The post-Brexit EU ban spurs the London Stock Exchange to take on Wall Street – but can liberalisation by itself do the trick?
As there was no agreement in sight before the 31 March deadline for the UK’s access to the EU’s financial sector on the basis of the equivalence of the two regulatory frameworks, the exodus of EU-based companies listed on the London Stock Exchange has come about as anticipated.
Any UK financial provider intending to sell its products in the EU now has to register an operation in the bloc to do so, and vice versa. In a similar vein, the EU’s share trading obligations mean that post-Brexit, its stocks need to be traded from EU-based venues. As a result, by January Amsterdam had surpassed London’s as Europe’s top trading centre, with an average of £8.4 billion of shares traded a day after £6.5 billion of deals shifted from London.
January and February saw London-based electric vehicle maker Arrival and UK betting firm Genius Sports Group Ltd going public on the New York Stock Exchange rather than in their domestic market. But, from a global perspective, IPOs haven’t really been London’s thing anyway, with the City accounting for only 5 per cent of IPOs completed around the world in the past five years.
The magic powers of the Lord Hill Review
The turning point was the publication of the review launched in November by Rishi Sunak to identify techniques to not just restore the LSE’s pre-Brexit power, but also offer an attractive alternative to companies deliberating an IPO in New York.
Jonathan Hill, Britain’s former EU commissioner, who led the review on the UK’s listing regime, made two main recommendations. One was about allowing the dual share structures on the LSE’s premium FTSE 100 and 250 segment, which breaks with the one share, one vote principle to allow founders to initially retain more control over their company by allocating shares to them that carry more than one vote.
The other aims at reducing the free float requirement – the proportion of shares publicly traded – for an IPO from 25 to 15 per cent. All changes recommended are along the lines of making the floating process better value and less bureaucratic.
Admittedly, Lord Hill is no cheerleader for special-purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) or outfits that have no commercial operations but are set up for the sole purpose of turning a private company public by acquiring it – a practice that caught on in the US during the pandemic. However, out of expediency rather than conviction, he has been suggesting that this fast track to listing should be endorsed in the UK if London is to attract more high-growth tech firms.
Indeed, the two UK-based companies mentioned above, which voted for the New York Stock Exchange with their feet, both went public via a SPAC-merger. And to prove Lord Hill right, the promise of London running a menu of more choice and better value for listings – along with some wooing from the Prime Minister himself – was enough to convince cyber-security firm Darktrace and remittance fintech Wise (formerly Transferwise) to opt for the UK capital rather than New York or Amsterdam.
Wise, flush with capital, went public via direct listing, a method that has generated a lot of debate about transparency and accountability even on the other side of the pond, as it is a scheme where shares are sold that directly exclude underwriters. Although enticing Wise to London sounds like an achievement, an opinion piece in the Financial Times labelled direct listing as “not an innovation but an invasive species”, implying that its introduction in Britain is not welcomed by all.
A report by the University of Edinburgh from October 2020 on the dominance of private over public equity also suggests that educating investors to bring about a change in prevailing attitudes would be also key to increasing the number of IPOs, as well as the amount of available private equity in the UK. They should become more appreciative of the value of companies whose assets are dominated by intangibles and those which, unprofitable though they might be, have some proven revolutionary technology or business model behind them.
Liberalisation won’t by itself lead straight to a spike in IPOs, the report also maintains. The FTSE 100 is still dominated by low-growth, mature corporations, and London lacks the legions of analysts, investors and advisers that concentrate around the NYSE. But taking the first steps to attract prestigious tech companies to the UK capital may cut across the chicken-or-egg dilemma, and the increasing gravity of a growing tech hub will be enough to attract expert personnel and further capital.
Hidden heroes keeping the power flowing to 8.3 million customers
Basil Scarsella, Chief Executive, UK Power Networks
As the country’s biggest electricity distributor, UK Power Networks keeps communities running smoothly. The company delivers electricity to 8.3 million homes and businesses across London, the East and South East – and never has a safe and reliable electricity supply been more important to people than since the coronavirus pandemic began, leading many to move their work and school lives home.
Most people don’t need to be aware of who their network operator is, as it works 24/7 to keep lights, internet, phones, TVs and computers powered. But UK Power Networks is there when it’s needed, to fix a power cut, install a new connection, help look after vulnerable customers and prepare the network for the future.
The world of energy is changing fast, as the UK’s transition to a net-zero economy is revolutionising the way electricity is generated, distributed and consumed. The energy systems families, communities and businesses will experience by 2030 will be very different from what exists today.
Work to meet customers’ changing and future needs is well underway, as UK Power Networks develops its key role from simply delivering power from the national grid to local customers into managing a smart, flexible system. Increasingly, energy is being generated locally and fed into the networks, rather than coming from big power stations running on fossil fuels. This is helping to decarbonise the energy mix, and for consumers, UK Power Networks also plays a key role in enabling cleaner technologies such as the uptake of electric vehicles and the move to electric heating.
The company strives to make sure nobody is left behind on this journey. It is rated first in the global Smart Grid Index for its work to transform the electricity networks, and is also always looking ahead to train apprentices and other skilled staff to build future careers.
Customers rate its customer service at more than 9 out of 10 – that’s from independent surveys of people who have already experienced an issue with their power. It also provides tailored support for vulnerable customers during power cuts or when facing fuel poverty.
The ten-year-old company has a clear public purpose in delivering power supplies, and a strong performance record for safety and reliability – plus a strong sense of social responsibility, repeatedly going above and beyond what people usually expect of a utility company.
Find out how we help to enable net zero at www.innovation.ukpowernetworks.co.uk
INDUSTRY VIEW FROM UK POWER NETWORKS
3DPRINTUK: a pioneer in 3D printing for manufacture
Nick Allen, MD and Owner of 3DPRINTUK
Since it first launched its service in 2011, 3D printing service provider 3DPRINTUK has emerged as a true innovator in the practical use of 3D printing for prototype and low-volume production applications. The company has stuck to its core strengths in developing unprecedented expertise with polymer powder-bed fusion (PBF) 3D printing processes. Today it offers manufacturing capability for key applications across industrial sectors, providing clients with real cost and time efficiencies when compared with more traditional manufacturing methods for low-volume batch production.
3DPRINTUK offers a reliable and flexible manufacturing service that efficiently bridges the huge gap between prototyping and injection moulding, overcoming the limitations of alternative processes such as CNC machining and vacuum casting. To date the company has produced millions of 3D printed parts.
