One Plastic Free Day 2019

One Plastic Free Day 2019

BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 22 May '19

Campaigners and business to unite to demand government and industry speed up pace of change

Campaigners are aiming to touch the lives of one billion people as part of One Plastic Free Day on 05 June this year.

International campaign group A Plastic Planet is aiming to inspire people across the world to participate in one of the biggest visual surveys ever conducted on the plastic crisis.

As part of an international day of action that will coincide with World Environment Day, the One Plastic Free Day logo is set to be projected at a host of iconic global sights including Times Square in New York.

Pick, snap, post

A Plastic Planet is asking people to take a photo of the one thing they want to go plastic free and post it across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram with the tag #oneplasticfreeday.

It could be your biro, your drinks bottle, your trainers, your magazine wrapping, your carpet, or your toothbrush.

It might be a bunch of bananas in a pointless plastic bag. Or a plastic drinks stirrer that remains useful for a matter of seconds yet remains on the Earth for ever.

The photos will form the basis of an interactive world map at oneplasticfreeday.com.

A global report

Following 05 June the comprehensive global results will be published as part of a landmark visual report into the frustration caused by unnecessary plastic across the Americas, Asia, Europe, Africa and Australasia.

The major new visual report is set to shed new light on the extent of the global plastic crisis, identifying hotspots around the world where decisive change is most needed.

One Plastic Free Day is also set to see governments and big business make their own plastic reduction pledges.

1 billion people

Last year a quarter of a billion people joined together to create the world’s first One Plastic Free Day. From the litter-choked beaches of Indonesia and India to the waste-crammed landfills of New York and London, people united in a simple cause – to ignite and inspire the world to turn off the plastic tap.

Campaigners believe One Plastic Free Day 2019 could touch the lives of up to a billion people.

One Plastic Free Day is backed by high-profile figures including Hollywood stars, athletes and leading campaigners.

One Plastic Free Day Instructions

‘One Plastic Free Day 2019 belongs to the world. It is not about any single organisation or individual. From Lagos to London, Phuket to Paris, it’s about people coming together to gather vital intelligence on the true extent of the plastic crisis.

‘So far there have been too many words and not enough action. June 5 is the time for everyone to join together to show industry and governments that we, the public, have had enough. We don’t want to be part of the plastic pollution problem any longer – Every time we shop we feel guilty. Why is it taking so long for change to happen?

‘I’m incredibly excited about the prospect of mobilising one billion people for the brighter plastic-free future we all know is possible.’

SIAN SUTHERLAND
A Plastic Planet co-founder

Plastic pollution

Globally some eight million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our oceans every day. Around the world, one million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute, while up to five trillion single-use plastic bags are used worldwide every year.

The level of microplastic pollution on land is thought to be up to 23 times the level of contamination in global oceans.


SOS in London

SOS in London

BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 21 Apr '19

Premieres, debates and environmental art at the ‘Sustainability on Screen’ film festival

A new film festival curated by Rich Hobday, an actor, film producer, vegan and environmentalist, came to London earlier this month to inspire a more sustainable and environmentally friendly ideal.

Rich has worked on major British film productions and TV shows, and is a film producer on many British feature films. He is incredibly passionate about the role films can play in delivering a positive message, and the use of film and drama to convey poignant social and political issues.

Inspiring change

The ‘Sustainability on Screen’ (SOS) film festival showed 10 films across two amazing venues and was attended by over 300 people, stimulating debate, discussion and raising awareness of climate change, sustainability, veganism and conservation. The festival inspired people to make changes that could help to save the planet.

Day one took place at The Muse Gallery; SOS was launched with the exciting world premiere of a new documentary series by director and activist James Hoot. Planet Vegan screened its first episode and the exclusive audience, including vegan bloggers and journalists, enjoyed a comprehensive discussion on veganism and a Q&A with the film’s director and its editor, Lars Walther.

This was followed by a screening of the BAFTA Award-winning short film 73 Cows, and the packed gallery had an inspiring discussion with director Alex Lockwood.

