Top Stories

March 03, 2015


Report: National Bank of Abu Dhabi says it’s time to invest in clean energy

A report released by the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) suggests the Persian Gulf is now at the centre of the drive for cheap, efficient and clean energy. The report states that while oil and gas has underpinned almost all energy investments until now, future investment will be almost entirely in renewable energy sources. The report, prepared in conjunction with Masdar, the Abu Dhabi government’s renewable energy arm, The University of Cambridge and PwC, says the Gulf has a real opportunity to lead the world in renewables, deploying its considering financial weight, and by exporting its technology know-how. The NABD argues that fossil fuels can no longer compete with solar technologies on price – even at $10/barrel for oil – and says the vast bulk of the $48 trillion needed to meet global power demand over the next two decades will come from renewables. The thinking is consistent with broader trends within the Gulf; last month, Saudi Arabia said that the end of the oil era was already on the horizon. (Renew Economy)


M&S debuts UK’s largest rooftop solar array

UK retailer Marks & Spencer has set a new record for the solar industry, after completing the installation of the UK’s largest single roof-mounted solar array at its East Midlands distribution centre in Castle Donington. The company said the array of 24,272 solar panels will deliver more than 5,000MWh of electricity a year, enough to deliver about a quarter of the facility’s power. The project, which represents the latest milestone in M&S’ high-profile Plan A sustainability programme, is also expected to cut carbon emissions by 48,000 tonnes over the next 20 years. Hugo Adams, director of property at M&S, said the project represented the first in a series of new solar installations across the company’s estate as it seeks to meet its target of sourcing 100 per cent of its electricity for UK and Ireland buildings from renewable sources by 2020, with half coming from small-scale renewable projects. (BusinessGreen)


BAT draws up battle lines over UK cigarette packaging changes

British American Tobacco is poised to sue the UK government if it forces companies to remove branding from cigarette packaging. The maker of Dunhill and Lucky Strike cigarettes said it would take legal action if the UK followed the lead of Australia and introduced plain packaging next month. “Like any business, If you’re forced into a position where the government takes your property, whether it’s a big company like BAT or a small shop that’s losing its building, either business would be forced into a position of bringing a legal action and seeking compensation,” said Jerome Abelman, BAT’s director of corporate and legal affairs. A vote on the measures is expected in March before the UK parliament dissolves ahead of the general election. Ireland is also pressing ahead with plans to introduce the measures. (Financial Times*)


Starbucks starting new ‘social impact’ media company

Starbucks is launching its own media company that will produce long-form documentaries, focusing on social justice issues — with an initial focus on veterans’ issues. The Washington Post’s Rajiv Chandrasekaran will be leaving to help form the new venture. The partnership is rooted in Chandrasekaran’s 2014 book about veterans, For Love of Country, which he co-authored with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. Chandrasekaran insists the new venture is not a public relations or marketing machine, but is Starbucks and Howard Schultz “recognizing the power of storytelling and wanting to help contribute to the national understanding around a set of key issues.” The plan is to start small, working with documentarians from film or television on specific projects, and later bring on additional business partners — and branch out to different topics. However, Starbucks has not yet made any official announcements about the project, or its specifics. (Sustainable Brands)

Circular Economy

Report: Centre of Excellence needed to support UK remanufacturing

The UK is lagging behind other developed nations in harnessing the value of remanufacturing and needs its own “Centre of Excellence” to support the rapidly-growing industry, according to a new report from a coalition including The Carbon Trust, Innovate UK‘s Knowledge Transfer Network and Coventry University. The report claims that remanufacturing currently contributes around £2.4 billion to the British economy, but with appropriate support through a Centre of Excellence, this could be increased to more than £5.6 billion. Aside from the broader economic benefit, remanufacturing also offers a ‘triple win’ to consumers, manufacturers and the environment, the authors claim. The cost to remanufacture a product is typically 40-65% less than the production of a new product, while remanufacturing typically uses 85% less energy than manufacturing and globally offsets more than 800,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emission a year. (Edie)