Archive for August, 2012
There are some very comprehensive rules protecting European citizens when they travel around Europe. If the airlines fail to comply with these rules, they will be prosecuted and heavy fines are payable. So it’s in your interests to know your rights. Let’s start with the not uncommon situation of overbooked flights. You have paid for your ticket, you told the airline you were coming, and you present yourself at the airport on time only to find there are too many bodies waiting to get on the same flight. If this happens to you, the airline must first call for volunteers to give up their seats in return for agreed compensation. But suppose no one volunteers. Well, the choice falls to you.
If you decide not to travel, you are entitled to a full refund and compensation of up to 600 Euro. The actual amount varies depending on how long the intended flight and how many miles. But if it will still be worth traveling onward, you are entitled to be booked on to the first available flight to your destination. If you are offered a seat upgrade, the airline cannot ask you for the difference in price. If you must now break your journey and catch a connecting flight, all expenses must be met. Food and accommodation may also be necessary. Should the only available seats be in a lower class, you are entitled to a refund of the difference in ticket price.
You should know that cheap flights are protected by the same regulations as the full-price ones. And as for flights booked as a package through a travel professional, you will be in line for significant compensation if you lose the benefit of car rental or hotel accommodation. If you did buy through a travel agent, the airline is obliged to compensate the travel agent and, in turn, the agent is obliged to pass on the compensation to you. If you have any complaint about the airline and the treatment you received when you were refused boarding, make a complaint to the National Enforcement Body in your home state. Officers are supposed to help you recover the full amount of compensation available under EU law.
Specialist Cheshire-based flooring manufacturer, Flowcrete, has received a major national award in recognition of its innovative approach and commitment to the environment.
The company, based near Sandbach, has been Highly Commended in the Contract Journal’s Industry Awards 2009, in the Construction Product Manufacturer category.
Flowcrete is at the forefront of developing pioneering flooring technology for the construction industry.
In the UK alone, it spends more than £600,000 on research and development – globally amounting to £1.3m. This approach enables the company to focus on new innovations, including new greener processes.
Judges were impressed with the company’s active commitment to a more sustainable future. This includes a comprehensive recycling policy, the development of energy-saving products – such as light reflective floors, which also require less maintenance when in use – as well as its ongoing work in introduce sustainable manufacturing processes.
Alan Dean, sales director of Flowcrete, said: “This is a great boost for us. These awards attract some of the biggest names in the industry and this year a record number of entries were received.
“This title reinforces our position as one of the UK’s leading construction product manufacturers.
“We are delighted that the judges recognised our environmental efforts.
“This is the second award success for Flowcrete this year. In April it won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise, in the International Trade category.”
About Flowcrete Group
Flowcrete is a world leader in the supply of specialist flooring for commercial and industrial buildings. With 29 offices and manufacturing plants globally, Flowcrete’s aim is to transform environments with its innovative specialist flooring products. These include decorative seamless resins, waterproof car park decking, resin terrazzo, seamless antimicrobial flooring, corrosion protection, self-levelling cements, underfloor heating and acoustic systems. Flowcrete is using its global expertise to introduce environmentally friendly, hygienic and aesthetically attractive floors to create a better and more sustainable world at our
Notes to Editors
Flowcrete UK Ltd
The Flooring Technology Centre
Visit us on the web at http://www.flowcrete.com for global details.
In April 2009, Flowcrete secured the Queen’s Award for Enterprise, in the International Trade category.
Press release issued by Jane Shepherd, Shepherd PR 01538 308685 mobile 07985 129315.
Tags: construction product manufacturers, flooring manufacturer, flowcrete, international trade category, specialist flooring
The term “differentiated green” refers to companies who pursue green strategies to go beyond clearing regulatory and negative PR hurdles. It refers to companies who create green strategies for reasons such as cost savings and creating a larger and more loyal customer base.
The most notable country to not sign the Kyoto Protocol is, as we know, the United States of America. Despite the size of its economy and the living standard among its citizens, the U.S. has historically been behind its sovereign peers as far as adopting regulations and in turn encouraging its corporations to adopt sustainability strategies. However, on an optimistic note, three of America’s most iconic companies find great value in pursuing comprehensive green strategies. At least to them, “differentiated green” is real, valuable, and achievable.
From 2004-2008 General Electric’s new Ecomagination program not only reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% but also delivered 0 million in cost savings to the company. The profitability of Ecomagination did not stop there. By focusing on green initiatives through this program, the company has made innovating energy-efficient products a core competency. While often the value of sustainability programs are discussed relative to the bottom line, for GE, the real value has been realized in its top line. The 0 million cost savings of this period seems minuscule compared to the billion ANNUAL revenue GE generated in new energy-efficient products such as light bulbs, MRIs, and locomotives.