‘To see so many people interested in the environment, climate change and veganism was very humbling. The films and discussions really opened people’s eyes to how they can change their lifestyle and habits, to not only improve the environment but their own health. Everyone went away with more information, more knowledge and an appetite for progress. It’s a really exciting time and there is a real commitment from people of all ages to make a difference.’

RICH HOBDAY
SOS film festival director

Art and plastic

Artist and leading environmentalist Leah Wood curated her ‘NOW’ art exhibition at the event, which included environmental artworks exploring the effects of plastic, fracking, a polluted ocean, rising sea levels, threats to habitat and animals, flooding and drought.

There was a talk and Q&A with the artists Collette Cooper and Louise McCurdy on plastic waste and the environment.

A highlight of the day was the elephant rescue film Love and Bananas, followed by a moving and inspirational talk by the CEO of Save The Asian Elephant, Duncan McNair. In addition, the festival saw the launch of Bumble Beer, a new, sustainable vegan beer that supports environmental and bee projects.

Vegan films and debates

Day two moved to the magnificent Playground Theatre and hosted further vegan and environmental films, including a workshop on sustainable living by Dominica Roszco.

A discussion and Q&A with some of the leading names in veganism, including Dr Gemma Newman, chef Derek Sarno, Cath Kendall and Romy London, also contributed to this event’s success.

Juliet Gellately (CEO of Vegan charity VIVA!), gave an insight into her work and answered questions, followed by an inspiring and motivational talk by adventurer Lindsey Cole. Lindsey discussed her epic adventure swimming the length of the River Thames dressed as a mermaid, collecting plastic along the way.

Planning for ‘Sustainability on Screen 2020’ is already underway, as Rich Hobday says: ‘I wanted to create a new film festival which provided a platform for filmmakers, documentary makers, activists and new community audiences, to come together to view and debate current films and documentaries. We achieved this and can’t wait to start planning the 202 festival’.

With more films, more guest speakers and another opportunity to send an SOS to the world, we’re sure this will be a roaring success.


Kickstarting ethical packaging

Vivo Perform

BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 20 Apr '19

Help Glastonbury company Vivo Life switch to 100% home compostable packaging

Vivo Life, a Glastonbury-based vegan health and fitness supplement company, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help it create its zero waste, 100% home compostable packaging.

Vivo Life is famed for creating award-winning plant-based supplements that don’t cost the Earth, including My Green Pod Hero Vivo Perform, a plant-based protein powder. The Glastonbury-based company is now looking to ditch its plastic packaging and replace it with a home compostable alternative, which breaks down in food waste bins or in your back garden in less than 12 months.

Speeding up the shift

In order to fund the first production run of this new packaging, Vivo Life has launched a Kickstarter campaign to speed up its eco-friendly journey and ensure it can implement this positive change as quickly as possible.

Rewards start at just £12, so you can support this great shift while getting a good discount on products we’re sure you’ll love: Vivo Magic Adaptogenic Mushroom Latte, Vivo Perform Raw Plant Based Protein and Vivo Thrive Living Multinutrient.

Click here to find out more about the Vivo Kickstarter campaign and how to get involved

Vivo Life operates from a warehouse powered by renewable energy and plants one tree for every order it receives on its website. This move to compostable packaging is another step forward in the company’s mission to help safeguard the planet and all the living beings that call it home.


‘We’re a business that is serious about sustainability, so we’re hugely excited to be able to bring this 100% home compostable packaging to the health and fitness industry. Collectively, responsible plastic use is one of the biggest changes we can make for the future of our planet and we believe it is the responsibility of businesses like ours to stand up and take action.

‘As an independent business, this Kickstarter will enable us to bring this compostable product to market as quickly as possible and help bring about this important change much faster. Through our Kickstarter, people will be able to pre-order a home compostable product, at a discounted rate, and we’ll also be planting a tree for every backer to help aid reforestation and agroforestry. We’re truly hoping to reach our target as quickly as possible to enable us to bring our sustainable packaging alternative to life.’

