Category Archives: Environment

Top 5 ways businesses can become greener

Making your business more eco-friendly can bring some great benefits; as well as helping the environment, you’re also likely to save money. There are lots of ways in which to go green – read on for our top tips.

green businesses1) Go paperless

If you’re getting tired of dealing with huge piles of paper files and making the effort to store them every time you or your staff have finished with them, going paperless is the solution for you. You’ll save a significant amount of space that would otherwise be filled with documents, and you’ll also reduce waste to boot.

Some of the ways in which you can start minimising your reliance on paper include implementing a policy that encourages employees to email files to each other or transfer them via branded USB memory sticks rather than print them out, and electronically store documents in the cloud or on shared server space instead of in filing cabinets.

2) Get energy efficient

Business energy consumption can be alarmingly high – consider the cost of running multiple PCs, having the lights and heating/air conditioning on all day, operating company cars, and offering kitchen facilities for your staff, and you’ll soon realise that you ‘re using more electricity than you should.

Ways to reduce energy usage include installing lights with motion sensors, so they only come on when someone is nearby, as well as asking staff to turn off their PCs and/or monitors at the end of each day, so they don’t keep running overnight or over weekends. It’s also worth turning off the air conditioning or heating altogether when cold or hot air isn’t really needed and, when heating is required, turning down the thermostat if it’s set above 21 degrees C.

3) Reuse and recycle

Reducing waste is a great way to become greener – and it’s also easy if you know how. One popular practice involves placing recycling bins around your office for different types of recyclable rubbish, such as plastic, cardboard and paper, and arranging for your waste handling company to empty them on a regular basis. Ensure your staff know where to go to deposit specific kinds of recyclable waste and consider reducing the number of ‘normal’ bins dotted around the workplace to make employees think twice about where they should go with their rubbish.

You should also establish a policy encouraging employees to reuse whatever they see as waste where possible, rather than throwing it away. As an example, unwanted folders and mostly empty notebooks can easily be given new life simply by sticking new labels over old ones and ripping out used pages, respectively.

The business benefits of going green

If all of this sounds like more hassle than it’s worth, consider the stats relating to the benefits of going green for businesses of all sizes:

• Two-thirds of small and medium-sized enterprises have either recorded a boost in sales or expect to do so after establishing a system for environmental management, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
• Employees of companies that voluntarily follow international green standards are 16 per cent more productive than staff at firms that do not do this, says the University of California, Los Angeles.
• Large businesses waste £1.6 billion on energy consumption, some of which could easily be saved by putting in place some of the above measures, the Carbon Trust reports

Carrier vs multi-use bags: which is best for your business?

Bags are items that virtually everyone uses on a daily basis. Regardless of what industry you operate in or the size of your organisation, there’s scope to use promotional bags in your business. However, with so many different kinds of bags to choose from, it can be difficult to know exactly what will be right for your company. Two of the most popular options are carrier and multi-use bags – you can find out more about the benefits of each below.

shipping containers for movingCarrier bags

You’re probably most familiar with these products when you are buying items from shops, but it’d be a mistake to think they are only a viable option for retailers. Indeed, they can prove incredibly useful for all manner of organisations, including charities and those in the public sector.

We’ll have all seen people carrying plain unbranded carrier bags when walking down the street but, while you might think these items will be a suitable choice for your business, investing in them means you are missing out on a great promotional opportunity. Indeed, for a little additional expense, it’s possible to turn these bags into moving advertisements for your company by adding your logo, contact details and other marketing information to them.

Doing so means people will become a walking billboard for your brand from the minute they take these bags from you and will subconsciously showcase your company wherever they go. This is a great way to ensure your company resonates firmly in the minds of existing customers, while also giving those who were previously unaware of your company the incentive to find out more.

As a general rule, carrier bags – whether they’re used to carry items bought at a shop or to hold promotional materials – are extremely lightweight and designed to be used a few times. This means they tend to be a cost-effective option for companies that need to give away vast quantities of bags to give to a target audience at one-off events like conferences and tradeshows. If you’re keen to minimise the environmental impact of your business, opt for carrier bags made from recyclable materials such as polypropylene.

Multi-use bags

It should be fairly obvious, but multi-use bags are designed to be used on a repeated basis and, as such, are stronger than their plastic counterparts.

With this in mind in, they are perfect to use by businesses that expect their target audience to visit them frequently.

