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Some of the world’s largest firms including Amazon and Google have committed to big-spending green energy plans as calls for climate action increase.Amazon has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2040 and Google said it would make record renewable energy purchases.The announcements coincide with a day of climate action on Friday, with strikes being held around the world.

Millions of people – mostly children and teenagers – are due to take part.

Ahead of the demonstrations, Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos outlined new climate initiatives, including promises to make the company carbon neutral and meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement by 2040.

To meet its pledge, the e-commerce giant said it had ordered 100,000 electric delivery vehicles to reduce its fuel consumption. The first will enter service in 2021.

The company said its aim is to meet the targets set out in the Paris agreement 10 years earlier than specified.

Still, some Amazon employees don’t feel the company has gone far enough. More than 1,500 workers pledged to stage a “walkout” protest on Friday against the company’s environmental record.

On Thursday, Google said it would make the “biggest corporate purchase of renewable energy in history” with a string of new solar and energy deals. Chief executive Sundar Pichai said the agreements include more than $2bn (£1.6bn) in new energy infrastructure, including millions of solar panels and hundreds of wind turbines.

“Once all these projects come online, our carbon-free energy portfolio will produce more electricity than places like Washington DC or entire countries like Lithuania or Uruguay use each year,” Mr Pichai said in a blog post.

Swedish retailer Ikea also touted its green energy efforts.

On Thursday, Ingka Group – which owns most Ikea stores – said recent investments in wind and solar will enable the firm to beat its 2020 target to produce as much renewable energy as it consumes. The company has spent billions on wind farms and solar panels at its stores, and said it recently purchased a stake in two US solar parks.

Chief executive Jesper Brodin told Reuters the company would continue to invest in solar parks and wind farms. “Being climate smart is not an added cost. It’s actually smart business and what the business model of the future will look like… Everything around fossil fuels and daft use of resources will be expensive,” Mr Brodin said.

RBS has named Alison Rose as its new chief executive, making her the first woman to lead one of the UK’s big four banks.Ms Rose, who joined the bank 27 years ago as a graduate trainee, will replace the incumbent Ross McEwan in November.

She will be paid more than her predecessor, with her annual salary set at £1.1m compared with Mr McEwan’s £1m.

Ms Rose is currently the chief executive of the commercial and private banking division.

Other lenders have been led by women. Ana Botin was formerly in charge of Santander UK, while Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia was chief executive of Virgin Money before it was sold to CYBG last year.However, Ms Rose is the only woman so far to lead one of the UK’s four biggest banks, which are RBS, Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays and HSBC.

It also means that two of the most senior roles at RBS will be held by women, after Katie Murray was promoted to chief financial officer earlier this year.

Commenting on Ms Rose’s appointment, RBS chairman Howard Davies said: “Following a rigorous internal and external process, I am confident that we have appointed the best person for the job.”

RBS remains majority-owned by the UK government, with a stake of 62%, after it was bailed out with £45.5bn of taxpayers’ money during the financial crisis.

Ms Rose said she was “looking forward to getting started” in her new job, adding: “Maintaining the safety and soundness of this bank will continue to underpin everything we do.”The RBS veteran has been widely tipped to replace Mr McEwan, who will become chief executive of National Australia Bank.

Ms Rose joined NatWest straight from university in 1992, before the bank was bought by RBS eight years later.

She has worked in various roles at RBS, including in investment banking.

Ms Rose helped restructure the bank’s balance sheet in the aftermath of the financial crisis, a process which she described as “challenging”.As well as heading RBS’s commercial and private banking, Ms Rose is currently deputy chief executive of NatWest Holdings, which is the ring-fenced part of the business that does not include the riskier investment bank division.

She was also commissioned by the Treasury to lead a review into the barriers women face in entrepreneurship, which was published earlier this year.

British Airways pilots have called off the next strike in their dispute, which had been scheduled for 27 September.Last week, a two-day stoppage called by the pilots’ union, Balpa, forced BA to cancel almost all its flights.

The strike followed failed negotiations between the union and the airline over a pay offer of 11.5% over three years. Balpa said the strikes on 9 and 10 September had demonstrated the anger and resolve of pilots. It was now time for a period of reflection before the dispute “escalates further and irreparable damage is done to the brand”, the union said.

British Airways had already started cancelling flights for 27 September. It is not clear if they will now be reinstated. The airline was forced to cancel 1,700 flights last week during the pilots’ walkout over pay.