JOSH BOLDING
Co-founder of Vivo Life


‘This is not a littering issue’

'This is not a littering issue', says SAS

BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 19 Apr '19

Research reveals UK’s ‘biggest packaging polluters’, with Coca Cola and PepsiCo responsible for 25% of packaging pollution found on UK beaches

The UK’s biggest ever nationwide survey of packaging pollution found on UK beaches and rivers has revealed that the vast majority of UK waste found strewn across the coastline is the responsibility of just a handful of companies – with Coca Cola and PepsiCo named the worst offenders.

49,413 items recorded

The figures, unveiled by ocean conservation charity Surfers Against Sewage, have been submitted to government as campaigners call for transparency from the UK’s ‘biggest packaging polluters’.

It follows the UK’s largest ever nationwide survey of packaging pollution found on Britain’s beaches and rivers, conducted by more than 45,000 volunteers during SAS’s recent Big Spring Beach Clean series.

The results show that the vast majority of UK branded waste found strewn across the coastline is the responsibility of just a handful of parent companies, with 10 parent companies accounting for well over half the total number of items.

During the 229 cleans in April, 49,413 pieces of pollution were picked up, of which 20,045 were branded. Coca Cola produced the largest proportion of branded items (15.5%). PepsiCo made 10.3%, followed by Mondelez International, which owns Cadbury, at 6.8%, McDonalds at 6% and Nestlé at 5.5%.

‘Our survey of packaging pollution on beaches and rivers clearly shows that big business is responsible for the scourge of plastic and packaging pollution.

‘Just 10 companies were responsible for over half of the packaging pollution recorded. These companies must invest more in the redesign of packaging, alternative ways of product delivery and ramping up packaging re-use to truly turn the tide on the plastic pollution that is sweeping our world.

‘People and planet need these companies to change how they do business. At the moment, the cost of this waste is left in the hands of local councils, tax payers and, finally, the environment.’

HUGO TAGHOLM
Chief executive of Surfers Against Sewage

Packaging accountability

The research was submitted to the government as evidence in the consultation on plastic packaging and Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) in a bid to make producers (parent companies) take more responsibility for the costs of dealing with their packaging.

Under the present EPR guidelines, producers ‘that handle over 50 tonnes of packaging annually and have an annual turnover over £2 million’ should be accountable for the cost and system for dealing with the packaging they create and sell.

Currently, parent companies do not share information on the quantity of packaging they produce – hiding the scale of their damage to the environment, and paying less than 10% of the costs of dealing with it.

At the moment the cost of dealing with this waste is left in the hands of local councils, tax payers and, finally, the environment.

‘Not a littering issue’

New EPR regulation will mean producers become accountable for 100% of these costs, but it is critical that there is transparency with regards to how much packaging is being produced in order for new packaging responsibility regulation to be effective.

Hugo Tagholm, chief executive of Surfers Against Sewage, said: ‘Producers must offer full transparency and disclosure on the amount and type of packaging they use in order that new extended producer regulation can be truly effective. Our environment is in peril and plastic pollution is a clear indicator that business as usual just won’t do.’

‘This is not a littering issue’, Hugo continued. ‘Business needs to provide radical and responsible new systems that drastically reduce their impact on our oceans, forests and nature at large.’


The circular T-shirt

BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 18 Apr '19

Circular fashion has arrived, with T-shirts remade from worn out organic T-shirts

A fashion-tech business on the Isle of Wight has launched T-shirts made from worn out organic T-shirts and designed to come back to be remade again and again.

Customers can buy products or start their own brand selling their own custom prints for free using Teemill’s systems.

This is the first time this has been done; the hope is that open source and circularity will lead to rapid change in the fashion industry.

Reinventing fashion

Over 100 billion items of clothing are made per year, and yet a truck full of textiles is burned or buried in landfill every second. Current projections indicate that the linear clothing industry, which takes resources and creates waste at a furious pace, will more than triple by 2050.

By using modern technologies like AI to maximise the efficiency of the supply chain, products made by Teemill are printed in a renewable energy-powered factory in real time – seconds after they are ordered. There is no unsold stock.

‘Slowing down fast fashion won’t fix it, but when we took material people normally throw away at the end and make new products from it at the start, it changed everything. What is needed is the technology to make the reverse logistics of fashion possible and economical. That’s exactly what we’ve done.’

