Finally Good News

Archive for the ‘Europe’ Category

As the human population continues to grow exponentially, adding ever-increasing pressure on agricultural suppliers, and climate change brings greater unpredictability ever year to both farmers and supermarkets, its nice to read in the press that one of the UK’s biggest food chains, Sainsbury’s, is ahead of the game. This year has seen the British Isles experience record rain in June and a bone-dry March, making it a double blow to farmers – the result, according to the Guardian newspaper is…uglier fruits and vegetables for consumers!

That’s right, when the going gets tough with a recession and terrible weather, cosmetic concerns and food vanity fly out the window. And it’s about time. Read the rest of this entry »

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Coffee in London

With TV chefs like Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver, Britain is arguably leading the world in culinary activities…

As someone who first moved to London in 1987, I’ve seen the city experience an enormous transformation since then. It’s always been an epicentre of cultural activity, but one had to be wealthy or look hard for the kind of lifestyle and consumer choices that are now so readily available – a proper cup of coffee couldn’t be had outside of Soho until 1999, for instance. Nowadays, however, London is a full-blown retail and consumer driven experience, catering to every whim and fancy that the market desires; one could argue against the homogeneous nature of globalization, but I think the options and incredible level of quality that the city now offers is fantastic, and people are beginning to desire something more personal. Suffice to say, a good cup of coffee is not hard to find in 2012. Read the rest of this entry »

Greece Flag

“Shipping billionaires like Thanassis Martinos are doing their part by providing jobs to young people whose unemployment stands at about 50%…”

It was interesting to read recently in the New York Times how immensely wealthy Greek tycoons are helping their countrymen in these difficult times. The news has been full of heartbreaking stories of children left to orphanages, a huge surge of homelessness in Athens and other major cities and an exodus of the rich to the more hospitable climes of France or the UK (only just). But, there are those that have stayed and vowed to fight – politically and financially – to help bring their country back from the brink. Read the rest of this entry »

Renewable Power

“the world’s biggest polluters are turning a corner and planning to spend almost $30bn on emissions reduction, renewables and much more on wind and solar power…”

The coalition government in the UK has implemented the largest, sweeping reforms to the energy sector in over twenty years. The good news is that the acknowledgment and prescient concern over the future is on the agenda, the bad news is that many are disappointed that renewable energy is taking a backseat to nuclear. As was reported in the Guardian newspaper recently, Charles Hendry, the minister of state for energy, said: “The market did a good job keeping down [energy] prices to the lowest in Europe, but it did not bring forward enough new investment. If we are going to keep the lights on in an affordable way, this is not a luxury – it’s absolutely essential.” True, but what do they propose? A fairly reasonable fixed price for carbon (higher than what is ostensibly market price) and an “emissions performance standard” stopping coal-fueled facilities from carrying on without proper carbon capture, it seems. The beef for environmentalists is the lack of investment on renewables. But, it appears a decent enough plan to provide higher prices to industry – in order to spur future investments in renewables and ensure no future shortages (this was perhaps the main impetus). The question, as is often the case with everything – where’s the money coming from? That’s a tough one to answer considering the nation’s current economic struggles.

Read the rest of this entry »

TPS-Logo

“Our intent is to offer an alternative food buying network, by connecting an urban community with the local farming community…”

It’s a great feeling being inspired by an idea, and those implementing it – especially when it benefits a local community. Having seen a recent British documentary about a new-paradigm grocery store in London, dubbed The People’s Supermarket, it put a smile on this writer’s face to see a quality, local business delivering an alternative to the homogenized grocery monopolies. Britain, like most countries, has just a few food commercial high street food choices, begging the questions – why, and can this be done better?

Read the rest of this entry »

An amazing photograph appeared recently in The Guardian newspaper – the shot consisted of the MD of John Lewis,

John Lewis

John Lewis: employee-owned businesses traditionally don’t skyrocket like their more conventional peers, but it seems to be more about longevity, respect, quality and a slower, steadier growth pattern.

addressing hundreds of his ‘partners’ at a new branch opening in London. What makes the shot interesting is the fact that his partners are employees that share in the ownership of the company, and they number almost 80,000. There isn’t a stock market listing and there aren’t private equity backers, and the payout for last year to everyone was in line with the overall profits – and those keep getting better every year.

Read the rest of this entry »

The good news just keeps rolling in. After initial reports that the climate talks in South Africa were stalling, the final

Solar Energy

Solar Energy - one can't help but feel ingenuity (and profitability) might actually save the day for human kind

summation has been pretty hopeful (of course there is a mountain of red tape – but delegates were able to do much more than many believed). And after reading a lengthy article on what the Germans are now doing with solar energy, one can’t help but feel ingenuity (and profitability) might actually save the day for human kind.

Read the rest of this entry »


Positive perspectives from the frontline

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