Daily Media Briefing 20th July 2012

Daily Media Briefing


Posted in: Community, Daily Media Briefing, Environment, Human Rights, Supply Chain, Sustainable Development

Top Stories

July 20, 2012


WWF praises UK private sector amid government infighting

A deal to supply 300 offshore wind turbines in the UK has highlighted the region's potential to become a leader in offshore renewables, says the WWF. The deal, estimated to be worth €2.5bn, is between electronics giant Siemens and Danish firm Dong Energy. The WWF warned, however, that Government indecision over support for renewable energy was creating uncertainty in a sector which needs to plan investment decisions for the long term. A political standoff between the Treasury and the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) this week led to an important announcement on renewable subsidies being delayed. Last night, a top civil servant at DECC suddenly announced her resignation, although claims that she had been fired were dismissed as “rubbish” by the secretary of state for climate change, Ed Davey. (Edie; The Guardian)

GT and Sainsbury’s announce geothermal projects

GT Energy will today unveil plans to build the UK's largest commercial deep-geothermal heat plant in Manchester, a move that could herald a further four similar developments in the coming months. The Anglo-Irish company intends to drill two wells around 3,000 metres deep in order to supply heat to homes and businesses in the area. The news comes just weeks after GT announced that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with energy giant E.ON to jointly develop up to four urban geothermal heat networks, helping the UK towards the government’s target of producing 5,000GWh of electricity and 32,000GWh of heat from geothermal by 2030. Meanwhile, Sainsbury’s has pledged to power 100 of its supermarkets with underground renewable heat, after signing a deal with E.ON and Geothermal International. Sainsbury’s will install geothermal power plants and ground source heat pumps designed to provide heating, hot water and cooling to stores, potentially cutting the chain’s carbon emissions by 30% by 2020. Neil Sachdev, Sainsbury's property director, hailed the investment as the first of its kind of the retail sector. (BusinessGreen: 1, 2)

International Development

Governments and businesses commit to inclusive growth in Africa

The Second African Women's Economic Summit ended last weekend in Lagos with more than two dozen pledges of support for female economic empowerment. At the summit, businesswomen and gender activists challenged policymakers and corporate organisations to step up measures to promote women empowerment and remove barriers impeding their development. Rwanda has over the years set an example as a country with gender-responsive policies, and currently the country has the highest representation of women in parliament, with 56% women in the lower chamber of parliament. Commitments at the summit included providing education and training; knowledge production and dissemination; and funding for New Faces, New Voices, the women’s organisation which hosted the summit alongside the African Development Bank (AfDB). Donald Kaberuka, AfDB President, said that women had a key role to play as farmers, entrepreneurs, traders and innovators. (AllAfrica)

Supply Chain

Chemical and plastics industries challenge sustainable building principles

The latest skirmish in a decade-old battle broke out this week, as 20 trade groups announced a new coalition to challenge the U.S. Green Building Council’s ‘LEED’ rating system as the dominant standard for sustainable buildings. The new American High-Performance Buildings Coalition includes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Chemistry Council, the Vinyl Institute and the Society of the Plastics Industry, alongside 23 other industry associations. LEED is the most-used green building standard globally, as well as in the United States, where more than 400 cities and communities, 39 states and 14 federal agencies currently require it for federal buildings. The group is lobbying the government to reconsider requiring the LEED standard, stating that proposed amendments regarding PVC and other ‘chemicals of concern’ are “arbitrary” and “not science-based”. (GreenBiz)