Balpa said it hoped BA would “now change its approach and negotiate seriously” with a view to ending the dispute. Balpa general secretary Brian Strutton said: “Someone has to take the initiative to sort out this dispute and with no sign of that from BA, the pilots have decided to take the responsible course.

“In a genuine attempt at establishing a time out for common sense to prevail, we have lifted the threat of the strike on 27 September.”

However, Balpa said it retained the right to announce further strike dates.

Local Opticians Feltham Eyecare Centre has been nominated for a national award by the optical industry.  The practice is one of only four in the UK to be nominated for Marketing Campaign of the Year at the annual SightCare Awards.  The winners will be announced at an exclusive ceremony on 15th September in Telford.

The Marketing Campaign of the Year award acknowledges a creative marketing campaign which has increased awareness in the local communityFeltham Eyecare Centre was selected for the success of its relocation campaign at the end of 2018, when the practice moved premises from Wilton Parade to Bedfont Lane.  The practice employed a range of marketing techniques in the run-up to the move to keep patients informed and ensure it didn’t impact patient care and footfall.

The SightCare Awards is the premier independent business awards, recognising the best independent Opticians from the length and breadth of the UK.  Through the SightCare competition, independent practitioners and their staff enter learning initiatives and independent business content in various categories for recognition of excellence.  Finalists are selected by a group of experienced judges and, from that group of finalists, one winner from each category is awarded.

“The SightCare Awards celebrate the best in independent optics and we are thrilled to have made it to the nominations stage of such a competitive category,” said Mohamed Kasmani, Owner and Optometrist at Feltham Eyecare Centre.  “We believe we are offering some fantastic eye care in Feltham and it’s great to be recognised on a national scale for our marketing efforts.”

The SightCare Awards was designed and developed in partnership with the SightCare Advisory Board.  The judging panel comprises experienced professionals working in the independent optical sector.

Feltham Eyecare Centre is an independent Opticians based on Bedfont Lane in Feltham.  Established in 2001, the practice team are committed to providing their patients with the latest in innovative eye care solutions to safeguard and enhance vision and wellbeing.

For more information about Feltham Eyecare Centre please visit www.felthameyecarecentre.co.uk or call 020 8867 0406 or email info@felthameyecarecentre.co.uk.

For more information on the SightCare Awards please visit www.sightcare.co.uk/awards-2019.

Sainsbury’s has become the latest supermarket to target packaging waste, pledging to halve the amount of plastic used in its stores by 2025.

Its customers will have to change their behaviour to achieve the “bold ambition” it said, for example by buying milk in plastic pouches.

It is also inviting the public and business partners to submit new ideas.

“Reducing plastic and packaging is not easy,” said Mike Coupe, Sainsbury’s chief executive.

“We can’t do this on our own and we will be asking our suppliers and our customers to work with us.”

Bring your own

On Friday, Sainsbury’s is meeting with food manufacturers, packaging suppliers, material scientists and the waste and recycling industry to kick-start the process of identifying new solutions.

However the supermarket said it was already rolling out some measures, including removing all plastic bags from its fruit and veg sections by the end of this month.

Instead customers will be invited to bring their own bags, buy reusable bags made from recycled plastic bottles, or put a price sticker onto loose items.

The supermarket considered introducing paper bags, but spokeswoman, Rebecca Reilly said the net impact would have been worse for the environment.

“There’s the deforestation link, and they are heavier and bulkier [than plastic]. They take up space in transport, so there are knock-on carbon emissions,” she said.

Sainsbury’s will encourage customers to bring their own containers for products from shampoo to raw meat and fish, and will sell more products loose by weight, something Waitrose began trialling earlier this year.

Bags of milk

In many areas it was a question of reducing plastic rather than eliminating it, suggested Ms Reilly. For example milk might be sold in pouches, using less plastic than the current bottles.

But Helen Bird from packaging campaign group, Wrap, said plastic milk bottles were one of the items being widely recycled in the UK.

Plastic pouches aren’t currently recyclable, she said, although they would probably produce lower carbon emissions.

But she praised the scale of Sainsbury’s ambition and said accepting that it did not yet have all the answers was a sensible approach to the challenge ahead.

Ovo is set to become the UK’s second largest energy supplier after it agreed to buy SSE’s retail business for £500m.

Ovo – which was created 10 years ago – is already the UK’s largest independent energy supplier, with 1.5 million customers and about 2,000 employees.But it will now take on SSE’s 3.5 million customers and 8,000 staff, making it second only to British Gas.

SSE said it would “do all it can to ensure a smooth transition for customers and employees”.

The deal is expected to be completed in late 2019 or early 2020.

