Environment and Sustainability professionals in Britain are worried leaving the EU will have a detrimental effect on environmental issues. That’s according to results of an Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) poll taken by 1,200 people in the industry. A majority said they believe leaving Europe could reduce or even remove the way environmental issues are taken into account in infrastructure decision making.
Half of IEMA’s respondents say opportunities for the public and communities to engage in the decision making process on new infrastructure proposals that would potentially affect them would be reduced outside the EU. 43% think current engagement processes would be retained, with only seven per cent saying it would be enhanced.
Almost 1,200 members responded to the second of IEMA’s online polls to test views on different aspects of UK/EU environmental policy one month ahead of the EU Referendum on Thursday 23 June. The majority of respondents (81%) believe that European laws and regulations are important in providing them with a framework for being able to deliver environmental protection and improvements.
Martin Baxter, IEMA’s Chief Policy Advisor said: “Environment and Sustainability Professionals recognise the importance of EU policy and regulation in helping to drive environmental improvements. Whichever way the vote goes, it is essential that environmental issues continue to be factored into infrastructure decision making and that those potentially affected are given opportunities to participate.”
Overall, the vast majority (93%) believe that efforts to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity in the UK are best addressed within (80%) or aligned to (13%) EU policy frameworks. 7% think this is best addressed by UK policy being separate and outside of EU policy regimes. If the UK were to leave the EU, 60% believe that there will be a lower level of legal protection for wildlife and habitats.
In recent years, the Common Agricultural Policy has increased environmental management and protection requirements linked to payment support to farmers. 69% of respondents who expressed a view believe environmental requirements associated with payments to support UK farmers would most likely be reduced or removed, if the UK votes to leave the EU.
The EU Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) directive was amended in 2014 to bring in new requirements to harmonise EIA between EU Member States, streamline the process to reduce burden, and introduce basic quality requirements across the EU. Of those involved in EIA, 80% believe that the EIA Directive has enhanced the way that environmental issues are factored into development consent decisions for major infrastructure projects.
Respondents were clear when asked about who should be covered by “competent experts” cited in the amended EIA directive:
– 61% believe that the EIA co-ordinator and the lead on each environmental topic area (e.g. ecology, air quality) should demonstrate they are a “competent expert”
– 8% believe it should be limited to just the EIA co-ordinator having to demonstrate they are a “competent expert”
– 31% believe that everyone making a contribution to the EIA process should demonstrate that they are a “competent expert”.
IEMA provides the majority of EIA related CPD in the UK and runs the individual EIA register and the EIA Quality Mark scheme (for organisations that co-ordinate UK EIA). Given the new requirement for EIA Reports to be produced by “competent experts”, of respondents who expressed a view:
– 64% believe this should be a member of any relevant professional body with sufficient EIA expertise
– 19% believe only IEMA members who can demonstrate sufficient EIA experience and expertise should be considered to be competent experts for UK EIA
– 10% believe only IEMA members who are registered on the individual EIA Register should be considered to be “competent experts” for UK EIA
– 7% believe anyone with chartered environmental (CEnv) status should be considered as being a “competent expert” to undertake EIAs.
The European Commission is currently reviewing the Strategic Environmental Assessment directive to determine whether it requires amendment /updating since it was published in 2001. 75% of those who expressed a view of the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive’s progress in the UK since its transposition in 2004 believe that it should be amended.
4 Common Items That Can be Reused Again and Again
As a society we are getting much better at taking our obligations to the world and environment around us more seriously. This is undoubtedly a good thing! The effects of climate change are beginning to manifest across the world, and this is turning the issue from an abstract threat into a very real danger. Trying to introduce some greener, more eco-friendly practices into your life isn’t just a great way of doing something beneficial for society and the world around you. It is a wonderful way of engaging positively with the world and carries with it numerous psychological benefits.
Being a greener, more ecologically friendly person doesn’t require any dramatic life changes. Breaking or making a few small habits is all it takes to make your life a greener one. In this article we look at one of the easiest, yet most effective green practices to get into: reusing everyday items.
Jars and Containers
Glass and metal are widely recycled, and recycling is a good thing! However, consider whether any containers you buy, whether it’s a tub of ice cream or a jar of coffee, can be washed out and reused for something else. Mason jars, for example, can be used to store homemade pasta sauce and can be washed for future use. Once you start thinking about it, you will find endless opportunities to reuse your old containers.
An ice-cold soda is a wonderful treat on a hot day, but buying soda can get expensive, and the manufacturing and distribution of the drinks themselves isn’t great for the environment. However, by holding on to your old soda bottles and repurposing them as water bottles, you can save money on drinks, or use them to measure out water for your garden.
Most of the time groceries come in paper bags, which are better for the environment than the plastic alternatives, but they are less durable and thus harder to reuse. Whenever the store places your items in a plastic bag, hang onto it so you can reuse the bags again. If you want to take it one step further, consider looking into buying some personalized recycled bags. These bags are designed to last for a long time and are made of recycled materials. They look striking and unique, they’ll turn heads, and maybe even attitudes!
If you’re a keen gardener, then you will already probably know how to reseed your plants in order to ensure a fresh crop after each plant’s lifecycle. If you have space in your garden, or haven’t yet tried your hand at gardening, then consider planting a small vegetable plot. Growing your own veggies means that you’ll be helping to cut back on the emissions generated by their transport and production. The best part about growing your own food in this way is that, by harvesting properly and saving the seeds, you can be set up with fresh vegetables for life!
Reusing and recycling common household items is an easy way to make your world a little bit greener. Once you start looking for these opportunities you’ll realize that they’re everywhere!
These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money
The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.
Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.
Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.
Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale
The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.
Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.
Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI
It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.
Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.
Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.
Implementing green changes without a plan
Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.
Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:
- How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
- How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
- How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
- How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?
The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.
Not considering the benefits of green printing
Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.
Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.
According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:
- They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
- They consume less energy than traditional printers.
- They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.
You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.
Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers
Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.
The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.
You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.
Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.
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