The Aldersgate Group has signed a letter to the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barosso, calling for draft legislation for a structural reform of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) to be brought forward by the end of the year. The letter was signed by 53 businesses, investors and associations, who believe that a clear carbon price signal and long-term visibility are essential to drive investment and growth.
A group of investors responsible for over a trillion (£) of investment worldwide has written to the Chancellor on the day of his speech to the Conservative Party Conference calling for a decarbonisation target to be included in the Energy Bill. They argue that the lack of a target inhibits investment decisions and negatively impacts the UK’s ability to attract the capital needed to update its ageing infrastructure.
Steve Waygood, Chief Responsible Investment Officer at Aviva Investors, who signed the letter said: "We are increasingly factoring climate change risks into the decisions we make, but the confusion over medium-term energy policy is a significant impediment".
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, which co-ordinated the letter with UKSIF, said: “The Chancellor’s lack of support for a decarbonisation target in the Energy Bill is completely out of kilter with mainstream business and investor opinion. Such a target would provide certainty to investors, energy generators and their supply chains, giving a much-needed investment boost to the UK economy."
The Aldersgate Group is investigating how to resolve the complexity and lack of transparency in the UK energy market.
Progressive businesses are leading the way in tackling climate change and many are investing in low carbon energy to lower their carbon footprint. To do so, they frequently pay a premium for "green tariffs" or on-site renewables. But some reporting frameworks (like the CRC) ask businesses to report low carbon electricity to their stakeholders as "grid average", while others (the Climate Change Levy) recognise the purchase as zero carbon. This creates confusion and blocks clear communication of power purchasing decisions to the Board and shareholders.
The Aldersgate Group proposes that a solution would be trusted labelling of purchased electricity. Click here to see an example of an electricity label.
The survey covers your electricity purchasing decisions. It should take around 10 minutes to complete the priority questions. All those who contribute will be able to be kept up to date with the project's progress.
Speaking at the joint Government-CBI Industrial Strategy Conference at Warwick University, Aldersgate Group Chairman, Peter Young, set out how the Industrial Strategy must strengthen and develop UK-based supply chains so that more value is captured domestically.
On a panel with BIS Minister Michael Fallon, he said: "We must take the opportunity to re-invent the supply chains of both traditional and new sectors to drive growth which is decoupled from the negative externalities of past industrial revolutions. Businesses which are energy efficient and operate with low virgin resource intensity will thrive in a resource-constrained world and have a competitive edge on those that do not."
"Government must maintain a commitment long term to the various industrial strategies underpinned by clear and smooth delivery; as for example in energy policy to give business the clarity and timing to invest in future low carbon markets. The sector approach can allow both government and business to develop solutions in emerging markets with a mix of policy, investment and co-ordinated procurement to create UK supply chains which can boost jobs, productivity and exports."
In an essay for Business Green, Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, argues that the trend towards "New Environmentalism" will only gain mass appeal if we ditch the "Environmentalism". He contends that new narratives are needed that have much wider appeal to the general public than traditional "green growth" economic frames and that empower their target audiences. At its heart, this is about a "heroic nation in a struggle for future prosperity" rather than a green "flavour enhancer" that has been largely marginalised in the national debate about growth.
Drawing on the success of the Occupy Movement in shifting the economic debate away from an obsession with public debt, Andrew argues that "we need an economy with purpose that works strategically to make Britain truly 'great' and deliver rising prosperity to its citizens... Short-term fixes and decimal changes in GDP growth will not be sufficient to get us there."
The article is part of a series of essays for a cleaner future which includes contributions from MPs, business leaders, the EU Environment Commissioner and the UK Climate Change Minister.
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.”
The Aldersgate Group is collaborating with Anglia Ruskin University in a new project to map the world’s resources. This will investigate the effect of resource constraints on short-term GDP and seek to provide clear information to policymakers on a range of scenarios in order to close the time-lag between the short-term agenda of governments and the long-term vision of current resource models.
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: "The Aldersgate Group are delighted to partner with Anglia Ruskin University to gain a greater insight into the current interaction between resources and the economy. The scarcity and security of key resources are a material risk for many of our business members and country specific analysis will be vital for prudent policy making in a rapidly changing world."
