Friday, 30 September 2011

The plc’s people and planet strategy – all about ArBolivia

Over the past year, we have been striving towards reducing the carbon footprint of our parent company red24 plc, by reducing the impacts our company has on the planet. For the emissions we could not eliminate entirely, we opted to offset through ArBolivia, a reforestation project based in the Bolivian Amazon, which benefits both the farmers that conserve the forest and the environment too.

ArBolivia’s tree planting project is complemented by sustainable agricultural management training to enable farmers to secure a livelihood without compromising their environment.
Despite the project's expected potential for carbon absorption, carbon credits have merely been used to help finance ArBolivia's large overhead, while the programme remains focused on improving farmers’ livelihoods and preventing further deforestation.

Commercial plantation forestry in developing countries encourages environmental awareness, helps to preserve biodiversity and improves the livelihoods of the local population. Unlike most other commercial plantations, it uses a wide range of predominantly indigenous tree species and shares the benefits of the timber equally with local farmers.

The farmer supported by the funds from red24’s carbon offsetting programme is planting Calophyllum brasiliense, known locally as Palo-Maria trees or the Alexandrian laurel. The reforested area currently covers 1.28 ha in the Yapacani municipality in the Ichilo province which is in the largest of Bolivia’s departments, Santa Cruz. The GPS coordinates of the forest patch supported by red24 plc are 17°21’48.68”S 63°56’03.87”W.

By focusing on the dual benefits derived by both people and the planet, red24 plc is proud to be associated with the ArBolivia project.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Save the rhino parade – giving a helping hand to our horny friends

On Thursday 22 September, the green24 team attended a World Rhino Day event, to publicise the plight of rhino poaching in Asia and Africa. Current statistics suggest that a rhino is poached every 22 hours in South Africa, and that at the current rate of killing, we will witness the extinction of this animal in our lifetime.

The reason for this poaching is to fuel the Asian markets that sell rhino horn as a medicinal aid for a variety of illnesses. It has been scientifically proven that rhino horn has no medicinal qualities, but high-powered politicians and traditional medicine practitioners still promote the use and trade of this resource in China, Vietnam and a variety of other Asian states.

The rhino is not the only animal being brought to the brink of extinction because of the poaching of their parts for the traditional medicine trade in Asia. Tigers, bears, sharks, pangolins and countless other species are all being heavily targeted to feed the insatiable demand for these products.

If we don’t take a stand now and use our voices to educate and empower those that may not know about either the poaching plight or the non-medicinal qualities of most of the animal products traded, then we will see the extinction of hundreds of species of animals in our lifetime!

A take-home message from the event asked: “Will our kids get to see a rhino in the wild?” What a sobering thought considering that we have reduced their numbers from millions, to a few thousand in the last 100 years. And all in the name of greed and ignorance.

Check out Save the Rhino, Rhino Conservation, or Stop Rhino Poaching for more information, and play your part in stopping the poaching of rhinos and other precious animals.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Ask the Expert: What is the most eco-friendly way to barbeque?

Many of us will find any excuse to barbeque (BBQ). Whether it’s a glorious day outside or pouring with rain, there is nothing that will stop us from enjoying smoky-flavoured steaks or chargrilled chops. But this national pastime comes with a considerable carbon footprint, so how do we make our fireside feast eco-savvy?

When it comes to a backyard BBQ, nothing beats good old fashioned wood as fuel for the fire. Wood is a renewable, carbon neutral material, because the carbon dioxide released when it burns equals what the tree has captured during its lifetime. The most important thing to do here is track down sustainable-sourced firewood. For a guarantee, look for the logo of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The FSC certification system ensures that the ecological integrity of the forest is maintained.

Before you light up, check with your local council or on this interactive map to see whether you are allowed to have a smoky BBQ. There might be a chance that you live in a smoke-control area and therefore may be denied the pleasure.

Another great option is using waste wood, which you can source through a recycling project such as

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Is organic food worth 10% more?

From the mountainsides and summer pastures around our home, the sheep are being gathered in. From my office window I can see the sheep dogs working hard and the farmers hollering and waving their arms to usher the animals down narrow paths to their lowland pens. The lambs will be sorted from their mothers, and shortly, the less robust, less fortunate ‘wethers’ (males) will be sent off to the auction mart. The ewes will return to the fell for another year.

And so the annual cycle continues. It’s hard to think of something more organic. No chemicals are used (well, except for the possible dipping and dousing against ticks); there are no additives, no barns without daylight, no cruelty from man, just lots of rain and grass.

I am not sure whether the lambs are sold as organic or not, but if they are, should they be at a higher price? So much food labelled 'green' or organic is sold at a premium, is this the farmers, or the supermarkets, taking advantage by charging an extra 10% or more?

Surely, in many cases the costs of rearing animals or growing crops is reasonably similar nowadays? Non organic producers, of course, often have the costs of extra equipment, fertilizers and other chemical enhancers to bear. Are we being duped into paying for a cosy, comfortable brand - a lifestyle endorsement? I'd like to see some more figures in the public domain.

I, for one, would not shirk from coughing up a few extra pence for genuinely better conditions and a cleaner product, but I don't want to pay a supplier for an image, or to cover the costs of an expensive accreditation scheme for that matter.

We can have a debate about whether or not 'organic' is better for your health or not but I am pretty sure it is better for the environment and livestock.

We need to know what we are paying for as a basic component of consumer protection, but also so that we can make informed choices. Who knows, consumers might even pay more if they could see the facts!

David Jackman

Monday, 19 September 2011

A new generation of beach boys (and girls)

On the third Saturday of September each year, volunteers around the world take part in the world’s biggest coastal cleanup, known as International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) Day. The event has been held internationally each year for over 20 years, when people head to the beaches and begin removing debris and rubbish from shorelines, waterways and oceans. Since then, the ICC has included inland lakes, rivers, streams and underwater sites, with over half a million people in more than 100 countries participating every year. In honour of this event, members of the green24 team donned our rubber gloves, sunscreen and sunhats, and headed for the sand and surf.

One of the major concerns regarding rubbish on the beach and in waterways is that the debris is often dumped further inland and washed down into the rivers, ponds or oceans. Statistics show that almost 60% of debris collected during ICC Day was from land sources.

Each year there is a major increase in the number of marine and aquatic animals injured, entangled or killed from debris found in the oceans. Turtles mistake floating plastic bags for food and thousands of seals, whales, dolphins, sharks and birds die from entanglement in fishing lines and other debris.

The aim of the cleanup is:
·         To remove debris from the water.
·         To collect valuable information about the debris.
·         To heighten public awareness of the causes of litter and debris.
·         To make a positive change and to promote water pollution prevention efforts worldwide.

In the six hours we spent walking up and down our local stretch of sand, we managed to collect over 80 bags of rubbish, which we separated into recyclables and other waste. After a long day in the sun, there is no better feeling than knowing that you have done your bit for the environment, while getting a healthy dose of vitamin E.