MART DRAKE-KNIGHT
Design engineer at Teemill

Teemill T-shirts

Customers scan the label inside with their phone to activate a free post returns coupon when the product is worn out. Teemill recovers and remanufactures the materials into new T-shirts and gives the customer £5 off a new item.

Technology efficiencies enable these plastic-free, organic and recycled T-shirts to be retailed new at £20.

‘Customers are incentivised to keep the material flowing with money off their next purchase, Teemill benefits from lower material costs and the model is truly sustainable. It’s a circular fashion economy where everybody wins.’


The Safer Seas service

The Safer Seas service

BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 17 Apr '19

At the start of the UK bathing season, a new app has been launched to provide real-time water quality information

Following major redevelopment, an innovative smartphone app that helps beach users, sea swimmers and watersports enthusiasts track pollution events and real-time water quality information has been launched.

What started out as a simple text alert service back in 2010, piloted at just two beaches, has now become a sophisticated system that covers over 350 locations across the UK. It now also includes Scottish beaches.

‘The Safer Seas Service provides free water quality and beach safety information for hundreds of locations nationwide. Our unique app ensures that all beach users can keep up to date with the latest changes in water quality, which can sometimes fluctuate dramatically during periods of heavy rainfall. We’re delighted to be expanding our coverage across all nations and bringing Scottish beaches into the service for the first time.

‘The Safer Seas Service also includes advice to help subscribers engage with environmental campaigns to protect our ocean and contribute to the ongoing evidence to ensure water companies are investing their profits in better protecting our precious beaches.’

HUGO TAGHOLM
CEO of Surfers Against Sewage

Created with the support of the Environment Agency, the revamped app notifies users of reduced water quality at their favourite beaches in real-time, enabling informed decisions about getting in the water – whether swimming, surfing or paddling.

The service will be more streamlined than ever before, delivering vital information directly to your smartphone.

In the last year alone the service has issued users with alerts for 2,039 sewer overflow spills and 1,638 alerts based on pollution risk forecasting systems, across all listed locations.

Live surf and tide conditions

Alongside real-time water quality information, the app provides live surf and tide conditions and descriptions for each beach, giving relevant information such as dog restrictions, facilities and lifeguard services.

A record of issued alerts will be available for each location, and the service will collate evidence to support Surfers Against Sewage in its continued campaigning legacy of challenging water companies to further investment in improving bathing water quality standards.

Furthermore, by providing guidance and information on how ‘sewer stewardship’ can prevent blockages and so-called ‘fatbergs’ that can lead to overflows, it’s hoped the improved app will also engage users in better understanding water quality issues and encourage responsible actions.

To download the smartphone app, designed for both Apple iOS and Android platforms, users should search for ‘Safer Seas Service’ within their app store.


Ocean Memories

Instruments carved from ice collected in Arctic waters

BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 16 Apr '19

World’s most northern ice concert performed in support of Ocean Sanctuaries

Greenpeace has partnered with a group of musicians to record an ice concert in the far north of the Arctic. They played a piece called ‘Ocean Memories’ on instruments carved from ice collected in Arctic waters.

With temperatures below -12ºC, the rhythms of chimes, horns, ice percussion and a cello blended together to send a message for the need to protect at least 30% of our global oceans by 2030. The performance took place on 02 May and the video was released yesterday (15 May).

‘Treat ice with respect’

‘You have to treat ice with respect, otherwise it breaks. We should do the same with nature’, said Terje Isungset, the lead musician on the three-minute performance composed exclusively for the occasion.

‘By putting the spotlight on the Arctic ocean and ice loss, we want to emphasise the immediate need for ocean sanctuaries not only for the north pole but for the entire planet. Over the next year, governments are negotiating at the United Nations towards a Global Ocean Treaty that could pave the way for the creation of a network of ocean sanctuaries.”

‘This is a unique opportunity for governments to work together and create healthy oceans that are our best ally against a changing climate. The science is clear: our oceans are in crisis. All we need is the political will to protect them.’

HALVARD RAAVAND
Oceans campaigner from Greenpeace Nordic

The Arctic is this year suffering from a record-breaking ice loss and in April this year, the average temperature was 8 degrees above normal.


