Keen Small Businesses Outline Sustainability Barriers

Despite the vast majority of small businesses saying they are focussed on addressing green issues, around 90 per cent of business owners say a combination of lack of knowledge, support from the Government and cashflow issues are barriers preventing them from doing more on sustainability.

At a time when the Chair of the Environment Agency, Emma Howard Boyd, has hit out at greenwashing by businesses saying ‘deception’ gives false impression firms are addressing climate crisis, the new research shows the complexity of the wider issue, and the dangers of tarring all businesses with the same brush.
A new report from Novuna Business Finance outlines UK small businesses’ approach to sustainability and carbon reduction and the challenges they face in becoming green.

Willingness from small businesses

The research found that 85 per cent were focused on becoming greener as a business with two thirds saying that environmental concerns had become more important than they were a year ago. Additionally, three in five small business leaders had major frustrations with climate change inactivity within their sector and broader community and 27% said that Government and big businesses should be leading the change by example.

The sustainability knowledge gap revealed

Nine in ten small businesses said they could be doing more on sustainability with a range of factors holding them back: Nationally, 17% of small businesses cited a lack of understanding on what sustainability entailed, 14% said they didn’t know how to measure its business impact – and 12% said they didn’t know where to turn for trusted advice on the subject. Linked to these two factors, 15% of business leaders said their small business lacked a designated Sustainability lead to coordinate a programme of activity – and, perhaps a consequence of this, 9% reported disinterest on sustainability issues from their staff members. Alarmingly, almost one in 10 respondents thought it was too early to invest in a sustainability programme – despite recent alarm bells ringing loudly on the climate emergency.

Financial considerations: Investment and business impact

For many small businesses surveyed, finance and cashflow were the biggest challenges to doing more on sustainability. Overall, 24% of small business leaders said they didn’t have the budget to do more on sustainability. In addition, 16% said they did not know how they could do sustainability profitably and 13% said it didn’t make economic sense. In addition, 15% of enterprises reported that the investment they had planned to make on sustainability projects had been put on hold, as they reacted to the immediate impact of the rising costs and its impact on the supply chain.
Jo Morris, Head of Insight at Novuna Business Finance commented: “The climate crisis requires action from everyone, in all fields of life and business. The conversation around greenwashing begs the question as to how much enterprises of all sizes really know about the issues and consequently how best to handle them. It is becoming clear from our new research that there are a range of barriers that are holding enterprises back, particularly centred around knowledge and how to implement sustainability. Some enterprises don’t know how to measure the impact of being sustainable, others can’t see how it can make real business sense – and there is confusion on who to turn to for good advice. What really stands out though, is the evident willingness to act from members of the small business community. Encouraging and sustaining this momentum is key, and this is done by giving people the means to achieve the goal that we all have.
“At Novuna Business Finance, sustainability is at the heart of our business and provide finance to help small businesses grow as sustainable enterprises. This new research allows us to better understand how small businesses see the issues – what they are doing well, when it comes to sustainability, and where the challenges are that need to be tackled.”

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Keen small businesses outline sustainability barriers

Amazon Marketplace Under Investigation by Watchdog Over Unfair Advantage Claims

The competition watchdog is formally examining Amazon’s treatment of the third-party sellers that use its retail platform.

The investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will look at whether the technology giant has a “dominant position in the market” and whether it uses this to give an unfair advantage to its own business and to those sellers who pay it for additional services.

Amazon Marketplace is a network that allows independent retailers to use Amazon’s retail platform to reach customers, with the company sharing in the profits from any sales. In addition, sellers using the site can buy extra services such as “Fulfilment by Amazon”, which handles some aspects of the logistical process on their behalf, including storage, packaging and delivery.

The authority’s investigation will look at three main areas: how Amazon collects and uses data from its sellers; the criteria that it sets for which products are listed first on the website; and how sellers are listed under the Prime label, Amazon’s loyalty programme that offers free and fast delivery.

The European Commission has previously looked into this issue and its investigation into similar concerns continues. It will liaise with the CMA on its findings.

On the issue of market influence, Germany’s antitrust watchdog, the Federal Cartel Office, said this morning that it considered Amazon to be dominant in its marketplace services for third-party merchants.

Sarah Cardell, general counsel at the CMA, said: “Millions of people across the UK rely on Amazon’s services for fast delivery of all types of products at the click of a button. This is an important area so it’s right that we carefully investigate whether Amazon is using third-party data to give an unfair boost to its own retail business and whether it favours sellers who use its logistics and delivery services — both of which could weaken competition.

