UN World Environment Day 2020 news

World Environment Day is a day for environmental action. Since 1974, it has been celebrated every year on 5 June; engaging governments, businesses and citizens to focus their efforts on a pressing environmental issue.

In 2020, the theme is biodiversity – a concern that is both urgent and existential. Recent events, from bushfires in Brazil, the United States and Australia to locust infestations across East Africa – and now, a global disease pandemic – demonstrate the interdependence of humans and the webs of life in which they exist.

Above all, World Environment Day offers a global platform for inspiring positive change. It recognises that global change requires a global community.

This is possibly the most important World Environment Day we have ever seen, in the midst of a crisis and with a green industrial revolution positioned as the solution

Richard Kirkman, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, Veolia UK and Ireland said: “This is possibly the most important World Environment Day we have ever seen, in the midst of a crisis and with a green industrial revolution positioned as the solution.

“At the end of 2019 the UK was on the verge of its 25 Year Environment Plan & a Net Zero Carbon legal commitment which now moves to centre stage as the lodestar of the recovery and economic stimulus package we need.

“The UK has a unique opportunity to lead a global green revival centred around reducing the catastrophic effects of climate change and recovering from biodiversity failure.”


Andrex launches packaging made from 30% recycled plastic

UK non-food FMCG brand, Andrex, has announced plans to use 30% recycled plastic material in its packaging.

Launching with its most popular product, Andrex Classic Clean, the new packaging will be designed using 30% recycled plastic packaging made from post-consumer resin (PCR).

Ensuring the packaging continues to be fully recyclable, PCR is a sustainable packaging alternative made from plastic materials used by consumers, the brand says.

The plastic is then taken to a facility where it is washed, reground and pelletized into a new usable material.

The new Andrex Classic Clean packs will begin to appear on all major retailers’ shelves from June 2020, a change which will remove 481 tonnes of virgin plastic over the next 12 months from this variant alone.

That’s the equivalent of over 48 million 500ml PET virgin plastic bottles.


Wilco signs UK Plastics Pact

Homes and garden retailer wilko is confirming its intention to help reduce plastic pollution by signing up to The UK Plastics Pact, a roster of measures focused on reducing the use of single use plastic.

The pact, which is managed by environmental not-for-profit WRAP, sees wilko commit to helping stop single use plastic polluting the environment via four targets.

The targets complement the wilko Plastic Plan, which includes commitments to ensuring there is a minimum of 30 percent average recycled content across all plastic packaging by April 2022, eliminating all problematic plastics and reducing unnecessary single use plastic in packaging and selected products by 2025 and also making 100 percent of all plastic packaging and products reusable or easily recyclable by 2025.

Wilko has focused on meeting its environmental ambitions for some time and has already made many changes to its products and operations.

Marcus Gover, WRAP CEO, said: “We are delighted to have wilko sign up to The UK Plastics Pact. Through our first-of-a-kind Pact we are working together with governments, citizens and business to transform the way we make, use and dispose of plastic so that we retain its value, but prevent it from polluting the environment.”


Nearly 100 organisations sign global commitment to make all buildings net zero

The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) has announced that 95 signatories are now part of the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment (the Commitment), which aims to see 100 percent uptake of net zero carbon buildings by 2050, nearly doubling participation in the programme in the last year.

The new companies and organisations are now committed to ensuring that all buildings they own, occupy and/or develop will operate at net zero carbon by 2030, or earlier.  

Sixty-two of the 96 Commitment participants are businesses and organisations, and collectively their action alone will reduce more than 3.3 million tonnes of carbon emissions.

Additionally, 28 cities and 6 states and regions have signed the Commitment, signalling a shift in political will towards net zero policy.

The WorldGBC’s Commitment for zero carbon buildings places energy saving at its heart. This approach is completely aligned with global leader in sustainable building solutions, Kingspan, who sponsor WorldGBC’s Advancing Net Zero project and became a signatory of the Commitment in September 2019.

More information on the week, can be found here.


Businesses urged to start to reduce e-waste

3stepIT has called on businesses to start to reduce e-waste and global emissions caused by unsustainable IT practices.

In a submission to the UK Parliament’s ‘Electronic waste and Circular Economy inquiry’, 3stepIT’s CEO Carmen Ene has asked the government to support and encourage businesses to find a greener way to consume technology.

With electronic waste (e-waste) the world’s fastest growing waste stream, Ms Ene has urged the Inquiry not to confine its investigation to the role of manufacturers and individual consumers alone and argued that the business community must play a part in the solution.

