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Aldersgate Group welcomes two new directors

30th September 2014

The Aldersgate Group is delighted to confirm two new appointments to our Board of Directors: Mark Gough, Head of Sustainability at The Crown Estate, and Luke Herbert, Head of UK Government Affairs at Jaguar Land Rover.

Both have been involved in Aldersgate Group activities through their employers' membership of the Group.

Mark Gough said: "I am really thrilled to be joining one of the most progressive organisations in the UK. With new leadership and building upon a really strong foundation this is an exciting time for the Aldersgate Group and I am honoured to be a part of it. We have a lot to do, but I am confident that the team, members and supporters will rise to the challenge and move us closer towards a sustainable economy that works."

Luke Herbert said: "In my time working across business and in government affairs, I have seen the huge contribution that business can make in innovation and delivery to improve the environment and delivery jobs and growth. The Aldersgate Group has constantly impressed me in its ability to bring progressive business, policymakers and those with an environmental interest together around a common agenda. As the UK moves to the next stage of action on climate change whilst seeking to have an even more competitive economy, the need for the Aldersgate Group could not be greater. I greatly look forward to supporting the work of the Group in this role."

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Business to business partnerships to drive climate development

24th September 2014

A new report and series of pilot projects finds that business can play a leading role in leveraging their strengths to deliver the combined outcomes of greater opportunity for the poor, benefits for the climate and resilience against physical climate changes.

Written by the Aldersgate Group and DfiD-supported Climate Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), the report finds that business-to-business partnerships can create the conditions for transformational change, through the creation of climate resilient global supply chains, opening up new markets and creating jobs and income, or developing innovative and scalable solutions to tackling emissions and poverty.

These partnerships can be effectively supported by strategic and targeted aid, turning climate and development opportunity into climate and development success. Directly following the publication of the report, four pilot projects have been funded by DfiD, including renewable energy village power in Sub Saharan Africa, energy efficiency for businesses in Peru and decentralised energy access in rural India.

Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “Our study shows that with the right incentives and support, business-to-business partnerships can be a valuable tool to mitigate climate change, build resilience, and alleviate poverty, a win-win-win! We are delighted that this has led to four pilot projects around the world to help further test the concept and build the evidence base.”


Government is "running out of options"

16th September 2014

Andrew Raingold, the Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, has told the Environmental Audit Committee that the Government is "running out of options" to deliver on its pledge to be the greenest government ever "if there is less Government spending available (and) if there is less appetite to regulate". He said that greater leadership was required to drive "sensible" fiscal reform and "best value" public procurement. 

As an oral witness to the Committee's inquiry on An Environmental Scorecard, Mr Raingold said: "A priority for the next Government should be sensible fiscal reform which seeks to raise taxes on damaging activities like pollution and reduce taxes on beneficial activities like work. The Office for National Statistics shows that the proportion of environmental taxation has fallen during this Parliament. If this trend were reversed over the next five years and delivered in a smart way, there would be benefits for growth, jobs and wellbeing."

The report gives the Government a ‘red card’ for its efforts to reduce health-damaging air pollution, protect biodiversity and prevent flooding in a scorecard assessment of its green policies during this Parliament.

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Mike Barry wins the Dragons' Den

11th September 2014

Mike Barry, Director of Sustainable Business at M&S, was voted the winner at the Aldersgate Group's UN Climate Summit Dragons Den. The event heard from a series of business leaders who met the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s challenge to make bold pledges to close the emissions gap and deliver a low carbon economy.

He said: “There is no single thing that governments can work out in a smoke filled room in New York, Paris or anywhere else that will change business. Governments have to invite business to the table to work with them".

"My challenge is that governments should invite the big industrial sectors of the global economy to come to Paris in 15 months time to show how they are going to reduce by 80% the carbon in their business models, in their supply chains and operations and consumer use of their products. Also, they need to turn up with a plan to show how they are going to scale that across the millions of companies within their sectors.”

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Government must do more to realise growth opportunities of natural capital

5th September 2014

The Aldersgate Group welcomes the wide acceptance of the work of the business-led Ecosystems Markets Task Force (EMTF) set out in the Government’s response published on 5th September. But while the Government has favoured the vast majority of the recommendations, the actions described could fall well short of delivering the contribution to growth and business opportunity that ambitious implementation of the EMTF's carefully crafted suggestions would make.

