28 March 2009

We have switched off our lights for Earth Hour,did you?

Here we sit in beautiful candlelight and reflect on a major global effort to unite the world and protest .
Listen to our voices.
We care about our planet.

27 March 2009

Royal Mail goes green with hydrogen fuel cell technology

Royal Mail, the postal operating authority for the United Kingdom is working with CENEX , PostEurop, the association of European public postal operators, and FuelCellEurope, the European association of fuel cell developers to develop a universal design specification for hydrogen fuel cell postal vans. Once a draft design specification has been developed Royal Mail intends to share the design brief with all the other European postal operators for input in order for it to be presented to major vehicle manufacturers around the world for consideration and to stimulate main stream construction at relatively affordable prices.

Dr Martin Blake, the Royal Mail's Head of Sustainability stated “ we clearly see hydrogen fuel cell technology as the future means of small and medium vehicle propulsion in the not too distant future, it is now just a question of seeing which one of the major motor manufacturers can bring such fuel cell commercial vehicles to market in large numbers and reasonable prices first”.

Patrick Maio, FuelCellEurope’s Executive Director commented: “ We are delighted that a leading European public postal service operator such as Royal Mail in UK is taking the lead to propose common technical specifications for small hydrogen fuel cell delivery vans. This is an important step forward in terms of recognition of the hydrogen fuel cell technology as a tangible solution for high rotation transport fleets. Whether the solution will come from Europe or to Europe is for us to respond now as an industry. Indeed we are talking about replacing vehicle fleets of tens of thousands of units in the next coming years, and the postal service business is very serious about radical greenhouse gas emission reductions and energy efficiency improvement. Now is the time for European fuel cell developers and global automobile manufacturers to put their act together, partner and take on this challenge. We are delighted to be associated with this initiative and will work hand in hand with Royal Mail, Cenex and PostEurop to try to make this initiative a great success”

Philippe Hlavacek, Chair for Social Responsibility of PostEurop added : “At Posteurop we are year after year more and more involved to improve the eco-efficiency of the postal operators. We have launched different projects such as the Green House Gas Reduction Program that includes an up to date measurement protocol or the Green Post Project to test an electric and hybrid vehicle for the delivery of mail - among initiatives carried out by our members and their share of best practice. With the hydrogen fuel cell technology, Royal Mail proposes another innovative step forward to reduce our carbon footprint in the area of transport. I have no doubt that PostEurop and other actors from the postal sector will take up the challenge and will encourage and promote this initiative all over the European postal members, as the interest shown by postal operators is a key factor to partner successfully with the industry.”

Cenex CEO Robert Evans said: “UK Government policy is leading the global shift to a low carbon economy, and developing a commercial market for fuel cell technologies is a key part of this effort. Along with helping to tackle the climate change targets and security of energy supply challenges, fuel cell technologies represent significant market opportunities for the UK’s strong capability base. As one of the country’s largest fleet operators, we are very encouraged that the Royal Mail has taken a leading role in furthering the development and wide-scale deployment of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.”

Can we do more than just switch our lights off for Earth Hour 2009

Can we do more than just switch our lights off at 8.30pm to 9.30pm local time for Earth Hour 2009?
In what do we mean "do more".To switch our lights off is one huge way to show a united front against climate change.Its a simple action that we all can do,however big or small,whoever we are.We are showing the planet that we do care about it.
Yet what more can we do.
We can put pressure on our Govts to make the changes that really do impact on our lives.The Govt is not a "higher being" that cannot be touched but the Govt is elected by the people,for the people.It is mean't to listen to the concerns of its people and we all need to get our Govts to LISTEN.
We are all important,we all have a voice and we can make a difference.
Don't think that by just switching your lights off for Earth Hour that you have done your bit but do more,contact your local Govts,central Govts and make yourself heard.
We ask for more renewable energy,we ask for education ,change of attitudes.
We want to turn our Earth back on and thats our aim.

26 March 2009

Earth Day 22nd April 2009

As we approach Earth Hour we also have another event on our horizon.It is Earth Day and it will be on April 22nd.
If you happen to be in the Washington DC area on Sunday April 19th why not head to the National Mall as the Earth Day Network will be holding an event.

