M&S announces 'unprecedented' green overhaul


Marks & Spencer's Chief Stuart Rose has unveiled a rigorous five-year 'eco plan' for the chain costing £200m; a move now being praised by sustainability campaigners as 'the most progressive project of any kind by a mainstream retailer in the UK'.

M&S has consulted with key members of the UK green glitterati, including former Friends of the Earth director Jonathan Porritt. Among the proposals of the 100-point plan are using recycled plastic bottles in clothing manufacture, using unsold food as a source of recyclable energy, banning group waste from landfill dumps, and a pledge to become fully carbon neutral by 2012.

The announcement by M&S comes at a time of 'greener than thou' brinkmanship by a long list of supermarkets and other large retailers, and trumps recent attempts by Tesco and Asda to reduce their respective carbon footprints. But the M&S plan reaches beyond many of the single-issue solutions offered by competitors, and is already being held up as an example to other businesses.

Such is Rose's commitment to the cause that he is also reported to have traded in his BMW for a hydrogen powered car. He has dubbed the project 'Plan A', explaining that where the environment is concerned, 'there is no plan B'.

January 15, 2007 in Carbon Neutral Living, Fashion & accessories, Green News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

CES: Dell goes green

Dell_inspiron_5100 Computer giant Dell may be the next gadget firm to be hauled into the tech 'hall of shame' when it comes to green credentials, now Apple is temporarily off the hook having been deemed 'greener than Greenpeace thinks'. (Although, of course, it is always possible that the pro-Mac lobby have spread the rumours just to get their point across again; they can be a devious bunch!)

But conspiracy theories aside, Dell last week announced its plans for a greener future at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, with the unveiling of a tree-planting scheme designed to offset the damage caused to the environment by computers, which I think is rather honest of them, but then I am a PC nut myself... Users in the UK and the rest of the world will be able to do their bit for the environment by taking part in the scheme, which is in collaboration with The Conservation Fund and the Carbonfund.org, from April. Dell also took the opportunity to launch a new website highlighting its efforts to look after the planet at CES.

[via ITPro]

January 11, 2007 in Carbon Neutral Living, Green gadgets | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Aviva insurance goes carbon-neutral


The world's fifth largest insurer, and largest insurer in the UK, Aviva, has decided to go carbon neutral worldwide.  By the end of March 2007 they even plan to have offset the 110,000 tonnes of carbon they emitted in 2006.  All their UK energy is sourced from renewable sources, and they're moving into tree planting and wind turbines.  [GT]

Norwich Union-owner goes carbon neutral

Related stories: BSkyB goes carbon neutral! | Economist carbon-offsets global warming issue | Do carbon-offset schemes work?

December 28, 2006 in Carbon Neutral Living, Green News, Money & finance | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

2006 roundup #19: We plant the trees that make the whole world sink


Everybody is planting trees to sequester carbon now: Carbonfund.org would plant one for being linked to; Ecoist plants one every time you buy a bag from them; you can click a Swedish site to save old growth forest there, and so forth.  There's even the Tree-Athalon, where you run 5 kilometers and then plant a tree.  Most notable, there's Treeflight, where you pay £10 extra to have Treeflight offset the carbon from your air travel.  But near the end of the year came a serious and disturbing question: does planting trees really work to offset carbon?  A new study showed it has a good chance of actually making things worse, because it traps heat.  Unsurprisingly, the best solution, as usual, is to stop being bad in the first place.  [GT]

Original stories: Planting trees may do more harm than good | Ecoist: the bag so nice we blogged it twice | Tuesday ecoblog roundup: Tree-athalon, National Eisteddfod, more | Click to save Swedish old growth forest | Make it a Treeflight

December 27, 2006 in Carbon Neutral Living, Green News, Renewables | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Planting trees may do more harm than good

Weird looking tree

The Guardian reports today on a study by ecologists that claims planting trees in order to combat climate change is a pointless exercise at best and a counter-productive action at worst.

The study, co-authored by Ken Caldeira of the global ecology department at the Carnegie Institution of Washington in Stanford, California and Govindasamy Bala, of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, also in California, says that trees reduce greenhouse gasses by taking in carbon dioxide through photosynthesis but they also trap heat in the forest canopies. Apart from at the equator, they reckon that the heat trapped outweighs the heat released (through the reduction of carbon dioxide). The further away from the equator you are, the worse the balance in terms of heat-trapping versus carbon-dioxide absorption.