3DPRINTUK’s north London headquarters has been custom designed to house the company’s growing fleet of polymer selective laser sintering (SLS) and multi-jet fusion (MJF) machines, and to fully accommodate the necessary ancillary and post-processing capabilities the company offers as part of its service. This includes two rooms fully dedicated to post-processing operations for cleaning and dyeing, as well as a break down room that is fully sealed from external environmental effects and to avoid powder contamination.
By running both SLS and MJF systems, 3DPRINTUK is able to deliver the very best polymer parts specific to clients’ individual applications. Customers can specify their chosen production systems, or make use of the company’s online quoting system. This system funnels priority requirements to ensure the best possible outcome in terms of the quality and functionality of the parts, together with value for money and speedy delivery.
3DPRINTUK is a true pioneer in practical, time-effective and cost-effective 3D printing, and is keenly aware that many companies don’t fully understand the potential of 3D printing. For this reason, 3DPRINTUK works with customers to illustrate when and why 3D printing will work for them.
3DPRINTUK offers pragmatic advice, and will indicate when the technology is not a good fit, something the 3D printing industry at large is not very good at confronting.
INDUSTRY VIEW FROM 3DPRINTUK
Sustainable, ethical and charitable property security
The world of real estate in the UK has changed in many ways in the decade that Global Guardians has been operating. When we started, our business model, company ethos and objectives were rather different to those of many of our colleagues operating in property security, particularly vacant property. But in the years since, the importance of sustainability and being environmentally and socially aware has risen up the agenda for many in the industry, and we continue to strive to lead from the front, and by example, within our sector.
Global Guardians started out managing a block of sheltered accommodation properties on behalf of a London council for three years, housing 60 property guardians – working professionals who couldn’t otherwise afford accommodation so near to their jobs in central London. Our CEO even lived on the site himself for a while, to ensure it was secured right from the outset, and he also selected every guardian personally, to confirm they were a right fit for our company ethos and standards. It is that care and attention to detail that has characterised the way our company staff have operated up to the present day. We care about our clients and we care about our guardians.
Since those early days, Global Guardians have managed more than 1,200 different sites and buildings for some 150 different clients, and has provided affordable, safe and comfortable living spaces to nearly 3,000 working professionals and key workers. Of our clients, 70 per cent were and still are public sector bodies and charitable organisations and 85 per cent of our guardians are key workers. Not many people really appreciated the role of society’s key workers until the Covid pandemic hit us last year and the term came into common parlance. However, we have always been aware of their importance and quiet dedication to their jobs, often on low wages, and helping them live near to where they work so they don’t have a long and expensive commute to and from home on top of a long and demanding day, or night shift, has always been a motivating factor for us.
Our clients in the public or charity sector, and increasingly in the private sector, rightly want to be reassured they are acting responsibly and economically by handing over their vacant properties to us to manage and secure, with everyone happy in the knowledge they are being put to an ethical and socially beneficial use.
But our ethos goes beyond all this. We care about the buildings we secure too. Many are old and past their best, but that doesn’t mean they should be left to rot beyond repair, or be demolished, when they can provide much-needed, affordable accommodation. Sustainability has always been our watchword and it has never been more appropriate than in today’s environmentally aware world. With a bit of creativity, planning, expertise and work, many old properties can be given a new lease of life to provide secure, clean and warm places to live.
That is what Global Guardians is all about. Protecting our real estate assets for future generations and helping those in need.
Case Study: The Samaritans
This former residential care home was built around 1860 by Henry Harris, a building contractor, as his own residence. It was acquired by the Salvation Army in 1935 for use as a home, and the garden was developed with sheltered housing in 1985-86. It originally housed some 27 residents and their carers.
The property is immaculately presented and resides in a quiet, leafy street in the sought-after residential area of Clapham in southwest London, near the delightful Clapham Common and 10 minutes from the Underground station.
Since being taken over by Global Guardians Management in the autumn of 2015, this property has been providing spacious, impeccably kept, low-cost accommodation for 28 working professionals and key workers in an area where rents for flats or houses are high, due to the ease of fast, direct access to central London. It is estimated rents in the area start at almost twice those of the licence fees paid by guardians in this property, where their personal room space is often larger than that of more expensive small flats or HMOs elsewhere in Clapham, even without the delightful communal areas and gardens.
With rooms available for longer-term occupation due to the owners still deciding how to make best use of the building, this project is a worthwhile social endeavour enabling people to put regular savings to one side, maybe for a mortgage deposit or to run a car, fund a hobby or other interest. It’s a far cry from having to spend every available penny on rent and struggling to buy food, never mind have a social life, which is often the case when individuals need to live near central London.
The entire site is also kept secure, safe and free from the antisocial, malicious or criminal behaviour that has bedevilled other large, vacant properties in the area – being such an immaculate property with discerning neighbours, surrounding and securing it with fencing or hoardings would be unfeasible.
By having property guardians in situ, this old and beautiful building is kept secure and well-maintained by Global Guardians, as well as preventing theft and other problems such as fly-tipping. The cost of round-the-clock security guards and caretakers would otherwise be prohibitive and unfeasible, especially for a charity. Using guardians has saved security costs of more than £700,000 so far and reduced insurance costs, and has negated empty business rates since the property now generates Council Tax, paid jointly by the occupants and Global Guardians. And because it has been managing this site for a charity, Global Guardians’ stewardship has resulted in more than £100,000 being donated to the Salvation Army.
For more please visit: www.global-guardians.co.uk
INDUSTRY VIEW FROM GLOBAL GUARDIANS
A refreshingly different approach to marketing
After surviving a merger, a management buy-out and redundancy all in the space of a year, Mike Adams decided to go it alone. Now, 35 years later, Mike’s ambition to reinvent how marketing agencies work has been fully realised and Adams Group is an award-winning full-service marketing agency, blazing a trail with it's no-nonsense and businesslike approach.
The team at Adams Group has a wealth of experience, particularly in the automotive, construction, engineering, manufacturing and agricultural sectors. Delivering high-performance results across the full spectrum of marketing activity, the agency focuses on helping its clients to define themselves and achieve long-term business growth.
The agency is particularly enthusiastic when it comes to working in the classic car, restoration and engine-building sector. Mike has 12 years of experience racing E-Type Jaguars in the USA, France and the UK, including at Goodwood and Donington Park, where he notched up a win at the E-Type’s 40th anniversary event. Mike’s unique experience combined with the agency’s vast knowledge of the sector positions Adams Group as the market leader in this space.
