Author Archives: Green Alliance blog

Never mind the ‘knick knacks’: it’s sustainable procurement

The supply chain

This post is by Shaun McCarthy OBE, chair of the Supply Chain Sustainability School.

I was a student at Lanchester Polytechnic in Coventry when the Sex Pistols first and only album, ‘Never mind the bollocks’ went straight to number one in 1977. The BBC had banned it so there was nothing at number one in the BBC album chart. The New Musical Express was full of it, reporting that Woolworths in Coventry had posted their album chart with Never Mind the Knick Knacks at number one.

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Plastic pollution in our oceans: what we know, what we don’t and what we can do

Plastic ocean pollutionThis post is by Erik van Sebille, lecturer in oceanography and climate change at Imperial College London’s Grantham Institute, Alyssa Gilbert, head of policy and translation at the Grantham Institute and Dustin Benton, head of energy and resources at Green Alliance.

Plastic is a great material. It’s lightweight, durable, cheap, and over the past 50 years it has become embedded in every part of modern life. Unfortunately, it’s now embedding itself in the earth’s largest ecosystem, the ocean. The visibility of plastic pollution has put it onto the agenda of campaigners, scientists and policy makers alike. But, unlike climate change, air pollution or deforestation, we don’t yet have a grasp of many of the basic questions about marine plastic pollution.

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Retailers need to up their game to address the global resource crisis

SupermarketThis post is by Thomas Fischer, head of the Circular Economy Programme at Environmental Action Germany (DUH)

This week we celebrated a rather tragic landmark: the point when we used up all the resources that our planet can regenerate in one year. The fact that Earth Overshoot Day happened in early August points to the gravity of resource overconsumption, but the costs are already visible in ocean acidification, water pollution, destruction of forests and nearly every other environmental problem. Fortunately, there is a solution: a resource efficient circular economy. Germany has pursued a circular economy agenda for the past decade in industry, but retailers haven’t been keeping up.

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Is business deregulation putting environmental safeguards at risk?

big ben and tree

This post is by Donal McCarthy, an economist at the RSPB with a special interest in regulatory reform and its implications for the environment. He recently co-authored a report assessing the performance of voluntary (ie self-regulatory or co-regulatory) alternatives to regulation in delivering on public policy objectives.

Over recent years, political concerns about the costs of regulation to business have risen in prominence, with accusations that rules, such as those protecting rare species and habitats, are placing ridiculous costs on business and the wider economy.

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Why we have to put ‘beauty’ back into policy

derwentwaterThis post is by Green Alliance’s chair, Dame Fiona Reynolds. It is a version of a piece which first appeared in the The Guardian.

Beauty. It’s a word we all use to describe our delight in the world around us: a landscape we love; a butterfly’s wings translucent in the sunshine; or a wondrous piece of architecture. We all love beauty; we only have to watch the numbers glued to BBC’s Countryfile, and the way we head for the beach and the countryside as soon as the sun shines, to see that it’s something which meets a real human need.
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Why aren’t we tackling energy efficiency in buildings when it’s so simple to solve?

5905213394_77ab6664ca_z.jpgThis post is by Andy Ford, director of the Centre for Efficient and Renewable Energy in Buildings (CEREB) at London South Bank University and Bruce Tofield, associate consultant with the Adapt Low Carbon Group at the Passivhaus Enterprise Centre, University of East Anglia.

What’s the easiest thing that we could do to reduce energy use, tackle climate change and make life healthier, more affordable and more comfortable for millions of people in the UK; something that will also promote higher productivity, quality and skills?

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Why young people want government to make an ambitious plan for nature

6555772145_9eef8287c2_zThis post is by Matt Adam Williams, associate director of A Focus on Nature.

Young people voted overwhelmingly to stay in the EU, so we have been handed a raw deal by the decision to leave. That our voices and interests are regularly excluded from political conversations is nothing new. We hear increasingly of the housing crisis facing millennials, as well as the mounting cost of education and the decline in wages compared to our parents’ generation.
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What will Brexit mean for UK energy, resources and natural environment policy?

threeNow that the dust has settled after the referendum and the new government is in place, it’s a good point to take stock and consider what Brexit will mean for UK national environment policy.

Here, our policy experts give their insights on the likely impact and challenges of different scenarios in the three areas of our work: climate and energy, natural environment and resources.
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Brexit is the chance for the UK to inspire the world on environment policy

Kingfisher, Alcedo atthisThis post is by Richard Benwell, head of government affairs at the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT).

Last week Matthew Spencer proposed a new British Environment Act to fill the legislative lacuna left by Brexit and set ambitious new environmental standards. He is not alone in calling for a new law.

Last year, a coalition led by RSPB and the Wildlife Trusts proposed a Nature and Wellbeing Bill, which was adopted in the Green Party and Liberal Democrat general election manifestos. ClientEarth has captured the public imagination with a call for a new Clean Air Act. And the Natural Capital Committee, the government’s advisers on nature and economics, say that investing in natural wealth needs legislative underpinning. Read more

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