Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Beverley Price fairtrade jewellery

One of South Africa's most prominent contemporary jewellers has created a new collection for Adila, a British company. Adila means ‘just and fair’ which really sums up their ethos. They work closely with fairtrade suppliers around the world and are a member of the British Association of Fair Trade Shops (BAFTS) so you can be sure everything you buy is genuinely fairly traded. The modern and stylish jewellery is hand made by underprivileged women in a community-based project in Johannesburg. The Beverley Price collection is made from miniatures taken from a South African magazine, ‘Drum’ which are set in sterling silver. This bracelet is just one of a collection that includes earrings, necklaces and bracelets. Prices start at £11 for the earrings and £26 for the bracelets.

Asda has a stab at going green

Asda, the supermarket that gave us “Asda price” is now climbing onto the green bandwagon with some of the other main supermarkets. Their effort, I was going to say token effort, but I thought better of it, is to launch a range of CDs with compostable covers. Instead of the usual plastic boxes you normally get with CDs you’ll get Ecopac packaging, a 100% recycled paper foam box you can recycle with your newspapers. This is a joint venture with Universal Music, which has put 84,000 of their best selling CDs in these little cases. There is no leaflet with the CD, instead you download one from their webiste. As long as you don’t print it onto paper, you’ll be saving resources. Once again, is this just a marketing gimmick or is it a serious attempt at saving the planet? I don’t really we are going to save the planet one CD at a time.

Sainsbury’s deliveries go green…well 20% at least

Sainsbury’s, like the other main supermarkets, is looking at promoting itself as a green supermarket. There is money to be made by any company selling its green credentials now. How much of this is pure marketing and how much is genuine concern for the environment is open to question. But, does it really matter? As long as steps are taken to reduce CO2 emissions does it really matter about the motives? I for one do not think so, what matters is the reduction in CO2.

With this in mind, Sainsbury’s have announced that by September 2008, 20% of their online deliveries will be made with electric vans. This is expected to save 45 tonnes of CO2 emissions in the first year alone. In addition, Sainsbury’s delivery drivers will take away the plastic carrier bags to be recycled. Hopefully they will expand the service to all their delivery vans eventually. After all, 20% of vans being electric can be perceived as a publicity exercise, because 80% are still powered by diesel and petrol.

To control the rising global temperature we need more than token gestures, we need real change.

Are biofuels the answer to all our fuel problems?

There is government and EU pressure to increase the use of biofuels both in the UK and throughout Europe. In the USA the government is promoting the development of biofuels as the answer to their fuel problems. Over here in the UK, BP and ABF have joined forces with DuPont to build a biofuels plant at BP’s chemicals site at Saltend near Hull. The £200 million biofuels plant will help to meet the demand for greener petrol for the foreseeable future. Due to start production in 2009, the plant will produce around 420 million litres of bioethanol a year. This plant alone is expected to meet around a third of the county’s demand for bioethanol. Under the government’s Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation, at 5% of fuel sold at petrol stations by 2010 will be biofuels, so the future in biofuels is pretty much assured. There is money to be made in biofuels, so investment can only increase. Which is a good thing, right?

Well, possibly yes and probably no. The problem with biofuels, is that they are made from staples like corn, wheat, palm oil and soya oil. As demand for these grows in the developed world, prices could go up, and make them less affordable to communities in third world countries that rely on these for food. Will we end up creating more starving people in the third world as we in the West buy up wheat and corn for our biofuels? The environment could suffer too, as vast areas of rainforest are burned or logged to make room for biofuel crops. Will we destroy the rainforests that reduce CO2 in the atmosphere to make ‘greener’ petrol? The biofuels market has to be regulated and monitored effectively if the benefits in CO2 reduction aren’t overshadowed by the damage to the environment and to the poorer communities around the world.

[Via The Independent]