The view from the eco-experts

A A A

The fashion designer
Safia Minney, founder of People Tree

Our sales to ethical and fair-trade fashion boutiques have doubled on last year's figures, but a lot of our customers are tightening their belts – there is a chance they'll shift back to fast, cheap fashion. I'm sure the top brands will benefit, but companies such as ours are under threat. Even so, we're still doing well at the moment, because consumers are becoming more considered in their spending habits – they're buying less and buying better quality clothing. They're also re-styling existing clothes and accessorising – we've seen very strong jewellery sales, for example.

The green homeware expert
Edwin Lloyd, Managing director of www.mygreener home.co.uk

I've been able to capitalise on the growth of internet retailing and the green pound, and I think both those forces are still growing. So even if consumers begin to spend less, I can absorb the impact. There are two types of products that environmentally aware people buy. There are conscience items, such as recycled paper or bio cleaning products, which cost more but are greener. Then there are the energy-saving products, like those gadgets that stop you leaving your television on stand-by, or eco kettles that are not only green but save the consumer money. It's the conscience products that are under threat, while I think I'll be seeing increased demand for the energy-saving products.

The organic entrepreneur
Jo Fairley, co-founder of Green & Blacks and owner of Judges Bakery, Hastings

I think it would be very sad if the credit crunch meant people stopped buying organic food. I don't think it will happen – we buy organic because it fits with our principles, not as a lifestyle choice. Our tills are still ringing and I think people are prepared to make sacrifices – there are things they'll give up before they start depriving themselves of good food. We can cut grocery bills by relying less on meat and throwing less away – we bin 30 per cent of the food we buy. Waste is not green. I think the economic downturn could be the best thing that happened to the planet because we'll spend less money on the things that aren't important.

The eco-tourism trailblazer
Paul Giess, Director at Baobab Travel

Our bookings are the same as they were last year, but what we are noticing is that people are waiting until the last minute before committing. The main problem for us is the rise in fuel prices. Most of our holidays are at eco lodges in Africa and, for example, the cost of a ticket to South Africa has gone up £90 over the past month purely because of fuel duties. We're getting emails every day from our suppliers asking for more money. We've had to pass some of that on to our customers and the worry is that people will start going into high street agencies and buying package tours, staying in large hotels.

That would be a great shame, not only for us but for the countries they visit, because a lot of the money will go back to the UK and not stay on the ground, where green projects we travel to need it.

The green power generator
Mary Haddick, Managing director of Solar Power Scotland

We sell domestic thermal storage systems and have been busier in the past two weeks than we have for quite some time. Our systems absorb sunlight – even hazy sunlight – and use it to heat water, in some cases replacing the need for boilers and central heating altogether. They cost up to £6,000 to install, but you can expect to cut 70 per cent off your hot water bills over a year.

Most of our customers are not so much concerned about how quickly they'll make their money back as they are about saving on fuel bills straight away.

I suppose that people might be reluctant to make the investment if things get worse, but we're not there yet.

The politician
Alan Simpson, Labour MP for Nottingham South and green campaigner

Downing Street logic propels the Government to say it's too difficult to go green in the face of a recession, but my argument is that we're experiencing a series of global crises – climate change, the credit crunch, rising food and oil prices – that accelerate the case for going green. We're at the edge of a global systems meltdown and have to make huge changes in the next five years. Gordon Brown is going to have to make some sort of decision. If we had an ounce of vision, we'd understand that it's only the sustainable that's going to turn out to be affordable. My worry is that a recession will be used by those who've never wanted to go green as an excuse not to. The truth is that going green – and quickly – is the only way to counter a recession.

The eco-car importer
Steve Hartridge, Managing director of Goingreen, the UK importer of G-Wiz electric cars

It's really difficult to predict what's going to happen in the next year. Unlike some other green industries, the G-Wiz can be good for the pocket as well as making a statement. In some ways, the credit crunch is an opportunity for us. With rising oil prices and media hype about the cost of motoring, we can attract people who didn't have a second car to get a G-Wiz. Our cars are cheap to run, but they cost about £9,000 so I am worried that if people tighten their belts they might not spend, but I'm confident the G-Wiz will remain a viable alternative to a second car.

Voices
Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Saunders stars as Miss Windsor, Dennis's hysterical French teacher
filmJennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Nabil Bentaleb (centre) celebrates putting Tottenham ahead
footballTottenham 4 Newcastle 0: Spurs fans dreaming of Wembley final after dominant win
Voices
Jimmy Mubenga died after being restrained on an aircraft by G4S escorts
voicesJonathan Cox: Tragedy of Jimmy Mubenga highlights lack of dignity shown to migrants
Life and Style
Sebastian Siemiatkowski is the 33-year-old co-founder and CEO of Klarna, which provides a simple way for people to buy things online
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...

Ashdown Group: Java Developer - Hertfordshire - £47,000 + bonus + benefits

£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive - Nationwide - OTE £65,000

£30000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small technology business ...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum