A survey of energy experts from the UK’s largest businesses finds that only 5% of respondents expect the UK’s energy prices to be less than its competitor economies in 2015, with 62% expecting them to be higher. This is due to a lack of investment in new generating capacity to replace decommissioned coal-fired power stations. The survey was undertaken by Green Monday in partnership with the Aldersgate Group.
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “The rising costs of energy in the UK are a major concern for businesses and households. The corporate survey demonstrates that it is the price of fossil fuels, not green policies, that will have the biggest impact on rising bills. These findings are consistent with Government analysis which finds that recent energy bill increases are primarily due to increased wholesale gas costs.”
“The cheapest way to address this challenge is to reduce demand. There must be much more focus on incentivising consumers and businesses to use less energy rather than investing in expensive new supply.”
For coverage in the Telegraph, click here.
In an article published by CIWM Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said that the circular economy provides a number of economic benefits as global resources become more scarce. He says that "a small number of companies at the vanguard of applying circular economy thinking are already demonstrating that it is a real value proposition" and that the Aldersgate Group were seeking to ensure this is scaled up.
Responding to the Committee on Climate Change's 2012 Progress Report, Aldersgate Group Chairman, Peter Young, said that more action is needed on the low carbon agenda.
"With low carbon policies estimated at delivering only a quarter of that required to meet future carbon budgets, the days of discussing options for a step change in growing the UK low carbon economy are over. Implementation must start now with the focus on action and delivery.
Our emergence from austerity risks bringing us slow brown growth not the fast green growth that would deliver future carbon budgets."
In an article for The Learning Rep, the flagship skills publication of the TUC and Unionlearn, the Aldersgate Group lead on skills, John Edmonds, has said that it is crucial not to abandon re-skilling opportunities for the existing workforce in favour of investing exclusively in the next generation. He said the current workforce should have an "opportunity of changing direction, of taking on new skills, or preparing for the new economy".
The transition to a circular economy presents opportunities for growth and competitive advantage in a resource constrained world. In a new report, Resilience in the Round, the Aldersgate Group (AG) sets out challenges, opportunities, enablers, barriers and timescales, as well as outlining next steps that the AG will develop with stakeholders.
The AG has collaborated with the Big Picture on a multimedia platform to introduce the circular economy.
The Aldersgate Group has welcomed plans by the Government to ensure that London Stock Exchange companies will be required to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions in their annual reports. This follows a four year campaign from the Aldersgate Group which drafted the original amendments to the Climate Change Act and wrote to Nick Clegg last month to demand an urgent decision before the Rio+20 Earth Summit.
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director for the Aldersgate Group, said: "Our members strongly welcome the introduction of mandatory carbon reporting following extensive input into the process. This is an area where corporate executives have been demanding more regulation from government to provide greater clarity and transparency. This announcement should pave the way to extend the requirements to all large companies in due course and demonstrates genuine UK leadership on reporting at the Rio+20 Earth Summit."
Speaking at the Westminster Energy, Environment and Transport Forum, Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said that the Green Investment Bank (GIB) must strengthen the measures for the green mandate in legislation. He noted that "investment in fossil fuel infrastructure that was more efficient than industry standards would meet the current requirements for green purposes" and it should be strengthened with reference to the Climate Change Act and explicitly ruling out dirty technologies. The Aldersgate Group is also calling for the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill to include an amendment on borrowing to provide greater certainty to investors and this was raised a number of times during the Second Reading in Parliament last week.
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director from the Aldersgate Group, contributed to a Guardian podcast on what tangible measures the Rio+20 conference can hope to produce. He cites the huge transformation in business attitudes and opportunities since the last Rio Earth Summit twenty years ago and the need for robust regulatory frameworks to stimulate green growth and a resource revolution.
To listen to the podcast, click here.
The AG welcomes a new report by the Environmental Audit Committee which calls for green investment to play a key role in the UK's economic recovery. Its publication on the green economy strongly reflects the AG's position and references the AG's evidence fifteen times in the report. This includes recommendations on the need for a comprehensive green economy vision and framework, a smarter approach to regulation, a more strategic approach to skills, a new mindset for procurement to drive innovation and principles for policy certainty.
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group and an oral witness to the inquiry, said: "The committee warn that the Government's deregulation agenda is stalling the green economy. There is significant scope for a pro-business, outcome based approach to regulatory reform and a more strategic approach to assert leadership in the green economy race."
To read the report, click here.
A sustainable, healthy and affordable diet should be the number one priority for Governments at Rio+20 according to a business summit specially convened by the Aldersgate Group.
The Rio+20 Business Summit, hosted by PwC, and attended by over 170 business, policy makers and NGO's, debated the practical outcomes the business world needs to see from the forthcoming Rio+20 international negotiations on the state of the planet.
Paul Kelly, ASDA Head of Corporate Sustainability, made the case for food security, calling for action now, in particular to reduce supply chain waste, rather than sustainable intensificaiton of agriculture alone. Mr Kelly said: "There is no greater political imperative than food security. The stark truth is that if the world's Governments don't make food security their number one priority, than creating a green economy will be for nothing"
Caroline Spelman, Secretary of State for the Environment, said: "The Aldersgate Group summit showed the significant support we have from the business community for a green economy and clear outcomes from Rio+20."