“We have a real passion for the automotive and classic car market,” says Mike. “We live and breathe this space and pride ourselves on developing exciting new websites that challenge the industry and highlight the very best of what Britain can provide across the globe.”
Adams Group thrives on reinvention and innovation, using the latest techniques and technologies to deliver measurable results. The agency has an enviable client list and a long-term proven track record in helping its clients achieve their business goals and objectives through the full range of marketing channels. The agency provides a world-class service delivered by highly skilled professionals, working on the cutting edge of digital technology to deliver exceptional results time after time.
The agency takes a consultative approach to marketing, enabling clients to tap into a rich vein of knowledge and expertise from experienced specialist consultants, covering a wide range of industries. The agency can provide attendance at board meetings, run workshops or supply staff training if required. Adams Group believes in empowering clients and provides ongoing support and guidance on how to harness digital marketing to elevate a business and build positive momentum.
“Our results are outstanding because we take care to understand our clients, often providing marketing consultancy and strategic support to ensure their business goals are realised,” says Managing Director Bronwyn Marangoz. “We carefully plan the best approach. Every project is unique and requires a bespoke marketing solution.”
As well as working with big brands and large blue-chip organisations, Adams Group prides itself on the work it conducts with SMEs and owner-managed businesses across the UK. “We get a huge amount of satisfaction from working with non-digital companies and helping them tap into their digital potential,” says Bronwyn. “Some of our clients need support and guidance when it comes to engaging new technologies and understanding how they can better use digital marketing.”
When it comes to building back better, companies that embrace new digital techniques and marketing channels will be a step ahead of their competitors. Adams Group is well placed to assist organisations that have some catching up to do online as it is well versed in making sense of how marketing can be transformative and achieve the level of results and growth required.
Whether clients are looking to launch a new website, create exciting video content, embark on a rebrand, roll out a multi-channel digital marketing campaign or just rank at the top of search results, Adams can provide a bespoke marketing solution to achieve their ambitions.
In this challenging climate, Adams Group provides a refreshingly different approach to marketing, providing value-added solutions to fit individual business needs, working closely with clients and their in-house teams to ensure maximum results and long-term success, and offering competitively priced solutions that are affordable for business owners.
“At Adams Group, we are results-driven and passionate about marketing,” says Mike. And the clients definitely agree.
Truu story: NHS entrepreneurs are revolutionising staffing checks
Dr Manreet Nijjar and Dr Henry Goodier, Co-founders, Truu
Millions of pounds will be saved and hundreds of thousands of NHS clinical and admin days reclaimed with digital staff passports, allowing healthcare workers to move quickly between hospitals. This is the prediction of Dr Manreet Nijjar, NHS Infectious Diseases Consultant and co-founder of Truu.
Currently, staff who change NHS trusts must go through a red-tape rigmarole costing precious time and money. Healthcare staff can spend days organising the necessary onboarding and identity documentation to have them checked and verified at a new hospital. For a junior doctor, these checks can be every six months as they rotate through training jobs.
Across the NHS this means more than 100,000 lost clinical days per year – affecting patient care, and exacerbated by the need to hire locums to cover doctors completing onboarding checks at new hospitals.
But there is an alternative. Clinicians will be able to use the Truu digital staff passport – which collates and enables remote verification of all their relevant qualifications, registrations and other necessary paperwork – reducing the process to minutes.
Developed by clinicians for clinicians
Truu’s platform founders – two NHS doctors – believe it will become a time- and money-saving tool for all NHS and private healthcare staff and organisations.
Dr Nijjar pioneered the Truu Digital Staff Passport and has been on the NHS frontline in the fight against Covid-19, leading the response at Whipps Cross Hospital in north east London.
His co-founder Dr Henry Goodier is an NHS junior doctor. They were inspired to create the digital staff passport after their own experiences within the health service and their desire to deliver better patient care.
“We have been collaborating with the NHS for several years piloting the platform, to help deliver meaningful change for our colleagues,” says Dr Goodier. “We are delighted that the General Medical Council has been working with us to understand how its processes can be streamlined. We have also been collaborating with other organisations in the UK and internationally across public and private healthcare.
“Our team has been working with clinicians and HR departments to create a platform that is user-friendly as well as supporting management objectives. It will save time and money and allow medical staff to move effortlessly between hospitals so they can spend more time with patients.
Millions of pounds and thousands of days wasted on repetitive checks
“For junior doctors alone, over 100,000 clinical days are lost each year due to mandated onboarding checks. The Truu platform will also address the concerning problem of fake qualifications and fraud in the healthcare industry.
“The experiences of myself and Manny led us to the idea of putting the individual in control of their authentic data and enable its remote verification. The possibilities are endless but in the short term the goal is to reduce the friction required to move between hospitals or begin locum work.”
“The NHS Chief People Officer announced that all NHS staff will have digital staff passports, following our successful pilots, and the recent NHS COVID Digital Staff Passport beta,” adds Dr Nijjar. “We are proud to be part of the team that has been making this happen.”
To find out about Truu’s beta testing or investing, visit www.truu.id
INDUSTRY VIEW FROM TRUU
The new face of sustainability and regulatory reform in the chemical sector
Paul H. Jones, FRSC – CEO & Managing Director, Bitrez Ltd
Awareness of the need to protect the environment and everything within it is increasing, and legislation is being introduced to encourage and enforce a movement towards a circular economy.
Bitrez has an outstanding and established track record for innovation in the design, development and manufacture of specialist polymers that meet the highest standards of regulatory compliance. With a long history of developing products that comply with global food and packaging regulations, pioneering products to eliminate substances of high concern, and bringing new technology to market, the business has many years’ experience of overcoming hurdles and ensuring product continuity in face of adversity.
The next chapter in Bitrez’s journey is in promoting and working with technologies that meet the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. With new developments in sustainable feedstocks that do not impact the food chain or contribute to deforestation, Bitrez is developing more bio-based products that enable the formulation of specialist coatings, adhesives and matrix systems for the protection, fixture or manufacture of components.
Bitrez recognises the huge benefits that have been achieved by chemical produce, but also the damage it has caused. In order to move away from petrochemical feedstocks and reduce our reliance on natural resources, our development team are working in co-operation with a variety of organisations to accelerate the generation of products that help maintain continuity of supply, employing bio-based materials that are processed in accordance with best practice.
