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Betfair launches climate markets

907017_poker_chips.jpgBetfair, that gambling lot, has always got something cool up its sleeves.

Here’s what it’s up to this week…

Betfair, the world’s leading betting exchange, has launched a series of innovative betting markets which will provide clear indications of how public opinion views the on-going debate about climate change, by allowing people to speculate on climate indices developed to track the extent (or otherwise) of global warming.

Betfair’s unique exchange model will create a market price for climate change related outcomes, including the HSBC Investable Climate Change Index, the ECX CFI Futures Contract, and Highest and Lowest UK Temperature.

‘Decision markets’ have historically proved to be accurate gauges of political, economic and cultural change and better forecasters of the future than opinion polls and expert forecasts. Efficient market theory suggests that these climate markets will be the best aggregation of all the available information on the subject. This is the ideal place for experts, academics, businesses and interested parties to put money behind their views on long-range forecasts.

Mark Davies, Betfair’s Managing Director Corporate Affairs, said: “Whilst these climate markets are experimental, they demonstrate a commitment to use our assets to innovate and make a difference.”

The commission that Betfair earns from operating these markets will be ring-fenced and invested in the development of technologies to tackle the wider issue of climate change.

At the same Betfair is launching its own environmental policy to tackle climate change head-on. It has set ambitious targets to reduce the environmental impact of its business and work with peers, customers and suppliers to reduce theirs. Betfair has committed to reducing its carbon footprint by 30% per pound of revenue by the end of 2010, as it sets out its vision to be a leading online business in the area of environmental responsibility.

Its carbon footprint has recently been measured at 3,277 tonnes, which is about 17 tonnes per £1m of revenue. The target is to reduce this by 30% by the end of 2010 to 12 tonnes per £1m of revenue.

Commitment to this ambition has already been demonstrated over the past year by significant enhancements to its recycling and green procurement efforts. Its own ‘Green Supplier Award’ best illustrates efforts to stimulate and challenge its suppliers. Betfair is essentially a technology business and therefore ‘Green Computing’ is particularly pertinent. As well as a focus on more energy-efficient machines, storage virtualisation and power reduction have also been tackled.

Betfair is now in a position, having had these early initiatives in place, to progress more ambitiously with its full environmental strategy. The programme has four main themes:

– Operations: Challenging the business to minimise its environmental impact

– Partnership: Engaging partners and customers on these issues

– Innovation: Exploring new technologies and ways of working

– Leadership: Learning from others and sharing what it learn.

“We recognise that the day-to-day running of our operations has an effect on the local, regional and global environment and it is therefore our responsibility to manage this impact. Climate change is a priority for Betfair across all parts of the business,” said Mark Davies.

Conservative MP Greg Hands, from his constituency in which Betfair’s head office is located, supported the strategy: “Reducing carbon emissions requires fresh and innovative thinking and therefore it is encouraging to see a company in my Hammersmith & Fulham constituency like Betfair transforming the way it does business and developing new technologies to reduce its environmental impact. Effective methods for cutting emissions need to be developed as part of all businesses’ long-term strategies.”

From Stevenage, where Betfair’s second UK office is situated, Labour MP Barbara Follett added: “Betfair’s decision to adopt an Environmental Strategy is very welcome. I am particularly pleased that the company is now committed to reducing its carbon footprint by 30% per pound of turnover by the end of 2010.

Betfair’s has recognised that climate change is not just a problem for governments. If we are to reach our carbon reduction targets everyone, including business, has to get involved. So, well done Betfair. I hope that others will follow where you have led.”

2 Comments

  • John Gartner
    Posted November 23, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    Maybe not dead, but on life support. The infrastructure cost and technology challenges make hydrogen for transportation a much less likely solution than either EVs or plug-in hybrids. For some fleets or military operations hydrogen can make sense, but renewables to electricity makes more sense for the overwhelming majority of transportation needs.

  • zupakomputer
    Posted November 23, 2007 at 2:05 pm

    Are you seriously asking ‘is hydrogen dead’ just because one company is having apparent difficulties?

    If you want to promote proper-thinking / ways of doing things, it’s extremely important that you do not go down that road of irresponsible disposable journalism.
    It’s a bit epic and archetypal to compare 50 job losses to the sword of anything.

    Who knows, maybe we don’t need hydrogen fuel. Put it this way, the level human society is at right now could easily be done and kept to with far lower-tech renewable power sources, as already exist. The only area where real cases can be made for other power sources – like hydrogen fuel cells – would be space exploration. It just depends on how much it costs (monies & resource aquirring) to make the fuel cells as-measured-against their power outputs and durability as to if they are useful for consumer level technology.
    A lot of folks think fuel cells for cars are a scam for example, to keep folks reliant on buying fuel when they could just recharge electric vehicle batteries at home. Personally I’m not sure how viable that is when it comes to long-distance journies, there’d maybe still be a need to have re-charge stations anyway. It depends on how the vehicle designs incorporate on-the-go (from the go) re-charging technology.

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