To highlight the many threats facing the oceans and to campaign for a Global Ocean Treaty covering all seas outside of national waters, Greenpeace is in the Arctic on its most ambitious expedition ever: an almost year-long Pole-to-Pole voyage.

In this first leg, Greenpeace’s ships the Esperanza and Arctic Sunrise have travelled to the northern ice edge to shine a light on the enormous threat posed by climate change, overfishing and plastic pollution to the Arctic ocean.


Air pollution in the home

Children are spending more time indoors, increasing exposure to air pollution

BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 15 May '19

Indoor air pollution 3.5 times worse than outdoor air pollution – and up to 560 times higher at its peak

A new study, using state-of-the-art pollution monitoring equipment to comparing indoor air pollution levels with outdoor air pollution, has been launched ahead of this year’s
Clean Air Day (20 June).

The science project, commissioned by environment charity Global Action Plan, compared pollution levels over a 24-hour period in four towns and cities across the UK – London, Pontypridd, Liverpool and Lancaster.

Research results

The research, undertaken by National Air Quality Testing Services, monitored levels of ultrafine particle pollution both indoors and outdoors. The research identified the following:

  • Peaks of this type of indoor air pollution occur as a result of everyday activities, particularly cooking and using a woodburner.
  • The data shows that outdoor air pollution adds to indoor air pollution, creating a build-up of pollution in the home with pollution peaks taking longer than outdoors to disperse. The monitoring also identified that outdoor air pollution spikes created an increase in indoor air pollution.
  • Ultrafine particle pollution levels were on average 3.5 times higher inside than outside, peaking at 560 times outdoor air pollution.
  • The air pollution monitored consisted of ultrafine particles (UFPs).

According to a leading expert, ultrafine particles have the potential to have greater health impacts than PM10 or PM2.5 pollutants because they are smaller and evidence suggests they can be more easily absorbed into the body.

Time kids spend indoors

Clean Air Day also commissioned Opinium Research to undertake research into the length of time children are spending indoors.

The research found that, according to parents, children are spending larger proportions of their waking hours indoors than the previous generation. Given that air pollution is worse indoors than outdoors, this will potentially expose them to more air pollution.

During the school week children are spending the majority of their waking hours after school at home, indoors – on average six hours a day. This rises to seven hours a day at the weekend.

Clean Air Day’s research has been launched ahead of a more in-depth study Into the effects of indoor air pollution on children’s health, being carried out by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) in collaboration with the Royal College of Physicians (RCP).

The scale of the UK’s air pollution

One of the lead authors, Professor Stephen Holgate, a leading health and air pollution expert, said: ‘This study provides early indicators of the scale of the air pollution challenge that we face in the UK – not only on our streets but in our homes. With children spending increasing hours indoors exposing them to ultrafine particles of pollution, which can enter the bloodstream and could have a greater impact on vital organs, urgent action needs to be taken to address this issue of indoor air pollution.

‘Ultrafine particles have the potential to have greater health impacts than PM10 or PM2.5 because they can be more easily absorbed into the body. In addition their minute size means they behave together like a gas, are able to pass through the lungs into the circulation and get taken up into cells where they exert damaging effects.’

Chris Large, Senior Partner at Global Action Plan, says: ‘This year’s Clean Air Day we are placing a spotlight on the fact that air pollution isn’t just a problem on our streets, but in our homes too. You can’t just close your door and shut out air pollution. We were shocked to discover that pollution at its peak can be up to 560 times higher indoors than it is outdoors. The combination of indoor and outdoor air pollution sources is turning our homes into toxic boxes, with pollution trapped inside.

‘It’s vital that we raise awareness that air pollution is everywhere, but that there are many things we can do, both indoors and outdoors, to reduce overall pollution and protect ourselves and our families. Some key things you can do to help tackle our pollution
crisis are driving less frequently and walking or cycling instead, and opening a window when cooking at home.’

‘Things I can’t see’

Emma Prior, from Liverpool, is a mother of two teenagers with asthma, and was one of the people who took part in our study. She is concerned at a ‘growing awareness of things I can’t see that are causing me harm’.

