When the summit was still scheduled for late 2020, our ‘Countdown to COP’ conference brought together over 350 people from all sectors over one day to build anticipation and draw government and media attention to civil society expectations of the UK’s role.
The conference featured four panel debates and speeches by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove and the First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon.
We worked with the consultancy Britain Thinks on two pilot citizens’ juries to consider a range of climate policy options, with representative groups of local people in Cardiff and Penrith. Local MP Rory Stewart attended the Penrith event.
Our recommendations from these pilots, published in Power to the people (July 2019), influenced the design of the subsequent Climate Assembly UK, commissioned by six parliamentary committees and held in spring 2020. Our associate, Rebecca Willis was also one of the expert leads and we provided evidence on the links between resource efficiency and climate change, much of which was reflected in the assembly’s conclusions.
Green Alliance was an official co-host of Greta Thunberg’s widely reported speech to parliament in April 2019.
She sat on a panel alongside representatives of all the main parties, including the environment minister at the time, Michael Gove. The room was full of MPs who came to hear her speak. Her visit raised climate issues up the political agenda and created space for Green Alliance to push policy solutions.
Government brings forward Environment BillDecember 2018
In the months after the Brexit referendum, the Greener UK coalition succeeded in persuading the government to recognise and take action to address the environmental governance gap after the UK left the EU. Working closely with parliamentarians, Greener UK secured changes to the 2018 EU Withdrawal Act to require the government to bring forward draft legislation. Following this, the prime minister announced the first dedicated Environment Bill since 1995, which would also address wider environmental issues.
Our work with the Greener UK coalition was shortlisted at the 2019 Charity Awards. We were the only organisation to be highly commended.
This is recognition of this unprecedented and powerful collaboration of 14 partner organisations, and over 50 supporter organisations and networks, working together to get the best for the environment through Brexit.
Learn more about Greener UK here.
Redesigning the Government's approach to resourcesDecember 2018
The Government's resources and waste strategy, published in December 2018, matches many of the recommendations in our reports with CIE-MAP: Less in, more out (May 2018) and By popular demand(November 2018), and with CETF: Recycling reset (January 2017) including in the following areas:
The promise to embed a 'polluter pays' approach in many product streams beyond packaging. This aligns with our recommendations in both reports.
The Government's promise to 'develop a model for realising resource efficiency savings’, and work with businesses through "resource efficiency clusters"' aligns with our idea for resource efficiency partnerships in Less in, more out.
The strategy outlines the need to improve resource efficiency in the construction sector. In the annex to this section it directly acknowledges the Less in, more out: 'CIE-MAP and Green Alliance (2018) recommend that policies should focus on higher substitution towards low carbon materials, increased reuse of construction materials and reduction in material inputs through increased design optimisation.'
The strategy uses By popular demand as evidence to promote reuse, repair and remanufacture. In the introduction it asserts that 'there is emerging evidence that improving resource efficiency is popular with the public. CIE-MAP and Green Alliance (2018) found most people see the need to shift towards a society that uses resources more efficiently. The study also found 60% were supportive of a "drastic shift" towards a resource efficient society even if that changed the way they live. People tended to favour approaches that were carried out by others (e.g. redesigning packaging) or were not too restrictive (e.g. a collaborative economy).'
The promise to develop a quality assurance scheme for remanufacturing is something we suggested could boost consumer confidence in By popular demand.
A commitment to continue moving away from a focus on waste towards a focus on resources, with the explicit aim of helping 'businesses make better decisions, for example by considering relative carbon emissions from reuse rather than disposal of a product' is not only in line with our recommendations but is a welcome recognition that resource efficiency is as much a carbon policy as it is a resource policy.
In the driving seat for electric vehiclesMarch 2018
Our short report How the UK can lead the electric vehicle revolution caused a stir in March 2018. It argued that the government should bring forward the ban on new conventional vehicles by 10 years, to 2030. There is a strong case for this and we hope to see higher ambition in the upcoming ‘Road to zero’ strategy.
Extensive coverage around the report included a widely-shared piece from the Guardian.
