IEMA declares climate and environmental emergency

Sustainability body IEMA has declared an environmental emergency and called on all organisations to respond with urgency and action.


IEMA said that environment and sustainability professionals are uniquely positioned to respond to this emergency, making vital contributions within businesses, organisations and communities.

The announcement comes as millions of people across multiple countries prepare to take part in mass protest against government inaction on climate change.

IEMA board chair, Paul Leinster, said: “The 2018 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and 2019 report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, show that the current situation and future trajectory has catastrophic implications for global society and the environment.

"Government, business and society need to respond with urgent action to deliver systemic change within a very short timeframe. IEMA therefore reaffirms its commitment to addressing the issues and declares that there is a climate and environmental emergency.”

Building on existing work, IEMA released its first position statement on climate change in 2012, identifying key policy calls and working with professionals to support change.

The organisation said that the continuing and escalating emergency requires leadership at all levels, from government through to individuals.

“International targets for emissions, conserving and restoring nature, and for achieving sustainability cannot be met by current trajectories. Global goals for 2030 and beyond can only be achieved through transformative changes”,  said IEMA climate change policy and engagement lead, Nick Blyth. 

IEMA provides professionals with unique networks where members can share experience and mobilise change. It appealed for every organisation to join it by becoming carbon neutral in 2020, and to work progressively to transition operations towards zero carbon and sustainability. 

“We want to see every IEMA professional, no matter where they are in their career, committing to take positive action to deal with the Climate and Environment Emergency and, to develop targets and goals to help them realise this ambition both in the workplace and at home. As environmental and sustainability practitioners we need to be ambassadors and to be leading by example”, said IEMA fellow and steering group chair for the IEMA climate change and energy network, Jonathan Foot.

IEMA will work with organisations and act as an advocate on behalf of members through the rapid change now required. It will also convene others to influence policies, standards and frameworks that will support transition both in the UK and internationally.


Image credit | Shutterstock

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