WWF calls on UK to reduce global environmental footprint by 75%


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If the UK is to deal properly with its climate impacts, it must reduce the environmental impact of domestically produced and imported products by 75% this decade.

The UN estimates that food and drink production alone has driven 75% of deforestation by area to date

It depends a major new report from WWF today (July 5), entitled “Thriving Within Our Planetary Means”.

The report reiterates that the UK has failed to meet its previous national targets and is not on track to meet future targets related to several key environmental areas of interest, including land degradation and land change. use, air pollution and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

He then describes how the UK government does not correctly calculate the nation’s global impact; While national target setting and progress have been strong in some areas, the same has not been true of targets for imported goods and services and international transport. Almost half of the UK’s carbon footprint “occurs beyond its borders,” the report says.

When domestic and foreign impacts are taken into account, says WWF, the UK’s per capita GHG footprint is six times the planetary limit. There is also a warning that the UK’s biomass footprint, per capita, is double the planetary limit. The discovery comes just days after a coalition of large nature charities, with two million members collectively, urged the UK government to end subsidies for the combustion of imported biomass for power generation.

“If the UK is to present itself as a global green leader at the COP26 climate summit, we must do all we can to address the global crisis and ensure that all commitments are up to the challenge,” said WWF Executive Director Tanya Steele. “Adding a legally binding target to the environmental bill to reduce our environmental footprint at home and abroad by 2030 is a critical step, and this report provides a roadmap for achieving that target once it is completed. ‘it will be in place. “

Next steps

The “roadmap” detailed in the report recommends several legally binding targets between 2023 and 2030.

One of the first recommended goals is legislation to ensure that international forest and agricultural product supply chains are responsible for zero deforestation and zero land use conversion by 2023. The Ministry of Agriculture Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) recently introduced a new “comply or explain” rules for companies that import deforestation-related materials, but green groups and businesses have argued that gaps remain. For example, the rule only applies to illegal deforestation, and some countries have lax rules about what is legal and what is not. In addition, the financing activities of banks, investors and insurers are not covered.

WWF’s roadmap also includes a recommendation to reduce the UK’s material consumption footprint by 40% by 2030; with a higher target of 50% for biomass. In addition, a target of 100% marine resources from sustainable sources – domestic and imported – by 2030 is launched.

To help achieve these priority goals, WWF recommends a due diligence requirement for companies with related supply chains and the financial sector to mandate the assessment of natural hazards along the value chain. It is also proposing a set of basic food standards that apply to imports as well as domestic production, following concerns that the recent trade deal between the UK and Australia could see national standards undermined.

WWF says it has the support of the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) for these movements. The report’s release comes as the environmental bill passes through the House of Lords.


Join the conversation: edie’s Earth Overshoot Day webinar takes place on July 29

Readers interested in exploring how businesses can contribute to the transition to a “one-planet-friendly” economic system are encouraged to register for edie’s next free webinar, which will be held to mark Earth Overshoot Day. Thursday July 29.

This one-hour electronic webinar, hosted in association with Centrica Business Solutions, will ask what single-planet compatible business models look like and how companies can collaborate, innovate and act to achieve them; How the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the decoupling of economic growth from negative environmental impact over the past year; And what work needs to be done to make all sectors – even those with the greatest ecological impact – a compatible planet for good.

Click here to register for the webinar.


Sarah george

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