Top Stories

July 16, 2013

Policy and Research

Proposals to make UK bosses personally liable

Plans to make directors personally liable for repaying failed companies’ debts are to be included in a shake-up of UK corporate law that would impose new duties on bank bosses and strengthen regulators’ powers.  In a speech yesterday at the London Stock Exchange, Vince Cable, the UK business secretary, set out proposals to tackle corporate excess in the wake of the financial crisis. The plans, which are backed by The Confederation of British Industry, come in a ‘Trust and Transparency’ discussion paper that builds on the UK’s pledge at the Group of Eight nations summit in June 2013, to make it harder for companies to hide illegal funds and evade tax. (FT)*

Policy and Consumers

RWE npower says green policies will mean higher energy bills

In a report released today, RWE npower, one of the UK’s big six power suppliers, warns that the UK Government’s green policies will increase consumer costs, stating that energy bills could rise by more than 19 percent by the end of the decade. The UK is set to invest billions of pounds in new power plants and transmission networks following Government measures designed to shift the country to a low carbon economy.  The report states than an average household energy bill could rise by £240 to £1,487 by 2020, resulting from the impact of investment in new infrastructure and the cost of improving energy efficiency in homes.  (FT)*


AkzoNobel achieves water standard for cutting consumption

The UK decorative paints business owned by Dutch multinational AkzoNobel , has become the first company in the DIY and construction industry to achieve the Carbon Trust’s Water Standard certification for reducing water use.  The Carbon Trust, a UK NGO, launched the new certification in February 2013, designed to encourage business action on measuring, managing and reducing water use.  AkzoNobel is the sixth company in the world to be awarded the Carbon Trust Water Standard, which includes Coca-Cola Enterprises Ltd and the UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s.  AkzoNobel has reduced its fresh water use by 26 million cubic metres through a series of reduction measures, including rainwater harvesting, reducing water leakage across manufacturing plants and incorporating waste water into production use. (Edie News)

Samsung continues global renewable energy investment with solar in Canada

The South Korean company Samsung has gone into partnership with Canadian Solar Inc to open a photovoltaic module and power manufacturing plant in London, Ontario.  The facility is part of Samsung’s $5 billion investment in a range of wind and solar projects as the company joins other firms in Ontario’s Green Energy Investment Agreement to phase out the use of coal by 2014. Launched in 2010, the agreement aims to deliver nearly 1,400 megawatts of energy, 300 megawatts of which from solar.  Samsung states that its partnership in the agreement will in the long-term create approximately 9,000 renewable energy projects throughout the province.  (Triple Pundit)

Technology and Innovation

Microsoft launches smart cities initiative

The US corporation Microsoft has launched a new global public service initiative, CityNext, which aims to develop cities across the world into sustainable environments using information technology.  Participating cities include Barcelona, Spain; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Manchester, UK; Moscow, Russia; Hainan Province, China; and Philadelphia in the US.  The French multinational Schneider Electric is one of Microsoft’s partners in this initiative, aiming to increase efficiency across different urban services. The initiative aims to streamline existing resources to build a sustainable model of innovation and support government administration, public safety, healthcare, buildings, tourism, education, transport, energy and water.  Proposed strategies are a cloud enabled service which puts data online to provide real time access and ease departmental sharing and processing.  (Eco-Business)

*Requires subscription