“Thousands of UK businesses use Amazon to sell their products and it is important they are able to operate in a competitive market. A formal investigation will allow us to consider this matter properly.”

The watchdog also has an open investigation into Amazon and Google over concerns that not enough is being done to tackle fake reviews on their site.

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Amazon Marketplace under investigation by watchdog over unfair advantage claims

Bank of England Hints at Higher Interest Rate Rises to Come

Borrowers may face bigger interest rate rises in the coming months as Bank of England officials prepare to speed up monetary tightening over stagnation fears.

Huw Pill, the central bank’s chief economist, said he was willing to adopt a “faster pace” of tightening than the Bank had implemented in the past few months.

The Bank has increased interest rates by 0.25 percentage points, or 25 basis points, in each of its past five meetings since December, when it began the process of monetary tightening. It is set to publish guidance on how it will wind down its asset holdings next month, as part of wider plans to withdraw stimulus and cool the economy and try to curb rampant inflation.

Prices rose by 9.1 per cent in the year to May, with inflation set to peak at more than 11 per cent in October, when energy bills rise, according to Bank forecasts.

The Bank’s monetary policy committee said in the minutes of its meeting last month that it was ready to act “forcefully” to tackle inflation if needed.

“The statement reflects both my willingness to adopt a faster pace of tightening than implemented thus far in this tightening cycle, while simultaneously emphasising the conditionality of any such change,” Pill said in a speech at a central banking conference hosted by King’s Business School in London today.

A rise of 0.5 percentage points would be unprecedented in the 25-year history of the committee. Michael Saunders, Catherine Mann and Jonathan Haskel voted to raise rates by such a margin in the last meeting, but were outvoted by the majority, including Pill, who opted to stick with a smaller rise. Pill has not voted for a 0.5-point rise in his two years on the committee.

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The Federal Reserve raised rates by a margin of 0.75 percentage points last month for the first time since 1994, and the European Central Bank has indicated that it would be open to a 0.5-percentage point rise in September.

Pill, a former Goldman Sachs economist, said the Bank had to balance the risk of a long-term economic slowdown against the dangers arising from “uncomfortably high” inflation, which could become embedded in the expectations of business owners and members of the public.

“Risks to the economic outlook are two-sided,” he said. “The current squeeze on real income threatens to create slack and downside risks to inflation further out.”

Pill echoed the sentiment expressed by Jon Cunliffe, the Bank’s deputy governor for financial stability and a fellow committee member, who said earlier in the day that the Bank would do “whatever is necessary” to tackle inflation.

He told Today on Radio 4 that the shock the economy was experiencing was “very different” from the financial crisis of 2007-08, which “was followed by a very deep and very long recession”. This time, he said, “what we expect is that the cost of living squeeze will actually hit people’s spending and that will start to cool the economy, and we can see signs that the economy is already slowing”.

Cunliffe voted for a 0.25-point rate rise last month, and was the only committee member to vote to hold interest rates rather than raise them in the month after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine rocked global markets.

The Bank expects economic growth to be flat over the next year, he said, adding: “That’s a very different picture to the picture we saw 2009 to 2011. It’s a picture of a slow economy, where people can’t spend, they cut back on spending because of the cost of living squeeze.”

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Bank of England hints at higher interest rate rises to come

Market & Economy News

UN Shipping Talks Fail to Speed Up Faster Carbon Exit

LONDON — Further shipping talks are scheduled for next year after delegates at a U.N. agency meeting that sought to speed up decarbonisation of the sector failed to make progress, officials said on Friday. Read More

Market & Economy News

ECB Has Other Purchase Programs in Toolkit Than PEPP, Lagarde Says

BERLIN — The European Central Bank is likely to stop further bond purchases under its pandemic-era support scheme from early next year but will still have other purchasing programs in its toolkit, President Christine Lagarde was quoted as saying by a German daily. Read More

Abendroth Fortel Improves Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) Analysis applies explicit environmental data categories to approach exposure responsibilities

Singapore, Singapore — (ReleaseWire) — 07/05/2022 — Abendroth Fortel, a leading financial services adviser and a well-reputed commodity broker aiming to provide its clients with an array of investment opportunities in the commodity markets, today announced the action plans to develop the ESG exposure conditions in order to introduce extra reporting for central environmental data categories.

With the help of this process, the clients who are owning assets can approach specific environmental exposure measures regarding their investments. That also involves the revealing of a new ESG insight, an environmental report, which gives investors the possibility to access the environmental analysis by using a series of factors.

