Posts Tagged ‘UK’
Environmental Research Digest – April 2013
UK Soil Association released a report that identifies a number of important trends, opportunities and challenges for the UK organic market. The 2013 Organic market report highlights key areas of growth in online retail, independent outlets and a shift towards younger consumers during 2012.
- Despite the market having dipped by 1.5% as the UK continues through its most challenging economic downturn for many decades, the report predicts a positive future for the UK organic market.
- Organic shoppers are increasingly choosing the convenience and variety offered by home delivery over limited ranges at many supermarkets.
- Independent outlets saw a 0.7% increase in sales, covering box schemes, mail order, farm and health-food shops, farmers’ markets and catering.
- Reduced availability of organic products in various supermarkets has affected the market both in the short term, and looking at future growth.
- Box scheme, home-delivery and mail-order sales increased by 4.4% to £174.3 million.
UK Soil Association
Social Research Digest – February 2013
The report by the UK Institution of Mechanical Engineers highlights how up to half of the four billion metric tons of food is wasted each year and offers recommendations on how to tackle this challenge. This report spotlights developing and developed nations.
- Rising population in tandem with improved nutrition standards and changing dietary preferences will wield pressure for increases in global food supply.
- The United Nations predicts that by the end of the century there could be an extra three billion people to feed.
- The aforementioned projection means that social, economic, environmental and political issues that need to be addressed to ensure a sustainable future for all.
- In less developed countries (i.e. sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia) wastage tends to occur primarily at the farmer producer end of the supply chain.
- In fully developed nations (such as UK) is associated with modern consumer culture where produce is wasted through retail and consumer behavior.
- Between 30% and 50% of what has been bought in developed countries is thrown away by the purchaser.
- Wasting food means losing resources, such as land, water and energy.
- The potential to provide 60-100% more food by eliminating losses, freeing up land, energy and water resources for other uses.
- It is recommended:
- The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) works with international engineering community.
- Governments of rapidly developing counties incorporate waste minimization thinking into the transport infrastructure.
- Governments in developed nations devise and implement policy that changes consumer expectations.
UK Institution of Mechanical Engineers
Social Research Digest – February 2013
This report details the opportunities available for new bio-based energy sources, transport fuels, or chemicals. The focus of the report is on the UK and is launched to coincide with the opening of the UK’s largest showcase of industrial biotechnology in London.
- Potential breakthroughs in industrial biotech in the UK could witness is to become a £12bn industry by 2012, however, a lack of investment and active opposition to genetically modified (GM) must be addressed if the sector is to reach its full potential.
- By 2015 the global market for technologies across industry, agriculture, forestry, healthcare, and manufacturing could be anywhere between £150bn and £360bn.
- Given the UK’s strong record in science and innovation and Europe’s leading position in development of biotechnology and feedstocks, its share could encompass £4bn to £12bn of this.
- The UK needs to establish a framework to support industrial biotech that is beyond focusing on biofuels.
- Unlike the UK, the US spends nearly 10 times more on biotech research and development
- A problem facing biotech firms that aim to produce fuel and food is the polemic associated with such technologies such as the activists arguing energy crops crowd out agricultural production and can cross-pollinate with food crops.
- The report sets out a template for corporations working in the sector to build trust, tips on delivering and promoting environmental benefits.
- The Industrial biotech industry is a young industry and a part of overcoming barriers is to ensure it meets highest possible sustainability standards.
Forum for the Future
Social Research Digest – January 2013
A report by Co-operative Group examines the UK markets for ethical goods and services in 2011. The report has been produced since 1999 and acts as a barometer of ethical spending in the UK.
- The request for ethical consumer goods and services continued to grow despite the economic recession, with the total market edging up to £47.2bn.
- Although ethical consumers are vitally important agents of change, the recent expansion of the market has been driven by an increase in the number firms switching to key products into ethical categories.
- In order for sustainable solutions to endure, it requires a government committed to long-term interventions.
- The market has increased more than three times since 1999. Accordingly, the increase means that average household spends £989 a year on ethical goods and services.
- Businesses beginning to respond to the challenge to provide ` with more sustainable products and services.
- This is evidenced and supported by figures illustrating that the sales of ethical food and drink rose 7.8% in 2011 to £7.5bn with fair-trade, Rainforest Alliance and Organic certified products.
- Sales of green home products rose 10.6% to £8.4bn.
- Sales of eco-travel and transport rose 11.8% to £3.1bn with sales of the most efficient cars up 29% to just over £1bn.
- The report confirmed that despite the economic downturn, the sustainability and ethical sector—which was predicted by experts to suffer—is healthy and growing.
- In order for the efforts of responsible business and ethical consumers to endure, sustainable solutions require a government committed to long-term intervention.
The Co-operative Group
Environmental Research Digest – November 2012
Deloitte analysed the potential of biomass in meeting UK energy security and emissions-related targets. Deloitte modelled the attractiveness of biomass projects to investors, focusing on its role in decarbonising the UK power sector.
- Biomass could contribute far more than the fifth of UK electricity it is expected to deliver by the end of the 2020s
- Clear regulation and sustainability safeguards could help biomass provide over a fifth of UK electricity by 2020.
