COP26 example: first UK council commits to One Planet Standard!

SWANSEA COUNCIL ANNOUNCE PILOT AS NEW ONE PLANET STANDARD LAUNCHES

In perfect timing for COP26, the One Planet Standard was launched on August 28 2021 in collaboration with the Good Governance Institute at the Festival of Good Governance using the hashtag #NOMOREGREENWASH!

It’s going to be showcased at COP26 in the Green Zone on Oct 11 at 3pm with guests including Sophie Howe, the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales.

Cllr Andrea Lewis, Deputy Leader of Swansea Council, stepped out of the Labour Party Conference during the launch to announce that Swansea Council will be piloting the new Standard, a good example to others of how to respond to COP26.

Joan Walley, ex-chair of the Commons Environmental Audit Committee, said the Standard “needs to be at the heart of the public and private sector to get everyone on the agenda. You’ve got to have a standard, best practice, auditing and teamwork. It’s not whether we have to act, but how, and this shows how.”

Former environment minister Jane Davidson talked of the relevance of One Planet Development to the principle of reducing the ecological footprint. “It’s holistic, nothing gets left out,” which is why, she said, the One Planet Standard is helpful for tracking Scope 3 impacts, and for creating a bespoke culture change plan in organisations.

Andrew Corbett-Nolan, Director of the Good Governance Institute said the Standard has “real substance and importance”.

All speakers underscored that “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.”

Paul Bridle of Assessment Services spoke of how their independent advice supports a process of continuous improvement.

Virginia Isaac, the One Planet Centre’s assistant director, spoke of the benefits to busy SMEs, chiefly, that “it’s an investment, not a cost” that pays off in many ways.

How does it work?

The One Planet Standard incentivises companies and public bodies to commit to reducing their ecological footprint and helps them create a road map towards net zero with the necessary targets and metrics to keep them on their journey. They will develop a culture of continuous improvement, moving through bronze, silver and gold levels as they reach their targets, guided by independent assessors.

At its core, the One Planet Standard uses an integrated reporting methodology to assist an organisation to measure, account for and improve on the environmental impact of its activities.

Professor Mervyn King, chair of the Integrated Reporting Council and special advisor to the Good Governance Institute used integrated reporting and the concept of corporate social responsibility to establish clean drinking water as a basic human right sanctioned by the United Nations.

He said:

“It’s the responsibility of every organisation to demonstrate value to their community and society as a whole.

The Standard’s developer, the One Planet Centre CIC’s founder-director, David Thorpe, said:

“The One Planet Standard helps organisations of all types combat climate change and re-introduce more biodiversity and nature into our environment, by adjusting the complete impacts of their activities – their estate, products, services, and operations. The One Planet Standard will assist organisations to use integrated reporting to account for the progress they are making towards achieving the 17 UN sustainability goals”.

The One Planet Standard is supported by the Welsh Future Generations Commissioner, Sophie Howe, and many of the top environmentalists in Wales. A nation recognised as a world leader in this field.

Sophie Howe on the One Planet Standard:

“The Standard aligns and builds on my existing advice in the area of decarbonisation and enhancing nature resilience, and it can help not only the public sector but all organisations in Wales with practical actions towards meeting carbon emission and biodiversity targets.“

Councillor Andrea Lewis, Deputy Leader of Swansea Council, on the council piloting the Standard:

“I’m confident that we can reach bronze accreditation. The plan is to take the cabinet report to November, not just to outline the climate and nature emergency plan that we have but also to formally commit to adopting the standard, fully engaging with [the Centre] and we really look forward to piloting it and championing it for other local authorities to take part as well.”

The launch was chaired by Jane Davidson, the architect of the Well-Being of Future Generations Act in  Wales, who called the Standard “an impressive tool to help people be confident in their emission reduction”.

Good Governance Institute partner Jaco Marais, who collaborated with the One Planet Centre on the launch of the Standard, said: “The Good Governance Institute exists to make the world a better, fairer place. We are not naïve. Our impact relies on influencing the organisations we work with, such as the  NHS, universities, local authorities and charities.”

