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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to for 100% free stock alerts Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending...

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Richemont chairman Johann Rupert to take 'grey gap... Billionaire 62-year-old to take 12 months off from Cartier and Montblanc luxury goods groupRichemont's chairman and founder Johann Rupert is to take a year off from September, leaving management of the...

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Cambodia: aftermath of fatal shoe factory collapse... Workers clear rubble following the collapse of a shoe factory in Kampong Speu, Cambodia, on Thursday

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Spate of recent shock departures by 50-something CEOs While the rising financial rewards of running a modern multinational have been well publicised, executive recruiters say the pressures of the job have also been ratcheted upOn approaching his 60th birthday...

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UK Uncut loses legal challenge over Goldman Sachs tax... While judge agreed the deal was 'not a glorious episode in the history of the Revenue', he ruled it was not unlawfulCampaign group UK Uncut Legal Action has lost its high court challenge over the legality...

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At Your Next Party Make the Fun Last, Not the Waste

Category : Stocks

MISSION, KS–(Marketwired – Apr 4, 2013) – (Family Features) When hosting a party, the excitement is often about the guest list, invitations and the menu, but what about the amount of trash that comes out of gathering with family and friends? Actress Tiffani Thiessen and party planner, Heidi Mayne, share innovative and eco-friendly party planning ideas, so you can increase the fun, while decreasing your waste. 

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Thousands more households could be in fuel poverty by Christmas

Category : Business

Up to 300,000 have fallen into difficulties over winter, while scheme to cut energy costs could take 30 years to succeed

About 300,000 more households could be in fuel poverty by Christmas, according to reports published on Monday, which warn that a government scheme to improve the energy efficiency of homes could take 30 years to succeed and add to energy prices in the meantime.

The reports are being published as the energy secretary, Ed Davey, attends a summit with electricity and gas company bosses, regulators and consumer groups to discuss rising energy prices and how the industry serves its customers. At the Fair Energy Summit, organised by Policy Review Intelligence, Davey will meet the heads of British Gas, E.ON and Co-operative Energy.

Spiralling energy prices have added about 7% to average annual fuel bills recently. More pain is due in the new year, when price increases announced by E.ON take effect.

Estimates suggest that for every 1% increase in energy prices, about 40,000 households are pushed into fuel poverty – defined as when consumers spend more than 10% of their income on heating.

The Fuel Poverty Advisory Group (FPAG) said 300,000 more homes had fallen into difficulty this winter and millions could follow without urgent government action. Its annual report said government moves to reduce the impact of environmental costs on industrial energy users were unfair to domestic customers, who are facing rising costs associated with green measures.

It claims that over the next 15 years about £63bn will be added to consumer energy bills through the carbon floor price and EU emissions trading system, on top of other price increases.

Derek Lickorish, the FPAG chairman, said: “A toxic cocktail of rising wholesale prices, the high cost of energy reforms and cuts in incomes for many households, means fuel poverty levels are set to sky-rocket without radical action.

“Time is running out for the government to fuel poverty proof the homes of those on the lowest incomes.”

A report by the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) said measures to help fuel poor households could backfire.

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO), designed to cut bills of poor households by forcing suppliers to fit solid wall insulation, offer energy efficient boilers and other energy-saving measures, could add up to £116 to the average bill and push families that did not receive support further into fuel poverty. It said that while there were 2.7m fuel poor households in England alone, it expected the measure to help between 125,000 and 250,000 households out of fuel poverty by 2023.

The ECO will run alongside the Green Deal, which is designed to encourage homeowners to make their properties more energy efficient by allowing them to spread the cost of installing measures such as loft insulation and draught-proofing.

Will Straw, associate director at IPPR, said: “The government’s ambition with the new Energy Company Obligation is the right one. Improving the energy efficiency of Britain’s housing stock is the most cost-effective way to tackle fuel poverty and bring down carbon emissions.

“Nonetheless, ECO, working alongside the Green Deal, will barely scratch the surface of Britain’s fuel poverty problem and may not deliver what is needed for emissions reductions.”