The market users can apply the derived information in order to connect with asset managers and stakeholders regarding the environmental effect of their investment portfolio and to create analysis and data for releasing in periodic disclosures. The elaborate information offers clients the possibility to identify ways of achieving sustainability objectives and comply with upgraded regulatory requirements.

The information provided can also be used for:
– Obtaining fund-level supervision of environmental exposure and evaluating key scores among individual managers, portfolios and sectors;
– Control the changes of a portfolio’s environmental exposure in order to supervise stakeholders’ interests in the market;
– Encourage conformity towards sustainable investment arrangements.

“Environmental factors are like a driving force that inquires efficient monitoring of material exposure and increased reporting. Our competence is directed towards our clients in many forms and helps them treat with vigilance the ESG factor when making business decisions. Abendroth Fortel’s team is dedicated to offering our clients clear insights as they follow their ESG responsibilities. Our reports are accomplished with the support of several information services providers”, said Ling How Haron, Head of the Research Department for Abendroth Fortel.

About Abendroth Fortel is one of the leading financial services advisers and a well-reputed commodity broker. The primary aim of the firm is to provide its clients with an array of investment opportunities in the commodity markets. Abendroth Fortel provides an unparalleled range of services like commodity trading, financial advice, alternative investments, and forex trading for both local and global investors to meet their diverse requirements. The firm’s professional staff is trained to handle the highest level of service for customers of all sizes and requirements. Abendroth Fortel prefers challenging tasks that allow the company to work on the edge of its capabilities.

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Market & Economy News

Oil Plunges 10% on New Coronavirus Variant Concerns

Oil prices plunged more than 10% on Friday, the largest one-day drop since April 2020, as a new COVID-19 variant spooked investors and added to concerns that a supply surplus could swell in the first quarter. Read More

Managing Burnout With Hybrid Teams

‘Visibility is key to effective communication’ was perhaps the clearest takeaway from the enforced periods of remote work over the last two years.

Modern teams may have emerged from the lockdowns with very different conclusions about the benefits and place of home working, but few could argue that distance has eased relations between employers and their employees.

Since 2020, the average age of burnout has fallen to 32. Formerly the domain of over-stretched mid-career professionals, burnout today is an epidemic hitting all those unable to flag unmanageable workloads. The consequence of remote work is that those without power – especially junior employees – have found themselves accepting more work than they can take on from managers who simply do not have the information to manage their work flow.

The benefit of the office is visibility. Proximity not only makes it easier to read how well a team is managing its work, it helps to establish the foundations of trust and openness needed for employees to feel they can come to their manager with an issue before it gets out of hand. A majority of employees reported through the pandemic that their relationship with their manager was strained as communication broke down and leaders fell back on excessive micromanagement to monitor team performance.

This is unsustainable. Micromanagement is still one of the main reasons why employees leave their jobs, and productivity will continue to fall as employees feel unable to approach their colleagues. Above all, the function of hybrid models of work must be to reinforce the integral weaknesses of remote working, promoting a healthy culture of visibility and effective communication.

To achieve this, teams must make the most of time spent together. Where possible, managers should book private rooms and use office days for in-person meetings with their direct reports. Here, employees have the opportunity to speak freely, setting a precedent for managing workloads and related stress before it amounts to burnout. Informal lunches and time spent together in a relaxed, offline capacity will also help managers to gain insight into how their employees are feeling that – realistically – could not be gleaned from any relationship built exclusively online.

Ultimately, these changes condense into workplace ‘culture’. By establishing a culture of healthy communication, teams can effectively talk through imbalances in workload and ensure junior employees are not over-encumbered. By establishing a culture of trust, managers can devolve power to employees to work more autonomously and cut out needless reporting and check-ups when out of office.

Hybrid work presents leaders with the opportunity to enjoy both the versatility of remote work and the eased communication of the office. The challenge will be to coordinate a team on a flexible schedule in a way that balances these priorities. Witco’s solution is an all-in-one application that manages all the services of the modern hybrid workplace around one, straightforward feed. From reporting satisfaction to booking rooms or requesting concierge services, technology will prove vital in ensuring that hybrid work supports – and does not further complicate – the challenges of the modern workforce.

Leaders should recognise from soaring rates of burnout the importance of communication in handling these problems before they arise. Overwork is not inevitable, and nor should it be difficult to identify. Teams who can make proper use of physical spaces to understand their workforce will be best positioned to resolve issues before they can fester. Those who simplify that task with technology will emerge the trailblazers of a harmonious new model of work able to draw on the relative advantages of both home and the office.