The Standard is independently assessed and accredited by Assessment Services Ltd, whose CEO Paul Bridle said at the launch:

“We’re delighted to be supporting the One Planet Centre with their aims to create a better planet. The Standard will help organisations wishing to ensure they play their part in securing the future of our planet in a practical way.”

Cllr Andrea Lewis concluded by saying:

“It’s important to have measurable standards and an independent set of eyes making sure that we don’t have gaps in things that we should be focusing on. We’ve made a commitment to reach net-zero as a council by 2030. We hope that across the city of Swansea we reach net zero by 2050. But this is about changing behaviours, winning hearts and minds, bringing businesses, bringing the public along with us and of course engaging our staff.”

Notes

The Standard was launched on Tuesday (28th) as part of the Good Governance Institute’s Festival of Governance 2021. The launch was chaired by Jane Davidson.

She was joined by a panel including:

  • David Thorpe, Founder, One Planet Standard
  • Joan Walley, Former MP, Shadow Environment Minister and Chair of the Environmental Audit Select Committee for five years
  • Virginia Isaac, One Planet Standard
  • Paul Bridle, CEO, Assessment Services
  • Jaco Marais, Partner, GGI
  • Sebastian Wood, Managing Director, Whitby Wood

The self-assessment tool is available, and organisations can receive support, and opt to use toolkits, training and capacity-building from The One Planet Centre.

Goals that organisations can set will involve greater efficiency, reducing raw materials use, tackling the lifecycle ecological footprint, cutting energy use and pollution, and reversing the damage to nature. Social and ecological value can be captured by adding relevant criteria to the National Social Value  Portal tool for procurement contracts and linking them to the Well-Being Act (Wales) and Sustainable  Development Goal indicators.

The end goal would be for all expenditure to, besides achieving its primary business aim, improve the future security of humanity and the natural environment, i.e., to use economic power to do only good.

Understanding the requirements of the One Planet Standard will help senior leaders shape strategic direction, help leaders and managers implement change, help staff shift the corporate culture, help customers, suppliers and service contractors manage product and service life cycles, and contribute to partnership working.

The One Planet Standard supports continuous improvement, with a Plan > Do > Check > Act virtuous circle loop. Organisations set a timeline, with milestones, to reach a one-planet footprint using measurement and verification tools.

The following graph shows the extent of humanity’s ecological deficit. It is over 50 years since we operated within the limits of what the planet can support. This is why every organisation needs to  contribute to the urgent effort to reverse this trend:

Humanity's ecological footprint since 1970 graph

Humanity’s ecological footprint since 1970 (graph). The green line represents what the planets can provide. Image: Global Footprint Network and WWF.

About The One Planet Centre CIC

The Centre is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company (company no. 12510450). It is based in  South Wales, UK. It supports any organisations, communities and individuals seeking to reduce their ecological and carbon footprints with workshops, tools, consultancy, training and communications.  Director: David Thorpe. More: https://oneplanetcentre.org.

About Assessment Services Ltd.

An international independent assessment centre with over 30 years of experience in assessment and accreditation. It is committed to ensuring an assessment process that adds value to organisations being accredited. Director: Paul Bridle. More: https://assessmentservices.com/

About the Good Governance Institute

The Good Governance Institute (GGI) exists to help create a fairer, better world. It supports those who run the organisations that can and do shape our world by ensuring they are run by the most talented,  skilled and ethical leaders possible and work to build fair systems that consider all, use evidence, are guided by ethics, and thereby take the best decisions. This enables organisations to play their part in building a sustainable, better future for all. GGI’s knowledge is based on the latest evidence gathered through its consultancy services work with public sector organisations.

More: https://www.good-governance.org.uk/about-us

Councillor Andrea Lewis
Virginia Issac, Assistant Director, One Planet Centre

“It’s an investment, NOT a cost”

Virgina Isaac
en_GBEnglish (UK)

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