Crowdfunding, a method of investment which unlocks capital for individuals to invest in a clean energy future, is already delivering financial benefits for both business and civil society. Vivienne Westwood, speaking at a recent Aldersgate Group event, stated that: "What's good for the planet is good for the economy", and crowdfunding is evidence of this intrinsic link. This event was in partnership with the Trillion Fund which is the first organisation to capitalise on crowdfunding for renewable energy projects. For more information, click here.
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: "The Aldersgate Group and our business members are delighted to partner with Trillion Fund and explore new financing opportunities to invest directly in renewable technologies at scale. This provides everyone with a way to make high returns from their savings at the same time as building a better future."
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said that BT's Net Good goal should inspire other businesses to adopt similarly ambitious and holistic sustainability strategies. BT's goal is to be a force for ‘net good’ as "doing less environmental harm is no longer good enough" in the context of rising demand for finite global resources.
Speaking at the launch event in London, he said: "BT's Net Good programme is built on an ambitious vision that goes much further than traditional approaches to corporate sustainability. At its heart is an exploration of how a company can be net good, not less bad. This is at the vanguard of an exciting new corporate movement that explores more fully the role for business in society and has the potential to spur real change."
The European Commission is supporting a new Aldersgate Group (AG) project on the circular economy to demonstrate how businesses and their supply chains can implement Resource Efficient Business Models. This follows the publication of the AG's report, Resilience in the Round, that was published last year.
The co-funding increases the AG's capacity to drive change in four key markets: electrical and electronic products, clothing, furniture and construction products (that are collectively worth more than 350 billion Euros per year across the EU). The project will be in partnership with WRAP, ESKTN, The University of Northampton and Rijkswaterstaat (RWS) and has a time scale of 3.5 years.
The Aldersgate Group has 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.
The statement recognises that resource insecurity, in many cases exacerbated by climate change, is already having a tangible impact on growth. These challenges cannot be tackled by business alone. It is essential that Government plays its part to understand and safeguard future prosperity.
The Aldersgate Group has written to the DECC Chief Economist, Steven Fries, enclosing the Business Statement and expressing signatories' support for the review. The Group has also co-signed a letter to the Treasury Select Committee, calling for an inquiry into the delay of the proposed review.
Peter Young, Chairman of the Aldersgate Group said: "It is vital that the UK responds to global recognition of the direct impact on growth and economic activity of resource constraints, greenhouse gas emissions and water insecurity. This is timely, urgent and essential to steer a future growth path which avoids loss of jobs, assets and competitiveness through neglect of future resource constraints and foreseeable price shocks."
An Aldersgate Group seminar has found that the UK could be at the forefront of providing technology solutions to global megatrends but needs a more ambitious vision and enabling framework to ensure success.
According to the SMARTer 2020 report by GeSI, ICT enabled solutions have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 16.5%, create 29.5 million jobs and yield USD1.9 trillion of savings by 2020 worldwide.
On the 24th June 2013, Microsoft, GeSI and the Aldersgate Group hosted an industry event to explore the role of ICT and cloud computing to build world-leading industries in the UK and address global megatrends such as climate change and resource insecurity. The outcomes recommend how the Government's Information Economy Industrial Strategy could help meet these objectives. (To read these outcomes, please see the attached executive summary.)
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: "we warmly welcome the publication of the Information Economy Industrial Strategy that was launched by the Prime Minister a few weeks ago. It sets out how Government and industry could work much more collaboratively on a long term vision that goes beyond political cycles to enable the UK to be a leader in this digital revolution. To be a success, it needs to address how the UK can provide the solutions to long term global trends, such as population growth, ageing populations, climate change and resource scarcity."
The Aldersgate Group has warmly welcomed a letter from 12 European Government Ministers which supports the EU ETS back-loading proposals and calls on the European Commission to bring forward structural reform proposals by the end of the year. In a joint statement, the Aldersgate Group also called on the Commission and Ministers to work together for early agreement on an EU 2030 Climate and Energy Framework.
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: "Businesses are concerned that the EU ETS is not providing the right price signals to stimulate investment and growth in low carbon goods and services. Supply of carbon permits continue to dwarf demand which is threatening the viability of the European carbon market. Business leaders are calling for an urgent short-term rescue package and structural reform moving forward."