Bitrez has partnered with other organisations to take these innovative materials to new regions, so that the same standards can be applied in other areas. Europe is probably the most advanced region from a regulatory perspective, and Bitrez’s future there is bright – not just economically, but environmentally and ethically too.
Award-winning innovative chemistry and solutions to meet customer needs. For more information please click here.
Unlock the power of payroll automation!
Every business needs payroll. Whether you run a small café or a larger company with hundreds of employees, your employees need to be paid. But the important question to ask is: are you spending too much time on payroll?
When it comes to payroll, automation is key. Not having the proper tools to simplify and streamline the process can result in a time-consuming and costly chore that you dread each pay period. But what if that wasn’t the case? By introducing the right tools, you can benefit from a quick and easy payroll that you hardly think about at all.
So, how do you choose the best software? The key is to find out what options are available, and then explore whether they can make your life easier.
Let’s look at four key things to consider when determining the best payroll system for your business to have a quick and easy payroll:
Integration with other systems
To reduce the time you spend on payroll tasks, it’s important to use a system that can communicate and send information directly to other systems, such as accounting software and pension providers.
This means that instead of using your payroll software to process payroll and then logging into your pension portal to upload auto-enrolment files, and into your accounting software to manually add payroll journals, you can initiate the instant flow of payroll information directly from the payroll software.
The need to manually export and import files, or even to manually re-enter payroll data into more than one system, is instantly eliminated. Processing times will be much faster as you will be able to submit data in just a few clicks.
Simple payment workflows
One of the most recent advances in payroll is the ability to simplify payment workflows. Some payroll systems, such as BrightPay, allow you to pay employees, subcontractors, and HMRC through an integrated payment solution. This cuts out the need for separate bank files and all the associated admin that goes with making payments; providing you with a fast, connected, and convenient way to pay employees instantly. Plus, you can schedule payments to HMRC in advance so that you never miss a deadline again.
Online/mobile hub for employees
Another way to reduce your payroll workload is by introducing an online self-service portal for employees, allowing easy access to payroll and HR information, anywhere, anytime. With a smartphone and tablet app, such as BrightPay Connect, employees can access a payslip library, view their leave entitlements and calendar, request leave, and access HR documents – all without once contacting HR.
By introducing an employee app, the employees can do a lot of the admin-heavy tasks themselves, rather than coming to you, for example, for copies of lost payslips or enquiries about how much annual leave they have remaining.
Payroll entry collaboration
What better way to spend less time on something than to delegate certain responsibilities to others. By introducing collaboration into payroll and HR processes, you can free up precious time to spend on other tasks that really need your attention.
Whether you’re a business processing payroll in-house, or an accountant processing payroll for several clients, your payroll software should allow you to introduce collaboration into the payroll process. For example, with BrightPay Connect you can allow managers to upload the hours for employees within their department and notify you of any new starters through their own secure online portal. Information entered by the user automatically synchronises to the payroll software on your desktop, ready for you to complete the payroll process.
It’s also worth giving these managers control over their employees’ annual leave. Department managers are likely to have a much better understanding of their project timelines and deadlines than the payroll and HR department. By allowing these managers to have control over leave requests, they can better manage their team’s schedule and workload.
BrightPay – the best in the business
If you’re looking for a platform that meets all your payroll software needs, we believe BrightPay should be top of your review list.
BrightPay is award-winning payroll software that makes managing payroll quick and easy. BrightPay automates many day-to-day payroll tasks and includes integration with other systems such as accounting software, pension schemes and payment platforms. BrightPay Connect is an optional cloud add-on with online employer and employee self-service portals, streamlining the payroll process even further.
Rachel Hynes, Marketing Manager, BrightPay
Can wine investment protect against an overvalued US stock market?
Justin Knock, Oenofuture’s Master of Wine, explains how wine investment can offer a safe and profitable alternative to the overheated US stock market
Investors have enjoyed a remarkably successful 12 months since the depths of the pandemic bear-market and are now wondering where markets can go from here. Rising yields on US treasuries, thanks to improving consumer and business sentiment, has elevated inflation expectations throwing shade on growth stocks and cast a light on the very high valuations of US stocks overall.
Yet with unprecedented amounts of monetary expansion and plans for enormous US fiscal spending, there are extremely strong arguments for both bullish and bearish scenarios ahead. One safe haven that’s attracting a lot of attention is the fine wine market, a highly sought-after alternative asset that offers steady annual returns of 10 to 15 per cent and very low correlation to the stock market. It can be an excellent area in which to invest profits from shares that may have become fully valued.
Fine wine’s performance compared with stocks is certainly compelling. If you had invested $100 in the fine wine market in 1952, your investment would now be worth $420,000. On the other hand, $100 invested in the stock market would now be worth a modest $100,000. Typical holds in the fine wine market range tend to be long-term, usually between five to ten years, but even over a shorter time-frame healthy returns can be made. For example, wines from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, arguably the world’s most prestigious winery, regularly show rises in valuation of 150 to 200 per cent over a five-year period.
Unlike almost any other type of investment, fine wine also has the unique advantage of being a tangible asset that’s made to be drunk and enjoyed. Most of the world’s top producers create tiny quantities of their best wines every year, and over time the number of bottles from a given vintage dwindles as they are consumed. This means pricing is mostly determined by a very simple economic model – supply and demand. And after a tumultuous pandemic year, the demand for fine and luxury wine has never been higher both in established markets such as the US and Europe and younger wine-consuming markets such as China and Brazil.
Traditional wine investment, almost exclusively in producers from France, has been a little like the infamous Hotel California: check in any time you like, but leaving can be difficult. Finding reliable and timely exit strategies can be challenging. OenoFuture is unique among wine investment companies in being able to offer both multiple and diversified exit strategies and timing advice.
As well as selling your wines on to other collectors and drinkers, we supply wines to many of Europe’s top hotels, bars and Michelin-starred restaurants through our OenoTrade arm. Later this year we’re opening our first luxury wine shop and bar, OenoHouse, in the City of London, which provides yet another exit strategy for our investors. In both cases, end-clients appreciate access to mature wines that are ready to enjoy, but without having to pay the holding costs.
Investing in wine can seem daunting at first, which is why it’s a good idea to seek expert advice. Here at OenoFuture we offer a free, no-obligation consultation call to all potential investors where we discuss your financial goals and help you select the right wines to match your desired investment risk profile, term and budget.
