Click here to buy fair trade food & drink

Greening the Supply Chain

Many people view the process or notion of ‘greening’ a supply chain as one that will ultimately end up costing a lot of money. This is not the case. Greening the supply chain can in fact end up saving a company money in the long run. The misconception that it adds huge costs to operations is one that probably hinders some companies from moving in this direction.

Being environmentally responsible should not just be something we look at as individuals. As company owners and employees, we have a fantastic opportunity also to make a positive change for the good of the environment. Changes to an operational supply chain don’t necessarily need to be vast or implemented quickly; they can be done in small steps in order to ensure ease of implementation.

This info-graphic from Snap Parcel covers the topic of greening the supply chain and offers some suggestions on how to implement it into an operation. It also examines how some world famous companies have implemented a green element to their supply chain and what can be learnt from that.

Greening the Supply Chain

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Eco Warrior - October 11, 2014 at 6:23 am

Categories: Eco Business   Tags:

Is Your Supermarket Supporting Rainforest Deforestation?

Most of us shop at a supermarket at one time or another, whether it’s doing the regular weekly shop in person, a monthly shop online or popping in and out daily for essentials. But did you know that the food companies and commercial plantations whose products eventually fill supermarket shelves are amongst the worst offenders when it comes to the illegal deforestation of rainforests?

Commercial agriculture responsible for 70% of tropical deforestation

Apparently, according to an article in New Scientist magazine, commercial agriculture is responsible for over 70% of tropical rainforest deforestation, at least 50% of which is carried out illegally. It appears your weekly supermarket shop plays an important role in wrecking the ‘lungs of the earth’, albeit behind the scenes.

Forest expert Sam Lawson, who researches the subject independently, has taken a long, hard look at local and government data from around the world. And his findings are very disturbing indeed.

No laws covering foods grown on illegally cleared land

The EU is the planet’s biggest importer of goods from land that has been deforested illegally. Europe, as a result, is responsible for around a third of the deforestation caused by farmed products that are then traded internationally. But there’s more.

While importing illegally logged wood is banned in the EU and US, there are no current regulations covering foodstuffs grown on land that has been illegally cleared. This means the efforts of countries with rainforests to conserve their precious resources are being severely hampered, and it’s a huge challenge for them to enforce their own conservation-led laws.

What can you do about it?

It’s a tricky one. How do you tell which foods and other products come from illegally deforested areas? You can’t. Is cheap food really worth losing our rainforests for? Whatever your opinion, the world’s economic system is a very difficult entity to change and the dysfunctional way Western consumer-led economies work is more or less set in stone.


Article on behalf of the Rainforest Foundation. Image by I-5 Design.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Guest Author - October 10, 2014 at 7:06 am

Categories: Eco Business   Tags:

Best Green Updates For Your Home

There are many ways to improve the value of your home, or simply make it more livable. One of the best ways to do both is upgrade your home to be more environmentally friendly. Eco-conscious appliances and upgrades often save more resources, like water and electricity, help the environment and also cut back a little bit on your monthly utilities.

But before you go on a tear and plunder your home’s inefficient appliances and poor insulation to make your home more energy efficient, you need to know where you currently stand in terms of an environmentally savvy home, according to a story by US News and World Report. “A so-called energy audit, in which an energy professional inspects your home to determine where efficiencies can be created, is a great way for homeowners to figure out which parts of their property need attention,” the report says. Your local energy company or home contractors are the best two groups to contact to inquire about getting an energy audit. Sometimes you can get a free audit, as well. Here are four upgrades that your energy guru might recommend that you can do without investing too much money.

Increase Insulation

Proper insulation and a tight seal around windows, doors and the roof is important, because those are common places for energy to be lost. Adding insulation can help keep your home comfortable year-round. As it turns out, roughly half of the homes in the United States are poorly insulated, especially for homes built near 1980. “For those adding insulation, start with an easily accessible part of the house, such as the attic,” the US News report says. “In the attic spaces, a lot of times, the insulation over a period of years will reduce down to maybe three or four inches where you are supposed to have like 10 inches of insulation.”

Don’t Forget the John

Triton Showers T30i 3kW Handwash

Triton Showers T30i 3kW

One of the surprising wastes in a home is water, but low-flow toilets, faucets and showerheads offer a simple solution. “Toilets are the most obvious starting point because they use 26 percent of the water in your home. Today’s industry standard for toilets is 1.6 gallons per flush. If you were updating an old home, you would see significant savings compared to older toilets that use as much as 3.5 gpf,” according to a How Stuff Works story. “But there is still room for more water savings when installing toilets in a new home. Many high-efficiency toilets on the market use as little as 1.28 gpf, which can add up to a savings of 3,000 gallons of water per toilet, per year.”