She says: ‘Outside I’d expect to see quite a high level of pollution – we’re in a leafy street but still quite close to where the M62 comes into Liverpool. But I’m really surprised to see the peaks inside my house. I’ve become aware that we have pollution indoors through such things as the toaster, but I’ve never been too concerned as to do something about it. Now I’m going to look at prioritising ventilation.’

As part of its mission to raise awareness of the effects of air pollution and what people can do about it, Clean Air Day has launched a new set of easy-to-follow guidance on how people can reduce air pollution in the home and outdoors, together with ways to avoid air pollution and better protect their family’s health.


The ‘Bee Pit Stop’

The ‘Bee Pit Stop’ at London's King's Cross

BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 14 May '19

Huge ‘Bee Pit Stop’ unveiled at King’s Cross to raise awareness of the decline in the UK’s bee-friendly habitats

A giant ‘Bee Pit Stop’ adorned with thousands of pollinating flowers has been constructed in King’s Cross, London to raise awareness of the steep decline in the UK’s bee-friendly habitats.

Rapid urban development, alongside factors such as climate change, has made safe spaces with suitable flowers harder to come by, forcing bees to travel increasing distances between areas that are suitable for them to feed and nest.

Revealed yesterday (13 May) outside King’s Cross station, the billboard measures nearly 36m² and features thousands of flowers across 17 different varieties, with over 500 plugs of lavender and an abundance of spurges, salvia and sedum.

The installation comprises hexagonal sections that represent the structure of honeycomb, as well as two overhanging arms that mimic the shape of bee antennae.

Make your own bee pit stop

Created by B&Q in collaboration Matt Childs, designer of the RHS award-winning ‘B&Q Bursting Busy Lizzie Garden’, the aim of the ‘Bee Pit Stops’ is to encourage the nation to plant one million individual bee pit stops in outdoor spaces across the country. A bee pit stop is a dedicated area populated with bee-friendly flowers.

Whether it’s a whole pollinator flower bed or just a pot of lavender on a balcony, a bee pit stop is a safe space for bees to rest and refuel, which Brits can easily create in their own outdoor space.

‘The livelihood of bees is intrinsically tied to ours so it’s incredibly important that we do our part to save the bees – the consequences are dire if we don’t act.

‘We know that UK gardeners are increasingly eco-conscious and want to create outdoor spaces that are kind to nature and wildlife, but it’s imperative Britain takes action, and there is still more we can all do to make our gardens a haven for bees. Whether you’re planting a pot of lavender on your urban balcony, or a dedicated pollinator bed in your garden, it’s a lot easier than many think to create a ‘bee pit stop’ so we want as many people to get involved as possible.’

STEVE GUY
Outdoor Market director at B&Q

Everyone’s happy

The installation comes as new research reveals that over half (54%) of Brits consider themselves ‘eco-conscious’, with 85% saying they would like to see more bee-friendly spaces – especially in urban areas.

However, 22% don’t think their outdoor space is inviting to bees, and half don’t know how to make their own outdoor space bee-friendly. The main barriers cited are lack of know-how (31%) or not knowing where to start (29%).

A spokesperson from Greenpeace, added: ‘Bees together with bugs are important and essential pollinators. Four out of every 10 forkfuls of food off your plate are down to the bees. It’s vital that we do everything possible to encourage and protect them. Not only are they at risk from powerful and unnecessary pesticides they also suffer from pests and parasites capable of decimating their hives. Greenpeace agrees that the benefits of planting nectar-rich wildflowers and encouraging bees into your lives will make a real difference and help to build back those lost colonies and make you happy.’


The new A List

Harpa Concert Hall, Reykjavik, Iceland

BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 13 May '19

43 cities score an ‘A’ in CDP’s first ranking of 596 cities’ action to cut emissions and set climate strategies

An ‘A List’ featuring 43 global cities has been released by environmental impact non-profit CDP at the start of EU Green Week.

Barcelona, London, Paris, Cape Town, Hong Kong and San Francisco are among the 7% of cities reporting to CDP that have received the top score for climate leadership and action.

‘The need for action on climate change has never been more urgent, as the latest report from the IPCC has warned. Cities house more than half of the world’s population and are responsible for over 70% of the world’s energy-related carbon emissions, so they could make or break efforts to tackle climate change.

