December 18th, 2018

Needle points: are real Christmas trees greener than artificial ones?

Christmas Tree Poem

by Steve Watson   This Christmas, many festive households will choose between a real Christmas tree and an artificial one. While homemaking considerations may determine the choice for most, the question of whether to go real or fake has an extra dimension for the environmentally minded householder: is one option really better for the environment […]

December 7th, 2018

The circle line: planning and the circular economy

by Hannah Gillie   Earlier this month, Glasgow declared its ambition to be the first Circular City in Scotland. It joins an ever-increasing list of cities worldwide, though chiefly in Europe and China, which are adopting circular economy agendas and strategies as a route to resource efficiency. As an alternative to the traditional ‘take-make-dispose’ process […]

November 23rd, 2018

Sustainability needs a new story

by Alex Massie   Growing concern about the state of our world has already prompted many businesses to consider how sustainable they are. As a result, there are now whole sustainability departments in many firms, responsible for delivering the company’s sustainability agenda. They deliver carbon savings, supply chain improvements, recycling successes. The eco-credentials of many […]

November 16th, 2018

Regression test: must environmental taxes hit the poorest?

by Peter Jones   Political enthusiasm for environmental taxes seems to be at a low ebb in the UK. In the run up to Budget 2018, there was indications that things might change, but talk of a new tax on plastics turned into a consultation, while taxes on incineration and single-use cups were mooted and […]

October 29th, 2018

Budget breakdown: what would a green chancellor have done?

by Dominic Hogg   Economists know that if markets fail to reflect the damages caused by pollution, or to reflect the benefits provided ‘for free’ by nature, then decisions regarding consumption and investment will be misguided. Think of this in terms of having a finite number of chips to allocate across different activities to make […]

October 26th, 2018

Enforcement undertakings: does crime pay?

by Sam Taylor   In the four months from February to May this year, around £900,000 was paid to charitable causes by companies in recompense for environmental crimes. These types of payments, known as Enforcement Undertakings (EUs), allow offenders to avoid criminal prosecution by making amends through a civil route. Offenders make voluntary offers to […]

October 22nd, 2018

Target practice: should recycling targets be weight or carbon-based?

by Peter Jones   As the prospect of higher weight-based recycling targets emanating from Europe has moved from a distant possibility to an imminent reality, interest in alternatives to such targets seems to have grown. Environment minister Therese Coffey has repeatedly said that she favours “resource-efficiency” focused targets over weight-based targets. More recently the ESA […]