We’ve been reflecting back on 2020-21 for our Annual Review. It was a period when we not only had to respond to the immediate national Covid-19 emergency, but also prepare for the future enormous and imminent challenges ahead: the fight to save our planet.
Nandini Kumar, Consultant at Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development at Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Varun Aggarwal, Associate Director-Sustainable Business, from World Wildlife Fund for Nature-India (WWF India), sat down with WRAP’s international plastics lead Peter Skelton to discuss the newly-launched India Plastics Pact – the challenges and opportunities ahead; its significance both for India, and the global fight against plastic pollution, and how it is drawing inspiration from The UK Plastics Pact.
WRAP research conducted throughout 2020 showed that Covid-19, the associated lockdown, and the social distancing measures that were put in place across the UK had a profound impact on our attitudes to the environment.
Today’s report is a shock – but it’s not a surprise. We all knew the world was at risk of losing the battle against climate change. We all knew there was much more to be done. We all knew that no nation could say hand on heart that it was doing enough.
The radical measures outlined by the UK Government to introduce an extended producer responsibility regime to replace the PRN system, a deposit return scheme for drinks packaging, and measures to build a more consistent collection system in England present a set of powerful levers for change. If designed to complement and not counteract each other, they could provide the kick-start needed to drive up stalling recycling rates, promote eco-design, tackle plastic pollution, and accelerate the shift towards a more circular economy.
The decisions we make in the next few years are perhaps the most important in the history of our species. I think by now there is not a person sitting in government or running a business who is not aware of the existential threat facing our planet. It is not about ‘why’ anymore. The challenge now is ‘how’. How to turn commitments and aspirations into meaningful urgent action.
I’d never thought of myself as a football fan, but I watched the Euro 2020 final with keen anticipation along with so many others. At the end, my dominant feeling was one of grief for those boys – as a mother of two sons of similar age I could absolutely imagine the acute pain of not meeting your own expectations, those of the team, and of millions of the watching public. To pin an entire nation’s hopes and dreams on a game of football is in one sense ridiculous, but in another sense understandable, and the pressure on them must have been intolerable. And then to suffer racist abuse on top is indescribably wrong and searing. Marcus Rashford’s statement after the game hit exactly the right note – he was prepared to take the criticism for missing a penalty, but not for who he is.
Apparently, as a nation we spent lockdown bingeing on TV box sets and re-furnishing our homes.
And not surprisingly this led to a fair bit of life imitating art with the nation on the hunt for ‘It’s A Sin’-inspired pink cushions or heavy brocade curtains like those hanging in the bedrooms of Bridgerton (although I can bet that “I don’t know what they’re up to, but I just adore that bedding” wasn’t a phrase that was uttered too many times by fans of that show).
As the world’s biggest economies meet at this weekend’s G7 Summit, there is strong pressure for ambitious action to tackle the climate emergency and reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. Here, WRAP’s CEO, Dr Marcus Gover, argues this will not be possible without radical transformation of the world’s food supply chain
The UK rejoiced as pubs, restaurants and venues welcomed back the public in an important symbolic sign of a return to some kind of normal following a year we will never forget. We ask WRAP’s Special Advisor for Hospitality and Food Service, Eleanor Morris, to reflect back and look forward to how sustainability will be top of the menu for the sector as it recovers from the toughest time it has faced in living memory.