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October 2006

Ofgem To Smooth The Way For Microgeneration
Energy suppliers are being asked by energy regulator Ofgem to resolve several key issues so that more people can easily generate energy for their own homes. There are currently some 80,000 microgeneration units in British homes, including roof-top wind turbines and small solar-powered units... more   back to top

St Albans Eco House Complete
More than 100 guests have attended the opening of the St Albans eco house to see the traditional 1950's semi that has been transformed into an energy-efficient home. A string of features to reduce energy and water consumption have been installed in the family house as part of a pilot project by St Albans City and District Council to assess... more
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Adnams Chalk And Hemp Warehouse Opens
Adnams Brewery has opened a new environmentally friendly distribution warehouse, complete with sedum roof, in Southwold, Suffolk. One of the biggest in the UK, the 2,382 square-metre roof of the new centre is designed to absorb rainwater, which will be released gradually and used to wash fleet vehicles and flushing staff toilets... more  back to top

 


 

LEADER -

Companies Bill will still not protect the environment

Changes to the Companies Bill could improve the accountability of UK companies. Campaigners were cautiously hopeful after an announcement in the House of Commons. But members of the Trade Justice Movement and the Corporate Responsibility (CORE) Coalition said that although the new moves were welcome, much more is needed to ensure people and the environment are protected from corporate abuses.

The Government has given a commitment to review, within two years, whether or not voluntary reporting standards had resulted in meaningful reports and to consult with NGOs as well as business in this assessment. If not, the Government has undertaken to use the powers it will have within the Bill to introduce mandatory reporting standards.

The changes follow a huge public campaign involving church groups, campaigners and trade unions. The Companies Bill will now require some companies to report on their environmental and social impacts and on employee and supplier issues. In addition, company directors will have a duty, not only to maximise profit, but also to consider the impacts of their business on people and the environment.

The Corporate Responsibility Coalition and the Trade Justice Movement believe these provisions will not go far enough in ensuring UK business always behaves responsibly and will continue to campaign for strengthening of the environmental and social provisions of the Companies Bill as it enters the Lords later this month.

Hannah Ellis, Coordinator of the Corporate Responsibility Coalition said: "The Corporate Responsibility Coalition welcomes the new legislation outlined in the Companies Bill - this is one step forward in ensuring British business does not legally operate at the expense of people and the environment. However this is only the first step - Britain still has a long way to go if it wants to be an international leader in responsible business."

Glen Tarman, Coordinator of the Trade Justice Movement, said: "The Trade Justice Movement welcomes the Government's recognition that regulation is needed to empower communities and protect the environment yet the Companies Bill could have gone a lot further. People power and public pressure have already made a massive difference. Our campaigning to ensure that British businesses are responsible and accountable, no matter where in the world they operate, will continue until we have all the rules in place to right corporate wrongs and make poverty history.'

While CORE and the Trade Justice Movement welcome the measures in the Bill to take account of social and environmental impacts, they call for the Bill - the largest shake up in UK company law in over a century - to be further strengthened to make UK companies international leaders in responsible and competitive business.

Campaigners have been calling for further provisions that would require companies to comprehensively report on their environmental and social impacts, that company directors be legally accountable for these impacts, and that the Government examine barriers which prevent UK companies for being liable for abuses committed overseas.

A comprehensive summary of all the Corporate Responsibility (CORE) Coalition and the Trade Justice Movement proposals for reforming the Companies Bill, `Companies Bill: Making Corporate Irresponsibility History' is available from www.tjm.org.uk/corporates/briefingOct06.pdf.

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BCTV Opens New Green HQ
BTCV, (British Trust For Conservation Volunteers) the UK practical conservation charity has officially opened Sedum House, its new green £1.8 million sustainable head office and training centre in Doncaster. Ed Miliband MP, Minister for the Third Sector, was joined by Dr Helen Phillips, chief executive of Natural England, the Mayor of Doncaster... more   back to top

Experimental Green Homes For Fenland
Work has started on an experimental new green housing project in Fenland. The scheme aims to combine affordable house-building with sustainability and environmental performance, as well as comfortable community living. The construction of 106 new houses in the Cambridgeshire towns of March and Chatteris will provide homes for... more  back to top

Cardiff Hotel Wins Carbon Clean Up
The winners of a competition that challenged organisations to cut their carbon emissions have been announced at a ceremony in central London. Winners of the 100 Days of Carbon Clean-up challenge included the Copthorne Hotel, Cardiff and the Peacock Group. Some of the 550 companies and public-sector bodies that took part in the scheme... managed to cut emissions by 10% in 100 days, organisers... more  back to top

Guide To Sustainable Refurbishment of Victorian Housing
Demolish or refurbish? A new report published by BRE shows that in many cases, refurbish is the answer. The guide to the sustainable refurbishment of Victorian and Edwardian housing stock is available from www.brebookshop.com. The report presents a method of assessing the refurbishment of traditionally built houses dating from the... more   back to top 

Crumbled Tyres Could Combat Heat Island Effect
Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone has compared the capital to a storage heater that sucks up heat during the day and releases it at night. During heat waves this means people do not get a chance to cool down at night and also poses a serious health risk and a noticeable spike in death rates among the elderly and infants... more   back to top

HBF Want To Exceed Scandinavian Standards
Stewart Baseley, Executive Chairman of the Home Builders Federation, will today outline a radical new vision to enable the home building industry to meet and beat Scandinavian environmental standards. Speaking at the Housebuilding 2006 conference on a platform with Yvette Cooper MP, Minister for Housing and Planning... more
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Forthcoming Events

14 November 2006
Understanding Passive Solar Design - Cardiff

Greener Homes & Buildings is bringing together leading experts in passive solar building design from Germany, Ireland and the UK to give their definitive views on what passive solar design is, and how applicable it is to buildings in the UK. This conference is for those interested in exploring passive solar design as an architectural method or as a concept to be used in future projects whether in domestic or commercial builds.

27 February 2007
Ecobuild - London

Ecobuild is the UK’s only event dedicated to sustainable design and construction. It attracts hundreds of suppliers of green building products and services and brings together professionals from all parts of the construction sector. 27th February to 1st March 2007

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