The Aldersgate Group's proposal of labelling purchased electricity was one of three finalists at this year's Green Corporate Energy day.
Facing stiff competition from Energy Deck and Newform Energy, Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, presented the concept of "Enable the Label", showing how an A-G labelling system for electricity could increase demand for low carbon electricity and thereby stimulate construction of additional capacity.
Audience voting chose the winner, with 'Enable the Label' pipped at the post by two percentage points, by Energy Deck. Congratulations to both our fellow finalists!
The Aldersgate Group is looking for a supplier with excellent knowledge of the energy market and experience in economic modelling, to undertake a high profile research project.
This project will evaluate the benefits of an A-G labelling system for electricity in the UK. The work will be overseen by a group of Green Energy Leaders: BSkyB, BT, Cisco, Ernst & Young, HSBC, Reed Elsevier and the Retail Energy Forum. If you would be interested to find out more, please email Victoria Fleming-Williams for the full scope. Closing date is 12th July 2013.
The Aldersgate Group hosted an event in partnership with the Trillion Fund in the run-up to the G8 summit to discuss the opportunities for transforming our present energy infrastructure to one that is low carbon.
World leaders may have taken climate change off the G8 agenda, but investing in a clean energy future remains a priority for business and society. This event discussed the huge economic opportunities for updating our models of energy generation, supply and ownership.
The lively debate included a panel of expert speakers including Vivienne Westwood (Vivienne Westwood Ltd), Greg Barker (Minister for Energy & Climate Change), Amory Lovins (Rocky Mountain Institute), Zoe Williams (Guardian) and Yvo de Boer (KPMG) among others.
The Aldersgate Group (AG) have welcomed a new report by the RSA on the first six months of the Great Recovery project which investigates the role of design in the circular economy. As part of the project, the AG hosted a tear down workshop at the RSA with leading businesses to observe, debate, tear apart, re-build and co-create a wide variety of products.
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the AG, said: "we welcome this report's emphasis on developing skills, facilitating collaboration and pushing policy. The businesses who joined us to tear down consumer products into their individual components were clear that design lies at the heart of new business models that eliminate waste. We look forward to continuing to work with leading businesses to explore innovative briefs that incorporate resource efficiency and closed loop principles at the outset."
The Aldersgate Group and its business members are encouraged to see how many MPs recognise that a 2030 decarbonisation target is essential for driving investment and economic growth.
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “Today’s Energy Bill debate in the House of Commons revealed growing momentum behind the target – including among Conservative backbench MPs who defended constituents’ interests in the face of party whips. Just 12 more votes would have secured the carbon free power sector that businesses have been calling for. This provides growing impetus as the debate moves to the House of Lords in a few weeks time."
Two of the UK’s leading business and investor associations, the Aldersgate Group (AG) and the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF), jointly call today on MPs to vote in favour of a target in the Energy Bill that would commit the UK to a near carbon free power sector by 2030.
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the AG, told the Guardian: "Businesses and investors have been loud and clear that such a target would not only reduce costs but provide greater certainty for companies to invest in the development of UK supply chains and jobs. It's a pro-growth and pro-deficit reduction strategy."
Simon Howard, Chief Executive of UKSIF, said: "There is significant investor appetite for the UK to be a global leader in profitable low carbon energy solutions, providing the high quality innovation and jobs that the country needs to ensure a future economic recovery. We call on MPs to recognise this and vote in favour of enshrining the 2030 decarbonisation target in the bill."
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, has said that UK businesses are concerned that a gas-heavy power system would increase exposure to price volatility and energy insecurity.
Speaking at the Westminster Energy, Environment and Transport Forum on the role of gas in the UK's electricity market, he said: "it is impossible to accurately predict the price of future energy technologies as it depends on so many variable factors, such as the global supply and demand for gas, the costs of carbon capture technology at scale and learning rates for renewable technologies."
"The challenge for Government is to manage unavoidable uncertainties and hedge against the risk of policy failure. Analysis by E3G demonstrates that if CCS is more expensive than predicted, or we under-deliver on energy efficiency, we might be forced to choose between affordable or low carbon energy further down the line. The costs of a gas intensive power sector in these scenarios could be up to 98% higher."