Earth Hour and Edward Norton

Earth and Edward, the two Es that go together and help promote Earth Hour .Earth Hour is an opportunity to make the world think between 8.30pm and 9.30pm local time to switch off.To not use energy for one hour and make a difference.
Its more than a mere gesture it takes alot of organising,preparation and time to switch off major landmarks.
So advertising the event and making everyone aware is also an important aspect.
We ask ourselves
"What will it matter if I don't bother to switch off for one hour"
Yet it does matter,because we all matter.We do all contribute to global climate change in one way or another but just trying to make a difference,just one small action really does add up,it really does.

Please think about what you are doing between 8.30 and 9.30 pm on Saturday.

23 March 2009

"Going green might cost a lot but refusing to act now will cost us the Earth."-President Mohammed Nasheed,Maldives.

President Mohammed Nasheed wants to make the Maldives carbon neutral.The Maldives will use solar and wind power to provide their islands with energy.President Mohammed Nasheed no longer wants energy to come from oil and he wants his Islands to show an example to the world.
The Maldives is under threat from rising sea water levels due to climate change but it is not the only group of islands in the world that is under threat.The Scilly islands that are just off the coast of western Britain are also under threat.

We cannot ignore the fact that many of our beautiful islands will no longer exist as the Earth warms.People will have lost their homes,history and livelyhoods.They will have to find a new place to live and the world just becomes smaller as the land disappears.
Lets make the changes now.

20 March 2009

EARTH HOUR 28th March 2009



"It goes way beyond turning off the lights," said Roberts of the WWF. "The message we want people to take away is that it is within our power to solve this problem. People can take positive constructive actions."

9 March 2009

The Little Green Lunch Bag

Boots and ‘diet Coke’ join forces to launch recycled and reusable ‘Meal Deal’ lunch bag

Boots and ‘diet Coke’ have teamed up to create the ‘Little Green Lunch Bag’, exclusively for Boots ‘Meal Deals’. The small textile bag is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles and, with a pretty butterfly design, it is a stylish alternative to a carrier bag.

As we have less time to spend on leisurely lunches, the new ‘dash-and-carry’ lunch offer provides a cheerful solution for time-poor workers. Fans of the credit-crunch-busting Boots ‘Meal Deal’ will be able to pick up the bag for just £1 and re-use it every time they grab lunch. It’s small enough to roll up and keep in your handbag so you can take it with you every time you hit the high street.

Boots ‘Meal Deal’ is one of the nation’s best value for money lunch options and the ‘Little Green Lunch Bag’ is its first recycling initiative with the soft drinks giant ‘Coca-Cola’. The clever little bag demonstrates how plastic bottles can be recycled and reused. The bottles are shredded into flakes that are then melted before being processed into granulates which are used to make the bag.

The initiative is part of Coca-Cola Great Britain’s campaign challenging us all to reduce the plastic that we throw away. Boots is also committed to substantially reducing its carbon footprint. Ian Blythe, Boots Corporate Social Responsibility Manager explains: “Climate change is such an important issue that we all need to be looking for those simple changes that will help make a difference. Within Boots we're continuing to drive changes that reduce energy and fuel consumption throughout our supply chain. ‘The Little Green Lunch Bag’ is a great example of a simple step change we can all take to make a difference, and a great example of collaboration between two of the nation’s favourite brands.”

Claire Murray, Shopper Marketing Manager, Coca-Cola Enterprises, adds: “These new lunch bags are made from the equivalent of two 500ml plastic bottles. This is a clear example of how important recycling is to ‘Coca-Cola’ - ‘the act of helping a bottle re-fulfill its destiny and become something great again’”.

Did you know that for every five Boots ‘Meal Deals’ purchased, you get the sixth one free? (You must claim your free meal within a calendar month). The ‘Little Green Lunch Bag’ is available from 12th March at all Boots ‘Meal Deal’ stores. Pick one up next time you grab your lunch and you’ll be doing your bit for the environment. Stylishly simple!

2 March 2009

Why Denmark can show the world that renewable energy is the future

Denmark is a beautiful country.Copenhagen is a wonderful city.We think of Hans Christian Anderson and his mermaid.Yet Denmark is also remarkable in the way it has taken to renewable energy sources.
How did this happen?
In 1973 Denmark was hit by an oil crisis.90% of Denmarks energy came from petroleum.In dealing with this crisis,a shortage of oil it decided it had to conserve energy.It introduced car-free Sundays,asking businesses to switch off lights during closing hours.
When the oil shortage was no more and Denmark didn't have to worry about conserving energy anymore,it didn't just go back to the way it had been.The oil shortage had proved to be a valuable lesson for the country and its people.It wanted greater energy efficiency.It didn't want to have all its energy needs coming from one source.
Denmark began to invest in wind power.Vestas,a Danish company has become a global leader in building wind turbines.Denmark now gets 19% of its electricity from wind.Denmarks carbon emissions are down.
Denmark doesn't just use its wind power ,power plants recycle waste energy from their operations to homes and businesses.Many houses and farms in Denmark have solar panels.Denmark is also interested in promoting an electric car and plans to construct a network of charging stations.
Denmark is showing the world that renewable energy can work and it can make a difference.
Copenhagen will host the U.N. climate change talks this December and they are better qualified than most to show that it is possible to change.