- Burning woodchip or pellets could play a significant role in meeting climate targets and improving UK energy security, allowing the biomass sector to meet or exceed the 21 per cent of electricity share it is expected to provide by 2030 under the UK government’s Bioenergy Strategy.
- Biomass could go beyond this figure through further conversions of coal-fired plants, many of which are currently set for closure by the end of 2015 under EU air quality regulations.
- Converting existing coal-fired plants to run on biomass can “provide attractive returns for investors” and be competitive with other renewable technologies, while providing reliable base-load power that may be lost as EU pollution laws force fossil fuel plants to close.
- Companies including Drax, the UK’s largest power plant, have been encouraged to make the switch to biomass after the government confirmed subsidies for converted coal plants and those co-firing biomass and coal under the Renewables Obligation scheme earlier this year.
- The success of the biomass sector rests on it being able to overcome a number of obstacles to investment, including regulatory uncertainty, feedstock availability, sustainability, and financing.
- UK plant owners could adopt voluntary certification schemes and establishing their own sustainability criteria to further increase investor confidence.
- If the biomass industry is to have a major role in decarbonising the UK power sector, then the sector needs a clear and consistent regulatory regime from government, which has yet to decide what level of subsidy biomass will receive.
- The report also highlights five issues that need to be resolved before biomass can achieve its true potential: Regulation – the sector needs long-term confidence and stability from Government, Availability of fuel – both from domestic sources and imports, Sustainability credentials – to be credible, the biomass industry must avoid damaging local environments and deliver substantial greenhouse gas savings, Supply chain – the industry relies heavily on ports, rail freight and other import infrastructure, Financing – conversion projects of existing station rely on private finance, which itself relies on a predictable public policy environment
Social Research Digest – October 2012
This report highlights specific areas of opportunity where UK companies can participate in Brazil’s growing economy in ways that facilitate low carbon development. By studying the Brazilian context and matching low carbon opportunities with areas of strong UK competitive advantage, authors used a methodology to produce a list of six subsectors in which there is especially significant commercial opportunity for UK business.
- Opportunities were highlighted across six sectors: waste management, water treatment, airports and aerospace, automotive, ethanol and biomass, and buildings and sports infrastructure.
- Specifically, it noted potential for rapid growth in the anaerobic digestion sector, as well as a growing demand for sustainable construction products and services from Brazilian firms.
- There was a particular opportunity presented by Brazil’s plans for a wide range of low carbon infrastructure projects relating to the Football World Cup in 2014 and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
- Brazil has been designated as one of UKTI’s High Growth Markets because of its broad and sophisticated industrial base and its vibrant economy that is opening up to trade and foreign investment.
- UK businesses command a world-leading position for low carbon technologies and services, and the two countries’ strengthening trade relationship is set to enhance bilateral commerce in the emerging green marketplace.
1. Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Scaling up Business Solutions
WBCSD has issued a series of concrete sustainable solutions from some of the largest companies in the world with the launch of Biodiversity and ecosystem services: scaling up business solutions. Read more
2. UNEP Global Chemicals Outlook
UN Environment Program analyzed the major economic and humanitarian damage arising worldwide from poor chemicals management. Read more
3. UK Waste Crime Report 2011-2012
UK Environment Agency’s first evidence-based report reveals the latest developments in waste crime prosecutions. Read more
4. UK Green Economy Report
Green Alliance monitored the dynamics of green employment, revenues, exports and infrastructure investment in the UK. Read more
5. Global Opportunities in the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Recycling Services Market
Analysts Frost & Sullivan point to the positive trends of the waste recycling sector in the last 4 years. Read more
6. Green Power Partnerships Ranking
The Top Partner Rankings highlight the annual green power use of leading organizations within the United States and across individual industry sectors. Read more
Environmental Research Digest – September 2012
Green Alliance monitored the dynamics of green employment, revenues, exports and infrastructure investment in the UK. The study summarises the current state of the green economy, making a comparison between low-carbon and high-carbon industries.
- UK’s green economy has been consistently growing at between four and five per cent since the financial crisis of 2008.
- Low-carbon industries are now among the UK’s largest employers, accounting for almost 10 per cent of economic activity.
- 939,600 people are employed in low-carbon and environmental jobs with other sectors, revealing that the green economy has a significantly higher workforce than the auto industry, which employs just over half a million people, and the telecommunications sector, which employs just 212,900 people.
- The top 20 low-carbon infrastructure projects in the pipeline planned for 2012-13 will deliver £23bn of investment, including £14.5bn of public investment, £7bn of public/private investment and just £1.4bn of public investment.
- In contrast, high-carbon infrastructure accounts for just £3.1bn of projects, including £1.9bn of public investment.
- UK exported low-carbon and environmental goods and services to 52 countries in 2010-11, totalling £11.8bn, while delivering a green trade surplus worth £1bn from its six largest trade partners.
- “One third of all global asset finance investment in new energy deals between 2007 and 2012 received both legal and financial advice from the UK” (quoting Bloomberg New Energy Finance).