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Greenwashing is the act of distributing false information about something being more environmentally friendly than it actually is.

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Tackling the Cost of Living Crisis

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In the first video of this two-part video series, Elisa introduces us to sustainability. She begins by looking at the difference between sustainability and corporate social responsibility, two terms that can be easily confused.

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Banking Essentials - Part I

This pathway will walk us through the basics of banks, starting with some of the different types and their main functions, then starting to look at the regulation faced by the banks, both before and after the Global Financial Crisis.

Greenwashing

Greenwashing is the act of distributing false information about something being more environmentally friendly than it actually is.

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Tackling the Cost of Living Crisis

In this video, Max discusses the cost-of-living crisis currently enveloping the UK. He examines its impact on households as well as the overall economy.

CSR and Sustainability in Financial Services

In the first video of this two-part video series, Elisa introduces us to sustainability. She begins by looking at the difference between sustainability and corporate social responsibility, two terms that can be easily confused.

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Introduction to Demand-side Energy Solutions

Introduction to Demand-side Energy Solutions

Jonathan Maxwell

25 years: International finance

Over the decades, the world has invested a huge amount in renewable technologies to fight climate change. Over 80% of the investment has been on the supply side to feed consumption and yet. In this video, Jonathan Maxwell explains why energy efficiency through demand side solutions will be the key to tackling climate change.

Over the decades, the world has invested a huge amount in renewable technologies to fight climate change. Over 80% of the investment has been on the supply side to feed consumption and yet. In this video, Jonathan Maxwell explains why energy efficiency through demand side solutions will be the key to tackling climate change.

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Introduction to Demand-side Energy Solutions

14 mins 46 secs

Overview

To-date, the world has been attempting to fight climate change by feeding consumption (focussing on the supply side) and yet atmospheric CO2 concentrations have gone up every year. It is imperative that we focus on stopping carbon from getting into the atmosphere by reducing demand for energy.

Key learning objectives:

  • Understand the importance of energy efficiency in tackling climate change

  • Understand the different sources of energy inefficiency

  • Outline the mistakes by policy makers with regards to demand side solutions

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Summary
Why is demand side energy efficiency important?
Demand side energy solutions facilitate a transformation in productivity without sacrificing growth. Over $3.5 trillion US dollars have been invested in renewables such as wind and solar in the last 20 years. Compared to the supply side, the demand side has been overlooked and it can unlock perhaps trillions in savings through energy efficiency. Around 70% of energy is used in buildings, industry and transport. Reducing demand by removing inefficiency provides investment returns, results in emissions reductions, productivity gains and increased energy security.
The opportunity exists because, although energy is worth trillions and everyone and everyone and everything depends on it, and nations are at war over it, and it represents some 80% of the human-made contribution to greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, we waste most of it.
In the USA around 70% of primary energy is lost before it gets to the final consumer. Many geopolitical, economic and climate challenges won’t be addressed without energy efficiency. Competition for resources and the excessive consumption of them is a cause of both climate change and conflict. Every unit of natural gas that we don’t use equates to 2.6 units of natural gas that we don’t need to buy. More than two thirds of the primary energy from the gas is lost before it gets to the point of use. 
What are the sources of energy inefficiencies?
  • Conversion - Around 10% is lost converting extracted resources like oil and gas into refined, pipeline grade or usable form.
  • Generation - Primary energy is converted into useful energy or "exergy" for performing work and services.
  • Heat - Gas-fueled power plants, for example, have limits in terms of efficiency, known as Carnot efficiency, with more than half of the energy used in the conversion of fossil fuels to electricity lost as heat. While some of this heat can be recycled, the typical efficiency range is between 50-60%.
  • Transmission and distribution process - An additional 5-10% of energy lost.
  • Transport - The "well-to-wheel" efficiency of a car is estimated to be between 15-30%, compared to the "wind-to-wheel" efficiency of electric vehicles (between 75-80%). Increasing energy efficiency or transitioning to renewable and electric alternatives in transportation will significantly reduce demand for fossil fuels. 
How can we tackle the climate crisis through demand side solutions?
Energy efficiency is the largest, fastest and cheapest source of greenhouse gas emission reductions and is also a key to resilience from increasingly difficult climatic conditions. It also provides economic opportunity as the value of energy wastage for countries and companies is colossal. 
What are the mistakes by policymakers and the markets?
  1. Not enough focus on energy efficiency by policymakers
  2. Short-term focus by over reliance on renewables
  3. Reluctance to invest in energy efficiency by markets Firstly, It’s great that energy efficiency is 10-20% of the wide-ranging US Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, but it should be at least half of it.
Adopting an efficiency-first approach can turn society’s greatest challenges into its greatest opportunities. 
 

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Jonathan Maxwell

Jonathan Maxwell

Jonathan Maxwell is the founder and CEO of Sustainable Development Capital or SDCL. He has over 25 years of experience in international finance, infrastructure, and private equity, and has overall responsibility for SDCL's investment activities. Since 2007, SDCL has expanded across the UK, Europe, North America, and Asia, and has launched energy efficiency project investment funds in all of those markets. In 2012, SDCL launched the London Stock Exchange listed SDCL Energy Efficiency Income Trust plc., which is now a constituent of the FTSE 250 index. Prior to establishing SDCL, Maxwell was at HSBC Infrastructure and managed the IPO of the HSBC Infrastructure Company. He has a degree in Modern History from Oxford University and is the author of a new book, The Edge, due to be published in the Autumn of 2023.

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