Environment Government Policy Writing


This week saw the launch of the UK’s first conservation credit scheme. Conservation credits work very similar to carbon offsetting. If an area of land or water is to be developed, the developers can offset their impact by buying credits in biodiversity. Areas of biodiversity will then get developed in designated locations. Biobanking is becoming a really big emerging market.

While the idea of need to compensate for environmental damage seems like a good idea, you can’t manufacture biodiversity. Letting builders or developers essentially pay for environmental degradation, is not doing anything for conservation, if anything it’s just showing that everything has a price tag.

By issuing conservation credits, it inherently implies that a price can be put on biodiversity- but how can you measure and value this? And can it work retroactively? What about damage that’s already been done?

Like carbon offsetting, you are paying to alleviate guilt, pressure, bi-laws. But you cant really put a price on biodiversity. You can’t pay £500,000 to create a panda reserve because something that you want to build just might happen to obliterate a wild turkey population.

Environment Uncategorized

Loyalty to the Tap

Earlier this month, Naya, the Canadian bottled water company was awarded a Green Packaging Award for making its bottles from 100% post -consumer recycled plastic, also called rPET (recycled polyethylene terephtalate).

It is being hailed by many as a great step forward for waste reduction, cutting CO2 emissions and encouraging innovation in packaging. Naya are the first bottled water company in the world to use this type of technology.

Although it all sounds peachy keen and ‘innovative’ and ‘sustainable’ and whatever buzz word you want to use, the issue isn’t the packaging, its the act itself. Bottling water doesn’t make sense, especially given how labour and resource intensive recycling is, combined with perfectly clean, tap water readily available in Canada, and many developed countries in the world. Even after Dasani revealed its water is purified tap water people didn’t seem to bat an eyelid. Apparently, 25% of all bottled water is from a tap. This is something that has been so well documented and there’s a growing movement to boycott bottled water.

I don’t think I’ll ever really understand why the developed world, with high standards of water treatment, would ever need bottled water.

(Image courtesy of James Chang)