‘Just 7% of cities who reported to CDP in 2018 received an A. We urge cities worldwide to step up their action, set targets in line with what the latest science says is needed to prevent dangerous climate change, and transparently share their progress.’

KYRA APPLEBY
Global director for Cities, States and Regions at CDP

Rated A to D

Over 625 cities reported through CDP’s environmental disclosure platform in 2018, of which 596 were scored. They have been awarded an ‘A’ to ‘D’ score based on how effectively they are managing, measuring and tackling greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate-related risks including water security.

An ‘A’ score through CDP, which runs the global environmental reporting system for companies and subnational governments, means a city demonstrates strong climate adaptation and mitigation strategies, and consistently tracks its emissions.

Actions around the world

Leading action looks different around the world, depending on the size of the city, the size of its emissions and its susceptibility to extreme weather events.

Actions being taken by A List cities include:

LONDON: introduced an ultra-low emissions zone on 08 April 2019, which sees drivers with older, more polluting cars paying more to drive in central London in a bid to clean up the city’s air.

CALGARY: is building a new light rail system, aptly named the Green Line. The first stage will be completed in 2026 and is expected cut 30,000 tonnes of CO2e from the city’s traffic emissions every year – the equivalent of taking more than 23,000 cars off the road each year.

THE HAGUE: in its seaside resort of Scheveningen, the city has built a new waterfront boulevard. Invisible to the average citizen, a kilometre-long dike can be found beneath the boulevard, offering another layer of protection from coastal flooding.

TAIPEI: tackling drought is a top priority for the city; it has fixed 2,200 water leaks, saving 613,300 tonnes of water per year since 2015.

Renewables in Reykjavík

‘Calgary has been a leader on climate action for over a decade now’, said Warren Brooke, business strategist at Calgary’s Climate Change Program. ‘We’ve been at the forefront across the province and the country, piloting strategies to reduce our emissions and increase our resilience. Making CDP’s A List in 2018 has been a great recognition of our work to date.’

All 43 cities on the A List have ambitious targets to cut emissions, with 13 cities aiming to be climate neutral or carbon neutral by 2050. Among these are Melbourne, Reykjavík and The Hague. Melbourne aims to be carbon neutral by 2020, Reykjavík by 2040 and The Hague by 2030.

Four cities on CDP’s cities A List (Canberra, Paris, Minneapolis and San Francisco) have a target to have all energy used in the city coming from renewable sources. Reykjavík has already achieved this target.

By and large cities are at different stages when it comes to decarbonising their energy grids. Paris, Minneapolis, and San Francisco source 35%, 24% and 59% of their energy respectively from renewable sources.

More ambition please

This is the first time CDP has released a list of cities awarded an A in a bid to drive up ambition in the face of the growing urgency of the climate challenge.

The latest climate science from the IPCC shows the global economy needs to halve global emissions by 2030 and reach net zero emissions by 2050 to have a good chance of keeping global temperatures within 1.5°C of warming.

Current national action plans are not on track for a 1.5°C pathway and would result in 3°C of warming, according to research by Carbon Tracker. This means the contribution of cities is more important than ever. Cities are responsible for over 70% of the world’s energy-related carbon emissions, so could make or break efforts to tackle climate change.

Disclosing climate data

Every year, hundreds of cities report their climate data through CDP’s environmental disclosure platform and gain data-driven insights into gaps and opportunities for climate policy-development, resource and risk management and signal projects in need of investment.

In doing so they demonstrate ambition, transparency and good governance. All publicly disclosed data is made available for free public use on CDP’s Open Data Portal.

‘Across the world and the United States, cities are stepping up their ambition to reduce emissions, embrace renewables and adapt to risks exacerbated by climate change’, said Kelly Shultz, director of the American Cities Climate Challenge at Bloomberg Philanthropies. ‘We are proud that six winners of Bloomberg’s American Cities Climate Challenge made CDP’s cities A List, demonstrating climate progress. The success of climate action relies on bold action from global cities and CDP’s cities A List highlights replicable actions already taking place in cities worldwide.’