Can I fly with a clear conscience? | Ethical living

Category : Business

I’d like to travel by plane, but it seems iniquitous that air fares are so low. Can you offer me any reasons why I might fly with a clear conscience?

It is time for the aviation industry to pay the ferryman. Hitherto flying has soared above climate change regulation but from 30 April 2013 the EU dictates that it must sign up to emissions trading. In common with other heavily polluting industries, this means putting a cap on CO² emissions for planes arriving or departing from EU airports. Airlines would trade in pollution permits on an aviation carbon market. The theory is that fleets that are low carbon would be rewarded and this would incentivise airlines to invest in eco-friendly fleets.

OK, so this is no tax on aviation fuel and there’s plenty of turbulence to come – industry lobbyists are battling like fury to water down legislation, and outside the EU some carriers are refusing to report their emissions. (Preposterously, China claims dispensation on account of being a developing country.) But the fact that the aviation industry is being made to act like other massive energy consumers (US commercial airlines burn about 50m gallons of kerosene per day) may offer you comfort.

It’s true, this industry can be hard to love. Traditionally it’s countered criticism by provoking “hairy environmentalists” (so termed by Michael O’Leary of Ryanair) or by pleading that air travel contributes just 2% of greenhouse gas emissions. Critics contend that this doesn’t factor in radiative forcing: at altitude, the negative effects of burning kerosene are amplified to the power of three.

Let’s be fair: there has been some eco innovation. Aircraft have been updated for more efficient models. Check each airline to get the “environmental” sell on its fleets (the newer the better). But gains in fuel efficiency can only go so far. Some airlines, notably BA and Virgin, have switched attention to alternative fuel sources, meaning biofuels. Virgin Atlantic flew a plane to Amsterdam in 2008 with one engine using a

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Eco Oro Receives Positive Decision on Principal Mining Title

Category : World News

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwire – Sept. 14, 2012) - Eco Oro Minerals Corp. (the “Company” or “Eco Oro”) (TSX:EOM) announces that, further to the Company’s news release of August 27, 2012, Colombia’s national mining agency (Agencia Nacional de Mineria or “ANM”) has rendered a decision, contained in Resolution VSC 004 dated September 12, 2012 (the “Modifying Resolution”), in response to the Company’s motion to reconsider Resolution VSC 002 dated August 8, 2012 (the “Original Resolution”), which motion to reconsider was filed by the Company on August 29, 2012. The Original Resolution and Modifying Resolution relate to the Company’s application for an extension of the exploration phase of the Company’s principal mining title, concession contract 3452 (the “Concession”).

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Anna’s charity was bid candy for the Work Programme. Now it’s bankrupt | Polly Toynbee

Category : Business

Big companies use small charities to win prime contracts from Duncan Smith’s programme. But where’s the proof it works?

Good unemployment figures? Less bad than feared in this longest of recessions, but how good? Of the 65,000 drop in the total, 61,000 were in London, and the Office of National Statistics suggests these are due to 100,000 temporary jobs at the Olympics as bar staff, cleaners and security guards. Meanwhile, the trend for the long-term unemployed trudges inexorably upwards, now to 441,000. Worse is the continuing rise in the young without work, four times higher in a year. The damage done to them over the whole of their rest of their lives is well-documented from the lost generation of the early 1980s who never recovered, in and out of work for life.

Iain Duncan Smith, as ever cavalier with numbers, claimed in the Mail on Sunday that his cap on benefits is driving people into work, before it’s even begun. “These figures show the benefit cap is already a success and is actively encouraging people back to work.” He says 58,000 claimants were sent a letter warning their benefits will be capped next April. Of these 1,700 have since then taken a job. But that’s fewer than 3%, which the Institute for Fiscal Studies says is consistent “with the policy having no effect at all. Over any period, some fraction of an unemployed group will probably move into work.”

