HomeLow carbon futureBig manifesto ideas: sustainable fishing, negawatts and business accounting

Big manifesto ideas: sustainable fishing, negawatts and business accounting

Westminster securityWith the next general election approaching, we’ve asked leading thinkers to give us their one big manifesto idea for a greener Britain, alongside some of our own.

There’s no shortage of great ideas, with fifteen strong proposals already under the belt covering a wide range of subjects, from infrastructure to pensions.

Today, Greenpeace tackles sustainable fishing, we present an idea to kickstart the negawatt market and Forum for the Future wants environmental profit and loss accounting for business.

Let us know what you think of these ideas and tell us yours. Join the conversation on twitter #manifestoidea


Ruth Davis Greenpeace_150No.16

Ruth Davis (left), political director, and Nina Schrank (below left), oceans campaigner, at Greenpeace



nina schrank Greenpeac_150

What’s the big idea?
Implement the Common Fisheries Policy to give small scale fishing a fair share of the UK’s fishing quota

In 2014 an alliance of fishermen and green groups won a battle for reform of the EU’s failed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), which had resulted in terrible declines in fish stocks and jobs, and replace it with greater national and local control over fisheries management, including rewards for sustainable fishing.

The UK’s small scale fishermen are our most sustainable fleet, with a low impact on fish stocks and the marine environment. They make up 77 per cent of the fleet yet have access to just four per cent of the quota. Many of them struggle to earn a living.  Changing the way fishing quota is allocated to include environment, social and economic criteria will transform the UK’s coastal, sustainable fishing industry, breathing new life into coastal communities and awarding greater protection of the marine environment.

Who benefits?
The UK government can implement legislation that protects both fish stocks and the marine environment, rewarding and incentivising sustainable fishermen. Since the small scale sector provides 65 per cent of employment at sea in England and Wales, the new policy emphasis stands to bring massive gains to fishing employment, and in turn regenerate shore based fishing jobs. It is a win win package, fusing environmental sustainability with socioeconomic gain.

What’s the catch?
Those that have benefited from the status quo, ie the representatives of the larger scale industry, may disrupt implementation that doesn’t benefit their interests.

What has to change?
The five priorities for Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) implementation, devised in partnership between Greenpeace and Nutfa are:

  • Redistribute quota to the small scale (under 10 metre) fishing sector, giving a fair share to these fishermen, who use sustainable methods.
  • Restore fish stocks to sustainable levels and implement the landings obligation (discard ban) so that it leads to more selective fishing.
  • Protect the marine environment by implementing conservation methods in a way that benefits low impact fishermen and coastal communities
  • Prioritise access for low impact fishermen in the territorial waters of the UK (0-12 nautical mile zone).
  • Regionalise fisheries management, ensuring there is genuine support and space for the representation of small scale fishermen across Europe

Why should it be in manifestos?
Greenpeace’s campaign, along with others, to reform the CFP, created real traction and mobilised MEPs and MPs to push for sweeping reform. Now the focus is on UK implementation.  Strong support for quota reform in coastal constituencies must translate into a commitment from all political parties to take this once in a generation opportunity to restore not just the fortunes of the UK fishing industry but also the health of our seas and marine wildlife.



negawatts150No. 17

Katherine Watts
Head of energy at Green Alliance

What’s the big idea?
A guaranteed market incentive for negawatts

The UK should create a guaranteed market incentive to scale up and speed up the deployment of electricity saving measures, ie to generate more negawatts. Very conservative government estimates indicate we could save 39TWh in 2030 through improvements in such areas as more efficient industrial pumps and motors, domestic appliances and LED street lighting.

Who benefits?
The UK public and businesses benefit from lower electricity bills and greater freedom from security of supply concerns.

What’s the catch?
The losers would be any energy supplier whose business model is stuck in selling energy  rather than energy services.

What has to change?
The government will launch its two year electricity demand reduction pilot later this month, but this is relatively small scale and has characteristics that, if carried forward into a new support mechanism, would disadvantage demand reduction compared to generation. Changes should be:

  • Any negawatts projects that reduce peak demand should be eligible for capacity payments
  • Negawatts projects in the capacity market should be allowed to have their other benefits rewarded by other schemes, including their contribution to energy security, reducing energy poverty and reducing carbon emissions
  • A clear signal from government that there will be continued support for negawatts after the pilot, including for projects participating in the pilot.

Why should it be in the manifestos?
Realising the UK’s potential should be a high political priority. Russia’s interventions in Ukraine have raised energy security to the highest levels of the political agenda. Reducing electricity demand is the most cost effective and climate-friendly means to reduce reliance on energy imports.  It will also reduce electricity and infrastructure costs, bring down consumer bills and reduce carbon emissions. Including a commitment to a guaranteed market incentive in the manifestos would give investors greater confidence to invest in negawatts.


Sally UrenNo. 18

Sally Uren
Chief executive of Forum for the Future

What’s the big idea?
An environmental profit and loss account for all businesses

An uncompromising commitment to making markets work by a systematic programme of cost internalisation designed to take account for the full costs of running a business. Capital markets function on the basis that nature is free. It isn’t, nature’s assets and resources are finite. Similarly, the costs of dealing with societal and environmental impacts associated with business operations aren’t free. The market needs to recognise this by valuing nature’s resources from insect pollinators to water, and taking account of climate change. We don’t have time to scrap capital markets and start again; we need to make the market work for sustainability.

Who benefits?
First, nature, which means humans benefit as we are utterly reliant on nature’s assets. Second, society. Creating profit and loss accounts that take account of societal impacts of activities, particularly chronic health impacts associated with over consumption, will create a very different view of success, and could wake investors up to the need to channel capital investments in very different directions.

What’s the catch?
Ecosystem valuation is not a precise science. However, the current metrics are good enough. Social impact measurement is still in its infancy. But that’s not to say it can’t be done. Those who will think they might lose are those in search of short term profit maximisation. However, they will benefit from resilient businesses capable of generating value in both the short and long term. Don’t think this sentence now works

What has to change?
Two things a new government should do to achieve this are:

  • remove the freeze on the carbon floor price announced in this year’s budget, the idea being that this price should keep rising to promote investment in low carbon technologies;
  • set a timeframe for all businesses to report an Environmental Profit and Loss Account as part of a revision to Company Law requirements.

Why should it be in the manifestos?
There is evidence that the market can work to encourage sustainability. For example, carbon financing in supply chains. Businesses, such as M&S, are pushing ahead with innovative carbon offset schemes or using corporate bonds to invest in improvements in sustainability performance. Unilever for example recently issued a four year corporate bond, worth £250 million with a two per cent fixed rate which was more than three times oversubscribed within three hours.

But these examples are few and far between. Pioneering practice needs to be mainstreamed, which means policy frameworks need to encourage cost internalisation as standard practice. Only government can do this. Without new policies the laggards won’t adopt. Governments should always ask what is it that only we can do? In this case the answer is to make capital markets work for sustainable development.


Written by

Green Alliance is a charity and independent think tank focused on ambitious leadership and increased political support for environmental solutions in the UK. This blog provides space for commentary and analysis around environmental politics and policy issues as they affect the UK. The views of external contributors do not necessarily represent those of Green Alliance.

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