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Green UK Economic Recovery Must Be Prioritised, Say Bosses

Green UK Economic Recovery Must Be Prioritised, Say Bosses
21 May 2020

The process of repairing the economic damage from the pandemic must favour plans to tackle climate change, say CEOs of more than 60 British organisations.

Post-coronavirus economic recovery plans are on the minds of many, and there are calls for polluting industries “without a proper climate plan” to be excluded from government help, according to the BBC. 

The signatories to an open letter to the Prime Minister include Barratt Developments, The Body Shop, Ben and Jerry's, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the National Trust.



“The pandemic’s economic recovery is the moment to finance the new energy economy.”

–Dr Jasmine Hyman

Principal Consultant, E Co



The importance of outside green space


As the immediate effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on people’s health, livelihoods and society’s behaviour as a whole is dealt with, governments around the world will, at some stage, turn to economic recovery. 

Some argue that the environmental agenda must feature heavily, as the crisis has shown the importance of looking after outside green spaces. The Office for National Statistics reports that one in eight households (12%) in Great Britain have no access to a private or shared garden during the coronavirus lockdown. 

This rises to more than one in five households in London (21 per cent), easily the highest percentage of any region or country of Great Britain. The next highest is Scotland, at 13 per cent.


A COVID-19 recovery to amplify climate commitment


Due to the pandemic, the COP 26 UN Climate Conference, due to take place in December 2020, has been postponed. According to E Co, a London-based consultancy specialising in designing low-carbon, climate-resilient projects, governments must demonstrate how a COVID-19 recovery can amplify their climate commitment in its place:

“Ever since the Earth Summit in 1992 set Agenda 21 on sustainable development, green policymakers have insisted that smart planning can make sustainability and economic growth align. The pandemic’s economic recovery is the moment to finance the new energy economy.” writes Dr Jasmine Hyman.

Governments and businesses can:


  1. Level the playing field for renewables and low-emissions energy alternatives by conditioning public financial assistance on an expanding green energy portfolio
  2. Condition public financial support to airlines on their adoption of net-zero emission commitments
  3. Incorporate principles of green urbanisation in municipal revitalisation schemes in order to promote safer food markets, transportation schemes, and other high-density areas that leave our species vulnerable (and uncomfortable)
  4. Focus economic stimulus plans on sustainable growth; integrate environmental consultants into municipal and national planning processes
  5. Invest in large-scale infrastructure projects to encourage electric transportation and mass transportation in order to create jobs and to ensure that fast-growing economic sectors, like logistics, grow in a sustainable way
  6. Encourage and incentivise new workplace norms wherein video conferences and working from home are accepted as alternatives to travel; reduce the need for non-essential travel 

Picture: A photograph of some coins and a calculator on a desk surface

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 21 May 2020


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