This website uses cookies to track and improve your visitor experience. These do not hold any personal data. By using the site you accept their use. Learn more.





Posts by Ramon Arratia


By | | No Comments


80 UK businesses including Willmott Dixon, Cisco, E.on, John Lewis, SSE, and BT have called on the new government to take decisive action to combat climate change and build a low-carbon economy.

An open letter from the firms to Prime Minister David Cameron and published in today’s Financial Times calls on the new administration to:

* Seek a strong global climate deal in Paris in December which limits temperature rises to below 2°C.

* Set an ambitious 5th carbon budget to drive forward UK emissions reductions (covering period 2028-32).

* Establish a long-term framework for investment in the low-carbon economy, giving industry much-needed clarity over what is expected in terms of low-carbon development, and boost the confidence of green investors.

Other signatories include Dong Energy, Johnson & Starley, Trillion Fund, Infinergy, ARUP and Instagroup.

WWF-UK is leading calls for a new approach to governance that places low-carbon growth and the responsible management of natural capital at the heart of economic policy. WWF-UK Chief Executive David Nussbaum said:

“British business shows it is ready to step up.  From construction and energy to retail, the best British enterprises know that green growth is the future.  They take on board that it’s no longer credible to base a sustainable economy on fossil fuels, so the Government should put us on track for a low-carbon world.”

“As we approach international climate talks, Britain should be a global champion for change, but a lack of consistent long-term policies sends a confusing message to business and undermines our attractiveness to investors. The Prime Minister should send a clear message that the only way forward is a green economy, and provide greater support to forward-looking firms that want to build a clean economy.”

Failure to reduce emissions could burden businesses with shortages of water and raw materials  as the planet heats up.  And the costs of dealing with extreme weather and global instability could run into the hundreds of billions.  But clearer long-term incentives for investment in renewable and efficient technologies and practices would pay dividends in terms of new jobs and international trade, while reducing the impact of climate change.

Alistair Phillips Davies, Chief Executive of SSE said:

“As one of the UK’s largest investors in low carbon energy, SSE has long argued for a strong international carbon framework that can provide the right signals for efficient investment.”

Julia Groves, chief executive of Trillion Fund, a renewable energy crowdfunding platform, said:

“Protecting the pound in people’s pockets is not at odds with supporting low carbon energy generation. Peer-to-peer lending and the maturity of energy generation technologies have come together to create an exciting opportunity for ordinary people looking for a decent return and potentially, to offer cheaper bills for locals too. Regular lenders and investors can sit alongside the Green Investment Bank, pension funds, private equity and banks as direct stakeholders in a clean future, and with the right support, this model can drive competition in energy and in finance, for people, planet and profit.”

Low Carbon Britain

In this post
, ,

The 2015 Sustainability Leaders Survey – Interface makes top 3!

By | | No Comments

The GlobeScan / SustainAbility Surveys offer a unique, collaborative platform that uses research-driven insights, including targeted surveys of the most influential thought leaders in the sustainability arena from over eighty countries, to explore the biggest sustainability challenges. You can download the latest report here.

The thousands of stakeholders surveyed include leading sustainable development experts and practitioners from five sectors: • Corporate • Government (including multi-lateral institutions) • NGOs • Institutional (e.g., academics) • Service (e.g., consultants, media) The GlobeScan / SustainAbility Surveys are in field around four times each year, and provide a regularly updated expert perspective on a range of timely topics.

This slide from the report shows us at third place. Click to enlarge. I’m incredibly proud that Interface has made the top 3 for 11 consecutive years.

Interface top 3 sustainability survey


In this post
, ,

Subsidies we give to the fossil fuel industry [report]

By | | No Comments

fossil-fuel-emissionsGreat report (paid) from the IMF with estimates on the huge amounts of subsidies that governments give towards the fossil fuel industry.

Energy subsidies (including environmental costs) are dramatically higher than previously estimated and represent 6.5 percent of global GDP. Hello!

