EMS helps cut resource use
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Environment management systems are crucial to more sustainable production and consumption practices, according to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)
In a new report examining the actions taken by companies and policymakers to improve resource use, UNEP describes environmental management standards, such as ISO 14001, as “vital tools”, saying that they provide practical frameworks to help reduce environmental impacts while generating cost savings.
“Realising a low-carbon, resource-efficient and employment-generating green economy is the challenge for world leaders when they meet in Rio,” said Achim Steiner, UNEP executive director. “This report underlines that governments are not starting from zero. Rio+20 offers the opportunity to accelerate and scale up these policies and projects.”
Publication of the UNEP report comes as a new study from the Royal Society, entitled People and planet, warns that consumption levels between developed and developing nations must be rebalanced, and population levels stabilised.
“The world now has a very clear choice. We can choose to address the twin issues of population and consumption. We can choose to rebalance the use of resources to a more egalitarian pattern of consumption, to reframe our economic values to truly reflect what our consumption means for our planet and to help individuals around the world to make informed and free reproductive choices. Or we can choose to do nothing and to drift into a downward vortex of economic, sociopolitical and environmental ills, leading to a more unequal and inhospitable future,” said Sir John Sulston, fellow of the Royal Society.
At the same time, Re|Source 2012, a new initiative created by the University of Oxford and the Rothschild Foundation, has been launched. It calls on global businesses and the finance community to take the lead in solving resource scarcity as population growth and economic development put greater strains on the planet’s resources.
In Elliott-Smith v Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the claimant applied for judicial review of the legality of the defendants’ joint decision to create the UK Emissions Trading Scheme (UK ETS) as a substitute for UK participation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).
None of England’s water and sewerage companies achieved all environmental expectations for the period 2015 to 2020, the Environment Agency has revealed. These targets included the reduction of total pollution incidents by at least one-third compared with 2012, and for incident self-reporting to be at least 75%.
Global greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture are projected to increase by 4% over the next 10 years, despite the carbon intensity of production declining. That is according to a new report from the UN food agency and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which forecasts that 80% of the increase will come from livestock.
Half of consumers worldwide now consider the sustainability of food and drink itself, not just its packaging, when buying, a survey of 14,000 shoppers across 18 countries has discovered. This suggests that their understanding of sustainability is evolving to include wellbeing and nutrition, with sustainable packaging now considered standard.
Billions of people worldwide have been unable to access safe drinking water and sanitation in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a progress report from the World Health Organisation focusing on the UN’s sixth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) – to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030”.
New jobs that help drive the UK towards net-zero emissions are set to offer salaries that are almost one-third higher than those in carbon-intensive industries, research suggests.
IEMA has today urged the UK government to focus on developing green skills and expertise across business, industry and civil society following the publication of an alarming report from the Climate Change Committee (CCC).