Top Stories

July 03, 2012


Concern over climate change progress “grinding to a halt”

The UK’s greenhouse gas emissions fell by 7% in 2011, but not because of any surge in renewable energy or improved carbon savings. Most of the reduction came as a result of higher energy prices, milder weather and lower incomes. Climate change measures accounted for just 0.8% of emissions reductions, according to the independent Committee on Climate Change’s fourth annual report to the UK government. Meanwhile, a similar picture has emerged from the US, where the International Energy Agency reports that a 7.7% fall in emissions since 2006 was largely due to the economic downturn and a substantial switch from coal to gas. Environmental groups have warned that without significant investment in green energy, the trend would not continue in the event of an economic recovery. (Edie; IPS)

MPs give go-ahead to UK’s Green Deal

The UK government's ‘Green Deal’ policy to kick-start mass investment in home insulation has passed the final hurdle to become law, amid growing concern that the scheme has become too costly to succeed. Under the scheme, people will be able to borrow money from the government to make energy-saving home improvements, and make repayments directly through their energy bills. Critics have voiced concerns that high interest rates will make the scheme too costly for large numbers of households, but the government insists that all deals would meet its "golden rule" that repayments must be lower than the expected saving on energy bills. 16 companies signed up to help deliver the Green Deal last October, including British Gas, HSBC and the Kingfisher retail group. (The Guardian)

Corporate Reputation

Campaigners target ethical records of Olympic sponsors

With the London Olympics now just a month away, campaigners have begun stepping up campaigns over what they claim is an attempt by global companies to use the games to "greenwash" their reputation. Olympic sponsors BP, Dow Chemical and the mining group Rio Tinto have been the target of protests and online campaigns. Earlier this month it emerged that Rio Tinto, which has been criticised for its environmental and human rights record, had not been subjected to the same audit as other London 2012 sponsors. All three companies have defended their business practices and say that they are not only investing in the Olympic movement but using their involvement as a springboard for other worthwhile projects, such as a mentoring scheme for young people run by BP. (BusinessGreen)

Inclusive Business

Pearson to fund '$3 a month' private schools

The education giant Pearson has launched a $15 million fund that will invest in low-cost private schools in Africa and Asia, offering lessons for as little as $3 a month per pupil. “Low-cost private schools are cheaper than government schools but often get significantly better results – sometimes twice as good,” said Pearson's chief education adviser Sir Michael Barber, who is chairing the for-profit ‘Affordable Learning Fund’. The Pearson fund's first investment will be in Omega Schools, a private chain in Ghana, which has been developed by the local entrepreneur Ken Donkoh and James Tooley, professor of education policy at Newcastle University. (The Independent)