This adds some more weight to the arguments of those people, and I count myself amongst them, who say that it's all very well having these nice carbon-offsetting schemes (and it's better than nothing) but we should concentrate on addressing the issues at source, rather than paying someone else to take the polluting effects of our behaviour off our conscience.

Planting trees to save planet is pointless, say ecologists [via The Guardian]

Related stories: Do carbon-offset schemes work? | Carbonfund.org offers free carbon offset for links | Cemtrex: newest player in the carbon credits market 

Photo credit: Weird looking tree from germanium's Flickr photostream used under the Creative Commons Attribution Licence

December 15, 2006 in Carbon Neutral Living, Planet saving | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Grove Mill: Carbon Neutral Wines


Grove Mill Wine Company is not just producing organic wines (though they are). Nor are they just bottling fair trade wine (though they are). They're going so far as to create carbon neutral wine, making them the carbon neutral winery in the world, certified under the CarboNZero Project. They recycle waste water and heat, and even offset the carbon generated by getting the wine from New Zealand over to you. They produce Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris, a Late Harvest Gewurztraminer and a Pinot Noir, available worldwide. [GT]

Grove Mill Wine Company

Related stories: Organic Delivery Company's free wine offer | Vinceremos organic wine and other tipples | Sussex Wine Company provides organic table wine

December 12, 2006 in Carbon Neutral Living, Food & drink | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

David James says, go green, young footballer


When even sports figures (not chosen for their brains - so it's great when they have them anyhow) are speaking about the environment we know we've got a shot at reaching unlikely change points.  Take the Dave James piece in the Observer, pointing out the lascivious excess lives endemic in sport: fancy cars, tons of air travel, fans driving hundreds of km to the games, and the mountains of litter left behind.  But change is happening: in Germany the match tickets are also bus, train or tram tickets (which also makes people aware that public transit is an option, and probably a sight more convenient and cheap), and Manchester's stadium has wind turbines.  James says, "It doesn't take a think tank to see that the game holds a powerful influence over kids and adults around the world. Harnessing that influence is vital if we want to enjoy football, and the planet, in years to come." [GT]

David James on green living [via Treehugger]

Related stories: Guardian interviews Al Gore | Clinton gives out Solio chargers | Certified Fair Trade football

December 6, 2006 in Carbon Neutral Living | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

downsizer.net; advice for a sustainable future


It's a given that we should all consume less, so the current trend for down-sizing your life can only be a good thing.

For a smorgasbord of advice on down-sizing your consumption, your spending, and, ultimately, your impact on the planet, visit downsizer.net

As well as articles, there is a lively forum, so you can chat with like-minded individuals. [via Treehugger]

November 28, 2006 in Carbon Neutral Living | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cemtrex: newest player in the carbon credits market


Producer of emission monitoring instruments, Cemtrex has made the logical jump into letting companies actually deal in carbon emissions credits. These credits can be traded on a worldwide basis to allow countries (and the companies therein) to meet the greenhouse gas emission reductions agreed to under Kyoto. (Ironically, Cemtrex is based in the US, the second largest planetary consumer and most notorious Kyoto-flouter.) [GT]


Related stories: Do carbon-offset schemes work? | Carbonfund.org offers free carbon offset for links | Evesham Carbon Free PC

November 17, 2006 in Carbon Neutral Living | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Can the Low Carbon Diet trim America's energy bites?


Time magazine casts interest in low carbon living as a potentially passing fad, calling it the Low Carbon Diet, and asking if healthy habits can survive an initial burst of enthusiasm.  However, its own article answers that question: if people switch over to long-lasting, low power fluorescent bulbs, their carbon consumption permanently goes down by thousands of pounds per year.  If people can be encouraged to make similar quick, near-permanent changes, then yes, they can slack off afterward and still have done some tangible good.  It's not like a diet in the sense that you feel like you cut out butter so you can eat chocolate - people are not going to buy a hybrid and then feel entitled to go eat an oil-drenched baby seal!  Sheesh!  What a formulaic attitude, Time!  [GT]

Low Carbon Diet

Related stories: Evesham Carbon Free PC | Economist carbon-offsets global warming issue | Breathing Earth: carbon and population simulation

November 10, 2006 in Carbon Neutral Living | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack