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People and Planet Unveil 2009 Green University League Table

The 2009 green university league table, compiled annually since 2007 by People and Planet as part of their ‘Go Green’ campaign to celebrate universities’ environmental performance, has been unveiled this week. The league table pits 127 UK universities against each other, ranking them on a number of environmental criteria and awarding them in degree style with differing classifications according to their performance; first, 2:1, 2:2, third, and fail. Universities that did not provide any information were listed under the ‘did not sit exam’ category.

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Sony Ericsson GreenHeart Introduces New Green Mobile Phones

The Green Village recently attended a roundtable discussion about Sony Ericsson’s new GreenHeart mobile phones. The company wants to position themselves as the greenest electronics company in the world and to lead other companies to follow in their footsteps.

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Tesco Announce Plans To Build New Carbon Neutral Store

Supermarket giant Tesco has unveiled plans for a new carbon neutral store which they will build in Ramsey, Cambridgeshire.

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Coca Cola To Introduce Molasses Based Drinks Bottles

Coca-Cola contribute significantly to the millions of plastic bottles being discarded every year, but new plans announced by the drinks firm could see them taking steps to reduce the environmental impact of their bottles.

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Has BP Moved Beyond Green?

Following the decision to make safety a number one priority, oil company BP are the subject of much speculation about whether this means the end of their investment in green technology and renewables.

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Investing in the Environment: Ethical Banks Blooming in the Recession

At a time when everything you hear about banks and the economy seem to be doom and gloom, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Ethical banks have seen an increase in popularity over the past 18 months, whilst other high street banks are feeling the pinch.

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US Postal Service Accepts Climate Change Award

The US Postal Service, who already have 70 other environmental awards to their name, have been named as ‘Climate Action Champion’ for their work against the effects of climate change.

The Postal Service, which is responsible for delivering nearly half of the world’s post, has made significant in-roads into reducing its environmental impact over the last few years. By utilising greener transportation methods, from electricity powered, hybrid and ethanol fueled vehicles, to delivery by bike, the company has successfully reduced their emissions, and pledges to further reduce oil based fuels by 20% over the next 5 years. In addition, the Postal Service has committed to reduce energy consumption at their plant by 30% by 2015. Vice President of Sustainability, Sam Pulcrano, commented,

“Across the organisation, from supply management to facilities to delivery, the Postal Service is integrating sound environmental business practices into our day-to-day operations.”

The award was presented by CCAR, the California Climate Action Registry, a not-for-profit organisation who campaign against climate change, and pick out one or two companies, organisations or individuals each year that have made significant progress or contributions towards reducing their environmental impact and promoting action against climate change. According to Gary Gero, the President of the CCAR, competition was tough this year with many worthy nominations, but the action taken and results of the action by the Postal Service made them worthy winners. He advised,

“The Postal Service has proven that even an organization as large and complex as itself can make substantial changes to reduce its impact on the environment. I was very pleased to present it with the Climate Action Champion heavy-weight belt at our annual conference.”

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Computer Manufacturers Back-track on Green Promise

Computer manufacturers Dell, HP and Lenovo are in the dog house with Greenpeace following an admission that they will not hit their commitment to remove vinyl plastic (PVC) and brominated flame retardents (BFRs) from their products by the end of 2009. Greenpeace have punished the terrible trio by docking them points in their ‘Greener Guide to Electronics’ which was originally launched in 2006 to help consumers make informed choices about the green credentials of computer, TV, mobile phone and games console manufacturers.

Competitors Apple and Acer have stuck to their commitment, with Apple already having eliminated PVC and BFRs from all their product ranges apart from the power cables to their products, however this is under review with the aim being to find a certified power cable that is free of these toxic substances.

HP and Dell have not even given a revised deadline by which they commit to have eliminated PVC and BFRs from their product lines completely, however Lenovo have at least provided an amended date of 2010. Although Dell has a number of products on the market with reduced levels of these substances, HP does not even offer a product line to enable customers to make the greener choice.