In an article in the Guardian, Caroline Spelman, Secretary of State for Defra, has set out her vision for greening the economy in the run up to Rio+20. She says that "I'll take my seat alongside British business leaders at the Aldersgate Rio+20 Business Summit where we'll debate the opportunities and the challenges of transforming our whole economy to one geared towards long-term green growth".
To read the article, click here.
Responding to the Queen's speech, Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: "It is welcome that the Green Investment Bank will be on the parliamentary programme this year as it can be a vital engine for growth. Powers to borrow must be enshrined in legislation, for the institution to maximise its potential to benefit the economy and provide certainty to investors."
See coverage in Environmental Finance here.
The Aldersgate Group, an alliance of businesses and environmental groups, backed by public opinion, has called on the Government to ensure large companies report annual information on their greenhouse gas emissions.
The Aldersgate Group has written to Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, to push for a positive decision on mandatory carbon reporting and has published a Populus poll which finds that more than 75 percent of 2,044 adults surveyed across the United Kingdom said large businesses should be required to report carbon emissions.
Peter Young, Chairman of the Aldersgate Group, said: “It is exceptional for a policy to have such widespread support from business, civil society and the general public. This reflects the need for greater corporate transparency on environmental and social impacts. The public expects companies to report more than just profits and bonuses.”
In a speech to the RSA, AG Member Lord Chris Smith criticises those in the green movement who oppose all growth and praises big business that has already recognised the benefits of green growth and sustainable production. And he makes a robust defence of the role for good regulation in setting a level playing field, supporting innovation and reducing pollution.
His strongest criticism is reserved for those in the Republican Party in the USA, such as Sarah Palin, who have overseen the "disastrous politicisation" of climate change and prevented action, while welcoming the cross-party action on climate change in the UK.
In an article in the Environmentalist (here), Tim Yeo MP and Peter Young, Aldersgate Group Chairman, consider the progress of the coalition on meeting its pledge to be the greenest government ever after two years. It debates both the positives and the negatives, concluding that more progress needs to be made in the next three years.
This must include more champions across Whitehall. "You can see why the Treasury's focus is on the deficit, and that's only right; but it shouldn't ignore long-term success" says Tim Yeo.
The Aldersgate Group (AG) and Defra recently organised a joint roundtable discussion on sustainable procurement for a range of businesses and public sector bodies to discuss how it can best contribute to sustainable growth.
Defra Minister, Lord Taylor, said: "This is a really important forum. It originates from the AG's report on green growth so it is derived from the work the Group originally did and in which the Government has taken a particular interest. I am pleased we've been able to build on that paper in discussions and what we see is the importance of sustainable public procurement as a driver for the economy."
The first output of the work will be published in the summer. For Defra's overview and more information, click here.
The Aldersgate Group (AG) has welcomed a new report by the Energy and Climate Change Committee on 'Consumption-Based Emissions Reporting'.
Chris Tuppen, Director of the AG and a witness to the inquiry, said: "Just as companies are being encouraged to report their carbon emissions across their supply chain, so should governments. This would help to influence the overall purchasing behaviours of organisations and inform policy decisions at all levels. We welcome the Committee’s recommendation that the Government should explore the ways in which it can incorporate consumption-based emissions data into its policy making process."
The Aldersgate Group (AG) has joined the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Coalition which is calling on all United Nations Member States to commit to develop a Convention on Corporate Sustainability Reporting at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). This includes a commitment by UN Member States to develop national regulations, formal codes or listing rules that encourage the integration of material sustainability issues within the annual report of all listed and large private companies. It would include the option for companies to opt out by explaining their rationale for not complying. For more information, click here.
The convention is open to supporters from business, financial institutions, professional bodies and NGOs. For further information, contact William Pomroy, Public Policy Manager, Aviva (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Government has announced that "no decision" has been made on regulations to introduce mandatory carbon reporting. The decision to delay effectively means that the Government has met the name but not the intention of the requirements in the Climate Change Act that were introduced four years ago, following a campaign by the Aldersgate Group (AG).
Peter Young, Chairman of the AG, said: “Business has been patiently waiting for a clear signal to level the playing field on carbon reporting. Voluntary systems have run out of road and the UK risks losing its lead in carbon reporting, accounting and reduction. This failure to act now undermines business’ call for much greater transparency and consistency from Government.”
“As Ministers seek to reach an informed decision, urgency is paramount. Businesses cannot be left in the dark for months on end. There is great pressure to introduce mandatory carbon reporting as soon and widely as practical.”
For more information, read our press release. Click here for Guardian article.
In the run up to the Rio+20 Earth Summit, the Aldersgate Group (AG) has supported the Natural Capital Declaration. This is a finance-led initiative to account and embed natural capital within investment, banking and loan decisions, consistent with the recommendations in our Pricing the Priceless report.
For more information, click here.