Leading UK companies are committing to reverse the business community’s negative impact on nature. The firms have agreed to work towards halting and reversing the decline of nature by 2030, a target considered crucial in achieving the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C. Aligned with COP26 ambitions, business leaders will be joining forces to create a global goal for nature.
The Council for Sustainable Business (CSB) last month challenged their peers to take further actions and 95 leading British companies across different sectors have now signed up to its Get Nature Positive campaign. The news coincides with the CSB’s Business Lunch Reception on COP26’s Nature Day (Saturday, November 6th) attended by The Secretary of State for the Environment, Lord Goldsmith, Under Secretary of State at Defra, Rebecca Pow, NGO leaders and Al Gore, the former Vice President of the United States.
Burberry, GSK, ITV, Sainsbury’s, and Unilever are just a handful of the organisations that have united with the shared goal of contributing to a nature positive world by 2030.
As part of the event at COP26 today, a number of participating organisations are unveiling new actions to protect and enhance the environment, including:
- OVO Energy announces its commitment in planting one million trees in the UK within the next year
- Severn Trent pledges to restore over 2,000 acres of peatland across England and Wales by 2025, improving biodiversity, carbon sequestration and water quality
- Burberry unveils a new biodiversity strategy building on its commitment to be climate positive by 2040, which includes the assurance that all its key materials will be 100% traceable by 2025, e.g. sourcing more sustainable cotton, leather and wool, as well as recycled polyester and nylon. It will also focus on developing regenerative supply chains, applying regenerative and holistic land practices to grazing or farming systems.
- Co-op, M&S, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose pledge to slash their impact across climate, deforestation and nature by 2030 in ‘Retailers Commitment for Nature’ with WWF
More than 30 global food and agriculture businesses will also commit to take action to boost the sustainability and nature positive impact of their operations as part of a G7 Sustainable Supply Chain Initiative. This UK-led G7 initiative, to be detailed in December, will see companies including Unilever, Sainsbury’s, Compass Group, BASF, Kraft Heinz and Danone take a leadership role in the sector by agreeing to improve the impact they have on the environment, on social inclusion and on nutrition.
The CSB, a group of business leaders appointed by Defra to advise on how businesses can achieve the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, launched its ‘Get Nature Positive campaign’ and its Nature Handbook for Business last month to help businesses understand the impact they have on nature and support them in navigating the global effort to arrest the decline in nature by 2030. The Nature Handbook includes 140 actions across six business sectors for nature. The Handbook, developed with Accenture, also sets out to help businesses supercharge their carbon strategies through nature-based solutions to climate change.
At today’s event in Glasgow, hosted by Liv Garfield, Council for Sustainable Businesses CEO, a range of CEOs and Group Heads of Sustainability from multinational businesses will come together to share their work and make new announcements, with the aim of inspiring more businesses to look at opportunities to protect nature and boost biodiversity.
Liv Garfield said: “Every business in the UK, whether they know it or not, impacts nature and has a role to play in protecting it. No nature, no business – it’s that simple. There should not need to be a choice between business success and nature, the two should go hand in hand.
“95 UK businesses backing Get Nature Positive is truly phenomenal. This level of support allows us to begin our journey of making a difference and helping the UK become a greener, more resilient country. Whether it’s businesses planting trees, saving water, helping to restore peatland or improving rivers, the UK are now global leaders in protecting nature for generations and tackling challenges from climate change, biodiversity and nature loss head on.”
Environment Secretary, George Eustice, said: “The UK Government is committed to putting nature on the road to recovery – it is essential if we are to implement the Paris agreement and tackle climate change. However, transforming our relationship with nature will require global cooperation across the entire commodity supply chain.
“The commitment from business today gives me further encouragement that we can overcome this challenge together to reverse the decline of nature by 2030.”
Raffi Schieir, Co-Founder and Director of Bantam Materials, one of the companies signed up to the campaign said: “The climate crisis and plastic crisis are inextricably linked, and in order to tackle both we must clean up the plastic waste in our natural environment. This is exactly what we aim to do through Prevented Ocean Plastic, a certified recycled plastic that’s been collected from coastal areas in developing countries at risk of ocean plastic pollution that so far has prevented one billion bottles from entering our oceans. Joining the Get Nature Positive campaign is the next step in our journey. We’re delighted to be part of it, and thrilled to see other leading UK businesses joining us.”
To learn more about the actions businesses are taking to protect and restore nature, click here.