How green is your house?

How green is your house?

Recycling favorite activity among Brits says new survey

Preliminary results from 1500 respondents show that those who own their own home are more likely to separate their rubbish (83 per cent) than those in rented accommodation (59 per cent), whilst less than one in a hundred households have solar water heating (0.5 per cent) or solar energy panels (0.5 per cent). Initial findings also show that switching off the lights in unused rooms (82 per cent) and not leaving the television on standby (67 per cent) are significantly more popular than taking fewer flights (16 per cent), car sharing (15 per cent) and not buying items because they have too much packaging (8 per cent).

Green behaviours costing the least money and effort are currently the most popular with the British public, despite the fact that 59 per cent of people think that if things continue on their current course we will soon experience a major environmental disaster.

A fuller picture of environmental and other behaviours and attitudes based on the first annual survey of 100,000 individuals from 40,000 households for Understanding Society will be published at a later date.

With Copenhagen Climate Change Conference just a couple of weeks away, the environment is likely to remain a hot topic amongst the British public, says Professor Nick Buck of the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Essex, which is leading the new research: “One of the unique features of Understanding Society is that we speak to the same people each year, which means we can see how people’s behaviours and attitudes change over time. The information we collect about how “green” people are will play a key role in informing the ongoing debate about environmental issues.”

The UK’s favourite green behaviours…..

  • Switching off lights in unused room 82%
  • Use public transport rather than car 29%
  • Not leaving TV on standby 67%
  • Buying recycled paper products 28%
  • Take own bag when shopping 55%
  • Taking fewer flights where possible 16%
  • Don’t keep tap on when brushing teeth 55%
  • Car sharing 15%
  • Putting more clothes on when cold 45%
  • Not buying items due to too much packaging 8%
  • Walk or cycle on short journeys 40%





Published Date: 21 November 2009
By Staff

ANGUS Social Enterprise Network (ASEN) was launched in an inaugural meeting held at Augment (Scotland) Ltd on Monday.

Its main aim is to generate profit through business activity to further the social and environmental aims of the organisations involved.

Several voluntary organisations throughout the country have decided on this route of development in light of f

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unding difficulties and organisational insecurity.

Many non-profit organisations see social enterprise as a way to reduce their dependence on charitable donations and grants while others view the business itself as the vehicle for social change.

ASEN aims to increase trade, access tailored training and development, access finance, reduce IT and marketing costs, learn from the experiences of others, share knowledge and solve problems quickly and use a collective voice to benefit of members.

Augment (Scotland) Ltd and the Angus Association of Voluntary Organisations (AAVO) have taken the lead in the development of ASEN.

At Monday's launch

At Monday’s launch

Donna Banks, Augment chief executive, explained: “I believe that the importance of voluntary organisations becoming more business orientated and identifying appropriate means of making their own money is extremely important to ensuring the existence of local voluntary organisations.

“This has been highlighted recently in Angus Mental Health Association’s failure to fulfil the weighting criteria associated with a procurement process. For AMHA, unless they seek and are successful at finding funding from other external agencies within a very short timescale their organisation will have no funding to maintain and develop their projects.

“Augment has many different funders and also have developed different trading arms for the organisation. This has enabled us not only to make money which then goes into providing more services but we also employ people with mental health challenges, therefore also achieving our social aim.”

Craig Bartholomew, of AAVO, added: “The ASEN is a massively positive step for the voluntary sector in Angus. There are another 17 established Social Enterprise Networks across Scotland, all of them benefiting from the peer support, information sharing and networking opportunities that the networks make available.”



Environmental leadership – DEFRA strategy


Environmental leadership

Leading by example is an important part of encouraging action from others and building credibility. Defra is leading by example to improve its own sustainability and environmental performance through our DASL (Defra as Sustainability Leader) programme, supported by Ministers and our Management Board. Many third sector organisations, like those in the private and public sectors, now want to demonstrate their own commitment to corporate social responsibility, including their environmental performance. There are some excellent examples of good practice in the third sector, where organisations are putting the principles of sustainable development into practice within their own policies, programmes and procedures. Many are also demonstrating leadership with their members on environmental sustainability. Defra will work with OTS, third sector organisations and others to help disseminate this good practice more widely and mainstream these issues into existing sector support programmes, thereby creating a supportive framework for greater environmental leadership from within the sector.