Tracking Brexit impacts on the environment January 2018
We co-ordinated the creation of Greener UK, a new coalition of major environmental groups focused on achieving a good outcome for the environment during Brexit in December 2016. In its first six months, Greener UK secured a baseline commitment from the government that it would continue with existing environmental protections after Brexit. Since then we have secured assurances from Michael Gove that environmental principles will continue to apply after Brexit.
Greener UK's risk tracker closely monitors the environmental implications of Brexit.
The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP has pledged to set up an independent watchdog to hold the powerful to account and give Britain a "green Brexit".
Greener UK, of which Green Alliance is one of the 13 members, has pushed for high standards of post-Brexit environmental governance. Shaun Spiers, chair of Greener UK and executive director of Green Alliance, welcomed the news and stated that “the government shouldn't waste any time starting the conversation about what this body or bodies should look like as it will need to come into effect the day we leave the EU.”
Our Resource Stewardshiptheme has created two infographics that focus on how to reduce the amount of plastics getting into the ocean. Our infographics highlight the estimated amount of different plastic sources found in the sea, where these plastics are found and the consequences of this for the natural environment, as well as five actions to stop nearly two thirds of plastic waste getting into the sea in the first place.
Michael Gove hosted at our summer reception 2017July 2017
Green Alliance hosted a summer reception, with introductory speeches from the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, and the new executive director of Green Alliance, Shaun Spiers, followed by drinks, canapés and music.
You can watch the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP's speech on YouTube and see the Storify.
Inside Track highly commended at UK Blog Awards 2017April 2017
Our blog Inside Track was 'Highly Commended' in the ‘Green & Eco’ company category at the UK Blog Awards 2017. It was a finalist in the same category in 2016.
Green Alliance’s blog is a platform for insight and commentary on UK environmental policy and politics. It features the writing of leading commentators, from business, government, NGOs and academia, as well as offering Green Alliance’s own insights.
Reinvigorating the UK’s natural environment debateFebruary 2017
Our Natural Environment theme, launched in 2015, has since stimulated new debate about how we tackle the long term decline of nature in Britain.
Four reports over the first two years have explored new approaches, for instance in relation to alleviating flood risk and sustainable food production, which work with, and financially benefit, farmers and land managers. Our work on natural markets has been presented to the Committee on Climate Change’s Adaptation Sub Committee.
We now have growing partnership with a range of interested organisations and businesses, including the National Trust, United Utilities, Southern Water and Wessex Water.
Leading thinking on the circular economySeptember 2016
Green Alliance leads thinking on effective policy making for a more resource resilient circular economy through the Circular Economy Task Force.
Our advocacy to improve the consistency of waste collection systems across the UK stimulated a review published in September 2016 by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Our work in 2014-15 also encouraged the government to support the EU’s circular economy action plan, a package of policies intended to improve resource productivity across Europe. Some of the recommendations of the Task Force were also picked up by the UK’s Environmental Audit Committee’s Growing a circular economy report, and by the Scottish Government’s Resource Use and the Circular Economy inquiry in 2014.
Green Alliance honoured at Green Ribbon AwardsMay 2016
Green Alliance was awarded 'Best environmental campaign by a non-governmental organisation' at the 2016 Green Ribbon Political Awards for our work in securing the party leaders' climate agreement in February 2015.
We raised green ambitions for London mayoral candidates, Zac Goldsmith, Sadiq Khan, Sian Berry and Caroline Pidgeon, following challenges made in the Greener London report and at the Greener London Hustings. All four candidates made new green commitments on solar power, the appointment of a green infrastructure commissioner and cleaner transport.
One of Sadiq Khan’s first major announcements as mayor was a promise to act on the capital’s air pollution.
Greener London was produced by a coalition of the UK’s leading environmental groups, including Green Alliance. It aimed to raise the profile of environmental issues in the London mayoral election by setting out 20 practical actions for how the next mayor could help make the capital a greener, fairer and better place to live and work.
