex? printing. Those with good-reasonable eye-sight may also want to print two pages to a side as well. Other methods of reducing paper use include altering document design templates and putting a message in your email signature saying ?do you really need to print this email??
Switch to recycled paper
Using recycled paper uses up to 70% less energy than virgin paper and demands the use of fewer natural resources. The use of paper with recycled content typically uses less energy therefore helping to cut your offices carbon impact. A few years ago recycled paper was often sneered at as it was generally regarded as being of poorer quality than paper from virgin sources. Not any more. Independent surveys have proven that recycled paper is comparable to virgin sources in quality and performance. By switching to recycled paper in your office your organisation can make a significant improvement to safeguarding the environment.
Provide recycling facilities
According to a survey conducted by WRAP, 93% of companies who set up recycling facilities at work believe it's easy to implement and maintain. Evidence suggests it is simple to provide recycling points for common office waste sources such as paper, plastic bottles, drink cans and ink cartridges. Organisations can also look to recycle other types of waste such as light bulbs and tubes, IT equipment and furniture. With the UK landfill tax at ?24 per tonne and set to rise for the foreseeable future, it not only makes sense for environmental reasons but it can also make good financial sense.
Reduce the number of waste bins in your office
Once you have provided recycling facilities, reducing the number of general waste bins is a great way to ensure people don?t throw away recyclable items. Taking away individual waste bins and locating them further away than recycling facilities is a great way of encouraging recycling. At first staff may complain that they have to walk further. However from my experience these objections will soon pass, as after a few weeks habits change.
Fit water saving devices
The Building Research Establishment has set a best-practise benchmark target for employee water consumption of 4m? per year. To calculate your employee water consumption simply calculate your annual water use per employee:
Annual Water consumption / Number of Employees = Water Consumption per annum
If your water consumption is over 10m? per employee you should consider having a water audit of your office. Alternatively switching to water saving devices in your office can help reduce consumption. With the increase use of water meters by water companies it also makes financial sense to fit water-saving devices.
Promote Sustainable Transport at work
UK Government figures show that 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions are a result of road transport. To help reduce your offices contribution to climate change it is important to look at how your employees come to work and take measures to help promote more sustainable transport patterns. By setting up a Green Transport plan to support and promote public transport, walking, cycling and car sharing your office can cut its contribution to climate change. Such measures can also encourage employees to become more active which carries a number of benefits to both them and your organisation.
Turn off the lights ?and all non essential electrical equipment
Saving energy is one of the most effective ways to helping to reduce your businesses contribution to climate change. According to the Carbon Trust businesses are currently responsible for about half of all the UK?s carbon emissions. By turning off equipment that isn?t being used, such as air conditioning in the winter, your office could reduce its energy use. This can also translate into financial benefits - business profits can be increased by 5% by adopting energy saving initiatives.
Consider replacing inefficient office equipment
By purchasing new office equipment it is possible to make quick savings, both financially and for the environment with smart product selection. For example, photocopiers on the market can save energy with "low-power" and/or "off" modes after a period of inactivity. They can also print double-sided saving paper. Such smart purchases can result in significant savings in a short space of time.
Switch to renewable energy
The majority of the UK's electricity comes from burning fossil fuels such as coal and gas. This is a major contributor to climate change. Switching to renewable sources of energy such as wind and solar power to run your office helps cut your carbon emissions but also helps support the uptake of green energy which is vital in the move towards a low-carbon economy.
Run a communication programme
It is important that all members of staff are aware of the reasons for promoting environmental initiatives in the office. By running a positive campaign that is both engaging and fun it is possible to create a culture in your office that will provided added value.
by GreenBuying.co.uk | 5 January 2012
Posted 8 August 2011 | | 0 Comments
The latest paper added to our articles section applies lessons from sustainability to spending cuts, in search of doing better. It identifies four areas in which cost savings can help improve the long term viability of an organisation. It is aimed at those who need to achieve cost savings, yet believe there is a more intelligent approach than simply swinging the axe.
by Mark Hedges & Del Redvers | 8 August 2011
Posted 20 July 2011 | | 0 Comments
Any business that has to dispose of waste is being clobbered by landfill tax which seems to increase every year. So how can we reduce this cost?
Landfill Tax is charged according to the weight of material deposited.
