Thursday, May 30, 2024

Nature’s Workforce: Campaign urges UK staff to lobby for workplace nature action

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WWF, the RSPB, and the National Trust have teamed up to launch a new online guide designed to help employees in the UK lobby for “nature-positive change” at their company.

Dubbed Nature’s Workforce, the online resource hub has been developed by the charities alongside employees and managers from a range of industries. It includes a step-by-step guide on how to start conversations at work about how firms can play a bigger role in combatting the degradation of nature.

The charities said they hoped the Nature’s Workforce initiative would help employees to learn about how best to engage with their employer on environmental and climate issues.

The charities said UK workers could encourage their firms to undertake a raft of green actions, such as embedding net zero emissions targets into their corporate strategies, switching to greener pension plans that support habitat restoration, and keeping track of supply chain impacts such as transport emissions, packaging waste and energy consumption.

Businesses could also choose to undertake actions to improve biodiversity at their sites, or support local community groups and green spaces, either financially or through volunteering initiatives, the charities suggested.

The initiative has been created in support of the charities’ Save our Wild Isles campaign, as part of which they also commissioned a YouGov poll of over 2,250 UK adults showing almost two-thirds – 62 per cent – think their employers should be doing more to tackle issues such as nature loss and climate change.

Almost nine in 10 of those polled also agreed companies should consider the impact of their business on nature when making decisions, and 52 per cent are confident their employer can take positive action in the workplace to stem nature’s decline, it found.

However, it also revealed 42 per cent of respondents do not feel confident to have a conversation with their employer about what more their business could be doing to help protect nature in the UK.

Fiona Ellis, director and co-founder of the campaign group Business Declares, which supported the development of the Nature’s Workforce initiative, said the tool should help people “feel empowered to influence at work and take action” to combat the nature crisis.

“Business Declares Network exists to help businesses accelerate action on the climate, nature and social emergency and some of our 140 members tested out the tool in early stages and gave feedback,” she said. “We need grassroots support for change within business from all employees.

“The clear signposting of how to have conversations on nature and our impact that the guide provides will help people at every level.”

Entrepreneur and star of BBC’s Dragons Den, Deborah Meaden – who is an ambassador for both RSPB and WWF – also welcomed the initiative, arguing the need to protect and restore nature “is something businesses cannot afford to ignore”.

“Without it, supply chains would collapse and most companies couldn’t function,” she said. “This guide will hopefully spark conversations in firms across the UK and help put nature at the centre of boardroom decisions. 

“Our business community is packed with innovative thinkers and pioneering companies, capable of speaking to millions of consumers and influencing government policy. I’ve no doubt we have the ability to tackle the nature and climate crisis – but we need to act fast, and we need to act now.”

You can now sign up to attend the fifth annual Net Zero Festival, which will be hosted by BusinessGreen on October 22-23 at the Business Design Centre in London.

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