Keeping Cool and Saving Money

Air conditioning and heating consume the next highest amount of energy, with peak months during winter and summer where they surpass refrigerators. An energy efficient home climate control unit will use 20 to 50 percent less energy for room air conditioners and up to about 20 percent for home-wide systems. You might consider installing a geothermal air conditioning system, which can save up to 80% in heating and cooling bills.

Staying in Hot Water

Lastly, water heaters are the second largest energy consumption appliance, accounting for about 18 percent of the average home’s energy usage. Water heaters can last for quite a while despite being wildly energy inefficient. Replacing a 10-year-old gas water heater can give up to 50 percent increased energy efficiency throughout the year.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Eco Warrior - October 7, 2014 at 7:56 am

Categories: Eco Home   Tags:

Do The Rewards Of Alternative Sources of Fuel Outweigh The Disadvantages?

Green living addresses numerous ways of improving our planet. One good way to accomplish this is through the use of alternative fuel sources. There are people who love alternative fuels and they could give you so many reasons why you should be using it. Likewise, there are people who dislike using alternative fuels and can give you lots of reasons why you should not use them.

It’s tough to challenge the fact that alternative fuels can benefit the environment as, compared to petrol, they are much cleaner burning. A lot of the problems that our environment is dealing with, such as global warming and frightening health problems, have to be challenged so that we can make good changes. Do we know who needs to decide what is best for our earth and will people do what has to be done without legal requirements that they do so?

Every time somebody decides to purchase a car that is powered by alternative fuel, fewer pollutants are released into the atmosphere, and this is terrific for the planet. Alternative fuel cars, particularly hybrids, get significantly better gas mileage. In the case of drivers, this can have a very positive effect. Because the government knows that there are reasons why individuals won’t buy alternative

Ethanol in America: The Growth of the Cellulosic Ethanol Industry and the DOE Handbook on E85 - The Alternative Fuel for Advanced Vehicles

Ethanol in America – The Alternative Fuel for Advanced Vehicles

fuel cars, they are using tax incentives to get more people to purchase them. Not only will it help the planet for people to be driving this type of vehicles, but the tax breaks will help every person who takes advantage of the incentives.

Even though saving money on taxes is a good incentive, most people are still unwilling to buy alternative fuel vehicles. For one, even taking into consideration available tax breaks, these vehicles are quite costly. As a matter of fact, the expense is sizeable enough that many individuals find these vehicles unaffordable. One huge problem with alternative fuel cars is the lack of ready availability of several of these fuels. Many types of alternative fuels are very hard to find while you can easily find E85 fuel, which is a combination of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Even the places that do have E85 don’t always have a plentiful supply, and it doesn’t make too many happy drivers when they have to drive out of their way just to buy fuel.

No doubt people will continue to argue the positives and negatives for numerous years to come. The hidden cost of people’s health should be included, but many individuals never think about whether pollutants hurt their health. How you feel about the earth and man’s effects on it will play a significant role in which category you belong. You will purchase this type of car if it truly can make the earth cleaner.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Eco Warrior - September 27, 2014 at 8:36 am

Categories: Energy   Tags:

Appeal to Brazil: invest just 0.01% GDP & save your precious Atlantic rainforest

According to new research it would only cost Brazil 0.01% of its Gross Domestic Product to conserve its precious Atlantic rainforest. Which means there’s no reasonable financial excuse for not doing so.

The country’s Atlantic coast forest once extended 1.5 million square kilometres. These days deforestation has reduced its spread to just 160,000km2 and the region is home to more than 130 million people. But the Mata Atlântica is one of the most important and threatened areas of biodiversity on the planet, home to the only living examples of almost ten thousand plant and bird species – that’s more bird species than the whole of Europe.

Conserve 30% of the forest and save more or less 100% of the species living there

The research, reported in the Science journal, was carried out by an international team of scientists. They’ve figured out that it’d cost just 198 million US dollars a year to pay the private owners of land in the region to set aside land for re-forestation. And they’ve calculated this would be enough, along with existing conserved land, to protect the majority of the unique species living there.

The team collected data in 79 different forest regions spread over 150 kilometres, estimating at least 30% of the current native habitat needs to be preserved to conserve the species that live there. In short, preserving the forest is both feasible and affordable. Once the financial barriers have been broken down, the other reasons for not conserving the remaining forest – greed, inertia and ignorance – are the only issues left to tackle.