SSE – one of the Big Six energy suppliers – said there would be no immediate impact on customers after completion.It added that the SSE brand would be operated by Ovo under licence for a period, “allowing time for a phased and carefully managed migration and continued high standards of customer service”.

Stephen Murray, energy expert at MoneySuperMarket, said Ovo’s deal to buy SSE’s business “will enhance the ever-growing competition for customers”.

“The likes of Ovo, Shell, Bulb and Octopus mean there’s a base of emerging suppliers who are continuing to challenge the Big Six in the domestic energy market.”

SSE had announced in May that it planned to offload its energy services division after more than 500,000 households switched to a new supplier in the year to April. The company said it would sell or float its energy services arm by the second half of 2020.

In November last year, a proposed merger of SSE’s household supply arm with rival Npower was called off, with SSE blaming “very challenging market conditions”.The introduction of the energy price cap by the government had led SSE and Npower to renegotiate their planned tie-up, but they failed to agree a deal.

Announcing the sale of the business to Ovo, SSE chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies said: “We have long believed that a dedicated, focused and independent retailer will ultimately best serve customers, employees and other stakeholders – and this is an excellent opportunity to make that happen.

“I’m confident that this is the best outcome for the SSE Energy Services business.”

The founder and chief executive of Ovo, Stephen Fitzpatrick, described the deal as a “significant moment for the energy industry”.

“SSE and Ovo are a great fit. They share our values on sustainability and serving customers. They’ve built an excellent team that I’m really looking forward to working with.”

Today, the Club took a big step forward in reducing our plastic waste by introducing reusable bottles for every member of coaching and playing staff at our Jersey Road Training Ground.

In line with Sky Ocean Rescue and the EFL’s commitment to improving our impact on the environment, we have joined the fight to #PassOnPlastic by stopping the use of plastic water bottles at our training base in Osterley.

The new season saw a raft of new innovations and equipment upgrades, designed to continue a culture of innovation and creativity across all departments at the Club. Among these was a commitment to eradicate single-use plastic from day to day use at the training ground.

Medical Department Staff Member Chris Domoney was tasked with setting up the project and spoke as the new bottles were introduced to everyone on site.

“Co-Director of Football Phil Giles asked me to drive the removal of single-use plastic at Jersey Road and thus began a quite long process of getting an alternative in place,” said Chris.

“Over the course of a single season we estimate we used 20,000 plastic bottles, adding up to 304kg of plastic waste.”After exhaustive research we have installed three Pure Water stations around the site, which provide filtered and mineral-enhanced chilled water from our regular mains supply.

The drive towards a plastic-free environment is also being reflected in excellent work being done by Chef Joe O’Neil and the team around the catering department. The environmental and economic benefits are long term, but we are also striving to introduce the project at other Club sites and the new stadium.

“We are indebted to brand leaders Chilly’s for supplying the bottles, as well as Hawker Softeners and Kinetico for suppling and fitting the filtration equipment”.

People should work fewer hours to earn a living, but capping their hours would be unrealistic, a report commissioned by the Labour Party has claimed.

The report, by cross-bench peer Robert Skidelsky, said working less without loss of pay was “good for material and spiritual well-being”.But it said imposing a four-day week – a policy Labour is considering – would not be “realistic or even desirable”.

Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell said he would study the findings.But the free market Adam Smith Institute warned: “If we force people to work less they will inevitably earn less.”

According to the report, working hours in the UK are much lower than during the Industrial Revolution, when people could work up to 16 hours a day.

But it said the trend towards shorter hours had stalled since the 1980s as productivity gains had slowed and union power had been eroded.

The UK now works longer hours than any other European country bar Greece – with the average full-time employee clocking up 42.5 hours a week versus an EU average of 41.2 hours.

“Even though some people are compelled to work shorter hours than they want to, most people are compelled to work longer hours than they want to,” the report said.

 

This week, London-based communications agency Synergy Vision permanently adopted a four-day week after a six-month trial.

Its 52 staff now work 36 hours each week as opposed to 40, and boss Ffyona Dawber says the team is “much happier, retention is better and it is easier to recruit”.

“Some staff use their day off to get chores done, others play golf or go swimming. They all come back to work feeling more refreshed.”

Productivity has stayed the same, Ms Dawber says, as people are happier to work harder in the fewer days that they are in the office.

The rota is carefully planned to stop everyone picking Friday as their day off, with people rotating from month to month.

“It was more complicated to set it up than I thought it would be,” Ms Dawber says. “Things like calculating holidays or making sure you have projects covered.