Peter Young, Chairman of the Aldersgate Group and a member of the EMTF said: “The business opportunities highlighted by the EMTF will not be realised if Government is not prepared to make them tangible and secure for investment in new nature based markets. For example, it is vital that the current consultation on biodiversity offsetting does not result in a voluntary scheme which, the published Impact Assessment shows, will deliver absolutely nothing for growth. It would be a massive missed opportunity which has been estimated to be worth £450 million over the next decade. I am pleased that there will be the opportunity to scrutinise progress on all 22 recommendations next spring.”

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Aldersgate Group appoints new Executive Director

3rd September 2014

The Aldersgate Group is delighted to confirm the appointment of Nick Molho as its new Executive Director. Nick replaces Andrew Raingold who is standing down after more than seven years leading the organisation. 

Molho is currently Head of Climate Change and Energy Policy at WWF. He is an environmental lawyer who started his career at CMS Cameron McKenna, where he spent six years working on commercial energy law for a range of international businesses, regulators and governments. At WWF he has continued building connections with the private sector, recently managing a joint statement in The Times that was signed by 110 businesses and industry organisations in support of the Fourth Carbon Budget. A regular public speaker, Molho also writes for a range of outlets such as The Economist Insights, Business Green and the Huffington Post.

Peter Young, Chair of the Aldersgate Group said: “Andy has done a fantastic job for Aldersgate Group and when he leaves in October he should take huge pride in the journey he has led us on, since our inception eight years ago. But we have always exploited every challenge as an opportunity to take our agenda forward and this is no exception.

“I am delighted to welcome Nick Molho as our new Executive Director. He comes with a wealth of experience in developing evidence-based policy positions, engaging with business, delivering transformation and communicating to a mass audience. His arrival is perfect timing, as we launch our An Economy That Works campaign and gear up towards making the next Government a green success. He will bring us new momentum and experience, and I expect us to go to from strength to strength under his leadership.’

Nick Molho said: “I have long been a supporter of the Aldersgate Group and its ethos that environmental policies must sit above everyday party politics and can play a key role in improving the competitiveness of our economy. The current political and financial climate has proved this point many times over and this makes the Aldersgate Group one of the most important and exciting bodies to be leading today.”

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We need a repayment plan for nature

3rd September 2014

The Chairman of the Aldersgate Group, Peter Young, has said we need a repayment plan to address the natural capital debt. Delivering the closing remarks at RSPB's Conference for Nature alongside other keynote speeches from Sir David Attenborough and the Rt Hon Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister, he said that the debt to nature was far worse than the financial debt.  

Peter Young said: "If the Greek debt crisis looked bad our natural capital debt is even more grave. The plant will become truly bankrupt if we don't start reducing it soon. We need a credible repayment plan to start restoring nature now."

"The next government must act for nature. New legislation to halt destruction and start recovery, a clear long term remit for the Natural Capital Committee Mk II, and consistent linkage between the health of the individual, the economy and nature in policy making would do it for me. It is time to halt the selfish complacency of procrastination which politicians have shown in dealing with our urgent environmental problems."

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AG welcomes the EAC's call for an end to "the throwaway society"

24th July 2014

The Aldersgate Group has welcomed the latest report by the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) demanding more government support in the transition towards the circular economy which to date "lacks ambition and leadership". The report makes a series of policy and fiscal recommendations including the establishment of an Office for Resource Management, ban on food waste going to landfill, and the removal of trade barriers for remanufactured goods.

Steve Wallace, Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: "The EAC's call to end the 'throwaway society' rightly recognises the finite nature of resources. Progressive businesses have identified this challenge and are responding to it, but much more can and should be done at a national level to facilitate the transition. Countries that proactively manage the change will have the economic advantage in the future. Those that follow a business as usual strategy will fall behind". 

The AG is a partner, with WRAP, in project REBus. The project delivers the technical support business requires to implement the models needed for such a transition and illustrates the financial benefits of doing so.

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Business supports Government commitment on fourth carbon budget

22nd July 2014

The Aldersgate Group has supported an announcement by DECC Secretary of State, Ed Davey, that the Government will not amend the Fourth Carbon Budget. The budget covers the period 2023 to 2027 and will stay at its existing level of 1950 MtCO2 equivalent.  

Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: "Mainstream businesses warmly welcome the Government's commitment to the Fourth Carbon Budget. This provides greater certainty for long-term investments in the low carbon technologies that can provide a backbone to growth, jobs and competitiveness. 

"The global race to develop and adopt low carbon solutions will help define prosperity in the twenty-first century. This is an important step to ensure that the UK's overall policy framework maximises the economic opportunities of the transition."

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Energy bills should “shine a light” on carbon emissions

9th July 2014

Some of the UK’s largest businesses have today called on the Government to simplify how organisations report the carbon emissions associated with the energy that they purchase.  A survey of energy professionals finds that there is confusion about current Government policy, leading a number of businesses to question the benefit of so-called “green” tariffs. A number of inconsistencies provide relatively weak and complex signals, leading some Boards to retreat from investing in renewable technologies.

The report, Enable the Label, was written by energy experts Utilyx and commissioned by a steering group that comprises the Aldersgate Group, BT, EY, HSBC, Reed Elsevier, Sky and the Retail Energy Forum. The report recommends that businesses speak to their energy supplier to adopt an electricity label and help to transform the energy market.

Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “Customers have a right to know the ingredients of the product they are buying, but this is not the case in the energy market. Energy bills must pass the ‘horsemeat test’. Most buyers are unable to determine if the electricity they are purchasing is from renewables, nuclear, gas or coal.”


No evidence to support revision of the 4th Carbon Budget

6th July 2014

The Aldersgate Group have welcomed a new report by LSE on how UK carbon policies affect the competitiveness of businesses. It finds that arguments in favour of revising the Fourth Carbon Budget, based on concerns about competitiveness, are not supported by the evidence. Existing data suggest that the impact of current policies is small or negligible, dwarfed by a range of other economic factors.

Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: "LSE's comprehensive analysis of carbon policies supports the mainstream view of British business that current UK carbon policies do not have a major negative impact on competitiveness. It also demonstrates the beneficial impact of smart environmental policies on potential growth and productivity performance of the UK’s economy as a whole relative to other trading partners. This provides yet more evidence to the call from business leaders for Government to accept the 4th carbon budget without any further delay or uncertainty."

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Companies in the dark on their energy purchases

25th June 2014

Leading companies do not know where their energy comes from, according to the outcomes of an Aldersgate Group workshop held at the Green Corporate Energy Conference (hosted by The Crowd). The seminar found that organisations would make better energy purchasing decisions if they had better information. Despite some positive steps forward with the publication of a Defra consultation on the reporting of renewables, there is a lack of a comprehensive and transparent approach that can be clearly communicated to stakeholders.

Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: "Companies have a right to know and account for the ingredients of the energy they buy.  That is why many businesses are calling for an electricity label that would visually communicate the quantity and carbon emissions on their energy bill.  We have it for cars and fridges but not the product with the largest carbon impact." 

Mr Raingold was joined on the panel with representatives from BT, Npower and EDF.  To find out more about the launch of the electricity label and how businesses can benefit, click here

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AG welcomes Labour's commitment to resource review

20th June 2014

The Aldersgate Group have welcomed an announcement by Shadow Environment Minister Barry Gardiner that, if elected, Labour would undertake a ‘Stern Review' of resource security in a bid to better identify the escalating resource supply risks the country faces. Last year, the AG published a Business Statement strongly supporting Government Chief Economists' proposal to commission a robust and independent review into the impacts of resource security and climate change on UK growth.

Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: "Resource insecurity is already having a tangible impact on growth and the Government must play its part to understand and safeguard future prosperity.  Labour's commitment to a resource security review will be widely supported by the business community but cross-party consensus is essential to take this forward effectively."


Andrew Raingold to leave Aldersgate Group

13th June 2014

Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, has announced that he will be leaving the Aldersgate Group in the autumn. He has played a pivotal role within the organisation since he joined as the first employee in 2007, building the Aldersgate Group into one of the most influential and progressive voices in the environmental policy debate. 

He said: "After seven hugely enjoyable years leading the Aldersgate Group, I feel the time is right for a new challenge and I will be focusing on interests in the charity sector. From small beginnings, I am extremely proud of the impact we have had at the highest levels of Government and business, driving forward our mission of action for a sustainable economy."

