37% of environmental professionals say government unsupportive of net zero


net zero

37% of environmental professionals believe current government policies do not support them to achieve net zero goals, according to a National Environmental Services survey.

In a report presenting the outcomes of the National Environmental Services Survey, 80% of respondents also stated that they had serious concerns about the integrity of carbon credit offsetting schemes.

While 33% believed carbon offsetting is a viable strategy for achieving net-zero emissions, 37% have employed it as a strategy to reduce their businesses’ environmental impact.

Greenwashing also remains a major concern among industry insiders, with 94% of respondents believing it is prevalent in the UK.

32% said climate change and global warming were the biggest issues within the environment and sustainability today, which was the largest percentage of respondents.

15% cited environmental policy and governance and 13% said waste management and the circular economy.

32% stated that they are one of the biggest barriers to their organisation achieving net zero, which is only surpassed by financial constraints (44%). Only 3% of those interviewed said their organisation was currently at net zero.

It is alarming to hear that so many sustainability experts believe carbon offsetting schemes are actually failing the environment.

Rob Mowat, Managing Director of ESS Expo, explained: “It is alarming to hear that so many sustainability experts believe carbon offsetting schemes are actually failing the environment.

“While there are some businesses entering into highly certified programmes, there are concerns from many across the industry that these schemes are simply another form of greenwashing and can, in some instances, cause more harm to the environment than good.”

The survey gathered data from over 1,498 professionals from across the environmental industry from April – May 2024.

It was run in association with the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), The Environmental Services Association (ESA), Groundwork, and the ESS Expo (Environmental Services and Solutions Expo).

Lee Marshall, Director of Innovation and Technical Services at the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), said: “The concerns about offsetting show that resources and waste professionals want to do the right thing and take meaningful steps to support climate mitigation.

“The UK has made good progress, but it is no surprise that people feel policies on net zero and circular economy are not strong enough.

“We need policies that will accelerate the transition to a more resource-resilient and circular economy capable of meeting future material demands and supporting the battle against climate change, and this is something CIWM is calling for in our ten policy recommendations for the new government.”

Send this to a friend