How green is your office?

New research has revealed that UK offices are holding back their workers from being environmentally friendly. A YouGov research poll has exposed that, despite office workers being keen to make a positive difference when it comes to the environment, they are being held back by a lack of empowerment and facilities. Key facts emerging from the research include:

· 3 out of 4 of us think that we are leaving our green efforts at home DESPITE 79% of UK office workers believing that being environmentally responsible at work has a big impact on the environment.

· 92% of office workers believe that it is important for UK companies to be environmentally responsible BUT only 51% of us say our company has a green policy in place AND only 54% think their company does enough towards the environment.

· 48% of us don’t have the right office equipment to be environmentally friendly AND 45% say we lack the power to do anything about it.

In response to the findings, this week office expert Avery® is mobilising the UK’s office workforce by launching the first ever Green Office Week, 2nd - 6th March 2009. Designed to empower workers to be able to make a positive impact on the environment while in the office, the event will unite offices up and down the country in an effort to change the way we work. To see how you can make a difference, log on to www.greenofficeweek.eu

Read the full, detailed report below, including a regional breakdown of office differences from across the country.


Environment not on the Office Agenda

3 out of 4 of us think that we are leaving our green efforts at home DESPITE 79% of UK office workers believing that being environmentally responsible at work has a big impact on the environment.

A YouGov poll has revealed the startling fact that most Britons feel their offices are betraying their environmental efforts at home despite workers wanting to make a difference. The independent survey, conducted on behalf of office products experts Avery, found that 75% of office workers thought that they were less environmentally friendly in the office than at home, despite 79% believing that being ecologically responsible at work has a significant and positive impact on the environment. Frustratingly, a lack of empowerment, facilities, education, communication and company apathy were all cited as major reasons for the surprising findings.

Leading Eco-expert, Nicky Amos, urged offices to start prioritising the environment: “We spend a third of our lives at work, and businesses are responsible for 40% of the UK’s carbon emission, compared with 27% from the home – so it’s vital that offices start to take action. Employees in the workplace hold the key to meaningful change by simply adapting their behaviour at work and they must be allowed to do so.”

Doing Things by Halves

92% of office workers believe that it is important for UK companies to be environmentally responsible BUT only 51% of us say our company has a green policy in place AND only 54% think their company does enough towards the environment.

Remarkably, only half of those surveyed said their companies had any formal green policies in place. And, despite 92% of office workers surveyed thinking that it was important for UK companies to be environmentally responsible, only half thought that their company did enough towards the environment, thereby disempowering their efforts. Examining the results, psychologist Donna Dawson explained: “There was a feeling emanating from the research that people are confused about just what exactly they should be doing to be ‘greener’, especially in the face of an uncommitted company. Feeling empowered at work stems, firstly, from whether the company has a formal green policy in place and, secondly, on how well that policy is implemented and how open the company is to green suggestions from their workers.”

Amos said: “Like it or not, the environment is on everyone’s agenda. These findings suggest that companies are generally poor at communicating their policies to employees or making them part of their culture. Green housekeeping should form the cornerstone of any company’s environmental agenda, yet many offices fail to bring their approach to life for employees or empower their workforce by making environmental responsibility a part of employee workplace practices or company culture.”

Green with Envy?

Interestingly, the survey revealed that office workers in Scotland are 48% more likely to feel their company does enough towards the environment than their Southern counterparts, meaning that for every two people in the South that are happy with their company’s green credentials, there is one more eco-happy office worker in Scotland! However, this is not to say that Southerners take their environmental responsibility any less seriously or that the grass is necessarily greener on the other side! Instead, this may simply reflect the expectations and standards that Southerner’s place on their companies to be green. In fact, the survey demonstrates that workers in the South feel it is more important that their companies act green than in any other region.