Eliminating these subsidies could:

* Raise government revenue by around 3.6% of global GDP

* Cut global CO2 emissions by more than 20%

* Cut premature air pollution deaths by more than half

* Raise global economic welfare by $1.8 trillion (2.2% of global GDP)

In this post
, ,

Interface Europe direct footprint reductions

By | | No Comments

Maroš ŠefčovičToday EU Vice President Maroš Šefčovič will see with his own eyes in the Netherlands how the following impact reductions are possible in a competitive environment.

There should be no excuse for any company not to achieve radical impact reduction goals.

Interface Europe direct footprint reductions:

* Direct GHG Emissions: -98% (Reduction since 1996)

* Renewable Energy: 95%

* Energy Efficiency: -54% (Reduction since 1996)

* Water Usage: -93% (Reduction since 1996)

* Waste to Landfill:  Zero

The 18th European Forum on Eco-innovation

By | | No Comments

The 18th European Forum on Eco-innovationI’ll be speaking here on Wednesday at the 18th European Forum on Eco-innovation in Barcelona. Please come and say hello if you’re attending.

The event is all about boosting competitiveness and innovation. Make your voice heard as a European innovator, retailer and consumer. Gain a deeper understanding of the world of environmental information and management schemes. Join us in Barcelona for the 18th European Forum on Eco-innovation!  The Forum will explore how to strengthen competitiveness and innovation, in particular of SMEs, through environmental labelling, management and information schemes by presenting:

* the landscape of existing environmental schemes and their value in enhancing the competitiveness of SMEs;

* examples of successful environmental labelling, management and information initiatives;

* how we reconcile credibility of labels with the need to differentiate products;

* the role of public authorities in this area; and

* partnerships between retailers and suppliers that help consumers choose “green” products.

The 18th European Forum on Eco-innovation also provides an opportunity for participants from across Europe to:

* meet with the participants of the European Retail Forum Meeting;

* inform the on-going European Union Ecolabel and Eco Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) evaluations with key messages and recommendations for action;

* discover the best performing companies among those committed to monitor and enhance their environmental performance at the EMAS Awards Ceremony;

* learn about the first innovative technologies with performance claims verified by Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) and about the Best of Eco-innovation projects funded by the EU Competitiveness and Innovation Programme Eco-innovation initiative;

* participate in a business-to-business matchmaking session;

* Take part in the guided visit to stores demonstrating their conception and implementation of sustainability: Caprabo (Eroski Group), Mercadona, Consum.

The Forum is jointly organised by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Environment, the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment and the Generalitat de Catalunya with the support the Club EMAS Catalunya and the Environment Sector Group of the Enterprise Europe Network.

The event will be run in English and Spanish. Hope to see you there.

In this post
, ,

The Stretch Agenda – Dramatising transformational change in the boardroom

By | | No Comments

Volans Stretch Agenda

John and the Volans team are taking this novel approach, and bringing to life as a play, what needs to happen in every company to drive transformational change that ultimately affects us all.

They’ve called it The Stretch Agenda which launches today – More here in the PDF in our downloads section.

“The Stretch Agenda  takes the form of a dramatisation – a play! – drawing on our years of experience in working with business, to offer insight into the types of conversations now beginning to play out across boardrooms in the Global C-Suite. 

The focus here is on a fictional “MN-Co”, a global company, where leaders are gathered to explore how to shift their business model to address the profound economic, social and environmental challenges ahead. So, in other words, transformational change, beyond the incremental. Key questions they ask themselves include: If not us, who? If not now, when? 

At the same time, we will launch a complementary briefing, The Breakthrough Forecastan intelligence briefing – as yet in a beta version – to map and assess the emerging “Sweet Spots” of the emerging Stretch Agenda, i.e. market growth opportunities that combine multiple forms of value based on a distillation of research, interviews and analysis.”

Break a leg guys!

In this post
, , ,

Is Tesla’s Powerwall A Real Game Changer?

By | | No Comments

Tesla Last week Elon Musk from Tesla announced the Powerwall, their home battery pack power unit. The core idea is that you can draw and store energy from solar and other power sources when available and/or at lowest cost.

I have no doubt that energy storage is a great strategic play in the micro generation market but these kinds of products have been around for several years, so why have they not taken off before? And is this really going to be a game changer for us and the energy industry?