There are two rates of Landfill Tax: the lower rate only applies to inactive or inert wastes listed in the Landfill Tax (Qualifying Material) Order 2011; the higher rate applies to all other waste that is taxable for Landfill Tax purposes and is chargeable at the standard rate.
The lower rate is ?2.50 per tonne from 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2012.
The standard rate is ?56 per tonne from 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012 and will increase to:
?64 per tonne on 1 April 2012
?72 per tonne on 1 April 2013
?80 per tonne on 1 April 2014
So how do business reduce this cost?
Well here's one idea: ScrapShop.co.uk has come up with an innovative free-to-use waste exchange...simply register as a member on the site, then you can advertise that you've got some waste materials and any of the other registered members can then get in touch with you directly to arrange shipment and any payment if applicable.
It's a new service, and its aim is to reduce the amount of materials being thrown into landfill sites. But it can also reduce your tax bill and even raise revenues!
by M Roper | 20 July 2011
Posted 23 March 2011 | | 0 Comments
In keeping with our previous posts, here are some more tips to be greener in the work place:
1. Use the Mailing Preference Service
This service is used by people who do not wish to receive marketing mail. This will reduce unwanted mail and the energy used in printing, delivery and disposal of it.
2. Business Cards
Business cards obviously use paper and ink, so try to limit their use. If possible, try to use recycled paper business cards.
3. Biomass Boilers
This can be an environmental alternative than conventional boilers. Biomass is an organic plant matter, such as wood or straw. Unlike using fossil fuel such as oil or coal, biomass is labelled as carbon neutral as the CO2 that is burnt is equal to the CO2 absorbed from the atmosphere during the plant?s life. Although they are more expensive to install than traditional boilers, according to the Energy Saving Trust, having a biomass boiler could save you ?950 per year. With the soaring price of oil, this potential price saving could increase.
4. Solar Panels
Although this can be a big investment, companies are increasingly installing photovoltaic (PV) solar panels on office roofs to generate electricity and so take less power from the national grid.
However there is some controversy at present in the UK relating to solar panels; the government is planning to reduce the feed in tariff for large solar production. The feed in tariff was designed so that electricity generated by solar could be bought by the National Grid at a subsidised price. The government is considering cutting this tariff for any solar installation that produces 50kw or more electricity. Analysts argue that this may put businesses off installing solar panels, but regardless of this threat, solar panels are likely to remain a popular green option for energy usage.
5. Turn the heating down!
Finally, a more simple tip- now that spring appears to be on its way, turn the heating or air conditioning down in your office. It is said that for every additional degree in temperature, you can pay an extra 8% in heating costs. This can be a quick and easy way of saving your business money whilst also being more energy efficient at the same time.
Stayed tuned for further environmental tips from your online source of green business supplies, GreenBuying.co.uk.
by Dan Atiyah | 23 March 2011
Posted 4 March 2011 | | 0 Comments
In keeping with our recent blogs, here are some further green tips for the workplace.
1. Avoid Air Fresheners
Many of these products contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other environmentally unfriendly chemicals. Plug-in air fresheners are even worse as they use electricity as well. Either use natural air fresheners or just open that window!
2. Vending Machines
If you have a vending machine at work, think about putting in a timing device for it. This can turn off the machine at night, saving energy and money. On average if a vending machine was switched off at nights and weekends, it will save a tonne of CO2 a year.
3. Heat Reflector on Radiators
If it has not already been done, put a reflective panel behind the radiator. Up to 70 % of the heat from the back of the radiator can be used to heat the wall behind it. By using a reflective panel, this will bounce this wasted heat back into the room.
4. Go for a flat screen
If your office still has some old PC?s with the old CRT monitors, think about replacing them. The newer flat-panel monitors use up to less 50% electricity to run, saving your business money and energy. Please remember to recycle all your old monitors though.
5. Insulate your pipes
This can be a quick and easy option to reduce energy use in the workplace. Buy some pipe insulation foam strips and place them on the pipes.
Stay tuned for further green tips on the GreenBuying.co.uk blog.
by Dan Atiyah | 4 March 2011
Posted 25 February 2011 | | 0 Comments
I was in Barcelona recently (the weather was considerably more pleasant than here in the UK!) and was very impressed by their city centre bicycle scheme, known as "Bicing". There are many stations across the city (including the one shown in the photograph) and everywhere I looked, there seemed to be people riding these distinctive looking bicycles. And it got me reflecting on how we do things here in Britain.