We organised a ‘clean energy declaration’ from 100 organisations across the North of England, calling on then Chancellor George Osborne ahead of the 2016 Budget to back clean energy for their region. The signatories included the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, business groups and civil society organisations, demonstrating widespread public support for renewables to Westminster.
We recieved a response letter from the Chancellor addressing the concerns outlined in the declaration.
We were invited by the Offshore Wind Programme Board to discuss our conclusions; and, in a survey of senior industry executives carried out for the Committee on Climate Change, our concept of ‘commit and review’ was strongly endorsed.
The new government, in line with our recommendations, has since announced it will extend the Levy Control Framework into the 2020s. In particular, it committed to supporting 10GW of offshore wind, so long as industry cost reduction continues, as well as to spending £730 million of annual support on renewable electricity projects over this parliament.
Government commitment to phase-out unabated coalNovember 2015
The government announced in November 2015 that it will phase out the use of unabated coal fired power. This was part of the cross-party pledge, convened by Green Alliance, that the Prime Minister signed in February 2015.
In September 2015, in association with CBI, our Beyond Paris event brought together over 400 leaders in environment, politics and business to discuss what a good climate deal in December 2015 could mean for Britain and the world.
The former US Vice President Al Gorereceived a standing ovation for his speech in which he expressed his disappointment at the loss of low carbon policies in the UK and challenged the government to maintain its climate leadership position. JohnCridland, Director-General of the CBI spoke of the business desire for action and policy certainty and, in her speech, LorettaMinghella, CEO of Christian Aid, stressed the UK’s responsibility to the world’s poorest to act on climate change.
In the discussion which followed, chaired by the BBC's ReetaChakrabarti, questions from the audience were answered by a panel including Ben Goldsmith, Chair of the Conservative Environment Network; AndrewBonfield, Global Finance Director, National Grid; Dame Fiona Reynolds DBE, Green Alliance chair; and Michael Jacobs, Senior Adviser, The New Climate Economy.
Watch the full video or highlights of this event on YouTube or you can read our summary on Storify.
In June 2014, the government announced an electricity demand reduction pilot scheme, allowing energy saving schemes to compete alongside generation schemes to ensure capacity at peak times. The pilot followed two years of Green Alliance’s advocacy on negawatts, discussed with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) ahead of the scheme’s launch.
The Treasury used the findings of our 2015 report Getting more from less to inform its own plans to realise the potential of negawatts in the UK electricity market. The government subsequently approved the second phase of its electricity demand reduction pilot scheme in June 2015.
We successfully influenced party manifestos ahead of the general election, through proposals set out in Greener Britain, a report published by Green Alliance and nine other leading environmental organisations.
Senior MPs, including Nick Clegg, Caroline Flint and Amber Rudd, welcomed the report, which set out goals for the next government in four areas: international action, nature, communities and economy.
When the manifestos were published, Labour and Liberal Democrat promises aligned with the Greener Britain proposals in all four areas and the Conservatives reflected them in two: securing a global climate deal and nature’s recovery.
This report, based on focus groups with 37 young professionals in their early to mid-twenties, looks at the attitudes of young adults to finance and sustainability, and the implications for the savings sector.
Green Alliance brought Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and the Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband together in a cross-party agreement to tackle climate change in February 2015.
This pledge sought a climate change deal which limits temperature rises to below 2 °C, sets carbon budgets according to the Climate Change Act and accelerates UK’s transition to an energy efficient and low carbon economy.
Climate Leadership Programme for MPsSeptember 2014
Green Alliance's Climate Leadership Programme was launched in 2009. We worked with over 50 Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs from the 2010 intake of candidates on developing a deeper understanding of climate change and, especially, what it means for their role and policy at the constituency and national level.
We published three policy briefings under the Constituency Voices project, working with small groups of MPs within their constituencies and helping them to take climate action to the national level.
Green Alliance research into the impact of rising global commodity prices on inflation for UK consumers concluded that only reliable way to protect the UK economy against these resource price shocks in future is to improve radically the efficiency of our resource use and reuse, reducing dependency on foreign imports.