Looking ahead to 2019
As we approach the end of a busy year, I feel this a good time to reflect on all we have witnessed and achieved together – from my position as Chair of the Board, and as a member. The only difficulty is covering everything in one short column!
I’ll start by looking at the big picture. There has been a real sea change in sustainability this year. The public’s overwhelming response to the single-use plastics issue has taken many by surprise, but it’s presented an example, and a fresh opportunity for us to engage on the big issues – which are much wider than just waste plastic – with business and society. It seems to me that environment and sustainability value has never been more recognised or more embedded, despite the high levels of political uncertainty. This makes it an exciting time to be working in our profession.
A little closer to home, 2018 has been a landmark year for IEMA. Speaking now as the COP24 climate talks come to an end, the UK government considers the shape of bold new environmental legislation and the world’s first Modern Slavery Act is reviewed, it feels good to know that IEMA’s work is having an influence in all these areas. Having a place at the tables where policies, standards, legislation and practice are influenced doesn’t just happen – it is the recognition of our combined expertise and ability to catalyse change, which has really stepped up throughout 2018.
Elsewhere, 2018 will be marked as the year when members voted for Chartership. Our petition for a Royal Charter is progressing well. This route is full of hurdles, which is perhaps why many organisations do not choose to go down it, but we are in a strong position and look forward to telling you more in 2019 as we work through the process.
Looking to next year, we will be firmly focused on keeping you connected to changing issues (see 2019 preview: a look to the year ahead) and growing the scale and influence of our membership. I hope I can count on you to get involved, make the most of your membership and use your own influence to grow our global network even further.
In 2020, amid the global crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw numerous cross-sector collaborations involving tech companies, aiming to create smart solutions that would amplify positive environmental and social impacts across sectors and organisations – for example in online healthcare or mRNA vaccine platform technology. This led the public health crisis to be referred to as “the digital accelerant of the decade” by US cloud communications platform Twilio.
The UK's largest defined benefit (DB) pension schemes have received a letter from the Make My Money Matter campaign urging them to set net-zero emission targets ahead of the COP26 climate summit later this year.
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.
The UK government's investment plans for green jobs lag far behind those of most G7 countries, potentially undermining its net-zero emissions target, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has warned.
Three environmental campaigners have launched a legal challenge against the UK government over its support for the production of North Sea oil and gas that is only economic because of subsidies, the Paid to Pollute campaign has announced.