9 in 10 say environment and sustainability concerns have been too low down the agenda and absent issues during debates and in manifestos

The Environment and Sustainability Profession has criticised the low level of attention placed on crucial climate, resource and energy concerns during the General Election campaign.

As part of an online poll of 618 IEMA members based in the UK, conducted over the past week ahead of the General Election on 8th June, 90% said they were either extremely or somewhat unhappy with the prominence of critical issues such as climate change, resource management, renewable energy and pollution throughout the short but intense campaign. 90% also rated the quality of national debate about tackling the UK’s air pollution as poor.

The co-leadership of Caroline Lucas/Jonathan Barltey of the Green Party was voted strongest on environmental issues, by 57% of those surveyed. Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn came second with 9%, and Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May gained 6% of the vote. Of the 18% who said they don’t know, over a third (39%) said while they think some Leaders are stronger than others, they doubt their ability or commitment to deliver change.

93% of IEMA’s members said they agree that the next Government must strengthen its commitment and investment on future climate risks such as flood risk management.

Martin Baxter, IEMA’s Chief Policy Advisor, said today this response from the profession should be seen as an opportunity for the next Government to better align economic and environmental goals: “It’s clear that Party leaders have largely failed to acknowledge critical environmental issues that can and will impact on the economy and society. Next week, a new Government will be elected and, regardless of who is at the helm, it is vital that they take on board the profession’s views and engage with them to accelerate the transition to a sustainable economy.”

Further findings from the survey which closed yesterday (1st June) revealed:

  • 93% said they believe the UK Government should take a leadership position on an international level to advocate tackling human trafficking and modern slavery issues
  • 88% strongly support re-establishment of suitable scrutiny of sustainable development strategy, similar to that carried out by the now defunct Sustainable Development Commission
  • 95% feel the Public Sector (which accounts for 14% of GDP) should embed sustainability through its procurement following the introduction of the ISO 20400 sustainable procurement standard. 77% said sustainable procurement should be applicable for all public procurement and purchasing.
  • 90% believe that the next Government should do more to drive the transition to a sustainable economy by mandating sustainability competence and capabilities within public procurement contracts.