GALLERY: Top 10 sustainability stories in October 2014

What were the biggest stories for sustainability professionals in October? Find out in our editor's round-up which takes a look-back at the month in pictures.

Major international events and big business announcements made October a busy month for news

Major international events and big business announcements made October a busy month for news

In the second instalment of top-10 round-up, edie has highlighted some of the news and features our readers were keen to read and share during the month of October 2014.

It was a month that saw the breaking of some big news including the announcement of the EU's much-anticipated climate package and some staggering stats including a 78% increase in the 'positive investment' sector since 2012. And there's also a round-up of the party leaders' green ambitions following their respective Party Conferences.

The most-read news story of the month was that of a 'record-setting Sunday', which saw nearly a quarter (24%) of UK electricity generated by wind power on 19 October.

GALLERY: October's top 10 sustainability news stories

1) Party Conference round-up: What are the big green ideas?

While the party leaders themselves gave climate change short shrift at their respective conferences, a closer look at the environmental 'problems and solutions posed by the 'big three' political parties reveals the true extent of their green ambitions.

On 8 October, the Liberal Democrat Party Conference saw the release of the final edition of a trio of green pamphlets produced by each political party in association with the Green Alliance.

Edie assembled a breakdown of what each party has to say about green issues.

2) EU climate package: Leaders agree on 40% emissions cut by 2030

On 23 October, the 28 leaders of the European Union committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030, despite deep divisions among some Member States over how to produce energy.

Talks in Brussels stretched into the early hours as the European Council set out its stall for action on climate change ahead of the global UN Summit in Paris next year.

3) Record-setting Sunday: Wind supplies a quarter of UK power

A blustery Sunday, 19 October saw 24% of the UK's electricity supplied by wind.

And a gusty weekend throughout led to a number of coal plants being taken offline as they were surplus to requirements.

4) Good Money Week: Positive investment market hits £3.25bn

Global investments in funds and projects that benefit the environment and society are rapidly outpacing traditional markets, growing by one-third over the past two years to £3.25bn.

According to a report released in line with the launch of Good Money Week on 18 October, the UK 'positive investment' sector was up from £140m to £249m, a 78% increase since 2012.

5) Government boosts renewables funding, confirms controversial solar subsidy changes

On 2 October, the Department for Energy and Climate Change announced it would be adding £95m to the Contracts for Difference scheme, but also removing large-scale solar farms from the existing Renewables Obligation initiative.

The CFD shakeup will see the expanded budget split into two pots, with Pot 1 offering £65m for 'established technologies', such as solar power, onshore wind, energy-from-waste, landfill gas and sewage gas. Pot 2 offers £235m over the next four years to less-established technologies such as offshore wind, wave, tidal stream, anaerobic digestion and geothermal.

6) Carrier bag charge: In numbers

On Monday 20 October, Scotland introduced its levy on single-use carrier bags, meaning they can no longer be given away free of charge. To help explain the facts and figures surrounding the levy, edie compiled a list of carrier bag sustainability statistics.

7) EXCLUSIVE: Circular Economy Task Force to put policy reform in the spotlight

The newly-appointed chair of the Circular Economy Task Force revealed that changing Government policy will be the central focus of a 'new and ambitious phase' for the business-led group in the run-up to the next General Election.

Sue Armstrong-Brown, who was unveiled as the new chair less than two weeks into her job as policy director of Green Alliance, admitted there are still a range of systemic barriers to the UK adopting the circular economy model - and policy is at the heart of overcoming them.

8) Defra slammed for 'stepping back' from waste

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) was slammed for "stepping back" from waste and advised that it needs to show strong leadership in order to improve England's recycling rate, a cross-party committee of MPs has said.

The call came in a report, launched 22 October by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee entitled 'Waste management in England'. It was triggered by a decision made by Defra to take a step back from waste management from April.

9) Kering and London College of Fashion put sustainability in the spotlight

A sustainable fashion conference, an award for sustainable fashion and a sustainable design course were all features of a new partnership between French fashion conglomerate Kering and the London College of Fashion. 

The partnership, which officially began on 29 October, brings together the combined strength of educators and business leaders to support sustainable practices and innovation throughout the industry.

10) Honda opens UK's first commercial-scale hydrogen fuel facility

On 29 October, a group of businesses including Honda, Commercial Group and Fuel Cell Systems, launched the UK's first commercial-scale hydrogen refuelling facility at a Honda site in Swindon.

The facility marked another UK 'first' by using solar power to produce hydrogen via electrolysis, making it truly 'green' fuel.

Lois Vallely



Energy efficiency & low-carbon

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