In addition to financial results, GE has leveraged Ecomagination to improve customer retention and brand awareness. The company recognized that it had an opportunity to boost its brand by educating the public on its commitment to environmental responsibility. According to Interbrand, “GE Ecomagination is cited as a leading contributor to the 17% rise in GE brand value since its launch in 2005.”
Ford Motor Company recently rolled out its impressive Ford Focus EV. It seems that everyone is going after the Electric Vehicle market and it is looking like Ford may have nailed it. In addition to product development, Ford has also hired in-house climate scientists to set scientific mandates on its production as a whole in an effort to guarantee that the company does not contribute to certain catastrophic climate change metrics. All this has resulted in a wealth of good publicity for the company and is promising to give Ford a drastic image makeover. Not only is it acquiring a reputation as a socially conscious organization, but also, perhaps something no one thought it would ever be, an environmentally friendly company.
This is the type of marketing magic that cannot be bought with expensive advertising or a massive PR campaign. Ford saw the future and decided to make the real changes earning them praise from even some of their toughest critics in the grass-roots environmental blogosphere and from formerly skeptical consumers who may even be converted into brand evangelists.
Nike recently produced jerseys for world cup teams made of plastic bottles found in landfills in Taiwan and Japan. Nike’s focus on repurposing started in 1993, by reusing materials from old shoes to produce basketball courts and track surfaces. Since their first decision to “go green” in 1993, Nike has been an early adopter of numerous sustainable strategies. It has taken a serious stance on selling recyclable components, reducing waste, and reusing byproducts like rubber or plastic to create new products. This has resulted not only in cost savings but in a wave of positive PR.
Its financial results are also staggering. In the last 10 years, Nike’s stock price has increased 216%, and year to date, has increased 31%, relative to the S&P 500′s 4% decrease and 19% increase respectively.
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As a business owner, American or otherwise, are you missing out on an opportunity for growth and brand equity? As discussed above, cost reduction is now only part of the equation. If embracing green leads to top line growth, there is no time like the present, especially in the United States. We are on the cusp of another commercial revolution. The advent of electricity caused a revolution that built GE. The advent of the automobile did the same for Ford. The wellness revolution that started in the 1970s opened the door for Nike. Most recently, the technology revolution has created some of the largest market cap companies in the world.
The green revolution is just starting and there is plenty of market-share up for grabs. The United States has historically been known as a great innovator and has led the pack in many of these revolutions. If US companies actively embrace sustainability, they stand to see great profitability from this global movement. If your business embraces it, so can you.
Sequoia Lab consultant Trey Trenchard contributed to this article.Tags: energy efficient products, ge ecomagination, greenhouse gas emissions, loyal customer base, sustainability programs
In today’s tough economy there are many tough decisions to make. It’s nice to know that major innovations like Green IT are around to combine eco-friendly products with dollar-friendly solutions that generate a much smaller carbon footprint. Green IT is a revolutionary concept that addresses all of the environmental needs of today with much more efficient technology systems that require less energy and produce less waste than their predecessors. Though there have been concerns that moving to a green state of mind would result in a global financial crisis, a lot of companies are finding that they actually save a great deal more money by implementing green IT / technologies rather than lose money! Everybody wins.
Highmark Inc. is one of the largest health insurance providers in the country, but recently some developments have put the company on the environmental advocate list. A few years ago, Highmark decided to upgrade from the 24,000 square foot data center that it was residing in and upgrade to one that was more than three times the size. The company chose to do so through the utilization of green computing. With the help of server virtualization and green IT air and cooling systems, Highmark has been able to use the same energy to power the new building as it did the old one, even after the size difference. The building utilizes recycled materials and water collection systems as well to ensure that the company is doing all it can to lessen its eco-footprint.
Wachovia Corp is also trying to adapt to the green computing world. By replacing the computer systems within their data center, Wachovia has teamed up with green IT designers to create a more effective system of technology that has reduced the costs of construction by more than ,000. Wachovia plans to implement environmentally friendly solutions so that they can reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by more than 10% in the next few years. They plan to expand their green efforts to all of their data centers in the future, including the use of energy-efficient cooling systems and power reduction tactics.
As might be expected, the World Wildlife Foundation has also joined in the pursuit for a better ecosystem through the use of green computing. They have fostered efforts to save the environment for over 40 years, and the more efficient use of green IT simply became the next step in their legacy. The WWF has utilized virtualization software and blade servers to minimize their energy use and increase the amount of money they save. The WWF tries to stay ahead of the eco-friendly world anyways as their goal has been and always will be to preserve the environment at any cost. It just so happens that green technology is a savings, and not a cost at all.
One company that was well ahead of the green computing bandwagon was First National of Nebraska Inc. Back in 1999, the company began their quest for environmental efficiency by implementing the first data center to ever be powered completely by fuel cell technology. Unbelievably, that change alone helped save the company over 0 million, and they still aren?t done with improvements. First National of Nebraska Inc. plans to launch massively-scaled consolidation of servers within various data centers, in full compliance with Green IT ideals. They expect to save the firm an additional million in server / infrastructure costs.