But no one really knows, because the Department for Work and Pensions didn’t collect any figures for how many of this group usually moves into work. So Channel 4′s brilliant FactCheck concludes: “His figures don’t show the benefits cap is already successful at getting people back to work.” When challenged, the DWP had to fall back on faith: “The secretary of state believes that the benefits cap is having an effect.” Faith-based policymaking is something he is good at.

Faith is what’s needed for his Work Programme, too: what sort of claims will

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Volkswagen Joins Dave Matthews Band on 2012 Summer Tour

Category : Stocks

Think Blue.(R) Eco-Village to Provide Engaging, Educational Fan Experience

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Kansas City Honda Dealer, Frank Ancona Honda, Celebrates Earth Day With Eco-Savings

Category : Stocks, World News

OLATHE, KS–(Marketwire – Apr 21, 2012) – Frank Ancona Honda is celebrating Earth Day with a reminder that Kansas Citians can save green and be green. Frank Ancona Honda is featuring some of its best APR and lease specials on hybrids. Consumers can take home a hybrid, enjoy saving money on gas mileage and still be eco-conscious while driving a more environmentally friendly car.

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Can H&M really claim to be ethical?

Category : Business

The world’s second largest clothing retailer is trying to remake itself as a greener option. Lucy Siegle reports from Stockholm

H&M is not just a big player in “fast fashion”, it’s a giant. Estimates (fast fashion behemoths do not give out many production figures as the sector is intensely competitive) suggest it sells more than 550 million garments every year. It recently announced net quarterly profits of $412m. It is second only to Inditex, owner of Zara, as the world’s largest clothing retailer. The great fast fashion war pits Sweden’s richest man, Stefan Persson, chair of H&M, against Spain’s richest man, Amancio Ortega, co-founder of Zara.

And now, in an audacious move, H&M is positioning itself as the ethical solution, the retailer that can make ethics and fast fashion synonymous. It wants to be an ethical giant, too. I say “audacious” because, to concerned consumers and activists, fast fashion’s rapid-response production system, reliant on low-wage production in some of the poorest countries on Earth, is pretty much held responsible for environmental and social degradation in the global wardrobe. Indeed, having spent a large amount of time railing against it myself, it felt pretty audacious for me, too, to be sitting in the Stockholm headquarters of H&M last week.

The Observer was given early access to the brand’s latest sustainability report that will be published on 12 April. Few corporate CSR reports are read so widely. From activists to analysts, everyone will be keen to see if H&M can really crack it. I am no different. However much I bang on about alternative ways to fill your wardrobe to ethically aware audiences – small brands, swapping, vintage, knitting – the top question I still get asked is: “So which high street stores can I go to?”

Be in no doubt, we are addicted to fast fashion. So, if H&M have solved all labour rights and environmental issues then I can pack up my soap box and toddle home, picking up some David Beckham underpants from his H&M Bodywear collaboration from one of the brand’s 199 UK stores with total impunity. But how clean are H&M’s Beckham pants? (On Twitter Joey Barton splendidly articulated lingering consumer unease: “Do one, Becks. They cost about 1p to make in a sweat shop in the Third World.”) Indeed, what guarantees does H&M offer across its ranges?

“I don’t think guarantee is the right word,” says Helena Helmersson, head of sustainability, brightly. “A lot of people ask for guarantees: ‘Can you guarantee labour conditions? Can you guarantee zero chemicals?’ Of course we cannot when we’re such a huge company operating in very challenging conditions. What I can say is that we do the very best we can with a lot of resources and a clear direction of what we’re supposed to do. We’re working really hard.”

I believe her. Thursday’s report will show some impressive sustainable figures: for example nearly 2.5 million pairs of shoes were made last year using lower-impact water-based solvents; all building contractors have signed a code of conduct to ensure “good” working conditions; recycled polyester equivalent to 9.2 million plastic bottles has been used, and H&M uses more organic cotton in production than any other group. This year I am told, 7.6% of its cotton was organic (an industry insider estimates H&M’s overall cotton use to be around 200,000 tonnes a year). By 2020 100% will be sustainably sourced cotton.

