Category: Journal

20 Feb 2017

Podcast Recommendations

I’m obsessed with podcasts. They are the perfect distraction from tedious tasks like the morning rush hour commute on the tube.

So I thought I’d recommend a few podcasts relating to the the work we do here at bio-bean, the environment, and sustainability.

The Circulate Podcast
Made by the team at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, these guys are the experts on the Circular Economy and can always come up with fascinating insights and examples.
Episode: Cities as flows in the Circular Economy

edie’s Sustainable Business Covered
edie is one of the biggest sustainability news sites out there so they’re able to get some big names on their podcast.
Episode: Britain’s great green policy progressives – featuring Sadiq Khan and ClientEarth CEO, James Thornton

Their silliness might get slightly on your nerves but if you like that sort of thing they can be a laugh. ‘Inhofe of the Week’ is a great feature, inspired by the ridiculous US Senator.
Episode: Babies – featuring Business Green Editor-in-Chief, James Murray.

These guys are brilliant at constructing a compelling narrative and have some of the best sound design in the business.
Episode: Galapagos

BBC Podcasts
These podcasts are fantastically well researched and occasionally feature climate/sustainability topics.
BBC Analysis – How did we save the Ozone Layer? 
The Inquiry – Can we eat our way out of climate change?
The Documentary – Africa’s Ivory Dilemma

New Economics Foundation’s Weekly Economics Podcast
From one of the most interesting think tanks in the UK at the moment, this episode is part of their series written in response to the Brexit vote.
Episode: Really take control: Environment
Well, that’s my list. Happy listening, and leave a comment if you’ve come across any others.


By Charlie Thorneycroft, Policy Analyst

29 Dec 2016
factory and team

Grounds for optimism in 2017

It’s been a fantastic 2016 here at bio-bean. In the last twelve months we’ve launched our second product – Coffee Logs – grown our amazing team to over 40 people, raised millions more in funding and taken the bio-bean story global, with millions of views of videos and articles online. We have continued to build and establish valuable relationships with waste coffee grounds suppliers all over London – including chains such as Costa and LEON and begun trials with new waste management companies Biffa and Olleco.

2016 has also been a year of turbulence in our climate and politics.

This year saw the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere pass the symbolic threshold of 400 parts per million, and 2016 looks all but certain to be the hottest year on record – at 1.2ºC warmer than pre-industrial levels. These temperature changes have been linked to the severe weather we have been witnessing lately, such as the freak conditions in the Arctic that saw temperatures 33ºC above average and the latest storm, Barbara, hitting the UK over Christmas.

While climate change is beginning to have a discernible impact on our weather and economy, the UK has so far struggled to come up with a coherent policy framework to deal with this issue. The UK dropped to 14th place in EY’s Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index, down from 8th place in June 2015. The report cites the uncertainty over Brexit and the closure of the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) as reasons for this fall in confidence. The Committee on Energy and Climate Change blamed the “sudden and numerous policy announcements that [have] marred the UK’s reputation for stable and predictable policy development” such as changes to the Feed-in-Tariff and Renewable Heat Incentive.

On the other hand, it’s remarkable how far the Green Economy has come despite these setbacks and there are many reasons to look ahead with optimism to what’s to come in the New Year.

The fossil fuel divestment movement has become the fastest growing divestment movement in history, doubling in the last fifteen months and now totalling over $5tn – even against a backdrop of sluggish economic growth and political turmoil.

Some argue that Brexit and the closure of DECC will distract from climate change and relegate these issues down the list of national priorities. However, it also suggests that energy and climate policies are now an inherent part of our new industrial strategy, managed by BEIS in response to Brexit. There are now significant opportunities for green growth under the recently announced National Productivity Investment Fund as part of this new industrial strategy.

Brexit also presents an opportunity for the Circular Economy. As the pound falls and commodity and import prices rise, it becomes more attractive to make the most of the ‘waste’ resources already available here in the UK. The election of climate change skeptic Donald Trump was met with outrage by many in the environmental movement, but there are many reasons to believe that he won’t be as damaging as many of these commentators fear. The technological progress that has made natural gas and wind energy cost-competitive with coal is unlikely to be reversed.

Instead, in 2017 we hope we’ll see more companies like bio-bean striving to make the sustainable choice the logical choice – by creating great products that outperform the competition, save families and businesses money and help the environment at the same time.

Happy New Year.

22 Dec 2016

Southwark Council joins the growing fossil fuel divestment movement

It’s great to hear that Southwark Council will be joining the fastest growing divestment movement in history. The £1.2bn Southwark pension fund is now the largest fund in the UK to end all its investments in fossil fuels as news emerges that the wider movement now totals $5.2tn, having doubled in the last fifteen months.

What’s remarkable is not only the speed of this movement but the context in which it has occurred. The fact that it has taken place against the backdrop of sluggish economic growth and the political turmoil of the last few years, suggests that this movement is no longer simply a typical divestment campaign based only on ethical concerns – but now represents a genuine commercial movement based on mitigating the financial risks of investing in assets that are gradually becoming more and more toxic.

Southwark Council will now begin gradually shifting their investments away from fossil fuels and are exploring new opportunities to invest in the development of sustainable energy infrastructure via the London CIV. In 2017, we expect to see many more organisations join the fastest growing divestment movement in history.