2021 has been a year of light and shade in so many ways.
COP 26 in Glasgow was my first COP, it was interesting to see first-hand how the negotiations work. Whilst the focus was on emissions, there were plenty of reminders that around half the climate impact of humans comes from the food we eat and the products we use and dispose of.
Chief Executive Marcus Gover led a WRAP delegation which was present throughout COP26. We delivered the same message to politicians, businesses and citizens: we cannot fix climate change if we don’t tackle consumption emissions – those caused by producing the food we eat and the products we buy. Here he reflects on a tumultuous two weeks and looks at what comes next.
‘Greenwash’ is the word of the week. It feels as if a significant chunk of those commentating on COP26 is either guilty of it or is calling it out. Companies in particular are in the spotlight – since they are falling over themselves to use the COP to trumpet their green credentials, it is hardly surprising that a proportion of those will be doing it cynically. Glossy films are appearing on our televisions, with all the iconography of the moment – a diversity of actors, lingering shots of beautiful landscapes, and a great many trees. The pages of the Economist are stuffed with adverts for companies on the offensive or the defensive, and highlighting the economic opportunities thought be rolling their way. How can anyone navigate this?
Karen Fisher is WRAP’s newly appointed Head of Climate Action Strategy. She has been at WRAP for eight years and has been at the heart of our work with the Courtauld Commitment; most recently spearheading a first of its kind look at how to decarbonise the UK’s food and drinks industry which has been described as potentially transformative. She is at COP 26 as part of WRAP’s delegation and will be talking about this. Here, she provides insights on how we can get there, her new role at WRAP, and her message to world leaders.
Dr Richard Swannell, International Director of WRAP, is one of the leading experts on food system transformation in the world. He is part of our delegation at COP26 and will be speaking in several forums.
Before he headed off for Glasgow, Richard reflected on why he believes food system transformation should be a key weapon in the fight against climate change.
We recently posed the question to some of the world’s leading experts in food sustainability whether the global food system was the ‘hidden hero’ in tackling climate change and a weapon to reaching net zero. After our summit last week I came away more of the opinion that it is in fact a hero in plain sight.
It is Recycle Week, so what better time could there be to announce that WRAPs citizen behaviour change team have created a behavioural nudge proven to increase household recycling – an impressive 7%1 increase in stated recycling behaviour!
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.