  • To act as a catalyst to help bring together existing activities, tools and good practice on embedding sustainable development within the organisation, including improving environmental performance, and to mainstream these within existing sector support programmes.

What will success look like?

  • Mainstream sector support programmes cover sustainable development and environmental performance, as part of improving the capacity and infrastructure of the sector as a whole.
  • More third sector organisations lead by example on sustainable development, environmental sustainability and climate change through actions which embed these objectives throughout their organisations and their way of working.

Immediate actions

  • 5.1 Establish a joint Defra, DECC and OTS Ministerial task group involving relevant third sector stakeholders, to exchange information about current initiatives and to provide recommendations about the best ways of mainstreaming sustainable development, climate change and the environment into existing third sector support programmes.
  • 5.2 Defra and the OTS will jointly commission a piece of work to:
    • a) explore and then recommend to the sector, the appropriate measuring, monitoring, accreditation and reporting mechanisms for continuously improving organisational environmental performance
    • b) explore and then recommend to Government, the appropriate environmental standards / requirements for inclusion in major Government grant agreements or contracts with the third sector
  • 5.3 Working with OTS and third sector infrastructure organisations, Defra will jointly commission a study to explore the need for a centre of expertise on sustainable development, environmental sustainability and climate change , which would help mainstream these issues within national third sector support activities.
  • 5.4 Work jointly with the Every Action Counts Consortium to arrange a celebration event and learning event at the end of the three-year Defra funded Every Action Counts initiative.
  • 5.5 Building on the legacy of Every Action Counts and wider initiatives such as ‘Accounting for Sustainability’, work with OTS and Capacitybuilders to disseminate tools and materials to third sector organisations which help them embed sustainable development and demonstrate environmental leadership.
  • 5.6 Defra and OTS will jointly commission a feasibility study into a peer-led ‘environment ambassadors’ leadership programme for Chief executives and Directors of third sector organisations, as part of mainstream professional development.

Ongoing and longer term actions

WRAP urges restraint over landfill ban plans


WRAP urges restraint over landfill ban plans

Introducing landfill bans too soon without the infrastructure in place to deal with the material diverted from landfill could leave the UK in a “terrible mess”, a leading WRAP official has warned.

If we introduced [landfill bans] next year we’d in be in a terrible mess, because we wouldn’t be able to deal with the stuff that comes out
Phillip Ward, WRAP

Speaking at an event in Manchester this week (November 18), the Defra-funded body’s director of local government services, Phillip Ward, instead claimed that material-specific bans would be most effective if they were timetabled to be introduced six or seven years in the future to act as a “driver”.

“If we decide a landfill ban is the thing to do, what route to go to get there?” he asked, explaining that “If we introduced one next year we’d in be in a terrible mess, because we wouldn’t be able to deal with the stuff that comes out.”

Defra has said that it plans to launch a consultation on material-specific landfill bans early next year, with the likes of aluminium, wood and glass mooted as materials that could be prohibited from landfill (see story).

Also speaking at the City and Financial Annual Waste Management Conference, John Viviani, managing director of Viridor Waste Management, claimed that introducing bans could be “a bit premature from where we need to be in developing infrastructure”.

He added: “I think we’re some years away from a complete ban, who knows where we’ll be in 10 years?”

Research on the potential costs and benefits of landfill bans is currently being carried out for Defra by consultants Eunomia, and Joe Papineschi, a director at the Bristol-based company, revealed that “one of the things we have grappled with is the enforceability of landfill bans.”

“There’s a real danger you end up with something that’s massively enforcement -heavy or so light its like green washing,” he explained.

