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.

News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
News
people

Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again

News
people
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
News
Gillian Anderson was paid less than her male co-star David Duchovny for three years while she was in the The X-Files until she protested and was given the same salary
people

Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood

Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Arts and Entertainment
Swiss guards stand in the Sistine Chapel, which is to be lit, and protected, by 7,000 LEDs
art

The Sistine Chapel is set to be illuminated with thousands of LEDs

Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Sport
Ronaldinho signs the t-shirt of a pitch invader
footballProof they are getting bolder
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Middleware Support Analyst

£45000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Senior Java Developer/Designer

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: My client are looking fo...

Domino Developer and Administrator

£40000 - £45000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Domino ...

General Cover Teacher

£26000 - £27000 per annum: Randstad Education Group: NQT's and experienced Cov...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?