The Technology Lifecycle Management provider has also launched its annual Sustainability Report, which finds that the company:

  • Prevented half a million devices from being dumped or destroyed, by refurbishing them for resale.
  • Sold 98% of returned devices, giving used technology a second life.
  • Reduced carbon emissions by 36% and halved e-waste through its service.


Give a Bristol bug a home on World Environment Day

Hornet Moth (Sesiua apiformis by Ben Sale via Flikr CC 2.0

With the theme of World Environment Day being biodiversity, focusing on ‘time for nature’, and with many at home and unable to travel, Bristol based environmental consultancy Eunomia is calling on Bristolians to open up a bug hotel.

It has put together a list of insects to look out for, focussing on those unique to Bristol, and those who share the consultancy’s line of work – turning waste into resources.

Eunomia’s Elizabeth Raine, whose PhD in tropical forest insects has been featured in the Economist, came up with the idea.

Beth said: “Although small and easily overlooked, insects are the most biodiverse group of animal life forms, thought to make up between six and ten million species. The nature reserves and parklands around Bristol host a huge diversity of wonderful insect life that is worthy of celebration.

“ Some insects play a fundamental role in helping decomposition by breaking down leaf litter, wood and debris. These insects are efficient at their jobs and totally circular– they’re just naturals at recycling! Here are some to look out for:

Bristol bugs looking for a staycation near you

Hill cuckoo beeThis solitary bee enters nests and lays its own eggs for another bee species to take care of. Such dramatic scenes are commonplace around the Avon Gorge where these bumble bees are found feeding on the pollen from flowering trees, shrubs and weeds.

Duke of Burgundy: The acidic soils at Troopers’ hill offer a home for a wealth of plants and insects. The Duke of Burgundy, a small orange patterned butterfly, is only found in England, with a stronghold in the South around Bristol. 

Hornet mothAt first glance, this insect is quite alarming, with its bright orange and black stripes and hornet like body shape. The trick is enough to make predators wary of coming too close to this harmless moth. It can be found at Lamplighter’s Marsh where the scrub, grassland and salt marsh provide a home for wildlife unusual to the Bristol area. 

Natural recyclers pushing for a circular economy 

Stag Beetle: Fallen branches and dead trees form the perfect home for these insects where they break down the decaying wood. Adults emerge in summertime and are quite a sight to behold, with large jaws resembling antlers, which males use to fight.

Common black garden antDon’t worry about finding an ant nest in your compost heap! Ants dig tunnels that bring air into rotting matter, as well as bringing in fungi and minerals into the compost. This can encourage the breakdown of debris and the production of high-quality soils.

The dor beetleThis beetle feeds on manure and is mainly found in cattle pastures searching for dung. The beautiful bluish tinge of the dor beetle makes up for its unappealing food choices. They dig tunnels below dung mounds to lay eggs where larvae then develop underground – which helps to distribute nutrients from manure into the soil.

Why they matter and what you can do to support them

The huge diversity of humble insects that can be found on our doorsteps is remarkable but unfortunately it might not be that way forever. Research has shown that insects are declining rapidly.

Insects contribute to sustaining natural ecosystems through processes such as providing food for other animals, pollination and seed dispersal, as well as waste processing.

That’s why we’re encouraging everyone on World Environment Day to try making a bug hotel. This simple project will provide a home for garden insects such as bees, wasps and solitary beetles.

At a time when hotels for humans remain closed to visitors, let’s make more time for nature and open bug hotels to support the diversity of life, and the ecology of our gardens.


SUEZ announces social value pioneer status

SUEZ recycling and recovery UK (SUEZ) is celebrating World Environment Day by announcing its Social Value Pioneer membership of Social Value UK.

The professional body for social value and impact management, Social Value UK aims to reduce environmental degradation and inequality and to increase wellbeing for everyone creating a world where organisations are accountable for their impact on people.

As the first company in the resources sector to become a social value pioneer member, SUEZ joins a vibrant community of like-minded organisations committed to generating social value.

By looking beyond conventional financial metrics to take into account the wider social, economic and environmental impacts of its activities, SUEZ can understand the social value created by the essential services it provides to the communities it serves around the UK.

SUEZ has invested in resources to better understand its social value in order to factor this into its decision making and maximise the benefits it can bring.  As well as joining Social Value UK, SUEZ entered into a partnership with Social Profit Calculator to baseline its social value (£2.42 per £1 spent in 2018) and created its Sustainability and Social Value Lead position to focus on this area.

With social value becoming increasingly important to councils and their local communities, SUEZ’s commitment to social value has helped it secure high profile new contracts, most recently the Somerset Waste Partnership waste collection contract, one of the largest collection services in the UK.

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