Austin Energy is a pioneer in green computing, as they have employed energy-efficient solutions for more than two decades now. As part of Austin Energy?s green IT goals, the company plans to employ new server technology and compression techniques within its data center to save over 40% of their energy costs in the future. Currently, the company has an automated electricity system that distributes and regulates the energy used by the center to create maximum efficiency throughout the day. This .2 billion dollar energy plant is well ahead of others in the field, and the staff doesn?t plan on letting that reputation fade any time soon.
Ryder System Inc. focuses on ?environmental ethics? to motivate the staff and other companies in the area to become eco-friendly. In 2006 alone, the company cut its energy costs by more than 15% through the use of green IT, and they have continued to expand their energy savings ever since. Recently the company built a new data center which is expected to save more that 6.5 million BTUs every year. That equates to more than 1,400 pounds of greenhouse gases that aren?t going to be released into the atmosphere from the company. This data center utilizes green computing and also allows for less office space, which in turn yields a much smaller carbon footprint. Ryder System gets to save money and the environment all at the same time.
The Monsanto Co. in Missouri is also moving toward a better state of environment with the development of its latest data center. The new center was built with the use of green computing and is fully eco-friendly from floor to ceiling. The center uses materials that are strong enough to withstand the blow of an F3 tornado, and it has window?s that can block out more than 60% of the sun?s rays. This helps reduce the cost of cooling required for the company, which in turn lessens the energy used. Over the past ten years, the firm has implemented theories behind Green IT to consolidate more than ten data centers across the country. Their efforts have been furthered by the use of server consolidation and virtualization, and the company plans to continue their efforts to keep up with technological advancements that continue to arise on a daily basis.
Perkins+Will Inc. has striven for a sustainable work space for decades, and when the concept of green computing presented itself, the company gladly decided to hop on board. Every office under the Peter+Will name has its own group of environmental watchdogs (typically called the green team) which monitors the energy use, water use, air quality and more in the building to ensure that the company is doing all that it can to keep usage and costs to a minimum. Aside from the visualization strategies employed by the company, Perkins+Will has started requiring their employees to turn off their computers every night, which has drastically cut costs in electricity and energy needed to keep the firm going.
Discovery Communications LLC is responsible for environmental TV networks like the Discovery Channel, TLC, and Animal Planet, but the company has done much for the environment than provide human entertainment about it. As part of its green IT plan, the company keeps regular track of the uses of its server, network and storage equipment to ensure that energy is employed in the best way possible. Discovery Communications LLC has saved more than 20% of its energy use since it was re-designed to fit with green computing, and it is expanding its saving to other areas as well, including the local headquarters where energy has been reduced by more than 27%.
Overall, green IT has had an amazing impact on the way that companies save money and energy, and there?s hope for great expansion of green theories to come in the near future. Though efforts did seem slow at first, the larger companies have started to inspire even the smallest of local businesses to cut costs, consolidate, and change for the better. As developments continue to arise in the study of green computing, the world should see nothing but growth in eco-friendly solutions for the future. Green IT is more than just a business fad. It?s the first step toward a better world for us all, and there?s no telling what?s in store for the future generations to enjoy.Tags: eco friendly products, global financial crisis, greenhouse gas emissions, health insurance providers, wachovia corp
Back in Victorian times, the Brits had a saying, “Children should be seen and not heard”. In other words, although children are the only way of perpetuating the species and so we have to put up with them, it’s much better if we never have to tolerate their bad behavior. How many of us have stood or sat transfixed by a child demonstrating the art of the tantrum. It usually starts with a yell of outrage over some imagined disruption to quality of life. If we’re lucky, the resulting reaction is purely verbal and, yes, we’re frequently amazed at how colorful even the youngest children can get when they have the bit between their teeth. They can hold their own with dock workers and others famous for their ability to swear nonstop for ten minutes without drawing breath. If we’re unlucky, there’s physical involvement. This can be passive resistance but, more often than not, the first step is to look for things to throw. When the available ammunition has been used up, it’s into violence against anyone within range of flying fists and feet.
Allowing for the fact children are more likely to lose their self control when they are tired and traveling can be a very tiring experience, and boredom on a long flight adding fuel to the fires, we see rather more bad behavior than we would like in airports and on long haul flights. In a recent survey, more than a third of those patient and long-suffering Brits said they would willingly abandon cheap air tickets and pay more for the privilege of traveling without any young children on board.
So ask yourselves how many times you have had the pleasure of a child sitting behind you and kicking the seat, or with children throwing food or spitting at you. Would you be prepared to pay a few more dollars to avoid the frustration of parents who seem incapable of controlling their children? Do you think airlines should offer this service? Just think. They could batch all the families with younger children together, and leave the rest of the skies free of noise for the rest of us. Would you surrender cheap airline tickets for peace and quiet?