It raises many further questions, some of which I will try to answer:

Price – At $3500 and $3000 for the 10kw and 7kw respectively – is this the right price point? Well the battery is cheap, much more so than the competition (roughly 1/3 the price) but this does not include the inverter to convert the DC to AC to suit your home, solar PV, or installation. When you do the full ownership maths it’s not all that cheap if you’re already using a decent renewables based supplier.

How sustainably sourced/produced are these units? How are they built, applied and recycled? – It’s too early to really know but the life and process cycle of lithium-ion is well understood. It would be a PR disaster if there were serious holes in their thinking but lets see. They are guaranteed for 10 years but at what efficiency at the end of that life-cycle?

Integration – Are they easy to install and maintain? We don’t know yet. We do know that the Deliveries start this summer so we’ll expect to hear more very soon. I think the key here is to apply this solution with solar, if you’re able.

Energy cost and savings – Early estimates suggest 15c to 25c per kwh which is ok’ish but in no way game changing. In the US energy costs can be as low as 10c but in Hawaii for example you can quadruple that. However – if nothing else, this product release may budge other service providers to offer more sustainable solutions at more reasonable prices and service levels. I appreciate this may sound a little naive, but the ego fuelled board rooms of big power companies may just feel some of the pinch.

Tesla’s brand power – Every new market needs the maverick and the executer. Elon Musk appears to be both. He’s shaken up the auto industry at exactly the right time and their brand power may just be enough to get us all thinking about where and how our electricity is generated.

Developing countries – I can’t see at this price point how it will benefit the developing world but maybe it will bridge some of the gap for the more affluent or more vital services in remote or power poor areas.

Tesla BatterySpecs

Technology – Wall mounted, rechargeable lithium ion battery with liquid thermal control.
Models – 10 kWh $3,500For backup applications7 kWh $3,000For daily cycle applications
Warranty – 10 years
Efficiency – 92% round-trip DC efficiency
Power – 2.0 kW continuous, 3.3 kW peak
Voltage – 350 – 450 volts
Current – 5.8 amp nominal, 8.6 amp peak output
Compatibility – Single phase and three phase utility grid compatible.
Operating Temperature – -4°F to 110°F / -20°C to 43°C
Enclosure – Rated for indoor and outdoor installation.
Installation – Requires installation by a trained electrician. DC-AC inverter not included.
Weight – 220 lbs / 100 kg
Dimensions – 51.2″ x 33.9″ x 7.1″ – 1300 mm x 860 mm x 180 mm
Certification – NRTL listed to UL standards

WIRED’s writer Brent Rose takes a more ‘real world’ look:

In this post
, , ,

Heineken’s Blippar Campaign – Where tech, retail and #sustainability meet

By | | No Comments

Heineken sustainabilitySome of this may well be #greenwash (let’s assume not) but you have to give it to Heineken for producing a great campaign that will hopefully educate the wider public about resource efficiency, as well as the wider sustainability agenda. It’s engaging, fun and hopefully will make people think about where their products come from and how the ingredients are sourced.

Mark van Iterson, global head of design for Heineken, said:

“Sustainability is often seen to be complex and inaccessible for consumers. However, sustainability is at the heart of all that we do and we wanted to find a way to encourage consumers and all our stakeholders to easily engage with our Brewing a Better World programme.

“Legendary 7 challenges the status quo of sustainability reporting and helps consumers appreciate the sustainability thinking and all natural ingredients which go into the creation of their favourite brand.”

HEINEKEN has stated that it is committed to buy 50% of its main raw materials from sustainable sources by 2020 and the Legendary 7 campaign pays tribute to seven farmers from France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom who produce high quality sustainable barley and hops used to brew Heineken® beer.

Consumers are asked to meet the 7 legendary farmers via Blippar – the augmented reality smartphone app – and a bottle of Heineken®. By scanning the Heineken® label using the Blippar app, consumers unlock exclusive content:

* An engaging animation film introducing the Legendary 7
* The story of each of those 7 farmers
* Access to our sustainability commitments and ultimately linking to HEINEKEN’s 2014 Sustainability Report.
* 7elfie – create your own Legendary 7selfie and share it on social media

For more information about HEINEKEN’s sustainability ambitions please go to

In this post