Conservation costs reduce to 0.0026% of GDP after 3 years

$198m represent just 6.5% of Brazil’s total investment in agricultural subsidies, and less than 0.01 per cent of the nation’s yearly GDP. Spend that for three years running and the annual cost would come down even more, reducing to a miniscule 0.0026% of GDP once active restoration has been paid for.

The findings are great news, since there’s no longer a financial excuse to carry on deforestation and no longer any reason to think conservation is too expensive. The findings will also act as a practical tool for planning sustainable landscapes worldwide, can be included in land use policies and socio-environmental certification incentives.


Guest post on behalf of the Rainforest Foundation. Image by  Jose Roberto V Moraes.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Eco Warrior - September 25, 2014 at 4:50 pm

Categories: Conservation, Issues   Tags:

Corporate Social Responsibility – Practice what you preach

Many companies preach about their eco-friendly green stance, but few of them actually put their ethics into practice. A lot of firms merely scratch the surface with half-hearted attempts at cutting energy waste in the workplace, just to appease the new trend of green living.

When it comes to your corporate social responsibility (CSR) policy, you should be backing up each claim with positive action. After all, the wisdom we impart in the workplace may help to improve attitudes towards energy savings in the home. As an eco-friendly business, you’ll portray a trustworthy and responsible image, which may result in new client leads.

Improving your reputation and employees’ attitudes are just two of the many benefits of saving energy in the workplace, so here’s our top tips to meet your CSR goals and promote a more environmentally responsible way of life.

LED smart lights

Banish harmful CFL bulbs from your office and replace them with low-power, high-glow LED bulbs. These nifty little lights cost much less to run than traditional lighting. Whilst many of us may turn our nose up at the thought of energy efficient bulbs, these do not fall into the same stigma of ‘less power, less light’, effectively illuminating any room.

They can also be hooked up to a motion sensor system to ensure they are not in use when it’s not necessary, and also a dimmer system. Unlike traditional dimmer settings, LEDs use less energy when they are on a lower setting, whereas regular bulbs use the same amount of energy and convert the power that doesn’t go into lighting the bulb into heat.

Prioritise rooms

There is no need for you to heat corridors and store rooms. No one is working in them and thus you have no one to keep warm. Manually turn off each radiator to ensure they aren’t being overridden by your office heating settings.

Find a green provider

You can use online energy comparison sites for free, without obligation. As well as saving you money on power bills, these will also allow you to filter your searches to find green providers that responsibly source their fuel, which will fit in nicely with your CSR policies.

Don’t keep things on standby

Modern technology does use less energy whilst on standby, but it’s still consuming at least some energy and if you’re not using it, then it’s completely going to waste. Our bad habits mean that we often don’t think that standby energy is not enough to make an impact on our bills or the environment, but you couldn’t be more wrong. When your screen goes into standby mode when you’re in a meeting that runs over, when computers are left on standby overnight and even when gadget chargers are left in without charging; it all adds up over time.

Go paper free

For a while you may have been printing on a lighter shade of grey, rather than black ink, in order to save on your printer cartridges, but there’s no point in doing things by half. Let’s cut out paper altogether.

With the free services you can now use such as Google Docs, you need not print off hefty documents and instead you should simply invite co-workers to view them online. Whilst there will be times that you can’t email larger documents, online file sharing cuts this corner and gives you the opportunity to share bulky files across the office.

Taking advantage of online platforms will slash the amount of printed documents you use.

Virtual meetings

Skype and Facetime make it possible to connect with clients from further afield, so why not skip the long car journey and unnecessary fuel usage?

Holding virtual meetings via the internet is a lot more acceptable than it used to be and can be mutually beneficial for both parties. Your clients may be able to fit you into their schedule a lot easier by contacting you remotely and it could be less hassle for them when they have a busy day on their hands.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Eco Warrior - September 24, 2014 at 7:10 am

Categories: Eco Business   Tags:

Has the EU Vacuum motor ban caused a big fuss over nothing?

On September 1st 2014, the EU banned the sale of vacuum cleaners with motors rated above 1,600 watts – a move that has inevitably sparked plenty of debate.

Some sections of the press inevitably called for the UK to be withdrawn from the European Union, as those pesky Brussels-based bureaucrats just won’t leave us alone. Meanwhile, the new legislation prompted many Europeans to panic buy high-powered machines before the ban officially took effect, with many domestic appliance retailers reporting bumper sales in the last few days of August.

An expert speaks

James Dyson – the man behind arguably the most revered vacuum cleaner manufacturing company in the UK – is unhappy with the EU’s announcement, but not because he is an advocate of gas-guzzling machines. He told The Telegraph that he’s worried about German manufacturers dominating European legislation, and he has actually campaigned for an even lower motor limit of 700 watts.

