Canary Wharf Group will be world's first plastic-free commercial centre
Canary Wharf Group has announced it will become the world’s first plastic-free commercial centre, as part of the Plastic Free Community initiative by Surfers Against Sewage.
The UK marine conservation charity is aiming to make 125 communities across the UK plastic free by 2020, with Canary Wharf leading the charge. The commitment, which is just one step in CWG’s #BreakingThePlasticHabit campaign, comes in the firm of targets across five key areas: governance; local business support; community engagement; community events; and the formation of a group to steer the project.
Steve Greig, Co-Managing Director of Canary Wharf Management said: “We have put in motion a template for education, simplification and collaboration to work towards a single-use plastic free future.”
Greig confirmed the commitment was “our next step in the #BreakingThePlasticHabit campaign, our framework to continue this long-term strategy, something we truly hope will be part of Canary Wharf’s legacy”. He added: “It is our dream that this project will change our incredible community, and its environment, in a credible and positive way.”
Hugo Tagholm, Chief Executive of Surfers Against Sewage, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Canary Wharf Group through the process of gaining Plastic Free Community accreditation. This is fantastic news for London, the UK and the rest of the world. It’s a world first and it sets a very high standard.
“The potential to inspire solutions-focused collaboration, innovation and partnership is enormous. We’d like to see other global financial centres take similar action on single-use plastics in the interest of healthy and happy communities everywhere.”
The Canary Wharf development is the heart of London’s CBD and is occupied by some of the world’s largest financial institutions such as Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and JP Morgan Chase. As such, it is well-placed to influence other business developments across the globe.
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.