The Society for the Environment (SocEnv) announced that it aims to publish a report in the autumn this year on how environmental protection can best be combined with sustainable economic growth.
Announced at Sustainability Live 2014, the “Greening the Manifestos – what must the Parties pledge for a sustainable UK?” will be launched as the parties start to set out their stalls for the general election. It will aim to show how it is possible to be green while generating jobs and growing the economy.
Leading environmentalist and president of the Society, Tony Juniper, chaired a panel debate at the event, saying: “We’re taking environmentalism from the ghetto, and putting it into all the mainstream disciplines. Today starts the process of gathering a rich set of ideas from all of you that we will offer the main political parties this summer; with strong proposals to put green growth to the fore.”
Tony Juniper – “We’re taking environmentalism from the ghetto, and putting it into all the mainstream disciplines”
The panel comprised Sarah Nolleth, director of the Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project, Julia Groves, managing director of the Trillion Fund, Martin Baxter, director of Policy for the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment, and Robert Hunt, executive director at Veolia.
The panel agreed that the environment should not be regarded as a party-political issue, and called for greater leadership from the parties, who should be working together in a race for the top rather than the bottom.
Other points included:
- the need to counter the notion that the environment is a burden on business and characteristic of the Big State
- the need for a circular economy, which returns resources to the UK and creates jobs;
- on incentivising good behaviour is better than over-regulation
- energy subsidies should be set on a long-term basis, and there should be a level playing field with fossil fuels;
- giving people a stake in renewable energy (e.g. through the new green ISAs) is key to overcoming resistance; and
- education plays a vital role in embedding green behaviours.
SocEnv CEO Alex Galloway said: “The Election gives the parties the chance to join up their thinking on the environment and the economy. Today we heard how this can be done from leading experts in the field. We are going to capture their insights and invite everyone to contribute to an inquiry so that we can present all the parties with realistic and economically sustainable ideas for greening their manifestos.”
Anyone wishing to contribute to the inquiry can do so via the SocEnv website www.socenv.org.uk or by tweeting @SocEnv_HQ using the hashtag #GreenGov