“H&M has definitely got better,” admits industry expert and CEO of Clothesource, Mike Flanagan. “From some presposterous moments in the recent past they have moved to being in a small clutch of four or five brands, including Nike and Gap, who believe that they have no alternative but to be as good as possible at sustainability. It’s a marked change.”

(The official word on the Beckham cruds is that this time they were made using conventional cotton and Elastane, but that H&M hasn’t ruled out “using other [eco] materials for future collections” and didn’t publish a list of factories used in China and Cambodia due to commercial confidentiality.)

Does Helmersson still wake up worried they’ll be the subject of a sweated labour expose? “Yes, I worry about that sometimes. I lived in Dhaka for two years. You see how things happen down the chain in a country like Bangladesh. Remember that H&M does not own any factories itself. We are to some extent dependent on the suppliers — it is impossible to be in full control.”

And therein lies the rub. While H&M talks about responsibility, in the supply chain where retailers devolve power to factories it can be easy to distance yourself. Helmersson says H&M has invested in 100 people in CSR, 75 of whom are auditors (assessing social and now some environmental conditions in factories) and produced a series of groundbreaking short films, including one on fire safety that it claims more than 400,000 garment workers have seen.

Sam Maher, of the NGO Labour Behind The Label, the UK platform for the international Clean Clothes Campaign, is not so impressed (although she is yet to see the latest 2011 report). “I’d like to be at the point where unions can phone H&M and talk through any labour disputes. The Clean Clothes Campaign should no longer need to exist. Sadly that’s far from the case. DVDs ‘educating’ garment workers are all very well but I think workers know there is a problem. They aren’t stupid. What’s needed is proper dialogue with unions and freedom of association, long term investment and proper resources. It’s not good enough to act unilaterally and say: ‘We’re Swedish and we do things very well.’”

What would change her mind? “For starters I would like to see them signing the Clean Clothes Campaign’s memorandum of understanding on fire and building safety in Bangladesh. PVH [owners of Tommy Hilfiger] has just signed but three more big signatories are needed. H&M is currently considering it.”

There is of course another fashionably attired elephant in the fitting room: a business model predicated on producing millions of units and on a fashion cycle that favours 30 to 50 trend-driven fashion seasons a year (the original spring/summer and autumn/winter cycles are alien to fast fashion) are hardly a recipe for sustainability. Isn’t ethical fast fashion just a big fat oxymoron?

Helmersson says: “It’s a question of how can we make the fashion more sustainable? That’s what we are working on in many ways to do that.”

To that end Thursday also sees the launch of the new Conscious Collection, with pieces made from eco-fibres ranging from organic cotton and recycled plastic bottles to Tencel (derived from plant cellulose) and a glamorous adjunct of “eco” pieces including a silky hemp, pieces that have been worn by celebrities on the red carpet (coincidentally this is a similar idea to the Green Carpet Challenge I co-founded with Livia Firth in order to up the profile of sustainable style).

H&M acknowledges there is more to do: “We must close the loop on fibre. How can we see waste as a resource?” emphasises Helmersson. “You see my dream is to be perceived as a company who can offer all people in the world – even those without much money – the possibility to dress really well and sustainably. That’s how I want people to perceive us, not as a brand connected to mass consumption.”

Full marks for ambition. But do I buy H&M as an ethical paragon? Not quite yet. They are still clinging to too many parts of the fast-fashion supply chain to bring anything revolutionary. But I’m enjoying their new attitude and I remain open to persuasion.

Fairplex "Makes Waves" With Grand Opening of $28 Million Sheraton Fairplex Conference Center

Category : Stocks, World News

Grand Opening Ceremony for New Eco-Friendly Conference Center Held on March 14, 2012

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Eco Friendly Products Debuting at the Chicago International Home + Housewares Show 2012

Category : World News

Eco Bay Home launching several new innovative, eco-friendly products at the Chicago Housewares show.

Link: Eco Friendly Products Debuting at the Chicago International Home + Housewares Show 2012

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