Friday, August 24, 2007

The Scots do it in a joined up way .....

... why can't we do it here in England? This from EDIE reports on the setting up of an advisory panel that actually looks capable of doing a genuine job on boosting energy efficiency in Scottish homes!

"An expert panel has been set up to recommend measures to make houses and buildings in Scotland more energy efficient, it was announced this week." OK, I'm already thinking yet another pointless quango, but, so far, so good.

But, reading on, by experts, they don't mean quango members, political pseudo types or politicians and civil servants with nothing (better?) to do - they actually mean 'experts'. They are going to "include designers, developers, contractors, assessors and researchers." and will "feature experts from Norway, Denmark and Austria experienced in the strict energy standards of their home countries".

Our English equivalent would have senior civil servants, junior ministers without portfolio, loads of highly paid executive directors, trades union representatives, half a dozen empty suited jobs-worths, a token Polish plumber and number 10's cleaning lady's dog on the panel! All backed up with a huge administrative bureaucracy on massive salaries and gilt edged, inflation protected pensions!

I can almost hear Sir Humphrey - "'What! Have an actual energy efficiency expert on the advisory panel! You've got a lot to learn - that's just not the way we do things around here, old boy!"

When will our lot ever learn?

It's not just what you spend. It's where you spend it.

I don't mean to go on about HSBC because, to be fair, they are at least doing more than most other banks, and that has to be better than nothing. But this did attract my attention: Brand Barometer - HSBC is banking on the green option

Thing is, they have made a big deal of going green, so I guess that brings them into the crosshairs of those attuned to such 'interest' a bit more. The fate of the pioneer, I guess.

What is noteworthy is the analysis of the ROI for their efforts. Now as a critical CD with an eye to actual communication I could estimate that it is a tad hard to empathise that much with a goat up a tree, but there you are. And for all those seeking Gold at Cannes next year there is this fascinating, if rather depressing point of note passed on from Dave of Solarventi not long ago: Which Ads Don't Get Skipped?

What's not there is the chart I am looking at in the magazine. So far their ad spend has been around £25M. That's 25,000,000 pounds sterling.

You can save a lot of planet with that kind of dough. But looking at the results, not to mention the enviROI, I wonder if it's all being as well directed as it might?

Ask not what you planet can do for you...

I need help.

What with one thing (not being able to get any work placements over summer being high on the list) and another (buzzing off for two weeks R&R with no one to plug the dyke springs to mind) the whole volume of work thing is getting more out of hand than before. And it's not like before it was any more secure than the ball entrusted to a British rugby forward anyway.

Which is why, speaking of rugby, I have taken a punt on a rather promising website called environmentjobs

I don't know if they'll accept my plea, but there was a section for volunteers - and with luck my brown nose effort here may help - so fingers crossed.

Below is wot i rote, so if you think you know of anyone else who may be interested please pass it on. Ta.

Saving The Planet #101

A chance to work with an exciting national enviro-website is a free-to-all, independent resource that is gaining a great reputation for telling it like it is - and being dedicated to proactive, positive efforts to DO something environmentally sound rather than just talk about it, fuss on about awareness all the time, or worry about meeting targets.

We’re doing well, but the trouble is we are drowning in work. We keep getting awards and stuff, but so far nothing to help where it really matters, namely wadges of wonga to fund the hands-on running of the site. So this is an appeal for volunteers who may be interested in being those hands to help with what we’re trying to do.

Almost all happens ‘online’ so location is not really an issue, though we can always find stuff for anyone who fancies hanging out with us at Junkk Towers in sunny Ross-on-Wye.

We need help across the board, but mainly keeping the site spiffy and fresh, which means content, content, content. Finding it. Writing it. Sharing it.

Would suit anyone from a student looking to get some work experience, to a gardening leaver who fancies a worthy diversion before hitting the corporate treadmill again, or a silver surfer keen to work the net for more than just passing the day.

The Benefits: Well, for start, there’s helping save the planet. Then there’s the invaluable opportunity to wield and/or develop many skills, from editorial to design to PR to advertising & marketing. It will give the right person(s) the perfect opportunity to be at the heart of the New Media revolution, and experience the roller-coaster ride of evolving an eco-IT site from the bottom up. This type of experience will look good on any CV, especially as employers are now looking as much for experience as well as qualifications nowadays. It can be as flexible as you like, to suit all parties.

As we as yet have no income stream we can’t pay (which is where the volunteer bit sort of comes in), but as things develop you never know where it could all lead.

Oh, and did we mention? There’s the saving the planet thing.

The Duties: Tasks will be varied and include: Online: creating and posting site content. In person: all this plus assisting with day to day tasks such as taking digital photos and measurements of reuse ideas and uploading them onto the website, web research and collecting data, administration, etc.

Or suggest something to help us make better for all to use and enjoy!

The Person(s): We need folk who are computer literate (well, D’uh), with knowledge of MS Word and surfing the Internet. Other IT stuff such as HTML a plus. And yoof-skills like being able to play the social networking sites would be nifty. You’ll need to be flexible and willing to share mundane tasks as well as the more challenging and/or truly wicked fun ones. Reliability and a willingness to work unsupervised essential. It would help to have good sense of humour. You’ll need it.

Email Emma, Chief of Stuff, in the first instance on

And we don’t really need a CV; we simply want YOU to convince US you’re the one to help!

Friday Fingers Crossed!

A few nice things happening at the moment, so I am hoping this, from a very upbeat fortune cookie opened recently, refers to some income! Only a few more months to go!

As ever, the consumer foots the bill

This eyebrow twitching article from Reuters reports that European consumers are being conned by the major power generation companies.

"The electricity generators are given, free of charge, permits to emit millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide which are currently worth around 20 euros a tonne, but are then charging consumers as if they had been made to pay for the permits."

"politically and morally it is going to be hard to justify making so much money out of a scheme designed to reduce emissions -- with consumers footing the bill".

Not really that much of a surprise I suppose; yet another one-sided game ..... Big Corporate Boys 5 - Consumers 0.

And no referee to be seen anywhere!

Green can be the colour of money

An interesting article from The Daily Reporter by AP writer Thomas Wagner.

"The United States, Europe and Japan are locked in a frantic race to cash in on the exploding business of saving the planet." As in, who can profit from it the most and the quickest?

"the battle against global warming continues to offer investors an unusual chance to be idealistic and greedy at the same time." As ever, it seems that greed, in the end, will always win.

"The city of London financial district has taken the lead in making billions from the management of CO2 emissions, one of the fastest-growing segments in financial services." So the UK is doing OK in the emissions trading arena and the wall street mob are now watching it enviously.

"America, however, has emerged as the world leader in developing clean energy technologies." Well, you could have fooled me on that one: the US was the last major power to even admit that there might be a global warming problem; and they still haven't even signed up to Kyoto! To be fair, they are damned good at rapid development projects.

"There's a lot of money chasing not so many ideas, so the prices are going up fast, raising some concern that this activity by venture capitalists and hedge funds could produce the next dot-com bust" Or perhaps, the renewables bubble?

As ever, where there is a whiff of money to be made, the voracious greed merchants appear to be at the forefront. I just hope that as much effort is put in to making the future climate secure for our children and grandchildren as there seems to being put in to make a fast buck or two.