"The influence we have brought to bear in a number of critical areas of policy, such as mandatory carbon reporting and establishing the world's first Green Investment Bank, is credit to a prominent, active and progressive membership. It has been the utmost privilege to work alongside so many leading thinkers and manage such a talented team. The Group is in a very strong position to continue to provide the  expert knowledge, influence and leadership that has become its hallmarks."

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Leap forward needed to reduce UK's carbon emissions and drive growth

10th June 2014

Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, has said that a leap forward in policy delivery is still needed to meet the UK's climate targets and drive economic growth. Speaking to the Guardian, he said that data from the Committee on Climate Change shows that Britain has performed well in new wind generation as well as in improving the energy efficiency of residential buildings and new cars.

"But the pace of change overall has slowed," Raingold said, and "the cross-party consensus (at the time of the Climate Change Act) has fallen apart over the past few years... The UK in a strong position (in the green economy race) thanks to our world-leading legislation, but it's at risk of slipping behind competitors.

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Industrial strategy must put sustainability and resilience at its core

20th May 2014

Andrew Raingold, Executive Director at the Aldersgate Group, has urged the political parties to make an enhanced industrial strategy a priority in the election manifestos. This forms part of a new series by Green Alliance of leading thinkers, from politics, business and green groups, to set out their one big manifesto idea for the next parliament.

Mr Raingold writes: "The government have made huge strides forward with the current industrial strategy, working in partnership with industry to deliver long term economic goals... This must be built on by the next government by addressing major, long term challenges and setting greater overall strategic direction."

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EU risks falling behind America without binding energy efficiency target

11th May 2014

Andrew Raingold, Executive Director at the Aldersgate Group, has written to the Sunday Telegraph with a host of business leaders calling for ambitious action on the EU energy efficiency target. The letter argues that voluntary measures on energy efficiency have failed to drive ambitious action which means the UK - and wider EU - has missed opportunities to reduce energy demand, costs and to build energy security. A binding energy efficiency target by 2030 would provide the long, loud and legal backdrop to allow investors to plan with confidence.

Andrew Raingold said: "This week President Obama announced a series of executive actions to promote energy efficiency which will save businesses in the United States nearly $26 billion on their energy bills to 2030. Europe needs to stay ahead of the game with leadership from the very top, combined with a binding 2030 energy efficiency target, to drive growth, exports and resilience."

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AG launches An Economy That Works report

7th May 2014

Aldersgate Group has released a new report launching its An Economy That Works initiative. Published a year before the next general election, the report frames the key characteristics of a smart, low carbon and resource efficient economy that would enable the UK to lead the global race in the long term.

Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, has described the report as “a wake up call for politicians from all parties” and an outline of “a growth strategy that is resilient to systemic risk and creates prosperity by delivering solutions to major global challenges”.

The report states, “We believe we are on the verge of a new industrial revolution. The race to create and sell solutions that meet global 21st century needs is well under way. The good news for the UK is that we are in a strong position to lead in many areas and are already reaping the rewards. The danger is that we fall behind in areas where we currently have comparative advantage.” 

More details on the initiative can be viewed at AnEconomyThatWorks.org


AG Chairman to lead new Defra review panel

9th April 2014

Defra has announced that Aldersgate Group Chairman, Peter Young, will preside over a review panel to help shape England’s environmental legislation as part of their Smarter Environmental Regulation Review (SERR). Joining his review panel is AG member Northern Ireland Environment Agency’s Terry A’Hearn.

Defra has found that the current framework “evolved in a piecemeal way” and being “fragmented, overlapping, inconsistent and complex”. They are building on the first phase of SERR to consider the scope to reform environmental legislation. The panel aims to propose a new long-term direction and framework for environmental legislation as well as actions for the next 5-10 years. They are set to report to Ministers in late 2014.

To read the terms of reference for Phase 2 of SERR, click here

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Paterson calls for business to show leadership on natural capital

26th March 2014

Speaking at an Aldersgate Group event, Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, argued that "our long-term prosperity and wellbeing relies on recognising the real value of nature." 

The Secretary of State noted that momentum is building in the natural capital movement and argued that the Government had made "solid progress" delivering on the recommendations of the the Ecosystem Markets Task Force (EMTF).  

Sir Ian Cheshire, Group Chief Executive of Kingfisher and EMTF Chair, also speaking at the event, argued: “we have to go further and faster…The Government’s heart is in the right place. The challenge now is to push through in some of the areas where the politics is perceived to be difficult.” 

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