News

Borrowing costs plummet for Ireland as re-entry into the markets gathers pace

On Wednesday morning, September 12th, the Republic of Ireland hosted only it’s third bond auction since entering an EU-IMF bailout program in 2010. And while the other two auctions were noted as very positive developments for the eurozone member, this newest advancement smashed all expectations in a magnificent result for the country. The yield was

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Irish road to recovery continues with further prosperity in the bond market

Ireland’s nine year bond yields closed below 6% for the first time since  October 2010. The country’s yield dropped to 5.97%, the lowest level in 22 months and almost two years on since the beginning of their EU-IMF bailout program. This welcome development is particularly useful as it comes ahead of the Irish National Treasury

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The secrecy of Standard Chartered’s Iran transactions

On August 6th, the English bank, Standard Chartered, was accused of being involved in illegitimate transactions with Iran worth up to $250bn. Two weeks later, with an investigation continuing, the financial institution was fined $340m and has had terms attached to its punishment, most notably having a monitor permanently installed in the New York branch

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Europe edges closer to recession and indirectly poses dangers to the US

Europe is on the verge of plunging into a double dip recession. As the debt woes of the 17 eurozone countries continues to threaten any growth emanating from the continent, it looks more likely that the 27 country strong European Union will regress economically rather than progress. Eurostat, Europe’s official statistics agency, disclosed that the

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Success for Ireland in bond markets as first long-term bonds are auctioned off

The theme of the Irish economic rehabilitation continues as the country has successfully staged an auction to sell long-term bonds to investors. This is the first time the island has been able to do such an operation since entering the EU-IMF program in November 2010. In total, €5.2bn was raised, with €4.19bn of that money

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Justice on the horizon for Ireland as bankers are finally held accountable

If a week is a long time in politics than a day is a long time in banking. Within the space of 24 hours, three former senior executives at Anglo Irish Bank were arrested and charged in connection to financial irregularities at the bank. The bank (now known as the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation) is

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Europe’s turning point on the way? Stimulus finally comes to Ireland

Albert Einstein once said ”Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” That quote definitely applies to the political leaders of Europe. Almost half a decade on from the inception of the global financial crisis, they have doggedly stuck to their failure of a policy that is austerity. And

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Irish Media Downplayed Red Flags as Country Descended into Economic Turmoil

As recently as 2008, Ireland was ranked the highest western nation in the conservative think tank Heritage Index of Economic Freedom (ranked primarily based on low corporate taxes and deregulated financial markets). As the Irish economy began its self-destruction back in 2007, the fears of the Irish people that it would turn into a dangerous

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US Takes a Step to Expand Fish Farming in Federal Waters

On Friday, the Obama administration took a major step in the long anticipated process of making it easier for  commercial aquaculture firms to operate in federal waters. Currently there isn’t any fish farming — the cultivation of everything from bivalves like oysters and mussels to predators like salmon — in federal waters. Only states allow

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Google Lowers Data Center Eco-Footprint with Ocean Water Cooling

It’s not often I hear positive environmental news from data centers and others involved in e-media, but this one caught my eye. Google has announced that it’s using sea water to cool its new data center in Hamina, Finland. It’s even produced a video that explains how it works.  The water flows in through granite

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Scientists Create Genetically Modified Cows to Produce “Human” Milk

Last week, I was stunned to read an article in The Telegraph claiming scientists in China “created genetically modified cattle that produce ‘human’ milk in a bid to make cows’ milk more nutritious.” Hold on. Did I read that correctly? Unfortunately… yes. According to the piece, the scientists successfully introduced human genes into 300 dairy

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Which Green Marketing Approach Is Most Effective?

As corporate marketers and regulators alike evaluate how to communicate environmental commitments and avoid greenwashing, the 2011 Cone Green Gap Trend Tracker (download for free here) tested which of three common marketing approaches was most influential in consumer purchase decisions. Consumers were asked to “purchase” the most environmentally responsible of three generic cleaning products based

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What Consumers Want in Green Claims

What are consumers looking for in marketers’ green claims? Honesty, according to the Cone’s 2011 Green Gap Trends Tracker. According to the research, a majority of American consumers are distrustful of companies’ environmental claims (57%) and are overwhelmed by the amount of environmental messages in the marketplace (51%). Given this confusion, it’s understandable that consumers

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Consumers Will Punish Brands for False Environmental Claims

After all the effort marketers are putting into communicating their green claims, a new study shows that consumers — American consumers at least — continue to misunderstand phrases commonly used in environmental marketing and advertising. Often, this gives products a greater “green halo” than they may deserve. At the same time, these same consumers are

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Whole Foods Announces Animal Welfare Rating System

Today, Whole Foods has announced in a press release the adoption of a five-step animal welfare rating system in partnership with the NGO Global Animal Partnership. The system is designed to provide consumers with incentives to purchase animal proteins from sources that are constantly committed to improving the conditions of farmed and ranched animals. The

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Has Wal-Mart Become More Influential than the FDA?

UPDATED — 10:59am CT… Michelle Obama has now officially endorsed Wal-Mart’s plan. Today, Wal-Mart has made yet another strident announcement, this time trumpeting a five-year strategy to increase the volume of healthy foods sold in its stores. The nation’s largest grocery retailer will aim to reduce the levels of sugar, salt and fats in thousands

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Are Corporate Social Responsibility Executives Becoming Mainstream Power Brokers?

The week’s news has been dominated by the staff shuffling in the Obama White House. In today’s New York Times analysis, we learn that new Chief of Staff William M. Daley formerly oversaw global corporate social responsibility at JP Morgan Chase. The article implies that the former lawyer and investment banker’s rise to chief CSR

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End the Witch Hunt for Dr. Muhammad Yunus, Microfinance

There’s no doubt that the news from Andhra Pradesh, India about indebtedness crippling microfinance clients is troubling. SKS, India’s largest microfinance bank, raised cash last year by selling shares at 95 times their initial value. And now comes an increased chorus from politicians in Andhra Pradesh about fraud, corruption and impoverishment linked to SKS —

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Great Environmental News of 2010: Chesapeake Bay Recovering?

In a year where most mainstream media outlets have proclaimed the BP oil spill to be the country’s largest story, it was a relief to receive yesterday’s news from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation that the Bay’s Blue Crab population is up modestly. The 2010 State of the Bay Report tracks environmental quality in America’s largest

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Republicans Ridicule Capitol Greening Plan — But Keep It Anyway

Our GOP fiscal deficit saviors have decided that a Democratic effort to reduce the carbon footprint of the US Capitol (and save money on utilities) will be on the chopping block come January. The Washington Post is reporting that a facilities greening led by outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is unlikely to receive the public

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