Whilst there are now some limited examples of similar schemes in the UK, most large towns and cities still lack such schemes to encourage people to stop using their cars and to get on a bike instead - thus reducing the carbon emissions and making people healthier too.
And when one considers companies and public sector organisations, there is even less innovation and encouragement. Why can't more companies follow the Spanish example and offer their staff access to free (or at worst, subsidised) bikes? I would be very interested to hear from anyone who has a bike scheme at work, and whether the scheme has been successful at getting people out of their cars....
by Matt Roper | 25 February 2011
Posted 24 February 2011 | | 0 Comments
Hello again. There are hundreds of often small changes that could really make your work places more sustainable. Here at greenbuying.co.uk we have been giving tips in our blog. Here are this week?s top five.
1. Reduce your water use.
According to the Environment Agency, the average person uses 150 litres of water a day. Our water consumption has gone up by nearly 50% in the last 25 years, and that is putting further pressure on a scant and vital resource. At work make sure there are no leaky taps, use water displacement devices in the toilets and use a water-efficient dish washer in the staff kitchen.
2. Recycling containers.
Have recycling containers at the workplace to make it easy for employees to use (note that we sell a large range of internal and external recycling bins on our eco shop).
3. Re-use old stationery & cardboard boxes.
Reuse old boxes for shipping, and reuse old files again rather than throwing them away and buying new ones.
Artificial lighting uses around 44% of all electricity use in office buildings. In a period of increasing energy costs, smart use of lighting will save your business money as well as helping the environment. Try to go without artificial light if natural light is good enough to work with. If you do need lighting, try and install a motion sensor light switch. If that is not possible, always make it a habit to turn lights off if you are going to leave a room empty for 15 minutes or more.
5. Donate your old office equipment.
Instead of throwing away your office?s old equipment and furniture, try to contact organisations that can take these products and re-use them. There are many charitable organisations that specialise in this. Alternatively, you can place your unwanted equipment onto our free "scrap shop" service (found via our website greenbuying.co.uk). However do remember that as a business you have to follow the EU Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) regulations. The Environment Agency website has lots of detail on this subject.
Stay tuned for further green tips on the www. greenbuying.co.uk blog.
by Dan Atiyah | 24 February 2011
Posted 22 February 2011 | | 0 Comments
Hello again, and welcome to the greenbuying.co.uk blog. In the past few weeks we have been giving some tips for business to try and become greener in the workplace. Here is the latest instalment:
1- Take the train
When you have to go to a meeting out of the office (and it can?t be done by video conferencing- see previous blogs) consider using the train as transportation. Train journeys are up to 75% more CO2-efficent than the airline equivalent, and are better for the environment than a car journey. According to Defra (2007) a train gives off 60g of CO2 emissions per passenger, compared to 133g for an average car and 158g for a domestic flight.
An average person has around 40% of their carbon footprint based on travel, so a few small changes of habit in this area could make all the difference.
2-Travel light if you have to fly
If you do have to fly for business, make sure to travel light. The heavier luggage that is checked in, the more fuel the plane will burn up. For example if you had to go on an eight hour flight and you checked in with bags weighing 10kg instead of 20kg, you would help to save over 4 litres of aviation fuel.
3-Use rechargeable batteries
When you can, use rechargeable batteries. The energy required to manufacture a battery is around 50 times more than the energy that it gives out, so by re-using them you will save a lot of energy. It is also better for the environment as batteries do contain some toxic metals.
4-Recycle your old CD?s
All your old CD?s in the office can also be recycled, including the cases as well. Don?t just throw them away; put them in a recycling bin so the materials can be re-used.
5-Dump the screensaver
The uses of screensavers for computers are misleading. They are really designed to prevent screen burn, when an image that has been left unchanged for too long is on screen. In fact they can use up a lot of energy. A PC with a wacky screensaver on can use up to 100 watts, whereas if it is in sleep mode, it will consume around 10 watts. Dump the screensaver and put in a stand-by mode for your computer.
Stay tuned for further green tips on the GreenBuying.co.uk blog.
by Dan Atiyah | 22 February 2011
Posted 26 January 2011 | | 0 Comments
Hello again. In following from our previous blogs, here are some more useful tips to become greener in the workplace.