For some investors this might be a portfolio of blue-chip wines from iconic Bordeaux estates such as Chateau Margaux, Chateau Latour or Chateau Mouton Rothschild, or top Napa estates such as Screaming Eagle and Opus One. These tend to be longer-term holds, appreciating over a five-to-ten-year window, which makes them ideal for building up a nest egg for your retirement or putting your kids or grandkids through college.
Other investors may prefer to go for more wallet-friendly wines which can be sold on through our hospitality partners, generating a guaranteed return inside a shorter term, typically 12 to 18 months. This process can then be repeated, providing a steady stream of very low-risk returns which can be reinvested as many times as you like, much like a dividend reinvestment model attractive to income-focused investors.
So what’s the catch? Very little. Since it’s asset-backed and demand-driven, fine wine is a very safe and secure investment. Once you invest in the market, your wines are kept in optimum conditions in a secure bonded warehouse in your name. They are fully insured, and we have a dedicated anti-fraud department within OenoFuture who ensure the authenticity of your bottles. In almost all cases we purchase direct from the producer to ensure impeccable provenance.
Unlike other wine investment services, OenoFuture also doesn’t charge any management fees. We always put our investors first, and this extends to our profit-share model. We take a modest commission on the profit you make when your wines are sold out. This ensures that we only make money when you make money, and we’re constantly striving to offer the best possible service to each and every one of our investors. That’s why we’re seeing record numbers of first-time and seasoned investors turning to us to protect their assets.
To find out how you could profit from investing in wine and to request your free no-obligation consultation call, visit oenogroup.com.
by Justin Knock MW, Director of Wine, OenoFuture
Image provided by OenoFuture
INDUSTRY VIEW FROM OENOFUTURE
TBA Group: The brand experience and live events experts
TBA Group has successfully developed its expertise over recent years as experience makers in three specialist areas: sport, brands, and entertainment. And thanks to our diverse and specialist knowledge, we know how to create a connection between a brand and an audience – whether they’re fans, colleagues, customers, or consumers.
Our sports division are experts in creating exhilarating and memorable fan moments that immerse audiences in the sports occasion. Specialising in everything from brand activations and fan zones to bespoke sports hospitality and sponsorship activations, we work with some of the world’s leading sports brands and organisations - including Formula 1, UEFA, and World Rugby.
The TBA brands team combine audience insights, strategic thinking, and bright ideas to create engaging and powerful experiences, events and communications that help form a deeper connection between a brand and its target audiences. From immersive large-scale consumer brand activations to strategic internal communications - TBA Group’s solutions connect people to brands in an exciting and transformative way.
Our award-winning entertainment division connects fans to large-scale public events, concerts and shows through spectacular productions. Time and time again, we conquer some of the most technically challenging creative briefs, producing the most spectacular live shows from ideas that might have seemed impossible.
Fundamental to our approach across all divisions is that we know it’s not just about creating those spectacular instagrammable moments – it’s about creating a connection. We are proud to have the most connected team of specialists creating moments in time that are memorable, meaningful and leave a lasting impression. Our goal is to create brand advocates, not just through spectacular experiences but by forming a deeper level of understanding, emotion, and trust.
By harnessing the specialist knowledge of our world-class team of experts, we create memorable experiences that stand out. From creating a consumer-facing or internal staff event to shutting down central London for a live sports spectacle, we know how to produce incredible moments that push the limits of possibility. Our team work hard to understand our clients’ brands and bring them to life in the right ways. Creating impressive moments but always staying authentic to their brand and audience.
As experience makers, we are constantly innovating, adapting, and evolving as the power and reach of virtual and hybrid live experiences continues to grow. Our clients are always looking for new ways to engage and communicate, and we work hard to ensure we can offer this. We’re proud of our agility and ability to respond quickly to the world around us – not only in our technological innovations but with our strong beliefs and focus on sustainability.
We turned the challenges of 2020 into opportunities for our agency group and our clients by adapting and innovating to embrace different kinds of experiences. As industry leaders, we were one of the first agencies to adapt our expert offering to the virtual world, creating unbelievable moments that have wholly connected global audiences online. As we continue to evolve and grow with our clients, we’ll leverage our new virtual skills and the latest technology and combine them with our love for incredible live experiences.
INDUSTRY VIEW FROM TBA GROUP
The company driving the digital revolution of motor insurance
Alan Inskip, Founder & CEO, Tempcover
Car insurance is a product purchased by many but invokes little passion or excitement. Long call times, excessive questions and endless paperwork make it an experience most people want to avoid until absolutely necessary. That was before the Covid pandemic turned our lives upside-down.
Vehicle usage went down to almost zero as we worked from home or were furloughed or made redundant. With vehicle usage dramatically reduced and money tighter than ever, motorists demanded more flexible alternatives. This led to the rise in demand for usage-based insurance (UBI) products such as temporary vehicle insurance, where motorists only pay for the time they need the policy to cover them for – anywhere from one hour to 28 days.
Traditional insurers have struggled to meet this demand because of their legacy systems, but this gap was swiftly filled by technology-driven insurance companies, or insurtechs, which leverage data, artificial intelligence and machine learning to make insurance products more agile and flexible, in line with modern consumer demand – all at a more competitive price.
While many companies have struggled to survive amid the pandemic, Tempcover – recognised as the UK’s original insurtech – has bucked the trend and more than doubled in size, while achieving record temporary car and van insurance policy sales and turnover. Its secret? A nimble and creative team developing its own in-house proprietary technology. And most importantly, a customer-centric philosophy.
Temporary insurance is a needs-based product that involves rapid, in-the-moment transactions. It is therefore essential to remain front-of-mind and to be in the right place at the right time when a customer requires cover at short notice. Customers don’t want to be forced into a lengthy call for something as simple as adding a driver for a short period. This should be done within a few simple online steps, and this is where the traditional insurers fall short.
In challenging economic times, it’s important to not only listen to customers, but to respond swiftly and meaningfully to their feedback. We’ve designed our user experience entirely around direct feedback from customers. We use rich data to analyse feedback and then swiftly respond to that by updating our user experience accordingly. Our flexibility eliminates any red tape and means customers effectively develop products with us. The end result is a purchase journey where customers can obtain fully comprehensive short-term insurance within just 90 seconds.
Industry collaboration is important too. We work closely with major insurers, brokers and aggregators, as this drives our technology from niche to mainstream, which benefits the entire value chain. Most importantly, customers benefit from the most competitively priced, fit-for-purpose products that are designed specifically around their unique requirements at a time when brand loyalty is in decline, and speed and convenience are trump factors. By establishing these partnerships early, we can ensure even more long-term and sustainable business growth.