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Managing burnout with hybrid teams

One in Ten Britons Have Bought Crypto Assets Despite Warnings

As many as one in ten adults in Britain have bought crypto assets such as bitcoin, far more than was previously thought.

Research commissioned by HM Revenue & Customs found that about 6.7 million adults owned or have bought crypto assets. This is almost three times higher than estimates from the Financial Conduct Authority, the City regulator, which said that 2.3 million adults held crypto assets at the start of last year.

The new revenue data comes as about 45 per cent of bitcoin investors face losses, according to the research firm Glassnode.

The value of the cryptocurrency market has fallen by 60 per cent since the start of the year amid a rapid fall in the price of leading cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, is trading at less than a third of its record price of $67,566 reached in November and was down 1.3 per cent last night at $19,698.

Crypto investors in Britain are typically male and under the age of 45 and have crypto holdings worth £200 on average, according to the revenue’s figures. Eighty-five per cent of crypto investors earn less than £50,000 a year.

More than 50 per cent of investors have holdings worth less than £1,000. However, about 7 per cent have put more than £5,000 into digital assets despite repeated warnings from the UK’s financial watchdog that crypto investors should be prepared to lose all their money.

While more than half of crypto investors bought digital assets for fun and 8 per cent admitted their investment was a gamble, almost a fifth said crypto constituted a core part of their investment portfolio. A third of investors hold no other investment products alongside crypto. Despite growing levels of crypto investment, public understanding about tax rules is poor. Only 42 per cent of current and former crypto holders were aware they may be liable to pay tax on their investment.

HMRC is tightening controls over the use of crypto assets for tax evasion purposes and in February revealed it had opened 20 criminal investigations involving digital assets.

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One in ten Britons have bought crypto assets despite warnings

Best Canadian Casino Tips for Playing Safe and Winning Big

It is the joy of every casino player when they hit huge wins and the money lands in their accounts. For this reason, gamers are constantly looking for ways to beat casinos and earn huge amounts.

However, while looking for ways to win big, it is very easy to lose all your money when you play at the wrong casino. This is why you must consider your safety at casinos more important than your winning chances.

But what’s interesting about it is that it is possible to win big while playing safe. This is the reason we have designed this article, to show you ways to play safe and win big. Read on.

Choose a Reputable Casino

The real money gaming journey begins with choosing a place to play. If you get it wrong here, you may as well forget about winning money.

Before you sign up at any casino, do a background check on its reputation. Read expert reviews on the casino online and check other players’ comments. If the casino isn’t blacklisted on reputable casino review platforms, it is good for consideration.

Also, ensure that the casino holds a license from a trusted gaming regulator such as the UK Gambling Commission, Malta Gaming Authority, or Kahnawake Gaming Commission.

Use Casino Bonuses

Almost all online casino platforms offer different bonuses and promotions. They do this to attract and keep players on their platform. This can be an opportunity for you to get more money to play games and win.

However, you must check the bonus terms before claiming any offer. Some enticing bonuses may come with unfavourable bonus terms, designed to frustrate you. Nevertheless, if you play at reputable platforms like Luxury Casino, you’ll find a lot of great bonuses to use.

These are examples of bonuses offered at online casinos:

No deposit bonus
Signup deposit bonus
Reload bonus
Referral rewards
Rebate bonus
VIP/Loyalty Schemes

Choose your games wisely

If you’re out to win big money, you cannot just bet on any games. You must look for those games with the capacity to pay you huge wins. To do this, you have to check the features of the games such as RTP, volatility, and jackpot.

Generally, it is recommended that you go for games with RTPs of 96% and above. You can check the Luxury Casino games list for titles with such high RTPs.

Have a Budget

Before you head on to any casino to play your favourite games, you should set aside money for entertainment. We recommend that you have a different account for casinos. For example, you can connect only a specific e-wallet such as Skrill to your casino account. Only monies meant for gaming should be kept in that Skrill wallet.

Also, manage your budget properly to make sure you have money to play enough rounds and enjoy your time. Remember that the more games you play, the more chances of winning you create.

Use Responsible Gaming Tools

Fortunately, reputable online casinos have some tools to help you control your gaming habit. Firstly, when you visit a casino, look for the “responsible gaming” page. There you should find the tools available to you and other important resources.

Furthermore, the responsible gaming page usually has a habit assessment section which helps to test whether or not you’re going out of line. This can alert you when gaming is becoming a problem so that you can seek help.

These are some of the responsible gaming tools at casinos:

Loss limits
Session limits
Reality Check
Deposit limits
Wagering limits
Cooling off period
Self Exclusion request

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Best Canadian Casino Tips for Playing Safe and Winning Big