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The UK’s world-leading professional institutions launch Charter for Climate Action

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London commuters. Image via Flickr: Steve_Way
London commuters. Image via Flickr: Steve_Way

During London Climate Action Week, professional bodies are launching the Charter for Climate Action to accelerate achieving the Paris Agreement goals.

The UK’s world-leading professional institutions are launching the Charter for Climate Action this Thursday, committing to support their members to prioritise both the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement in their work.

A working group of eight professional institutions have developed the Charter after meeting with over 45 professional bodies at London Climate Action Week last year. The ambition is for the majority of the UK’s learned societies and professional organisations to commit to the Charter ahead of COP26 to bring wide-ranging expertise to focus on the climate crisis.

Nigel Topping, UN High Level Climate Champions for COP26, said: 

“The UK’s professional bodies represent the UK’s place at the forefront of thought leadership in all parts of the economy, and are vital to help the UK reach its legally-binding net zero targets. Professionals make up a significant fraction of the UK workforce, and so it is encouraging to see the bodies that represent them come together with a commitment to oversee a just transition by ensuring everyone has a place in the emerging, sustainable economy. We look forward to these bodies rapidly increasing membership of the Race to Zero, and deploying their skills and expertise to accelerate the transition to a zero-carbon world.”

Nick Mabey, Founding Director and CEO of E3G said,

“No one profession or sector can meet the climate challenge alone. This Charter aims to prioritise working together at pace and with new levels of collaboration and professional knowledge sharing. This is essential if we are to head off the climate crisis this decade.”

The Charter is already supported by twelve professional bodies representing over 400,000 professionals and a further 300 member organisations.

With over 13 million professionals belonging to a UK membership association, the Charter has a potential to impact nearly half of the UK’s working population and reaches across every part of the economy.

Early supporters include Engineering UK, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, the Institution of Environmental Sciences, Professional Associations Research Network, Royal Society of Chemistry and Society for the Environment.

The supporters of the Charter maintain that the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis, coupled with the run-up to COP26, present us with a once-in-a-generation chance to create a greener, fairer and more prosperous society.

Michael Izza, ICAEW Chief Executive, said:

“As trusted advisors to all types of businesses, Chartered Accountants are well placed to drive the sustainability agenda and turn the ambition of a low carbon world into reality. The imperative is to act now and we can only stop the unfolding crisis by working collectively with other professions and sectors. We are proud to sign this Charter and look forward to working with fellow signatories to accelerate climate action.”

The Charter seeks three commitments from professional bodies:   

  1. Chart the path to sustainability for our members, by developing, reporting on, and sharing resources to create Climate Action Plans to reduce our emissions in line with 1.5 °C of warming. 
  2. Speak with a unified voice to and with professional bodies, government, and the public by creating an interdisciplinary professional bodies forum.
  3. Empower and inspire our members to drive sustainable growth, by providing continuous professional development tools, principles, and resources. 

Simon Edwards, Director of Governance and External Engagement at the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) commented,

“We believe that engineers and innovators hold the key to tackling climate change, but we do not exist in a vacuum. Most of these issues are significant, highly challenging and require unprecedented collaborative action. We are excited to work with our colleagues from across the broad range of professional bodies to champion interdisciplinary learning, cooperation and action towards reaching our net-zero targets.”

The Charter is being launched at London Climate Action Week, the largest independent climate festival in Europe, they will also host a webinar with experts including Ethny Childs, Engagement & Communities Officer at IES, Colin Church, CEO at IOM3 and Richard Spencer, Director at ICAEW.

The event will invite professional bodies from around the world to commit to the Charter and raise ambition ahead of COP26.  

The first results of the Charter will be presented in the Blue Zone at COP26 to demonstrate to international governments the importance of professionals in the transition to a sustainable economy.

  


    

    

  1. For more information on how to sign up to the Charter, images and interview requests, please contact Geraint Northwood on geraint.northwood@e3g.org.
  2. Office of National Statistics estimates 32.5 million people aged 16 years and over are in employment in the UK as of November 2020. 14M Brits represented by professional associations divided by 32.5M = 43% of the population represented by a professional body.

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