The One Planet Centre is calling for a genuinely sustainable post-pandemic recovery package. We believe this should be aligned with the goal of maximising well-being for all within planetary boundaries.
Citizens have endured so much, and we have learnt so much. We must learn from this. New investment in our economy cannot therefore be along the old lines.
Which stimulus measures?
Implementing energy and resource efficiency programmes and planting trees creates new jobs and a quick upsurge in economic activity in labour-intensive sectors, especially amongst SMEs and sole traders.
They can convert short-term benefits into long-term improvements such as increased competitiveness and a reduction in the UK’s carbon and ecological footprints at scale and speed by utilising existing programmes and designs, eligibility criteria and contracts. E.g.:
- Building retrofits and cashback replacement schemes on inefficient technology will reduce energy bills for householders and businesses, which they need as cash is scarce. These programmes can come with sufficient incentives to attract high uptake without greatly increasing costs and risks.
- A phase out of factory farms, including poultry, is needed as these are potential breeding grounds for diseases and contribute to environmental destruction. Owners should be given incentives and training to convert to agro-ecological methods of diverse forms of land-based businesses and a mass tree planting programme – including fruit and nut trees. This would absorb atmospheric carbon in soils and vegetation, enhance biodiversity, and create jobs for domestic production and consumption.
- Policymakers can combine high goals for energy efficiency with other infrastructure rollout programmes. These can create many jobs per pound spent and also use local value chains. Examples which support reducing emissions include:
- large-scale tree planting;
- smart grids;
- electric-vehicle charging;
- public transport infrastructure;
- cycle lanes and pedestrian zones;
- and LED street-lighting upgrades. Street light poles can double as electric-vehicle charging stations, and include 5G telecommunications infrastructure.
All of these will help us nurture and repair nature so we avoid this type of shock happening again in the future. The IPCC is predicting many similar and worse shocks unless we act.
The overall aim
…should be that by the middle of the century we meet the entire population’s minimum needs and human rights, in such a way that, if everybody in the world lived the same way, we would only need one planet to support us. At present we are behaving as if we had three planet Earths.
So six overall goals should be:
- Make the health and well-being of all citizens and their descendants the prime purpose of all governance
- Use public procurement to create a low impact, low consumption, circular economy
- Design places and things using biophilia and biomimicry
- 100% renewable energy
- Use public procurement & legislation to create value chains so that the UK provides most of its own food agro-ecologically, importing the rest only from sustainable sources
- Ensure that all imports are subject to the same controls regarding their ecological and social footprints.
To achieve this rapidly we should:
- Use the new EU Taxonomy to guide all investment (currently the EU aims to use this to underpin its €540bn Green Deal post-pandemic stimulus package and Just Transition; the UK should copy this).
- Pass the Well-Being of Future Generations Bill currently being considered in Westminster, which is based on the equivalent Welsh Act.
- Use social and natural capital accounting modelling to evaluate all official purchasing and planning decisions to ensure they are aligned with the same aim.
- Support local authorities to issue Green Bonds in line with the Taxonomy.