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Happier meal? McDonald's trials table service in UK as part of major revamp

Fast-food chain is experimenting with staff bringing orders to customers at Mottram outlet in attempt to see off growing competition

McDonald’s is responding to increased competition in the fast food market by entering the slow lane. The home of the Big Mac and the rapid-fire eating experience is offering table service in the UK for the first time.

The company is trialling the new approach at a branch in Mottram, Greater Manchester, and plans to roll it out to 11 more locations by the end of the month, before taking the system nationwide. For those who prefer to queue, there will still be the option of ordering at the till.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Super Thursday: Bank of England transparency or information overload?

Mark Carney’s tone will pave way for market predictions over interest rate increases – but the data dump may make it harder to scrutinise Bank thinking

It’s Super Thursday and the City scribblers can barely contain their excitement. It is the day when they get not one, not two, but three big pieces of information about the economy from the Bank of England.

Threadneedle Street will announce its latest decision on interest rates. It will publish the minutes of the meeting of the Bank’s monetary policy committee at which that decision was made. And it will present the quarterly inflation report, its take on the state of the nation.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Tsipras: Greece on 'final stretch' of concluding bailout deal – live

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The composite output index, which covers manufacturing and services, posted 55.7 last month, up from June’s five-month low of 54.6. Markit noted that although the latest reading points to a relatively strong increase in US private sector output, the rate of expansion was fractionally weaker than that recorded on average in the second quarter of 2015.

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To round off the services PMIs, the US survey is just out and shows activity strengthened in July, led by the fastest rise in new work in three months.

The Markit US services PMI recorded 55.7 in July, up from 54.8 in June.

July data indicated a slight rebound in service sector activity growth, following the five-month low recorded in June. The latest survey also highlighted a strong and accelerated rise in new work, alongside a further robust upturn in payroll numbers. However, service providers’ confidence regarding the year-ahead business outlook dipped to its lowest since June 2012.”

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Spain outperforms rest of eurozone's big four amid Greek debt crisis

Madrid tops list with 1% third quarter growth, helped by services sector, as single currency area largely avoids Greece fallout, says Markit

Spain emerged as the best performer of the eurozone’s big four economies last month as the single currency area largely shrugged off the impact of the Greek debt crisis.

The latest health check conducted by the information services company Markit showed the pace of activity across the eurozone eased only slightly during the weeks when Greek banks were closed for business.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Amazon, Best Buy and the free rider problem

What happens when a company embraces social responsibility, and a competitor does not?

When my wife’s printer recently went on the fritz, she ordered a new one from Amazon, which arrived two days later. I took the broken printer to Best Buy, which offers free and easy recycling of electronics.

Is this a problem for Best Buy, I wondered? Collecting and recycling electronics costs money, and Best Buy’s program is open to anyone with electronic waste, from any manufacturer. No purchase necessary.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Big business is not to blame for rising pay inequality

US corporations could soon be forced to reveal what their CEOs earn compared with the average worker. But we also need to look at the bigger picture

Inequality is back in the spotlight as the US Securities and Exchange Commission prepares to vote on pay ratios. For the first time, America’s largest businesses could be forced to publish how much more their chief executives earn than the average worker.

The disclosure, required under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, has long been in the pipeline. If voted in, businesses can expect the new rules to inspire greater levels of scrutiny. Research by Harvard Business School shows people have no idea how much CEOs earn and, when asked, grossly underestimate their boss’s pay. In the US, CEOs earn up to 300 times more than the average salary, yet most estimate the gap to be a fraction of this, at 30 times the average wage.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

How cities are innovating towards a circular economy

The high-density nature of living in cities complements the circular economy and a whole host of initiatives are popping up, from Singapore to Detroit

Cities are increasingly embracing circular economy principles; updating and adapting policies, sharing knowledge, and encouraging innovation for less wasteful systems. As chief executive of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Andrew Morlet has noted that built-up urban areas lend themselves particularly well to circular business models. This is due to the close proximity of citizens, retailers and service providers; the highly-skilled workforce and technology savvy markets; and high concentrations of biological and technical nutrients.

Cultural trends and city lifestyles are also playing a part, according to Dustin Benton, head of energy and resources at environmental think tank Green Alliance. “There’s something here about cultural power. If you can get the people who are the creators and makers – the early adopters – interested, then it tends to spiral and is picked up more broadly,” he explains.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Standard Chartered's new boss halves dividend to shareholders

Bill Winters quashes rumours about HQ move as he reports 44% fall in first-half profits after bad debts in India and fraudulent loan in private bank dent results

The new boss of Standard Chartered has halved the dividend and attempted to quash speculation that the emerging markets-focused bank is to move its headquarters out of London.

Bill Winters, making his first presentation since he replaced Peter Sands in June, also left the door open to tapping investors for cash to bolster the bank’s financial strength. A full strategic review will be presented later in the year as the investment banker tries to cut costs and bolster returns to shareholders.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

UK services growth slips in July as employment hits 16-month low

Latest PMI figures suggest economic recovery is slowing, with possible knock-on effects on Bank of England interest rate rises

British services companies grew less than expected last month as hiring eased to its slowest pace since March 2014, suggesting the economic recovery weakened at the start of the second half of this year.

Wednesday’s Markit/Cips services purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell to 57.4 in July from 58.5 in June, undershooting a Reuters forecast for 58.0 but still indicating expansion among services businesses.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS