2019 preview: a look to the year ahead

IEMA’s chief policy advisor, Martin Baxter, talks to TRANSFORM about some of the key developments members should look out for in 2019 as the UK prepares for Brexit.

Environment Act to be laid before parliament around May 2019 and receive royal assent by the end of the year

IEMA: Has worked with various NGOs and business groups on the Broadway Initiative to develop an initial blueprint for the Act. Work will continue into 2019.

Martin Baxter: “Our work on the Broadway Initiative with our partners is an important contribution to what we think has the potential to be an ambitious Environment Act. However, IEMA members want to see far more than recreating the status quo, which was in Defra’s initial consultation and the EU (Withdrawal) Act, if we are to meet the government’s intention to leave the environment in a better state over the next 25 years.”

Biodiversity Net Gain consultation opened in December 2018

IEMA: Has worked with the Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA) and the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) to develop guidance that helps professionals and industry achieve ‘net gain’ targets for biodiversity.
Martin Baxter: “The government committed to environmental net gain for new developments in its 25-year Environment Plan. The work we have done is referenced in its biodiversity net gain proposals, and there will be a full 12-week consultation for that and the Resources and Waste Strategy, which should both run into January and February 2019.”

ISO 14008 – Monetary valuation of environmental impacts and related environmental aspects to be published in Q1 2019, followed by ISO 14007 by the end of the year

IEMA: Martin has helped develop the standards through his work as chair on the International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) subcommittee for EMS standards.
Martin Baxter: “Those are relevant standards that I think will be really useful for members to be aware of, which link economics and accounting to environmental impacts. ISO 14008 is the methodology, and ISO 14007 is how you apply that in an organisation. We also expect ISO 14090 to be published in the middle of next year, which is a framework standard for climate change adaptation.”

COP25 in the planning stage

IEMA: Partnered with ISO and the IAF, was selected by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to jointly host a side event at the COP24 climate talks in Poland, focusing on standards and climate change. More than 1,000 organisations applied for side events.
Martin Baxter: “We hope to be able to organise a side event at COP25, and will explore opportunities with potential partners – it’s a great opportunity to raise the profession’s contribution on such a critical issue.”

Modern Slavery review ongoing

IEMA: Was invited by the UK Home Office to provide input to the review of the UK’s Modern Slavery Act, with members’ feedback included in IEMA’s final submission. The sustainability body is in continued dialogue with the government and other stakeholders.
Martin Baxter: “We have submitted evidence for the review and await further information on the next step. We will continue to play a full part when the review results are published and the government comes forward with proposals to act on. We expect further movement on this next year.”

Final word

Martin Baxter: “We will continuously engage with IEMA members, both in terms of contributing to our thoughts and ideas on how we respond to various initiatives, and on the areas we are looking to address.

“As we exit the EU, there are many implications for the environment and sustainability profession and we will continue to keep people up to date on important changes and developments. All the statutory instruments are starting to come through now with regard to the Withdrawal Act.

“I suspect this will be one of our busiest years from a policy perspective – they are always busy, but there are some really significant issues that are coming up. It will be an exciting and challenging year ahead.”

Image credit | Shutterstock
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