Tuesday, June 17, 2008

'Tax to go ahead' shock

I was looking through this: Microchip bin tax scheme to go ahead despite failures (front page in the Mail)

It's all worth a read, but in light of what is clear by the facts have to wonder if it's all the best use of scarce funds.

Buddy, can you spare a lime?

Crunch-hit consumers restricted by price of green products, report says

Well, there's a thing.

After my initial 'Well, d'uh!', there are a few interesting aspects to note.

'.... widespread dissatisfaction over the variety of green products offered by retailers,' is one I was not aware of.

'...shoppers on average paid 45% more for environmentally friendly and fair trade goods.' is one that amazed me.

'Shoppers said they are only willing to pay a premium of about 20% for greener products.' made me think there are a lot of folk with a lot of money.

"Consumers want to make sustainable choices, but are hampered by unclear messages. Confusion, coupled with high prices, leads to a lack of trust...'' comes as no surprise.

While 'More than 6 in 10 consumers questioned said reducing the amount of packaging on products was the most important action retailers and consumer goods companies could take to help the environment' makes me wonder why Junkk.com and RE:tie are proving real challenges to get across with the business community.

I really am starting to think the marketers and business brains in this country would would miss an opportunity even if it folded itself in neat notes in their wallets.


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Musing on a motorway

Yesterday I was travelling to and from a VC-pitch contest in Bristol (more on this later).

First up I was not doing it in the Volvo. And this is a car designed to lollop along motorways.

No, I was in the missus' Golf, while she took mine.

The reason was simple: cost (and this, plus time, was why I wasn't in a train). I don't happen to like it as there is no way I can afford to get a car that does what The Volvo does, only cheaper, but my actions were shaped by market forces.

The other was not on the motorway. Just after Gloucester I got on the road that takes one back to Ross. And on my tail, the whole way, mostly through countryside, I was bang on 50, 40 and 30mph.

After 15 miles I had a tailback of 20 cars. Ironically, if the police car had been at the front I suspect we'd all have got there a lot quicker. And safer.

Because, despite having a Road Angel, without cruise control I had my eye glued on the speedo the whole time, as the merest blip on the gas or downward slope was taking me over the limit, even by the 10% allowed'.

This was... is...plain stupid. Rules vs. common sense. Box-ticks vs. desired result. And from the look on the police driver's face as I checked along the route, he thought so to.

NEWS/Commercial PR - RE-USB

I like to reward sincere efforts.

A wee while ago I was sent the PR that follows.

Actually, this is a product I am happy enough to endorse as I bought several and, frankly, what's not to like?

These are rechargeable batteries, which is already nifty in my book, but they can also be recharged in the USB slot of your lappy, which makes 'em downright, well, space-saving (no need to lug along a charger for one, well, assuming you are taking a lappy along. And who doesn't have a slot you can borrow at destination?) at the very least.

Thing is I was feeling a bit eyebrow-cranky, and alighted on the bit about the actual longevity.

Prove that, I said, and you will get a slot on the blog and even in the next newsletter (April's is looking good for July at the 'mo).

Well, bless 'em, they have. Maybe not 'proof' as such, but a very firm claim from the horse's mouth: 'You enquired whether the rechargeable battery would last forever. I contacted the inventor Simon Daniel who said that the USBCELL battery can be recharged up to 500 times before the in-battery chemistry degrades. Normal rechargeable batteries can be re-used on average under 10 times, so the comparison is very impressive.'

Now I blooming well hope the various other reusables last a bit more than 10 times (I must check their small print now. See a press release I study; a pack in Maplins I don't), but I have decided to bite. Here it is, E&EO:

Re-usable USBCELL Battery could save UK Landfill and Recycling Fines

Recycling Week began badly with news that Britain faces millions of pounds of fines for not collecting and recycling batteries. However, renewable power specialist Moixa Energy has the answer – with their award winning USBCELL , which is already saving millions of batteries from future UK Landfill.

Says Moixa CEO and founder Simon Daniel. “Our USBCELL Batteries can be ‘Recharged Anywhere’ by simply plugging them into one of the billions of USB ports on desktops, laptop or games devices”.

“The solution is not just consumers recycling more (how many people even know about Recycling Week) [I certainly forgot , even if I did. Nice to see all those quango comms £'s hard at... er.. work - Ed], it is the responsibility of all companies and designers to rethink entire product categories to become more re-usable and sustainable.

Batteries are a clear example of waste, with over 15 billion (equivalent to a column to the moon and back), made and thrown away each year. Traditional rechargeable batteries require a charger/adaptor to be made, found and carried – so sadly are on average only ever re-used under 10 times before being discarded.

USBCELL batteries solve this by embedding a compact USB connector and circuitry inside the battery so that no separate charger is needed. Each USBCELL can save over 3kg of landfill and 7kg of C02, in basic re-use, and significantly more if fully re-used. Whilst government departments, BBMA (British Battery Manufacturers Association) and environmental groups debate how to raise UK collection from the current 2-3% to the 25% required under the EU Batteries Directive, USBCELL has already saved the UK several jumbo jets' worth of future landfill.

USBCELL is also soon to be available in other battery formats (e.g. AAA), and is also being developed for application with leading mobile phone brands.

Think ahead a few years

Are the Tories backsliding on their commitment to the environment?

Questions to ponder.

The first of a new generation?

Or maybe, perhaps, just a clever "aren't we being green" marketing ploy? Full story from the Telegraph.

I'll leave it to you to make up your own mind, and perhaps I'm being overtly cynical, but producing only 300 of the new Honda FCX Clarity, their new zero-emission hydrogen fuel-cell car, does seem rather pointless to me, especially when you read that they are only going to 'selected' celebs and media luvvies.

I hope I'm wrong, but if they are that convinced of the technology, which does rather sound like a viable and fairly environmentally friendly way forward to me, then surely they would have plans to scale up to mass production far quicker than on a ten year horizon?

Marketing Blog - Low cost commuting & free parking in London - JM Addendum - As we're on a roll:)