Retailers are an obvious example of this is and, by offering ‘bags for life’ to customers, companies can provide shoppers with strong bags that can be used time and time again. Doing so means customers will not constantly need a fresh supply of carriers to put purchases in, so these bags are an ideal way to help to reduce an organisation’s carbon footprint. You could give them out for free to customers that spend over a certain amount or you could make a small charge as a way to boost your profits.

In the same way as carrier bags, it’s a good idea to ensure your company’s logo and other marketing information are prominently displayed on reusable bags to maximise brand awareness among existing and new customers alike.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the different kinds of carrier bags that are available and how they can help to promote your business, you can do so by clicking here.

World Animal Day: Groups Demand New Animal Protection Law



October 4th is World Animal Day. The German Animal Welfare Association and its affiliated over 700 member clubs underline their demand for a completely new animal protection law.

It is more than a decade ago when, on August 1, 2002, the Animal Protection was established as a national objective in the Basic Law. Our modern world provides animal identification microchips that can inject them under the skin. There are modern anesthetic techniques and alternatives to animal testing. Findings to what is appropriate to the species for the different animals, or whether they can feel pain and suffering, is not lacking either.

But still, for example, are crustaceans, and their capacity for suffering is proof in restaurants thrown alive into boiling water. Legally, piglets are castrated without anesthesia. Also, fishes at sea are disassembled without anesthetic or without anesthesia. These animals are slaughtered without stunning. Other animals are tigers, elephants and other wild animals reared in arenas and wagons from traveling circuses.

Critics call the current Animal Welfare Act, as the list of permitted animal cruelty is long. Accordingly, the long catalog of requirements of animal protection groups for a completely renewed Animal Welfare Act.

The government has indeed been interested in an amendment to the Animal Welfare Act, but the draft should be revised urgently, according to the animal rights activists. Thomas Schroeder, president of the German Animal Welfare, said: “It is still possible, the weak government bill amending the Animal Welfare Act compliances. Here, all parties are required. ”

Among the most important requirements of the animal rights include a right of collective action. This is serious animal welfare organizations are enabled to defend the rights of animals in court.



Japan Q4 Steel Demand Down 3.6%, Carbon Steel Exports Taking 7.2% Hit

With risk factors like production uncertainty in China most likely starting to affect not just global markets, but also Asian ones, Japan is set to see a 0.2 percent fall in demand for crude steel in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to the same period a year before.

The slight dip in crude steel demand means that there will be a 3.6 percent reduction in demand for the metal in Q4, compared to Q3 of 2012.

But it is not just international markets and world scenario that are affecting Japan as their own internal issues that pertain to the use of both crude and carbon steel are playing an important role in causing this dip.

Global economic slowdown and the current trend of carbon steel prices have been a significant factor in reduction of the metal’s exports as it is projected to come down from a figure of 6.9 million tons in this year’s July-September period to 6.4 million tons in the fourth quarter.

While that is a reduction by 7.2 percent it is still an increase by 9.4 percent when compared to the same period last year, during which flooding in Thailand severely affected the Carbon Steel supply chain.

One of the major factors for the reduction in demand for crude steel in the local markets is the decline in car production after Japanese government took away subsidies from the industry. Japan, which is the second largest producer of crude steel on the planet, is projected to consumer 26.54 million tons of the metal in Q4 of 2012.

As the demand from car industry falls by about 8.9 percent compared to the year before, some expect that the reconstruction orders in response to last year’s earthquake will push the demand the back up in the months to come, even as domestic consumption of Carbon Steel sees pretty stable figures.

IUCN Calls for Protection of Caribbean Reefs


The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) urged to take “urgent measures” to protect coral reefs in the Caribbean, which is threatened by pollution and aggressive fishing practices in the area. In a report presented at the V World Conservation Congress that began yesterday in the South Korean island of Jeju, IUCN warned that coral cover on Caribbean reefs has spent more than 50 percent in the 1970s to only 8 percent today.

According to the conservation organization, only in some places as remote reefs of the Netherlands Antilles or the Cayman Islands live coral cover is still around about 30 percent, as it is less exposed to natural disasters and human impact.

IUCN recalled that the main causes of the destruction of coral reefs are overfishing, pollution and global warming, so called for measures such as to impose fishing quotas in those areas and expand protected areas. He also stressed the importance of expanding research and on the destruction of these reefs in the oceans around the world, so that the organization, through its Global Network Control of Coral Reefs, take the methodology of their analysis in the Caribbean to other tropical seas.