“We were the only manufacturer campaigning for small motors, because high power doesn’t equate to efficient cleaning,” he was quoted as saying.

It’s safe to say that the creator of Dyson vacuum cleaners knows what he is talking about, so why are people panicking about the EU ban?

Times have changed

Dyson’s vacuums do not exceed 1,400 watts, yet they are famous for their impressive suction. The design and manufacture of vacuum cleaners has evolved considerably over the years, and as Mr Dyson so rightly points out, you simply don’t need an uneconomical, environment-damaging machine to keep your home nice and clean.

In order to keep your property tidy while minimising your carbon footprint, you first need to shop around for the most eco-friendly products. Once you’ve bought your machine, there are several things you can do to ensure it is running as economically as possible.

By using carpet cleaning treatments on a semi-regular basis, you can minimise the amount of dust that is getting lodged in your vacuum cleaner. This is vitally important, as the build-up of dust can seriously restrict a machine’s performance, meaning it has to work harder – and ultimately use more power – to achieve satisfactory results.

This is why Mr Dyson is so peeved with the EU’s thought process. He has called for vacuum cleaners to be tested with dust in them in order to give manufacturers and consumers a more accurate idea of their capabilities. His suggestions have fallen on deaf ears on the continent thus far.

In addition to monitoring dust consumption, households can also protect their machines by ensuring the filters are not blocked by stray items such as coins and hairgrips. This is a common cause of vacuum cleaner malfunctions. Sharp items can also cause damage to the hose, and this will usually result in a loss of suction power.

By taking these basic steps you can easily get around the EU’s motor ban with minimum effort. It does make you wonder what all the fuss is about.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Eco Warrior - September 22, 2014 at 9:53 am

Categories: Eco Home, Issues   Tags:

How to expand your living space and limit your environmental footprint

There’s been some really interesting coverage lately of ‘tiny homes’. They’re frugal, sustainable and use fewer natural resources than their larger equivalents. Nevertheless, most of us at some stage in our lives want more space – an overspill area for children, hobbies, or a home business; a few more square meters of space that can make all the difference to family harmony, career aspirations or general well being.

House extension versus timber garden room

Building a traditional extension is expensive and time-consuming. And if you’re using concrete, cement and other new materials, it’s not particularly eco-friendly.

An alternative that’s easier on your wallet and the environment is a timber garden room. DIY titans may be able to build their own with recycled and salvaged materials. The rest of us, with less time, skills and DIY self-confidence, have a huge choice of flatpack garden rooms and summer houses.

If you can’t use reclaimed materials for your garden room, buy it from a company that uses wood from sustainably managed forests. Online suppliers such as GardenLife Log Cabins have a wide choice of garden buildings using sustainable timber, to suit all budgets and plot sizes.

You should also look out for businesses and products with the FSC certification, as these comply with high environmental standards for growing and harvesting forests and woodlands, ensuring they are not cut faster than they are replaced. FSC certification also requires companies to meet social and economic standards, designed to maintain local communities’ rights of ownership and long-term economic well-being.

As well as choosing a garden room over a bricks and mortar extension, there are othergreen choices you can make when constructing and maintaining a timber garden building:

What about environmentally friendly foundations?

Rather than using a concrete base, consider an eco-friendly gravel grid system. These use recycled plastic grids for the base of the building, with gravel providing extra stability and drainage. They allow excellent ventilation and water drainage, so they’re very low-maintenance as well as green.

Using FSC-certified timber decking for the base of your garden room is also a green solution. However, decking may not be suitable for larger buildings, and, even when pressure-treated, requires regular maintenance and wood treatment.

Are eco-friendly wood treatments available?

Living Large! The Tiny House Advantage: Tiny Home Living (Self Sustained Living)

Living Large! The Tiny House Advantage: Tiny Home Living

All timber buildings need wood preservative treatment to protect against insects, UV rays and water. However, there are concerns about the possible side-effects of conventional solvent and oil-based wood treatments, including harm to bees and other wildlife, and contamination of plants. Whilst there are a number of suggestions for natural wood protection, including linseed oil, salt, soy and alcohol, there is much debate about their efficacy – for example, they may protect against insect attack, but not mildew.

There are however commercial water-based wood treatments, which are friendlier to plants and animals than petroleum- and metals-based preservatives. Hannants and Valhalla Wood Preservatives, for example, both market non-toxic water-based wood treatments online (which are available in ready to mix powder form).

What about heating a garden room?