Iza Kruszewska, Greenpeace International’s toxics campaigner commented that,

“If Apple can find the solutions, there should be no reason why the other leading PC companies can’t. All of them should have at least one toxic-free line of products on the market by the end of this year.”

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Wind Turbine Controversy in Staffordshire

Severn Trent are causing controversy in Staffordshire with proposed plans to install a test mast to ascertain whether it would be a feasible site for the installation of full size wind turbines on the site of their sewage treatment plant near Checkley in the Staffordshire Moorlands. A meeting was held on Friday 6th March to enable residents living near to the proposed development site to voice any concerns and receive information from representatives of other communities where wind turbines have been installed. Local MPs were also present at the meeting.

Severn Trent’s corporate responsibility policy sees them making commitments to reducing the amount of energy they consume as a company, and their website states that Severn Trent

“is an energy intensive business, using large amounts of energy to pump and treat both sewage and drinking water.”

In addition, Severn Trent are working towards increasing the amount of energy used that is generated by their own activity. In 2007-08 they generated the equivalent of 17% of the total operating costs of the company, and state that,

“By 2013, we aim to have almost doubled our renewable electricity generation, covering 30% of our needs.”

Inevitably developments in this area are going to see Severn Trent installing more energy generation equipment including wind turbines and hydro technology. At the meeting on Friday, Severn Trent’s renewable energy development manager, Martin Dent, commented that the definitive site for the installation of the turbines has not yet been decided, and the proposed test mast they are seeking to install will be used to collect data over the next 18 months to inform the final decision.

Residents are concerned that the ultimate decision to install turbines at the site in East Staffordshire would impact on their homes and those of residents living within 5km of the site in the Staffordshire Moorlands by reducing property value, causing noise and ‘shadow flicker’ disturbances, and that the installation and look of the turbines would have a damaging effect on the local environment.

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eBay Declares Green Intentions

Internet auction site eBay is famous around the world for being a marketplace where you can buy anything from a used car to a new pair of shoes. The company has been working on its green credentials, stating on their Green Team website that they have been carbon neutral since 2007. This status, they claim, has been achieved through carbon offsetting, green and energy efficient buildings and purchasing power from alternative energy suppliers as well as generating 18% of the power required to run their San Jose North campus in California from 3248 solar panels mounted on the roof.

Not everybody is convinced that eBay can live up to their green claims however. Although eBay are in control of decisions regarding the day to day running of their business, everybody knows that the products sold on eBay have got to travel to their new homes by some means, and unless the buyer lives within walking distance, this is going to involve the burning of fossil fuels to get the items to their destination. OK, so there’s the offset that the buyer doesn’t have to get in their car to go and buy the item from the shops, and eBay is an excellent way of selling on those items you no longer need or want releasing much needed cash and recycling at the same time. But there are also a lot of businesses selling new goods so is that aspect any better than buying from any other online shop?

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Energy Efficiency on the Agenda for Dell and Intel

Last week’s Greener Gadgets conference saw commitments from IT solutions companies Dell and Intel promising greener environmental policies and greater energy efficiency for their products for the future. Dell have already made a commitment to operate as a carbon neutral company and pride themselves on “raising the bar” for other businesses across the sector.

Customer awareness and demand for greener, more environmentally responsible products has led to many established companies changing their opinions towards green issues and working practices to project a more environmentally aware corporate image. Stephen Harper, the global director of environment and energy policy at Intel commented that convincing senior management that the green credentials of their products was something that people care about was not an easy task. Proof perhaps that consumer buying power is a force to be reckoned with?

Not everybody is ready to sing the praises of the IT companies for their pledges however. Ken Rother, Treehugger’s president and COO, pointed out that although focussing on making their products more energy efficient, it is not possible to calculate the carbon footprint of components such as the Intel chip because “

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