1. Video conferencing
Instead of commuting to meetings, try to use video conferencing. This is an improving technology and it could save your business lots of money in travel and time costs.
2. Bring a Mug
Take a mug or cup to work for your hot drinks. This is much more environmentally friendly than using disposable plastic cups, and your cuppa is all the more personable.
3. Car Pool
If many of your employees have to drive to work and live close to each other, try to encourage car sharing. This will reduce traffic on the roads in the busiest times of the day, and will help to lower carbon emissions. Around 14 % of all greenhouse emissions come from transportation, so even smell steps in this area could make all the difference.
4. Wind up Radios
If you have an office radio that needs replacing, think about getting a wind-up radio. These do not need batteries or access to mains electricity. Instead they need an occasional winding up. This should reduce your office?s energy consumption and give you some exercise!
5. Use Recycled Paper
If you have to use paper in the office (the paperless office still seems to be a while away), try to use recycled paper. The quality of recycled paper has improved a lot in recent years, and is much more sustainable than ordinary paper. For example WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) states on average, when comparing 1 tonne of 100 % recyclable paper versus ordinary paper, you can save up to 1.32 tonnes of CO2 emissions. Land filled paper can also generate large amounts of methane, which is a greenhouse gas.
Stay tuned for further green tips via the GreenBuying.co.uk blog.
by D Atiyah | 26 January 2011
Posted 19 January 2011 | | 0 Comments
We hope that you found our last blog useful which gave some green tips for the workplace. In this post we offer some more helpful advice for a more sustainable business environment.
1. Take items out of your car boot.
Ideally we should all be commuting to work by foot, bicycle or public transport, but for many of us the daily commute is by car. To increase fuel consumption, remove any unnecessary weight in your boot. For example I bet many people still have a shovel in the boot from the bad weather in December! As well as the green benefits, it will also save you cash as petrol is very expensive at the moment.
2. Buy a plant for the workplace.
Plants are good at absorbing chemicals released by your office equipment, furniture and carpets.
3. Use scrap paper.
Instead of having post-it notes for a quick message, recycle print outs that went ?wrong? or are no longer needed. Cut the A4 paper into scraps and share them out.
4. At tea break...
When you are on the tea/coffee run, only fill up the kettle to a level that you actually need. The Energy Saving Trust say that if we each only boil the water we need instead of filling the kettle right to the top, we could save enough electricity in a year to run about half of all the street lighting nationwide!
5. Mobile Phones.
Many of us charge our mobiles at work, but then do not switch the charger off once the process has been completed The mobile phone company O2 estimates that mobiles left on charge costs over ?30 million in wasted energy per year in Britain alone.
Stay tuned for further green tips via the www. greenbuying.co.uk blog.
by D Atiyah | 19 January 2011
Posted 13 January 2011 | | 0 Comments
Tips for a Greener Workplace
Here at www.greenbuying.co.uk we are passionate in our desire to help businesses to become greener and more environmentally sustainable. We believe that it?s often the small actions in the workplace that can really make all the difference in lowering your carbon footprint and energy consumption levels. Often these steps can also save money as well. In this blog we offer some top tips for businesses to be more environmentally sustainable:
1. Try to use a fountain pen at work. Unlike ball point pens, these can be refilled with ink many times and not thrown away when they run out of ink.
2. If you have to print something, try to make it double sided. Obviously this will halve the amount of paper being used at the workplace.
3. Install electric hand dryers in the restrooms. This will reduce waste, with less paper being used.
4. When you leave work for home at night, always try to turn off all computers. Although it might take a few minutes longer to load up the next day, IT equipment even on standby can use up a lot of energy. The IT industry is believed to account for nearly 2% of all global carbon emissions, which is about the same amount as the aviation industry!
5. Overall try to keep to the maxim of the 3 R?s ? Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Reduce your waste at the workplace, try to reuse things again, and if possible recycle objects that you do not need anymore.
Stay tuned for further green tips on the www. greenbuying.co.uk blog.
by Daniel Atiyah | 13 January 2011
Posted 7 November 2010 | | 0 Comments
With so many companies claiming to be green, how do you evaluate their offerings to ensure that you avoid green washing? In this blog, we've put down some key points that you should consider.
