Green industries need government commitment

Vestas, the Danish wind turbine manufacturer, is warning that uncertainty about future UK support for green manufacturing could cost thousands of jobs.

You may remember that Vestas closed its Isle of Wight manufacturing plant in 2009. Despite protests, including a 19-day occupation of the plant by its workers, 600 jobs were lost. At the time, Vestas blamed a lack of certainty from the then-Labour government over its commitment to renewable energy.

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The financial sector seems intent on self-destruction

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's attack on regulation in the FT earlier this week, combined with yesterday’s reports of attempts to spike the UK Independent Banking Commission reveal a financial system intent on its own self-destruction.

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A new model of ethical business

In a world of heightened social responsibility and community everyone plays their part: consumers are encouraged to be ethical in their choices and business is told that it can do well by doing good.  An eruption of ‘green’ and ‘ethical’ products fill our supermarket shelves and have enjoyed a significant prominence in the past decade.  Not many businesses, however, seem to have mastered the ‘doing well by doing good’ mantra and, according to business guru Michael Porter, society’s faith in the corporation is at an all time low.

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The Big Society in (in)action

Never let it be said that at the new economics foundation we don’t practice what we preach. For few months, nef staff have been volunteering with disabled children’s riding lessons at Vauxhall City Farm. Researchers more used to writing papers on social capital, well-being and participation, have  been leading ponies, and on occasions shovelling manure. There’s no doubt that we’re getting at least two of our Five Ways to Wellbeing,

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I love the smell of the Green Investment Bank - it smells like victory

Yes, I know – no green bank is going to solve the problem of global warming – but the future of this one has been the subject of a bitter Whitehall battle now since well before Christmas.

The coalition was committed to the idea, and had promised £1bn to it – little enough, it is true.  It was also a critical factor in nef’s own blueprint for a Green New Deal and for a greener economy; the UK urgently needs new lending institutions.

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Puppy love

This is my second report back from Ecuador, where I am spending nine months trying to better understand the realities on the ground of countries that do well in the Happy Planet Index. Are people here as happy as they say they are in surveys and, if so, what can we learn in the West about achieving good lives that don’t cost the Earth?

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Why Osborne’s plans are causing me sleepless nights

I found it hard to sleep last night. While I dreaded hearing the announcement of the public spending cuts back in October, I dread the government pretence of a ‘fair’ tax structure, perspective on ‘growth’ and half-hearted attempt to ‘rebalance’ the economy even more. This government seems to think it’s ‘fair’ to give with one hand and take more from the other, enough to pay lip-service to green growth and sufficient to create a few miserly business incentives in a few areas to re-balance our severely South East and service-sector lopsided economy.

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The strange tale of the Liberty Dollar

There are not many blogs which understand the significance of the emerging multi-currency world we are all going to live in. So it is a good thing that the nef blog is here to report on a deeply unsettling currency story from the USA. Last Friday, a jury in North Carolina found Bernard von NotHaus guilty on four counts of counterfeiting in a few minutes. The trial had been going on since 7 March.

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Fear and frying in Ecuador

This is my first report back from Ecuador, where I will be spending nine months trying to better understand the realities on the ground of countries that do well in the Happy Planet Index. Are people here as happy as they say they are in surveys and, if so, what can we learn in the West about achieving good lives that don’t cost the Earth?

I have to admit, this first report doesn’t provide immediate answers.

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Wilfred’s Challenge: in search of well-being in Ecuador

Might we see thousands of Britons flocking to Latin America in search of the good life?

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