For the Best of British Businesses, diversity takes centre stage
What is best practice when it comes to businesses? Competitiveness? Flexibility? We all have our own thoughts and opinions about what the answer is, but what if we told you that there is one area that could encompass so many of these individual best practice traits?
As part of Business Reporter’s Best of British Business campaign, our CEO Michael Barrington-Hibbert was invited to interview representatives from three businesses that represented – as you might guess – the very best of British: Alderman Vincent Keaveny from the City Of London Corporation, Pension Bee Founder and CEO Romi Savova, and Kick it Out Chair Sanjay Bhandari.
On paper, you would be hard-pressed to find three individuals from more distinct backgrounds. However, each of them agreed on one thing. From keeping the City competitive, to supporting people to grow their pensions, to addressing the lack of ethnic minority representation in all areas of football, diversity is good for business, and one of the most positive and powerful tools we have at our disposal. Without it, businesses will in whatever shape or form, miss out.
This is far from a new idea or revolutionary concept. In fact, it is something that many of us have been shouting about for quite some time. However, after years of uncertainty, it does feel like people from various sectors and job functions are finally starting to open their minds to to the power of being more inclusive.
As many of us ponder on what, if anything, we have learned in the year since the killing of George Floyd and the protests that shook the world, we have a real opportunity to give ourselves a positive answer. From a social, ethical and commercial point, putting inclusion at the heart of our workplaces and communities will yield serious dividends, and it is a stance we all must take.
Diversity is good for business – embrace it or prepare to miss out.
Future-proof your business now – put people first
Justine James, Founding Director, talentsmoothie
The best-performing organisations are people-centric. They understand that happy, purposeful employees are more motivated and deliver better results. They’ve discovered that when you connect with your people, learn what they want and need, and give it to them, you unlock untapped business opportunity.
“Take care of your employees and they will take care of your business. It’s as simple as that.”
The time is now for every employer to realise this “people potential”. Why? Because the pandemic era has made a re-evaluation of the world of work essential.
Pre-2020, businesses were already facing irreversible demographic and societal changes. Five generations in the workplace. An ageing workforce. Ethics, diversity and inclusion, sustainability, and social and environmental impacts were on our minds and increasingly important to our employees and customers. In 2021, it is as if these shifts in values have been fast-forwarded by ten years.
On top of this change-acceleration, personal wellbeing has been placed front and centre – not just our physical safety, but our mental and financial health as well. We’re questioning where and how we need to work. We’re using more technology to do our jobs, but also feeling an intensified threat of being replaced or monitored by it. We’re more conscious of our carbon footprint. Our enforced isolation has led a greater desire to feel connected, accepted and that we belong. We want to do work that gives our life purpose and meaning.
This all translates into an urgent need to redefine our relationships with our employers.
Business leaders, no matter how large or small their organisation, can capitalise in this pivotal moment to listen, prove they care, and strike a fresh, more holistic “deal” with their employees to the benefit of everyone.
The question is, how?
It’s been a tough year dealing with unforeseen circumstance. It could feel overwhelming to contemplate yet more change. But, with the right expertise, you can find out fast what will make the most difference to the people in your organisation.
Talentsmoothie helps organisations create motivated workforces. Our insight comes from 20 years of primary research and experience of developing employee value propositions with our global and local clients. We understand the needs of all the generations and other workforce segments. We get to the nub of how a business can connect with its people better. And we help make it happen, so you get the results you need.
The employee agenda is changing. The customer agenda is changing. The business agenda must change. Safeguard your investment in your workforce. Retain and attract top talent. Give the best service to your customers. Put people first and future-proof your business, it makes great business sense.
Find out how to future-proof your business. Talk to talentsmoothie today!
INDUSTRY VIEW FROM TALENTSMOOTHIE
Rail reform: why Britain’s railways are getting a full makeover
To say the UK has long had a rail problem is an understatement. Chaos has become the descriptor of choice for train services, variously characterised by exorbitant fares, delays blamed on every kind of wrong weather and severe overcrowding.
The government’s recent rail review, therefore, is a big deal. More than the mere improvements the Department of Transport’s McNulty review recommended a decade ago, this reform represents a complete overhaul.
There have long been calls for a modernised fleet to help Britain’s railways cope with – and respond to – the climate crisis. Covid, meanwhile, has intesified the need for a system that serves changing customer needs and working practices. The question of course is whether these plans will make UK train travel better and cheaper.
At the heart of the reform is the creation of Great British Railways. This new publicly owned body will subsume Network Rail in managing the national rail infrastructure. It will manage all other aspects of train travel too – from ticketing to timetabling.
The government insists this is not renationalisation. Great British Railways will serve instead as coordinator, issuing management concession contracts to private train operators, with incentives to improve punctuality and increase passenger numbers.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps has said this will put an end “to years of fragmentation, confusion and over-complication”. British Railways, under state ownership since the late 1940s, was privatised in 1994. A franchise system was devised, whereby private train operating companies could compete for the right to run train services on the various lines of the network. The infrastructure was auctioned off too, first to privately-owned Railtrack and then to publicly-controlled non-profit Network Rail.
The idea was that greater competition would result in greater efficiency, lower fares for customers, higher profits for operators, and fewer government subsidies. However, many of the rail companies made increasingly untenable losses. Having little control over the socio-economic factors (employment levels, economic growth) that determined how often people took the train, profit margins were low and the competition anaemic.
This saw the East Coast rail service temporarily renationalised in 2018 after the operators, Virgin and Stagecoach, failed to deliver on revenues promised to the taxpayer. Arriva’s contract to run the Northern rail franchise was similarly ended, and the line renationalised, in 2020.
Fixing UK rail – and all its technical problems – has always been a tricky proposition. There are too many stakeholders and yet no central coordinator to hold everyone to account. Great British Railways has been conceived of to do just that.
The government wants to enable the rail network to be more dynamic, and responsive to change. In replacing the franchises with concessions, it wants to alleviate the operators’ burden of financial risk related to uncertain revenues. Instead, they will simply be paid to run the services, much like Transport for London’s successful London Overground concession is currently run by Arriva.
To simplify passengers’ lives, Great British Railways will also emulate Transport for London’s contactless, pay-as-you-go scheme rather than only accepting paper tickets. Additional services that do not require advance booking will be made available for vulnerable customers such as elderly, blind or partially sighted passengers.
The reform looks at new technologies that will allow train operators to make better use of data on everything from average punctuality rates and expected service crowding to land conditions, and adapt accordingly.