1. Gather product specification sheets
2. Does the manufacturer or supplier have an environmental policy statement?
3. What track record does the supplier have re environmental and safety issues? Have they paid any fines in the last five years?
4. Can all the environmental claims be verified?
5. Has the supplier implemented an energy or water efficiency program following a comprehensive audit?
6. Has the supplier conducted a comprehensive waste audit and what waste reduction programs have been implemented?
7. Does the supplier have ISO 14001 certification?
In our next blog, we'll consider product performance...
Please come and visit our Eco Shop at www.greenbuying.co.uk to source environmentally friendly business supplies at keen prices!
by GreenBuying.co.uk | 7 November 2010
Posted 6 November 2010 | | 0 Comments
Hello again, this blog is all about how your organisation can reduce its landfill tax obligation and reduce the amount of environmental damage in the process. Just click on our Scrap Shop link on our homepage then register. You can then promote waste that you wish to dispose of (or that you seek). Other registered users can then get in touch and trade with you to ensure reuse of waste. Oh and did we say that its free to use? Please spread the word!!!
by M Roper | 6 November 2010
Posted 4 November 2010 | | 0 Comments
Are you a UK based company selling genuinely eco friendly products aimed at organisations (as opposed to households)? If so, are you looking for a boost to your sales? Our Eco Shop is waiting for you! Just get in touch and we can discuss how we can work with you - our role is to seek out new suppliers to support our customers.
by M Roper | 4 November 2010
Posted 2 November 2010 | | 0 Comments
Did you know that the world's first standard for sustainable procurement, BS 8903: Principles and Framework for Procuring Sustainably was launched in summer 2010, here in the UK?
Admittedly it didn't arrive with much of a fanfare, but we think it needs serious consideration (but we're bound to say that, being procurement specialists!)
So what is it? Well in a nut shell it provides guidance on the adoption and embedding of sustainable procurement principles and practices - regardless of the size of organisation. It covers all stages of the procurement process and is applicable across industry, public, private and third sector organisations.
We would be interested to hear from anyone who has already started to engage in the process...what are your thoughts and is it likely to deliver its aims of a truly sustainable supply chain?
by M Roper | 2 November 2010
Posted 2 November 2010 | | 0 Comments
I read an interesting report the other day published by the United Nations Global Impact and the consultants, Accenture. It looked at the views of 766 top CEOs around the world in relation to sustainability and the results show that the latest GDP downturn and age of austerity has not dampened the desire to make supply chains more sustainable.
Amazingly, of the 766 interviewed, 80% said that the downturn had made their commitment to sustainability even stronger with an opportunity to save money and help the environment. 81% state that sustainability is a key part of their overall strategies and operations (up from 50% only three years ago when the same survey was undertaken).
The following barriers were identified to progress: complexity across business functions; competing strategic priorities; and lack of recognition from financial markets.
The following five actions were felt to be required for change to occur: shaping customer tastes, training staff, educating the financial markets re the benefits of sustainability, measuring performance and finally working with governments to shape regulation.
The top three elements that CEOs cited for taking action on sustainability are branding, trust and reputation (72% of those surveyed mentioned these). The next most important elements were the potential for cost reduction and revenue growth (44%), personal motivation (42%), consumer demand (39%) and employee engagement and retention (31%).
The majority of those surveyed cited education (72%) and climate change (66%) as the two biggest issues that they faced, followed by resource scarcity and health.
91% of CEOs said they would be investing in new technology to address sustainability over the next five years, particularly relating to improved energy efficiency.
In summary, a good start has been made by top CEOs, with the majority now recognising that sustainability is a key strategic imperative moving forwards. There are however major barriers to be faced and the scale of change required means that a huge shift in thinking and action is needed.
To read the full report, visit https://microsite.accenture.com/sustainability/research_and_insights/Pages/A-New-Era-of-Sustainability.aspx
by M Roper | 2 November 2010
Posted 2 November 2010 | | 0 Comments
So here goes, our very first blog! We'll try and add some relevant news stories relating to our service (e.g. new product launches) or to sustainable purchasing around the globe. We've also added a new Twitter account so please do "tweat" us with ideas and comments about our site or simply follow us for news and views! Follow us at green_buying.
by M Roper | 2 November 2010