Disappointingly, Londoners place the least importance on having a green office, with the lowest percentage of workers thinking that being green in the office has a big impact on the environment. However, in light of the survey, the real cause of such apathy might actually be rooted in their respective lack of power - when it comes to ensuring their office is environmentally-friendly, Londoners are 52% more likely to feel disempowered by their bosses. Perhaps it’s no coincidence then that in the Midlands and Wales, where office workers feel more empowered, they consider themselves to be more environmentally friendly at work than at home.

In terms of facilities and equipment, it’s the South that’s lagging behind. Workers in Scotland are 46% more likely than those in the South to feel that they have the facilities and equipment needed to be environmentally-friendly. Irrespective of where we work, the overriding theme for all of us is that we must be encouraged and allowed to do more, with Dawson arguing: “People are confused about just exactly what they should be doing to be greener, especially in the face of an uncommitted company.”

The Green League

My company does enough to help the environment:

1. Scotland

2. Midlands and Wales

3. London

4. North

5. South

My boss empowers me to be green at work:

1. Midlands and Wales

2. Scotland

3. South

4. North

5. London

It’s important that UK companies are green:

1. South

2. Midlands and Wales

3. North

4. Scotland

5. London

I have the facilities and equipment to be green at work:

1. Scotland

2. London

3. Midlands and Wales

4. North

5. South

Tools of the Trade

48% of us don’t have the right office equipment to be environmentally friendly AND 45% say we lack the power to do anything about it.

Interestingly, almost half of office workers surveyed stated that there were not sufficient facilities and equipment in place to enable them to do their bit for the environment, irrespective of their intentions to do so. Dawson explains that this can be the green office’s undoing, no matter how positive its environmental targets. “A company may have an environmental policy in place, but if there isn’t the equipment or facilities to implement the policy, then it is as bad as not having a policy at all and will hamper worker’s efforts.” Amos agrees with the importance of offices providing the right facilities, noting the example of “IT literate employees who recognise the role that equipment can play in helping to green the workplace – from double sided printing options to video-conferencing.”

Questions as to why office workers lack the right facilities to help the environment indicate that they simply don’t have the authority to make a difference despite most wanting to, as 45% stated that they are held back by their bosses not empowering them with the ability to be environmentally-friendly. Often this adds to the threat of a long-term rebound effect which could mean that the apathy experienced at work could transfer to apathy in the home, with office workers giving into a sense of helplessness.

Office supplies companies are well aware of the importance of providing products that help both the environment and business. Marc Pinner of Avery said: “When considering that 80% of the world’s original old growth forests have been logged or severely degraded, you can see why companies such as ourselves are taking our responsibilities seriously, working with established third parties to ensure that what remains of our natural heritage is protected. The priority for Avery has been to provide office workers with eco-friendly products that don’t compromise on quality so that choosing them is good for business and good for the environment.”

Office Evolution: The Natural Selection for Business Benefits

70% of office waste is recyclable BUT only 8% is actually recycled.

Amos was not completely surprised by the findings and urges offices to buck the trend and revolutionise themselves. She said: “In my experience, blue collar workers are more likely to work in companies and industries where environmental responsibility is very highly rated – and even more heavily regulated – than in companies employing white collar workers. As a result, for many of us, our efforts at home are undone when we go to work.”

For Amos, it’s the little things that make all the difference. For example, 70% of office waste is recyclable but only 8% ever makes it as far as a recycling bin. What’s more, going green has many benefits that some businesses are missing out on. “It saves businesses money, fits with our modern values, helps us to follow a healthier lifestyle and, nowadays, is hassle-free. With the price of oil, gas and electricity escalating, along with the rising costs of raw materials, it has never been a more critical time for offices to take definitive action.”

Becoming a Green Office!

5 quick tips to green your workplace and to help you on your office on its way to becoming green:

1. Put plants in the office to literally green your workplace! Not only do they look good, but plants can reduce air pollution in enclosed spaces.

2. Choose recyclable products and paper and wood products that are FSC-certified, to guarantee that they come from sustainable sources.

3. Set up a green ideas scheme to encourage and reward colleagues who come up with energy saving and other green ideas.

4. Use labels to stick over existing labels on envelopes then re-use them.

5. Avoid disposable products such as paper towels, paper plates and paper cups.

For loads more tips and advice, log on to www.greenofficeweek.eu this Green Office Week!

Turned On by the Environment?

To increase awareness of the issue and to empower the UK’s office workers to make a difference, Avery is launching the first ever Green Office Week, March 2nd – 6th 2009. To join forces with offices across the country and to find out more about how you can make a difference, log on to www.greenofficeweek.eu