The UK's 25-year Green Brexit plan shows supply chains' potential
- The United Kingdom this week announced it would take advantage of upcoming trade shifts to deliver a "Green Brexit," publishing a 151-page plan to build a greener future over 25 years.
- The plans includes vast initiatives to cut waste, stop deforestation, reduce chemical exposure and reform how agriculture and fisheries are managed in the U.K.
- The plan coincides with the government's Industrial Strategy and Clean Growth Strategy, which aims to work with businesses to ensure supply chains are built sustainably, contribute to clean growth and take advantage of the ongoing "artificial intelligence and data revolution."
Like many sustainability plans, the U.K.'s strategy is rife with high goals and targets, making the plan sound lofty and infeasible. But, coupled with national support and a clear enforcement plan, Prime Minister Theresa May this week showed just how far a country can go if its leadership is devoted to sustainability.
With manufacturing and waste contributing to 79.2% of the U.K.'s production output, according to the latest weighted data, the 25-year plan will transform the nation's economy. In fact, the plan proposes a few specific efforts that could start to shift market dynamics sooner rather than later:
- A roundtable will periodically examine specific supply chains' sustainability, as it relates to deforestation.
- The U.K. will engage with the Courtauld Commitment 2025 — a voluntary agreement among agri-food supply chain stakeholders — to cut one fifth of greenhouse gas emissions from the industry by 2025.
- A new chemical strategy will seek to improve tracking of chemicals across supply chains.
- Business groups will be asked to consider biosecurity within procurement practices.
- A new tax on coffee cups and plastic bags will affect the U.K.'s service sector, which accounts for 80% of the economy.
Sustainability is not just about fewer emissions, though: the U.K. is betting the plan will also reduce long-term risk.
By investing in deforestation and improved waste and water management, the government is simultaneously looking to combat climate change and planning to build a more resilient natural infrastructure.
"This is a national plan of action, with international ambition," May wrote in a foreword to the report. "By implementing the measures in this ambitious plan, ours can become the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we found it and pass on to the next generation a natural environment protected and enhanced for the future."
May added now is a perfect time to engage is such a plan, considering the world of change to come upon Brexit.
"When the Untied Kingdom leaves the European Union, control of important areas of environmental policy will return to these shores," she said.
- United Kingdom HM Government A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment
- Supply Management May unveils supply chain strategy for ‘greener future’
- Waste Dive British Prime Minister wants to cut all avoidable plastic within 25 years
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