CEOs call on Government to prioritise green recovery

More than 60 CEOs of major businesses and environmental organisations have issued an open letter to the Prime Minister today, urging him to put nature and climate at the heart of the nation’s recovery effort as he prepares to lead the UK into a new normal. 

The Greenhouse team has worked alongside campaigners at RSPB and the Green Alliance this week to coordinate signatories from a diverse spectrum of businesses, charities and influencers, and generate a splash in the media.

The letter has already featured on Radio 4’s Today Programme, which included an interview with Richard Walker, Managing Director of Iceland Foods, and is one of the lead stories on BBC News, with more coverage expected throughout the day and into the weekend.

As well as high profile CEOs, influential supporters have also added their names to the letter, including Chris Packham, Kevin McCloud, Deborah Meaden and Jerome Flynn.

The signatories are calling on the Prime Minister to adopt four principles to enable a sustainable economic recovery for people and planet:

  • Create a more resilient economy by investing in the infrastructure, technology and skills to generate thousands of new jobs that directly contribute to a climate-safe future – and exclude polluting industries from help without a proper climate plan.
  • Increase access to wild spaces for everyone through restoring nature and oceans, incentivising walking and cycling, and supporting sustainable food, farming and fishing.
  • Strengthen nature’s protections by ensuring the swift passage of environmental legislation – and introduce targets in law across the UK for the restoration of nature on a massive scale.
  • Lead the world in building back better for people, climate and nature by bringing global leaders together to plan for a green and sustainable recovery in the run-up to the vital United Nations climate conference and biodiversity conferences next year.

The letter was deliberately timed to precede the government’s announcement on Sunday, when Boris Johnson will set out the government’s plan to ease lockdown and kickstart the economy. With such a short window in which to influence the recovery strategy, business and charity leaders joined forces to emphasise the historic opportunity we now have to create something better out of this crisis and establish a climate-safe, nature-rich, healthy world for all.

David Boynton, Chief Executive at The Body Shop:“Since the day Anita Roddick started this company, The Body Shop has been fighting for a fairer and more beautiful world. We believe that business should be a force for good and there has never been a more important time to demonstrate that than now. We’re calling on businesses and world leaders to work together with us to protect our planet’s future. Please join us.”

Juliet Davenport, CEO of Good Energy: “As we start to look beyond this crisis, we need to be stronger and bolder than ever on public health and climate change. The recovery package should be a catalyst for a clean, green future and a chance to leave our fossil fuel dependence in the past. People now know that there is an alternative, they do not have to tolerate toxic air pollution as the trade-off for keeping our economy going. We urge the government to act now to protect nature and future generations from climate catastrophe.”

Beccy Speight, Chief Executive of the RSPB: “Humanity’s future is inextricably bound to the health of our planet. No part of the world is untouched by human activity, and as we continue our destruction of nature, we make our own planet less habitable for people as well. That’s why leaders young and old from the environmental movement are joining forces with business to call on the government to ensure that a resilient economy, healthy communities and a thriving natural world are at the heart of the relief and recovery effort. We must rebuild our economy on solid foundations if we’re to weather the storms of the future.”

Hilary McGrady, Director-General at the National Trust: “Right now, the nation’s attention is rightly focused on dealing with the immediate and profound impact of Covid-19 on health, social fabric and livelihoods. But as governments around the world turn their thoughts to economic recovery, their plans must respond to what the lockdown has clearly shown; that people want and need access to nature-rich green spaces near where they live. This has to be a priority. Green infrastructure and scaling up renewables makes environmental and economic sense, creating jobs and an economy that are fit for the future. If we think green, we can create a win-win for the economy, for people and for the natural world.”

Richard Walker, Managing Director, Iceland Foods: “The economic recovery from this global health crisis must put the restoration of nature at its heart – because that is the only way we can continue to power our human endeavour sustainably. If nature is protected, we are protected. This letter asks the UK government to seize the opportunity to create something better out of this moment in history and establish a new normal: a climate-safe, nature-rich, healthy world for all.”

Bella Lack, young nature writer and campaigner: “Nature can, and should, be a place of refuge for all people and creatures – somewhere we can unwind and ground ourselves in the simple things, like the sound of birdsong or waves lapping at the shore. The peace we find in nature has helped millions of people get through lockdown from their windows, balconies and gardens. We cannot and must not underestimate the value it brings to our lives.”

To read the open letter in full, click here:

Letter to the Prime Minister on a Resilient Recovery – 08.05.2020

As the letter states, this crisis has shown us the power of the collective human spirit – and the need for cross-sector collaboration has never been more critical. If we work together to find solutions as part of the recovery effort, we can build a better future for all.

Greenhouse PR works with organisations and leaders who are pioneering climate action. Whether it’s food, fashion, finance or farming, if you’ve got a great story and need our help to tell it, get in touch with the Greenhouse team on 0117 214 1250 or email info@greenhousepr.co.uk.

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