And it aims to cut transport emissions through further electrification of the rail network and alternative technologies such as hydrogen and battery power. Green initiatives focused on energy efficiency, renewable power generation, and vegetation and wildlife management (which includes tree-planting) will also be accelerated.
What the plan omits
For rail reform to be successful, however, two things must be addressed. The first is the cost to the customer. Results from the National Rail Passenger Survey in spring 2020 showed that, on some routes, as few as 26 per cent of customers were satisfied with the value for money of their train travel.
The government is promising affordable fares. Affordability, though, is subjective. Survey findings have clearly identified that cheaper fares would draw in those people who rarely, if ever, currently use trains because of the cost.
The second key issue is how UK transport systems are financed. We need a holistic approach. The Treasury’s plan to charge British motorists for using the nation’s roads is a welcome step towards addressing the imbalance between the cost to the user of rail versus car.
Some observers go further in arguing for a comprehensive charging system for private vehicle usage, according to distance driven, emissions and congestion. An important caveat though is how this could adversely affect lower income households, for whom driving is often the only option.
Transport accounts for 28 per cent of the UK’s domestic greenhouse gas emissions. As part of its commitment to net zero emissions by 2050, the government’s rail review builds on recent plans to improve buses and encourage cycling and walking. If a balance is struck between efficiency and fairness, this reform could mark a shift from car to rail.
Why rule breaking in advertising is the best way forward
Sean Thompson, Founder, Ben Walker, Founder, Matt Gooden, Founder, Who Wot Why Ltd.
Advertising is everywhere, targeting us wherever we go. And yet, we notice less and less of it – 65 per cent fails to deliver any return on investment.
Advertising that works breaks rules. It connects emotionally, it provokes a response, it’s culturally relevant and it challenges expectations by saying what you wouldn’t expect advertising to say.
Who Wot Why’s success is based on three fundamental principles: passion, truth and craft.
WWW seeks out a brand’s passionate point of view (PPOV) – all successful companies have them. It’s the thing a brand passionately believes that drives the thinking from product all the way through to advertising. It tells your customers what you believe in a way that will make them feel something. It’s your truth.
To find your PPOV, the people at WWW immerse themselves in the brand. They see advertising not as an opportunity to lie or to trick an audience with smoke and mirrors, but to tell a brand’s true story. To do this they create immersion sessions where they interrogate a brand until it reveals its truth. They leave no stone unturned, and talk to everyone. Once Who Wot Why has found that truth, the next job is to connect it. And that takes craft.
It’s what connects customers emotionally to brands. Who Wot Why believes if you want to create advertising that people don’t simply ignore, it’s not just about what you say but how you say it. Language and design are key. They create emotional connections between customers and brands that live long after the rational message is forgotten. Great design, writing and filmmaking don’t happen by accident. They come from people who are passionate and committed and love what they do, and that’s key to Who Wot Why’s success and the fortunes of its clients.
Why not break a rule and fire up your business, go to whowotwhy.com.
Think globally, act locally
With over 40 years’ experience, Reading-based wholesale packaging supplier Swiftpak has reached a new milestone. Last year, Swiftpak was thrilled to achieve its B Corporation accreditation, which reflects its passion for creating a positive impact.
It was a no-brainer for Swiftpak to take a step forward to join the global movement of people using business as a force for good. Undertaking the B Impact Assessment put down on paper the great things Swiftpak was already doing, and will continue to do, while helping to bring corporate social responsibility further to the top of its agenda.
Craig Gulley, Managing Director, is thrilled to be part of the movement. “We realise that we don’t just have an impact on our team members and customers but also on the environment and the wider community,” he says. “We might not have all the answers, but we take responsibility and aim to create a positive impact on all stakeholders, which we call the Swiftpak impact.”
This is not just an empty statement, but a real promise Swiftpak is accountable for through the B Corporation certificate. It meant continuing to put more ideas into practice. This began by establishing a partnership with Ecologi, allowing customers to offset their paper packaging waste and lower their carbon footprint by planting trees. If you talk the talk, you need to walk the walk, and Swiftpak has now been a climate positive workforce for a full year and planted almost 2,000 trees.
With the topic of sustainability highly valued, Swiftpak is continuously looking for innovative new sustainable packaging alternatives. It has recently hired a new head of innovation to help bring new sustainable products to life faster.
Innovation is not only seen in the product line but also digitally. The company recently launched an online Stretch Wrap Calculator, where businesses can input their existing stretch wrap figures and discover if a reduction in plastic usage is possible. Previous experience has shown that this can result in up to 74 per cent less plastic waste.
Alongside sustainability, helping the community through charitable donations and volunteering has always been part of Swiftpak’s ethos. Swiftpak believes in the concept of giving back, so it actively encourages members of the team to get involved by supporting a charity of their choice with a paid working day. In 2020, Swiftpak supported the wider community by providing hand sanitisers, masks and anti-bacterial sprays to care homes and a school with residential care for children with disabilities.
As a family business that truly cares, Swiftpak keeps a close eye on the wellbeing of its staff and has found that the impact of the lockdown affected team members in different ways. Raising awareness for mental health has become an undeniable topic, especially over the past year, and Swiftpak has now trained four team members as certified mental health first aiders.
Packaging is not often in the spotlight, but during the pandemic it has played a vital role. Swiftpak was able to maintain consistent packaging supplies to key pharmaceutical companies to help roll out the vast amount of Covid tests. During the lockdowns, a steep increase in people ordering food to their door could be seen and while meal delivery companies were struggling to keep up with demand, Swiftpak made sure that packaging was not one of their worries.
Swiftpak has always provided its packaging with a personal touch through its dedicated team of industry experts. There are no bots that answer the phone or website chat, nor will there ever be –Swiftpak believes that personal relations are key and human contact is what customers appreciate, something reflected in its 4.9 Trustpilot score.
As part of the B Corporation community, Swiftpak has now built closer relationships with other businesses that have the same aim and hopes to encourage more companies to join the journey. By building a more inclusive and sustainable economy, we can build a better tomorrow.
To find out more about Swiftpak, visit www.swiftpak.co.uk
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…
Repurposing is the new buzzword in today’s real estate sector. The large and still increasing amount of vacant commercial property on the market is an outward manifestation of two of the major’s changes to life as we knew it some 18 months ago.
The first is the working-from-home phenomenon. It was already starting to grow before Covid hit us, encouraged by the continuous innovation in collaboration and communication software, and the ease of communication this brings, and the situation looks like it will remain in part, even after people gradually return to their offices.
