With the launch of the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, 2018 started with a strong and positive focus on our environment. As a result, we have seen increasingly more UK companies pledging to tackle climate change, a growing investment for companies working towards low-carbon operation and more stringent measures on plastic packaging. Here are the rest of 2018’s highlights in review:
Both the UN and the UK issued updated their climate forecasts.Both show the importance – and urgency - of faster decarbonisation to meet a future of 1.5oC climate change rather than the 3oC trajectory we’re on today.
This summer gave a reminder of what just 1oC of climate change looks like.Scientists at the Met Office said that the sweltering temperatures we sweated through were thirty times more likely as a result of climate change.
A long term plan
The government’s 25-year environment plan sets out a bold vision of a cleaner, greener Britain.We’re now seeing the detailed plans to implement this – such as the Waste and Resources Strategy and the consultation on environmental net gain for new developments.
In mid October, we celebrated a decade of achievement from the Climate Change Act. We were pleased to be involved in seven events, including sharing a panel with Greg Clarke, SoS for industry, and it was great to showcase how green leadership is good for both business and the environment.
A highlight of GreenGB week was the announcement by Netflix, WWF and Silverback films of, Our Planet a new documentary to capture the power of positive consumer power for the environment to 1bn people worldwide. Watch the trailer for the remarkable Our Planet here. On screens from 5 April 2019.
If you’ve not done so, take two minutes to watch 15 year old, Greta Thunberg’s speech at COP24 in Katowice.And all credit to Elsie Luna, a ten year old from Scunthorpe, for her persistent and polite challenge to London’s oil companies.
The rise of the electric vehicle
Industry experts forecast this year that electric vehicles will become cheaper to buy than petrol/diesel vehicles by the mid 2020s.That’s great for city air quality and for fleet decarbonisation.And it explains why countries like Denmark were confident to propose a ban in sale of all petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles by 2035 in its new Climate Plan.
ZSL’s Living Planet Report 2018 reminded us that wildlife populations have fallen globally by an average of 60 per cent since 1970 and loss of habitat is the biggest cause.
These continue to be a great way to finance low carbon investments and to support the growing number of companies committing to Science Based Targets. Nordic finance specialist, SEB, forecast that the green bond market grew 6% in the first 11 months of 2018 to $180bn, and will grow further to $210bn in 2019.
And finally on a personal note, it’s been tremendous to see the momentum that Future Ready has developed in 2018. Future Ready is now launched in all our large global markets and was awarded the premier, Sir Peter Parker award at the City of London’s sustainability awards for business leadership.
2019 promises to be a momentous year too. Brexit will be obviously key. A new mandatory carbon reporting regime will be introduced in the UK. The Government will firm up its detailed plans to implement the 25 Year Environment Plan. It’ll review recommendations on whether to adopt a net zero greenhouse gas targets. And the UN 2019 climate summit in New York will provide a key event to raise ambition and increase climate leadership. Above all 2019 should be a year of long as well as short term thinking. And it should be a year of action rather than talk.