The traditional British summer house can be damp and draughty in winter time. But that’s the traditional version. Many garden rooms are nowadays intended for all-year-round use. Look for the following features, which will greatly reduce the need to heat the building, and therefore keep down energy usage:

  • timber walls with a log thickness of 44mm (or more) offer excellent insulation against heat loss and draughts.
  • slow-grown Nordic timber offers greater insulation and durability than fast-grown timber because the wood is denser.
  • double-glazed windows greatly reduce heat loss and draughts
  • positioning the cabin to catch the low rays of the winter sun will also make it warmer all year-year-round.

The perfect finishing touch

A timber garden room is a clear winner when it comes to adding space and value to your own, and it’s definitely a much greener alternative (not to mention considerably cheaper) that a traditional house extension. For the perfect finish, you should consider a sedum, or living roof. A living green roof can reduce heat loss, take CO2 out of the air, and provide a habitat for insects. It can look amazing too, however, please do check with the supplier whether your chosen garden building would be strong enough to support one.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Eco Warrior - September 20, 2014 at 6:59 am

Categories: Eco Home   Tags:

Climate Change and Making Your Home Eco-Friendly

A neat infographic from www.darioinspects.com

Darion

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Eco Warrior - September 20, 2014 at 6:16 am

Categories: Eco Home   Tags:

Top Five Must-Visit Eco-Friendly Destinations in UK

Ranging from rugged mountains, dense forests and tranquil waterways to the stunning beaches, cliffs and coastal paths, the UK has something for everyone. Have a sneak peek at the five most eco friendly places in the UK.

If you are planning a trip with family and friends then United Kingdom is a great place to visit. England, Scotland, Wales and the Offshore Islands all together form a great vacation and holiday spot. Beside, the most incredible cause which will pull you towards UK is its eco-friendly environment. The mountains and ranges of majestic hills, exquisite lakes, the rolling farmland, wild heaths and moors, lovely valleys and streams proffers it a healthy and green atmosphere to live in.

Read on to learn more about the most eco-friendly destinations in UK:

#1 Brighton

It has been known as one of the most eco-friendly places to visit in the UK. The reason behind calling it a green city is that it was the first place to install a Green MP, Caroline Lucas, in the Parliament. So, make sure you visit this amazing place on your next trip. Being located on the East Sussex coast, Brighton features a blue flag beach and picturesque landmarks such as the Brighton Pier and the Royal Pavilion, making it certified clean.

#2 London

tower of londonThe capital of the UK is a beautiful place to travel as well as home to a sixth of the population. Despite of being crowded, London has made progress across the green board. It is an eco friendly destination; the adoption of ‘Boris bikes’ and the construction of the Barclay’s Cycle Superhighways make it so. Secondly, it possesses excellent strategies for minimizing greenhouse gas emissions, making the air more fresh and lively. The city has proved this with their success in getting people out of their cars and onto public transport and reducing pollution to a great extent.

#3 Edinburgh

edinburghThe reason behind making it a third to this list is that the entire city centre of Scotland’s capital has been designated as World Heritage site by UNESCO. The next to add, is the Zero Waste Scotland program which is aimed toward creation of carbon-free Edinburgh. This marvelous place is fully loaded with historical buildings and monuments. You will fall in love with the healthy environment of this place.

#4 Leicester

leicesterAlthough, it is recognized as one of the oldest cities in the UK it holds a futuristic approach of a hale and hearty environment. Therefore, it has been added fourth rank in the list. The exponential increase in walking, cycling and usage of public transport are the few initiatives by the citizens to make it an eco-friendly place. Adding more to its greenery, the vast biodiversity of Leicester have stride out in the environmental arena. The beautiful period architecture, the Curve Theatre, National Space Centre, etc. are added attractions to it.

#5 Plymouth

plymouthThis place has turned itself into a green space with an astounding climate change action plan. The plan was focused towards the reduction of the city’s carbon emissions. Moreover, this city has set an example for other small cities stating that even they can build up a healthy and green place. Its higher recycling rates and the first class waste management program are inspiration for others. The city council’s ‘Green Infrastructure’ plan which makes a check on the future developments is also remarkable attempt. You will love exploring the lovely Dartmoor, the peaceful Tamar Valley and the beaches of south-east Cornwall.

Hope you enjoyed the article contributed by Green Energy Scotland. Taking a ‘green’ holiday seems to be a good idea this time! Plan a trip to United Kingdom and feel the immense pleasure visiting the most eco-friendly cities across UK, contributing a bit toward mother earth. You can get more updates by following us on Twitter.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Eco Warrior - September 15, 2014 at 7:40 am

Categories: Eco Travel   Tags:

Next Page »