Category Archives: Green Alliance 40th anniversary

Now is the time to take on the hard politics of the environment

Sunrise at Stanlow Oil Refinery heralding an Industrial DawnThis post is by Ian Christie, Green Alliance associate and senior lecturer at the Centre for Environment and Sustainability, University of Surrey.

My fellow Green Alliance associate and former director Rebecca Willis spoke on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this week about the state of environmental politics and climate action as the UK general election approaches. She said, “these are the best of times – and the worst of times.” Best, because finally there seems to have been a breakthrough in political consciousness and sense of urgency concerning the climate crisis. Read more

We can’t shy away from the need for radical change

intext-40thblogGreen Alliance and I grew up together. We’re both children of the 1970s, a decade which, according to the New Economics Foundation’s happiness index, included Britain’s happiest year, 1976. Though incomes have risen since then, so have environmental impacts and social inequality, hence their argument that Britain peaked in the mid-seventies. Read more

We still don’t know which businesses are the real environmental game changers

london city night - Ray Wewerka via FlickrThis post is by Julie Hill, former Green Alliance director (1992-97), Green Alliance associate and chair of the resources organisation WRAP

One of the early projects I led for Green Alliance, in 1990, was the book Ethics, environment and the company. Commissioned by the Institute for Business Ethics, it was written to provide a checklist of the practices that might be discerned in a company serious about its environmental performance.   At a time when the environment was barely on businesses leaders’ radar, the most significant measures concerned awareness and process. So the recommendations included conducting “a comprehensive assessment of environmental impacts”, setting targets, ensuring management commitment through a designated board member, and regular auditing and reporting. The hope was that widespread adoption of these processes would bring about a sea change in environmental performance. Read more

Systemic solutions are the only way to avoid future environmental problems

leaf-Flockine_PixabayThis post is by Tracey Rawling Church, an independent consultant and non-executive director specialising in sustainable business. 

My relationship with Green Alliance began around a decade ago when I encouraged my employer to join what was then the Resource Efficiency Task Force. As a manufacturer of office printers and copiers, Kyocera had long been a pioneer in resource efficiency, having brought to market in 1992 the first – and still the only – range of ’cartridge-free‘ office printers. Read more

Tim Beaumont: Green Alliance’s first director defined our unique purpose

Song Thrush - Turdus philomelosThis post is by Nigel Haigh, former director of the Institute for European Environmental Policy and chair of Green Alliance from 1989 to 1998.

Of all the talented directors that Green Alliance has had, Tim Beaumont – or, to give him his full title, the Reverend Lord Beaumont of Whitley – was surely the most extraordinary.  He was one of three people connected with the Liberal Party who joined with others across the political spectrum to create and launch Green Alliance in 1979.  Maurice Ash was to become its chairman, Richard Holme its treasurer, and Tim was its  ‘convenor’ or ‘co-ordinator’.  He never called himself the director, though he ran the show and gave it its sense of direction. Read more

Four decades of getting an ‘ecological perspective’ into politics: we are 40

PrintAccording to an early promotional leaflet, Green Alliance was set up “by a group of individuals concerned that Britain’s political parties were failing to understand or respond to environmental issues”. Plus ça change. With an emphasis on “ideas more than issues”, the organisation aimed “to introduce an ecological perspective into British political life”.

This has been our aim ever since and is needed now more than ever as the scale of the climate and ecological emergency we face becomes clearer. Over our history we have used various methods to achieve it, from poetry and the arts to analysis, thought leadership and brokering historical political pledges.  One ‘softer’ way we do it is by getting people together to talk, to understand the relevance of environmental issues and to catalyse action. Read more