The group hopes that the results of this research can provide a summary of the situation for 2016. The V World Conservation Congress held in Jeju will last until February 15 to address major global environmental challenges. The event, which is held every four years, takes over from that which took place in Barcelona in October 2008, and has the attendance of government representatives, NGOs, companies, UN agencies and social organizations.

Created in 1948, IUCN includes more than 200 state and local governments and some 900 NGOs, in addition to the volunteer work of nearly 11,000 scientists and experts from 160 countries.



WWF Calls on Forest Policy


WWF Spain has requested by letter to the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Miguel Arias Cañete, a forest policy “sustainable and coordinated” in the wake of wildfires that have hit the country this summer.

Thus, according to WWF, the letter asks the minister to “lead, urgently and decisively, a strategy that underpins forest policy in Spain” because the organization believes that large fires forest produced this year Spain “are inheriting a legacy of decades of neglect, lack of coordination and lack of vision in forest policies.”

WWF has claimed that “poor management” of forests “is a black spot year after year wildfire fuels” and regrets that, despite the fact that Spain is the third country in the EU in forest surface, only 13 percent of the forest management plans tell a situation that is repeated in protected areas, which have suffered this summer, 60 percent of claims, according to the association.

“The magnitude of the GIF we are experiencing this year is directly related to the way forests are managed in the last 30 years,” stated the secretary general of WWF Spain, Juan Carlos del Olmo. “This is in turn a reflection of the low priority that the mountains have played in the local economy and that of the entire state during this period,” he continues.

Therefore, Del Olmo insists that “it is necessary to reverse this situation by developing management tools and promoting forest products markets (wood, cork, resin, biomass)”. “It is vital that we enter into a new phase where harmonize the conservation of ecological values of wilderness, with the social benefit and economic returns. Forestry is essential in a new and environmentally sustainable economic model,” he concludes.

The organization believes that to minimize the effect of GIF in Spain requires action on several fronts as fire prevention, management of forests, preventive restoration of degraded areas and value in the Spanish economy of goods and services provides the mount.

Furthermore, WWF has advised people to take precautions to prevent forest fires and has asked the society to denounce those responsible when responding to fires intentional causes. In this sense, WWF Spain recalls that 96 percent of home fires are as humans.



Altmaier Should Provide Concept for Modern Coal-and Gas-Fired Plants

Berlin – Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg plan so hard for energy transition by Environment Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) to task. The Bavarian Economics Minister Martin Zeil (FDP) and Baden-Württemberg Environment Minister Franz Saucer (Green) to throw the federal government in the newspaper “Die Welt” (Wednesday edition) inaction on the creation of spare capacity before the disconnected nuclear power plants.
Both countries require Altmaier to present concepts, such as the construction of conventional coal – and especially gas-fired plants can be promoted. Otherwise one would get massive supply problems, said Zeil. “Federal Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Agriculture must now work with the important areas to address conventional power plants and capacity mechanism and the ongoing process of discussion to finally produce a result.
Saucer said Altmaiers paper loses no word on how the federal government would provide incentives to the construction of new modern gas power plants which remains profitable. Needed are low-emission, efficient, flexible, connected and disconnected capacity.

Dispute Over Digital Copyright Intensifies

Berlin – The fight for the protection of copyright in the Internet intensified the tone between the creative industries and Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger. It specifically concerns the introduction of the warnings for copyright infringers, which calls for the culture industry and rejects the minister. The controversial issue is  a required warning for cooperation with the providers that should be regulated by law. On the economy side the FDP politician is calling again for action but this as rejected  from a “surveillance” on the net.
The Federal Association of Music Industry, the Association of the German Book Trade and the Society for the Prosecution of Copyright Infringement (GVU) declared on Thursday together, the contributions of the Minister of Justice on the subject of warnings which brings “the discussion of an adequate response to the illegal use of copyrighted discount music, movies or books. ” They threw the FDP politician populism.
They also urged  Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, to make concrete proposals for copyright protection in the network. “She had to have three years, is to this day from the Federal Ministry of Justice, but there is still no proposal.”

Indictment Against 19 Palm Oil entrepreneurs


Colombia’s attorney general, Eduardo Montealegre, announced the preparation of indictment against 19 palm oil entrepreneurs for their alleged responsibility in the displacement of peasants in the village of Curvaradó.

Montealegre said after a meeting with Agriculture Minister, Juan Camilo Restrepo, that land claimants and leaders in the Palace of Justice in Bogota that employers have already been identified and is expected in the coming days will make the indictment to the authorities.

He said the prosecuting body has already spoken on the stripped area, which has 100,000 hectares and is located in the department of Chocó.

“There are allegations against 19 employers in the oil palm. We are currently evaluating whether there is merit in linking more people,” Montealegre said.

For his part, Restrepo said the government has identified about 40 entrepreneurs occupying lands of African descent and indigenous communities throughout the Chocó.

Curvaradó is one of the epicenters of the most notorious cases of looting and restitution of land, mostly Afro-Colombian community property.

In fact, the Colombian Constitutional Court ordered in 2010 to protect their lives and their land, so the Prosecutor has initiated several investigations since then against employers who allegedly allied with paramilitaries to usurp the property of peasants and install palm monocultures oil.

The government of President Juan Manuel Santos initialed in the presence of Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, in June 2011 the Law of Victims and Restitution of Land which he presented to Congress a few months before.

By this standard, the Colombian Executive intends to return to the rightful owners of about 3.5 to 6 million hectares usurped until 2014.

These lands were stripped by paramilitary groups, guerrillas, drug traffickers in the context of armed conflict that has affected this country for almost 50 years.

Curvaradó communities have recently reported threats from opponents of this plan of restoration and even murders have been reported as the claimant leader Manuel Ruiz and his son Samir in March.



Rain and Hail Affect Flights



MEXICO CITY – The international airport of Mexico City has suspended its flights due to bad weather and have been diverted to other cities.

The two tracks were closed after rain and hail that fell in the city, said airport spokesman, Jorge Andres Gomez.

“It formed a body of water (on tracks) and is not as convenient for landings and visibility,” said Gomez.

At 4:43 pm (21:43 GMT), all takeoffs and landings were suspended diverted to nearby airports such as Puebla, Guadalajara, Queretaro and Toluca.

According to airport officials, 22 flights were unable to land and 18 also failed to exit.

It is expected that at least one of the tracks can operate tonight, Gomez said.

The Secretariat of Civil Protection reported that the Federal District until 19:00 hours on Saturday there had been a flood, 129 flooding, fallen trees 66 and a person with minor injuries due to heavy rain.



Canary Islands Government Regulates Associates in Pollution



The Canary Islands government has approved the draft decree regulating the collaborating on environmental pollution.

Thus, according to the regional government spokesman in the press conference following the Governing Council, Martin Marrero, it is intended to enable agencies to facilitate business and administration verifying the compliance of its activities with environmental regulations on pollution.

This certification accredits organizations that provide businesses and the administration to verify the conformity of the activities with environmental regulations on pollution in the Canaries.

This regulation responds to changing environmental regulations and the integrated approach it in different sectors “is increasingly demanding a higher level of technical expertise of control” that makes the exercise of activities that impact on the environment.

Also, liberalization of most economic activity requires the cooperation of associates to perform control activities established in the legislation, “without causing undue delay” in economic activity due to the administration.

However, it is specified that entities perform their work “always under the control of government”. In particular, activities that may act ranging from environmental pollution among which include air pollution, water and soil pollution caused by emissions, including noise and chemicals.

It also specifies that the duties carried out by these entities “will not supplant” the functions of government to “ensure the effective” enforcement of existing environmental standards and emphasizes that “there is a step” to help companies in the performance of their activities without the administration will generate unnecessary costs and delays.



Some 230,000 People Displaced Due to Heavy Rains in Kyushu


Around 230,000 people have been forced to flee their homes this Friday on the island of Kyushu, the third largest of Japan located in the south, because of the heavy rains that drench the region.

Only in the Fukuoka prefecture, north of this island, some 121,000 people have been evacuated by the Japanese authorities. At least 41,000 homes have been flooded in this region, and more than 58,000 in the whole island of Kyushu.

Japan’s Meteorological Agency warned that the intensity of rainfall will continue or even increase in some parts of northern Kyushu, including the Fukuoka.

Since Wednesday, at least 20 people have died and seven were missing in Kumamoto and Oita prefectures because of landslides and floods caused by heavy rains.

The governor of the prefecture of Oita, has requested the help of self-defense unit in the field of Nippon Army, after the Kagetsu river flooded the town of Hita.