GALLERY: Top 10 sustainability stories in July 2015

The story of July has been cuts and lots off them.

July has seen spending cuts and, well, more spending cuts

July has seen spending cuts and, well, more spending cuts

This month's top ten round up has seen subsidies for renewable energy and green industries take a pounding from Chancellor George Osborne's 2015 Summer Budget and policy changes from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

The Chancellor's budget announced the first wave of changes, ending the exemption for renewable energy from the Climate Change Levy. Renewable energy will now be taxed under the levy, while further tax breaks were announced for North Sea oil.

Amber Rudd and DECC have also caused consternation amongst green businesses. Earlier this month, Rudd answered crucial questions on the Government's approach to clean energy and fracking and reaffirmed her commitment to a deal at the Paris climate change talks.

However, this was before a string of policy changes from DECC. The Government pulled the plug on the Green Deal loan scheme due to "low take-up and concerns about industry standards" and cancelled plans for increased regulations for zero-carbon home building.

DECC also announced a series of planned policy changes for ending financial support for solar power and biomass conversion plants, and opened consultations for amending the feed-in-tariff for smaller renewable energy projects.

Of course, there was not just policy news this month; there was also the story of 'Climatarians', the new idea for a diet putting low-carbon foods first. The idea aims to stop people eating high-emission foods, such as beef, while putting local produce first.

Adidas announced new innovations in completing a prototype shoe made out of ocean plastics and Selfridges in London stopped the sale of plastic water bottles to reduced ocean waste, in a move that will save 400,000 plastic bottles each year.

Unilever's supply chain chief told edie about how to build embed sustainability into a workforce and Network Rail annoucned a new partnership to turn coffee waste into biofuels.

Take a look through edie's gallery of the top ten stories of the month and check the links below to get the full story.

1) Osborne fuels uncertainty for green business in Summer Budget

Chancellor George Osborne has brought further uncertainty to green leaders, with an emergency Budget that confirmed more taxes for renewables along with tax-breaks for oil and gas.

The Budget shocked the renewable energy industry but ending the Climate Change Levy, leading to damaging falls to share prices in biomass and clean energy companies.

2) Amber Rudd sets out DECC priorities before launching cuts

UK Energy Secretary Amber Rudd has answered crucial questions on the Government's approach to energy efficiency, fracking, renewable energy subsidies and climate change. Rudd was questioned by the Energy and Climate Change Committee in Parliament.

3) Sun sets on solar subsidies as Government seeks to control costs

The Department for Energy and Climate Change dealt another series of blows to the renewable energy industry with fresh proposals to cease financial support for solar and biomass conversion plants and amend the feed-in tariff scheme for smaller projects.

4) Government pulls plug on Green Deal loan scheme

The Government's Green Deal energy efficiency loans scheme was shut down in light of "low take-up and concerns about industry standards."

The Green Deal Finance Company - the organisation which provides the loans that underpin the scheme - will to receive no further funding.

5) Government tears down zero-carbon building regulations

Green groups and house building organisations lambasted the Government plan to axe 'zero-carbon' policies for future UK homes.

The Treasury announced it would be scrapping regulations on house building to streamline development, including ending the proposed zero-carbon Allowable Solutions carbon offsetting scheme and the planned 2016 increase in on-site energy efficiency standards.

6) Climatarian: The new way to cut carbon emissions from your diet

Climate change is not normally on people's minds when they choose what to have for lunch, but a new diet has called for people to go 'Climatarian' for their health and for the planet.

The diet claims cutting back on beef and lamb can have a dramatic effect on your food’s carbon footprint. The Climatarian diet also recommends avoiding using air freighted food and frozen produce, instead only purchasing local, seasonal and fresh produce.

7) Unilever supply chain chief: Employee engagement holds key to long-term success

Unilever's chief supply chain officer Pier Luigi Sigismondi believes a "lack of focus and understanding" and short-termism is holding back the global transition to a more sustainable economy.

Speaking exclusively to edie, Sigismondi said business leaders should instead be empowering employees with “a sense of real purpose” and collaborating with others to build long-term social, environmental and economic strategies.

8) Adidas showcases shoe made from ocean plastics

Clothing manufacturer Adidas has celebrated its partnership with Parley for the Oceans by creating a unique prototype shoe from recycled ocean waste and deep-sea gillnets.

The concept shoe, unveiled at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, is the first in a line of ocean-waste products that Adidas plans to release this year.

9) Selfridges stops sales of plastic water bottles to save oceans

London retailer Selfridges has stopped the sale of single-use plastic water bottles in its shops as part of a campaign to reduce pollution of the oceans.

The department store will stop more than 400,000 plastic water bottle being sold in its food halls and restaurants each year. Customers will now have to refill reusable bottles at in-store drinking fountains.

10) Railway stations go full steam ahead with coffee recycling scheme

The company that owns and operates Britain's stations, Network Rail, announced a new partnership to turn coffee waste into biofuel.

Following a successful trial at London’s Victoria and Waterloo stations, Network Rail has signed an agreement with bio-bean – a company that recycles waste coffee grounds into a carbon-neutral fuel.

Matt Field


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