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Robinson Packaging champions green recovery ahead of COP26

CEO of Robinson plc, Dr Helene Roberts, represented the packaging industry at a virtual meeting of over 200 business leaders, including chief executive and chairman from nearly half of the FTSE 100, to kick start plans to make Britain a global leader of environmentally sustainable economies.

The COP26 UN climate change talks due to take place at the SEC in Glasgow in November were postponed as Covid-19 spread throughout the world, threatening to slow efforts to tackle climate change and declining biodiversity.

The aim of the event was to ensure that building an environmentally sustainable economy is back at the top of the agenda as business leaders met with COP26 president and business secretary Alok Sharma and environment secretary George Eustice to plan the UK’s journey to COP26, now scheduled to take place in November 2021. The event was organised by the Council for Sustainable Business (CSB), in partnership with Defra.

Businesses including Unilever, Standard Chartered, Direct Line and Sainsbury’s heard film director and climate change campaigner Richard Curtis lead discussions on how the UK business community is inspiring action to repair our planet. Senior representatives from more than 200 businesses, NGOs and government took part in the meeting.

Dr Helene said, ‘It was a truly inspirational event and I was delighted and proud to have taken part in what we hope will be a game changing commitment globally. As a company we are continually striving to become the best we can be environmentally and it is exciting to see other industries playing their part in a series of dramatic commitments which will help drive rapid and transformational change.’

The event represents a key moment in the business community’s commitment to working with government to deliver a green and resilient economy, aligning government policy and industrial scale to deliver ambitious environmental solutions. 

Delegates focused on the steps being taken to advance a sustainable, green future and the need to take extraordinary actions to cut carbon emissions and restore nature and wildlife over the next 10 years, driving a ‘decade of difference’ for climate change and nature.

Attendees at the event included some of the largest businesses in the UK, with the power to effect real change and create a springboard for UK success. These commitments will put Britain at the forefront of the global business community, proving to customers and employees that the UK remains committed to a carbon negative/nature positive world.

Liv Garfield, CEO of Severn Trent who is also CEO of the Council for Sustainable Business commented: ‘Business leaders have faced unprecedented challenges these past months and planning a sustainable future has slipped out of focus for many. It is more important than ever that we stay committed to make Britain a world leader when it comes to sustainable business operations which protect the environment for our future generations.

‘In 18 months time the UK will play host to COP26. This has the potential to be an absolute turning point in our ambitions to be a global leader in the green economy, as well as for the rest of the world.

‘As we bounce back and get the economy thriving again, we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to recover and grow in the right way – a cleaner and greener way. Every business in the UK has a role to play in delivering this. That is why today we are challenging ourselves and others to kickstart this new approach and commit to rapid and real transformations, proving that Britain can rise to the green recovery challenge.’

George Eustice, environment secretary said: ‘While the world has rightly been focused on tackling the immediate threat of coronavirus, the great global challenges of climate change, and nature and biodiversity loss have not gone away.

‘That is why, especially ahead of COP26 in Glasgow next year, the government has committed to delivering a green and resilient recovery; the show of support from business leaders prioritising reducing emissions and restoring nature will play a huge part in delivering this and ensuring that the UK continues to be a global leader in protecting our environment for future generations.’ 

Emma Howard Boyd, chair of the Environment Agency and CSB member, said:

‘Tackling climate change and the loss of nature is not just the right thing to do, the public want government and the private sector to do more. That is an opportunity that neither can afford to miss. By turning targets into actions, we will be showing leadership, which is good for the economy and essential to the UK’s goal of inspiring global change at COP26.’

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