A report published on behalf of Defra earlier this year by the Green Alliance suggested landfill bans were most effective when introduced with supporting measures (see story), and Mr Papineschi echoed this conclusion.

“From the work we have done it seems like its other interventions working alongside the bans that have delivered the benefits,” he said.


The keynote speech at the event was delivered by waste and recycling minister Dan Norris, who told attendees that while the government’s recently announced ‘zero waste’ ambition (see story) was “ambitious”, it was needed.

“We have been making a mess over the last 100 years or so,” he said. “Unless we change our wasteful, polluting behaviour, things are going to get a lot worse.

“We’re now reaching a landmark point where we’re drawing on that same ingenuity to start tidying up,” he added.

Mr Norris outlined the work the government was doing on waste, such as its recently-launched ‘3R’ awareness campaign, the ‘zero waste places’ initiative and standard, and new British Standard on sustainable venue management, which Defra is supporting.

In particular, he called for councils to work with the third sector, explaining that: “We want local authorities to join with the third sector in partnership. Working here could mean another half a million tonnes of waste is prevented.”

Adding that the department was also working on commercial waste, he noted that “in the current economic downturn we want to help business to get the economic as well as environmental benefits”.

Outlining the progress being made to tackle waste and recycling he said: “The jigsaw is slowly coming together, we have got the corners and the sides are coming together, and, crucially, we have got the picture on the box to remind us what we’re aiming for.”

Current Economy No Match For Social Enterprise In UK



New research reveals that social enterprises are bucking all the trends, with over half having increased their annual turn-over since the start of the recession.

The research, from the Government-funded Social Enterprise Coalition survey was published today to celebrate Social Enterprise Day. It also reveals that there are more women leaders of social enterprises than any other sector, and the ethnic group most likely to start a social enterprise is Black African and Caribbean.

As part of the celebrations Cabinet Office Ministers are taking part in enterprise events across the country and attending this year’s Social Enterprise Awards, which are being held at a reception at No 10.

Angela Smith, Minister for the Third Sector,

“I am delighted that Social Enterprises are thriving even in these tough economic times and Social Enterprise Day is a great way of celebrating their success.

“Social enterprises have a key role in society, they contribute to the economy like any other business while at the same time bringing together and empowering communities. We have invested well over £100 million in promoting social enterprise, developing the skills of social entrepreneurs, and supporting social enterprises to access appropriate investment.”

The UK Government was the first to recognise the importance and value of social enterprise, other governments around the world now look to the UK Government for advice on how they can work with social enterprises in their own countries.

Whilst it is clear that the social enterprise sector is growing and the impact of the sector on society and the environment is growing; there is still a lack of awareness around what a social enterprise is and how they operate. In recognition of this obstacle, the Government has funded a project to enable the sector create an identity for itself.

Angela Smith said:

“I am particularly pleased that we are supporting the sector to create a ‘Social Enterprise Identifier’ and I am very much looking forward to the launch early in the New Year. The identifier will enable social enterprises to market themselves better to customers and investors.”

To celebrate Social Enterprise Day:

  • Dawn Butler, the new Minister for Young Citizens and Youth Engagement, visited ‘One Big Idea’ competition launch for young people to design a product that will be sold in the Co-op, with profits going to help fund projects in Malawi.
  • Angela Smith attended the Striding Out Future 100 Awards recognising the achievements of young social entrepreneurs.
  • Angela Smith attended ‘Dare to be Different’, the launch of the UnLtd HEI Social Enterprise Awards which will provide resources and development support to social entrepreneurs in higher education.
  • Angela Smith visited Bikeworks, a social enterprise in Hackney, providing training to get more people cycling; recycling and refurbishing second hand bikes for sale; and also creating training and employment opportunities in disadvantaged communities.
  • Winners of this year’s Social Enterprise Awards announced at No 10 reception. Last year’s winners of ‘Best New Social Enterprise’; The Sunlight Development Trust will also take over No. 10’s kitchens for the day and will provide catering at the reception