Companies are therefore busily shrinking the amount of space they require, as they know working remotely will continue to be a fact of life for a lot of their staff. It’s now easier than ever to operate a business digitally, talk to your staff, suppliers and customers online, and showcase your brand or products globally to a vast audience.
The second change is the impact lockdown has had on the UK economy. High street businesses of all descriptions – from retail to hospitality and entertainment – have been forced to close permanently due to a lack of customers. Shoppers have turned to online retail, and brands that were slow in their adoption, or didn’t trade in that space at all, have paid the price. Rent and bills still needed to be paid even if the outlet wasn’t trading, whether it was a shop, restaurant or entertainment venue, and the debt simply became too much for many.
All of this, and much more, simply created the perfect economic storm which has resulted in vast swathes of property now currently standing empty.
Set against this is the pressing need for more social and affordable housing – which brings us back to our new buzzword: repurposing.
But repurposing is really nothing more than operating sustainably. Yes, it’s great to see a city skyline is full of cranes: it shows a thriving and optimistic economy. In certain circumstances, old and derelict buildings are fit for nothing except demolition and making way for new, exciting, greener and more practical buildings. But, as the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?
Not everything that appears rundown, forlorn and neglected needs to be destroyed. This is our heritage. Our buildings reflect our long, glorious and varied history; many tell a story, and even more have so much character. Something even the most architecturally stunning of new buildings sometimes lack.
Global Guardians has always striven to be at the forefront of its sector – using vacant property of all types to provide much needed affordable homes for working people while a building is being refurbished, sold or let, or waiting for planning permission for redevelopment.
And we have demonstrated over and over how many of our properties don’t really need to be demolished. If we can make them habitable and homely for people, with a bit of creativity and purpose, then their real owners can do the same – not temporarily, but permanently. Offices can be converted to flats, and so can all sorts of other buildings, such as warehouses, factories, museums and libraries, theatres and churches. We have turned them all into vibrant communities of sociable, creative and hard-working people.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Bert Lance, Director of the Office of Management and Budget in US President Jimmy Carter's 1977 administration, was right. He is said to have coined the phrase more than 40 years ago, and has been one of the key objectives of Global Guardians, from when we first started our business, to show people how empty property can be put to a beneficial, sustainable use, for years.
We’re proud of our history and what we’ve achieved. Whether you call it repurposing, sustainability, or simply being pragmatic and economical, it works, and people are finally practising what we’ve been preaching all this time.
To learn more about our sustainable options for your vacant property, visit www.global-guardians.co.uk
INDUSTRY VIEW FROM GLOBAL GUARDIANS
How sewage plants and data centres could help heat one in five UK homes
Gas boilers heat around 85 per cent of homes in the UK, but their installation in new homes is to be banned from 2025. While heating produces over a third of the country’s CO₂ emissions, there are only two low-carbon heating alternatives that most people hear about: heat pumps and hydrogen boilers.
Heat pumps are like a refrigerator working backwards: they use electricity to run a compressor, which transfers heat from the outside to the inside. Hydrogen boilers are just another sort of gas boiler, designed to burn hydrogen instead of the fossil fuel natural gas.
Yet there is a third option we don’t hear much about which has been around for centuries which experts believe could heat around 18 per cent of UK homes by 2050. District heating, as it’s known, could be keeping you warm in the near future by recycling heat from sewer drains, abandoned coal mines or even the London Underground.
How it works
District heating systems pump hot water from a large boiler at a central location, or from a facility with lots of waste heat such as near energy-hungry buildings such as leisure centres a data centre, through a network of insulated pipes and into homes. It could serve a few apartments at one address or thousands of houses and businesses across a whole city. Like the electricity grid, there can be multiple sources supplying the network.
In a district heating system, the radiators and hot water cylinders inside houses are fed by a heat interface unit, which transfers the heat energy from the network. This is about the size of a large gas boiler but doesn’t need a flue so is easy to install on a wall or in a cupboard. You control the heat supply using standard thermostats, paying bills for the heat energy used rather than the amount of gas or electricity.
The origins of district heating can be traced to Roman bath houses, where hot air was circulated under floors. In the 14th century, the French spa town of Chaudes-Aigues had a system for distributing heat to houses from hot water springs.
The first generation of modern district heating systems used steam from coal-fired boilers and were installed in Europe and the US from the mid-1800s. A system in Manhattan has been operating since 1882 and continues to heat more than 1,500 buildings.
The Amager Bakke waste-to-energy plant in Copenhagen, Denmark shows how modern district heating can become a beautiful part of community life. The city’s non-recyclable waste is burned to supply heat (as well as generate electricty) for a network of 150,000 homes. Its striking architectural features are capped with an artificial ski slope on its roof.
In Iceland, 92 per cent of the population lives in homes served by district heating. Three-quarters of this heat comes from abundant underground hot springs. In Denmark and Latvia, district heating supplies 60 per cent of homes on average. Austria has a substantial forestry sector and many villages have district heating systems fed from the local sawmill where waste wood is burned. China has the world’s biggest and fastest growing district heating system, but it’s largely coal-fired.
Only 2 per cent of homes in the UK are currently heated this way, but this is set to change. The government recently announced £44 million (US$62 million) in funding for three district heating schemes in London, Manchester and Cambridgeshire, which would together heat tens of thousands of homes.
The Scottish government plans to give district heating the same legal standard of consumer protection and supply security as electricity and gas. A system is currently being installed at Clydebank near Glasgow in the former John Brown shipyard. It will supply more than a thousand new homes plus community and business facilities by capturing latent heat from the River Clyde.
How heating sources compare
Some argue that the simplest way to decarbonise Britain’s gas heating network is to pump hydrogen instead of natural gas into home central heating systems. While hydrogen fuel will be useful in a low-carbon economy, experts suggest its use should be prioritised in industry and heavy transport, where alternatives are limited.
Installing a heat pump can slash a home’s heating emissions but they will not be suitable for all buildings, such as those in dense urban areas. More carbon is released in the manufacture of heat pumps units than gas boilers, and their refrigerant gases have very high global warming potential.
Net zero emissions homes must reduce energy demand as much as possible. Adequately insulating buildings can almost completely remove the need for space heating, leaving hot water as the main source of home heat demand.
District heating depends on a network being installed to service a whole neighbourhood. But if your living situation matches any of the following descriptions, it could be your best option for low-carbon heating: