Latest Green News

Green Household News

US retailers are becoming increasingly concerned with boosting their green credentials in a bid to attract customers. Home Depot announced it will introduce a line of 3,000 products that promote clean water and energy conservation. The product line is expected to reach 6,000 products by 2009 and it would become the largest “green” labelling programme in American retailing.

Greenpeace has warned that a rise in the demand for the golden wood merbau in the UK is causing immense damage to forests in New Guinea. The group has stated that at current rates of logging, the wood would be commercially extinct within 35 years. Although some retailers, including John Lewis, have stopped selling the wood, it is still on sale in many shops including Topps Tiles and Floors2Go.

Green Supermarket News

Environmental campaigners have stated that supermarkets need to make more significant efforts to reduce their amount of carbon emissions. A report last year by the National Consumer Council warned the big four supermarkets that they were still failing to do enough to protect the environment and Rob Shaw, director of policy and projects at the Town and Country Planning Association, has condemned out-of-town stores but claimed that large supermarkets have a “real opportunity to make a difference”.

A survey has revealed that women are more concerned about the environment than men and are viewed by advertisers as having a key role in influencing male partners and families to become more ‘green’. 56% of the women questioned said concern about the environmental impact of supermarkets influenced their grocery buying, compared with only 38% of men.

Sainsbury’s has revealed that it will ban disposable plastic carrier bags for one day. Customers will instead be given 10p reusable bags for free, a move that Sainsbury’s called a “revolution in supermarket shopping”. It said the 24-hour embargo was to make people aware of the environmental costs of their actions and encourage them to be more environmentally friendly. The supermarket said the day would cost £700,000, and it would replace the reusable bags free when they wore out. The company said it will be the first in a series of five days intended to highlight its corporate responsibility principles. A spokeswoman said it would monitor customer reactions to see if a longer-lasting bag ban was feasible. San Francisco and Bangladesh have already banned the use of plastic bags in supermarkets and pharmacies, but UK retailers have pledged to reduce the overall environmental impact of their carrier bags by just 25 per cent by the end of 2008. Sainsbury’s has stated that Tesco alone accounts for 4bn plastic bags out of the 13bn used every year.

Asda announced it is spending £3.5m on a “green scheme” whereby customers are given green gifts such as can crushers and model wind turbines for schoolchildren in return for boycotting plastic bags. The voucher-based scheme will be launched tomorrow and will run for 10 weeks until the summer holidays and then restart in the autumn.

The Daily Telegraph reports that Sainsbury’s is launching a fleet of zero-emission vans for home deliveries. The retailer has ordered an initial eight Edison electric vans for its online fleet as part of its green commitment to switch 20 per cent of urban deliveries to electric vehicles by September 2008. The Daily Mail today reports that
Sainsbury’s will update shareholders next month on plans to open as much as 4m sq ft of supermarket floor space, and will reveal that it could create 15,000 new jobs.

An investigation into food packaging has found that excess wrapping adds more than 20 per cent to the cost of buying fruit at Waitrose. However, the supermarket said it was committed to reducing waste packaging and had reduced the weight of product packaging by 33 per cent since 2000.

Green Finance News

Barclaycard aims to boost its environmental credentials with the launch of a credit card that offers cardholders incentives to be environmentally friendly. The new card, which will be launched in the UK in the summer, is a response to consumer demand. Barclaycard becomes the first leading card provider to issue a card that allows customers to contribute to environmental schemes and reduce their carbon emissions.

Lloyds TSB Insurance is to start offering free insurance cover for green energy equipment such as solar panels, ground source heating pumps and wind turbines, in order to encourage UK households to make green energy choices. The insurance will cover repair, replacement and theft of the equipment at no additional cost to any of firm’s buildings insurance policies. More than 100,000 households in the UK have already installed equipment of this type, and this is expected to increase to more than 1.3m by 2020, especially in light of the government proposal to get rid of planning permission to install such devices.

British Gas is launching a new division, British Gas New Energy, which will allow customers to help tackle global warming. The division will install rooftop solar heating panels, allowing users to obtain hot water, as well as offsetting carbon dioxide emissions via schemes that procure credits from other businesses or nations that have exceeded their CO2 emission targets. Energy Performance Certificates will also be provided by British Gas, offering an energy efficiency rating for properties being sold and which from 1 June 2007 will be compulsory for people selling homes in this country. Centrica, the firm’s parent, estimates that the annual value of the market for rendering firms and homes more environmentally friendly may be worth several billion pounds.

Environmental campaigners have welcomed the launch of Pay As You Drive car insurance in the UK. Norwich Union (NU) first introduced the insurance in October 2006 and says that it has been popular with all ages, despite being marketed at 18 to 24 year olds originally. The Energy Saving Trust says that the insurance gives people an incentive to drive less and could also help to improve road safety and reduce congestion. Cars are fitted with black-box devices and charged £1 a mile as part of the scheme, which the AA says could reduce road accidents by encouraging drivers not to drive in peak hours.

General Green News

Singer Sheryl Crow has said a ban on using too much toilet paper should be introduced to help the environment. Crow has suggested using “only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where two to three could be required”. Continue reading at BBC News.

A Zambian man has won a prestigious Goldman Prize for helping to curb widespread elephant poaching by setting up economic projects for villagers. Hammerskjoeld Simwinga wins $125,000 for the award, sometimes called the Nobel prize for the environment. Continue reading at BBC News.

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