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Updated: 25 min 25 sec ago

Plastic is not Fantastic

Mon, 2017-08-14 09:59

Sometimes it can feel that as individuals it’s hard to make a difference. So when we heard about Leah Bromley’s small scale but highly effective action against Boots, we wanted to share her story!

Leah got in touch with Boots after spotting their ‘Plastic is Fantastic’ range of PVC cosmetic and toiletry bags.

Leah explains: “I first came across the packaging in April of this year. I was browsing the store and I noticed the slogan on the cosmetic bags. My initial response was that the slogan contradicted everything I understand about a sustainable lifestyle and the negative impacts of the use of plastic.

“I was also struck by how, despite an increased awareness among the general public about the use of plastic, this slogan neglects to show any thought that plastic is bad for the environment.”

Leah contacted the company, pointing out her concerns about the message it was sending. Boots replied to say they had passed her concern onto the packaging team, but 2 months later Leah still hadn’t heard back from them.

She emailed again to ask what action had been taken – the reply simply said ‘we are unable to discuss any results of our internal review meetings as this is company sensitive information.’

But after Sky News picked up on Leah’s story and ran a news item about it, the company finally responded. Boots told the broadcaster that they will immediately remove the slogan from products online and will remove it from items in stores from 2018.

This is a positive step – the message that ‘Plastic is fantastic’ (especially PVC which is particularly bad for the environment!) is outdated and ignores the huge environmental impact that plastic pollution has.

Leah is delighted that Boots have taken action: “Plastic is on the whole, a single use, non-biodegradable product which will be present in our ecosystems for years to come. It washes up on our beaches and is ingested by fish in the oceans.

“The use of plastic is so ingrained in modern life, it is difficult to imagine an alternative. Despite this, it is so important to make changes to our lifestyles that reduce its use. Simple changes such as reusable water bottles or consuming products only made from recycled plastic can reduce its usage. It is also important to be aware of local authority regulations on plastic recycling to ensure as much plastic can be recycled as possible.”

Leah’s action of emailing a company may seem small but has resulted in positive real world impact!

So next time you’re out and about and see something you think is just plain wrong – whether it be plastic wrapped bananas or plastic straws or stirrers – why not email the company responsible or send them a message on social media? As Leah has proved small actions can have huge impacts.

You can find our top tips to reduce your every day plastic use here.

The post Plastic is not Fantastic appeared first on Greenpeace UK.

Categories: Activist News

5 reasons why Volkswagen should embrace electric

Thu, 2017-08-10 16:07

Volkswagen is the largest car manufacturer in the world yet it is lagging far behind other companies when it comes to ditching diesel and going electric. Electric cars are the way of the future and it’s time for VW to make the switch – here are five reasons why.

  1.      Moving with the times

Recently, the car industry has made a massive shift to electric cars – most impressively Volvo announced that all new models will have at least partially electric engines by the end of 2019. While the rest of the industry is certainly increasing their investment in electric vehicles, Volvo have proved that these brands can do so much more. VW needs to follow in the footsteps of Volvo and make the shift to electric cars in order to stay ahead of the curve and to continue to be a leading car manufacturer in the long term.

  1.     Making up for ‘dieselgate’

In 2015, the emissions scandal shocked the world, revealing that VW had cheated the emissions test and its models were far surpassing the legal nitrogen oxide limits. By doing this VW has failed the public by significantly worsening the levels of toxic pollution across the world. They have also destroyed their reputation and lost the loyalty of many of their customers. By switching to electric, VW can begin to make amends to the public and the planet, as well as rebuilding their reputation.

  1.     Increasing profits

Electric car manufacturers are becoming increasingly valuable. Tesla is the most valuable car manufacturer in the USA, surpassing Ford, GM and BMW. It is the fourth most valuable car company in the world, despite only delivering less than 80,000 cars last year compared to the 2.3 million delivered by BMW. It is evident that the electric car industry is rapidly growing more and more valuable and it makes business sense for VW to move in this direction.

  1.      Getting rid of toxic air

In 2016, 40,000 people died prematurely from the effects of air pollution in the UK alone. A study by the World Health Organisation confirms that 92% of the world’s population live in places where toxicity levels exceed WHO limits. On our roads, a large chunk of air pollution comes from emissions from diesel engines. Data recently showed that diesel cars emit 10 times more toxic pollution than trucks and buses, whereas electric cars don’t emit any greenhouse gases or health-harming nitrogen oxide. That’s why we need car companies, namely Volkswagen, to get rid of diesel cars and to commit to only creating electric vehicles.

  1. Taking some responsibility for our climate

Diesel is a serious threat to the health of people across the world, but also to our climate. Running cars on fossil fuels like petrol and diesel is speeding up climate change and increasing global temperatures. Investment in electric cars – and making sure their batteries are powered by renewable energy – will lead us to a greener country where we can halt climate change. Given that, in 2016, Volkswagen made approximately $5.4 billion dollars, it should be easy for them to put corporate social responsibility into action and to make the world a cleaner and greener place.

If you agree VW should switch, send them a message here.

The post 5 reasons why Volkswagen should embrace electric appeared first on Greenpeace UK.

Categories: Activist News

Standard Chartered fails to protect forests

Wed, 2017-08-09 13:47

Some bad news, I’m afraid – Standard Chartered’s new palm oil policy is out and it fails to protect forests.

They’ve updated their commitments on lending money to palm oil companies. But there are so many loopholes, it won’t stop their customers tearing down forests in Indonesia and elsewhere.

The worst thing about it? Standard Chartered don’t expect palm oil companies to explain how they’ll safeguard forests until the end of next year. With forest fires burning in Indonesia right now – fuelled by reckless palm oil companies – that’s far too long to wait.

Standard Chartered received thousands of emails and phone calls explaining what they needed to do. But instead of becoming sustainability leaders, they’ve given their customers the green light to continue destroying forests.

Other problems with the policy include:

  • no requirements for palm oil traders to explain how they’ll cut off suppliers involved in deforestation;
  • no commitment on applying their policy to parent companies that own palm oil subsidiaries, which means the palm oil arm could destroy forests and the parent wouldn’t be held to account;
  • no requirement for palm oil clients to agree to being named, which would help us and other palm oil watchers see how well Standard Chartered are sticking to their promises.

Earlier this year, HSBC published a policy that covered all of these points, and set a tight deadline (which has already been and gone) for palm oil companies to publish their own policies.

Standard Chartered have wasted this opportunity to set new standards for banks funding palm oil companies, but that won’t stop us. We’ll gather any evidence of how Standard Chartered’s customers are devastating Indonesia’s forests and shame the bank into making their policies better.

For now, Standard Chartered have blundered, big time.

The post Standard Chartered fails to protect forests appeared first on Greenpeace UK.

Categories: Activist News

If Volvo can ditch diesel, so can VW.

Wed, 2017-08-09 10:04

We’ve seen news story after news story, study after study, proving just how dangerous diesel is. The people around us are also glaring evidence of the problem – those who walk down streets coughing or struggling to breathe in thick pollution. The fact is that for the 9 out of 10 people across the world who live in cities, diesel is a curse.

But change is coming. Just a month ago Volvo announced that it will stop creating cars run solely on toxic diesel. In just 2 years, they’ll only make cars fully or partly powered by batteries – that’s a big wave goodbye to the engines that have powered our cars for decades. If you couple this decision with the huge progress eco-superstar Elon Musk has made with Tesla, other car companies are beginning to run out of excuses. That’s why it’s time for those of us who care about healthy people and a healthy planet to demand that other car companies switch up too.

Our government recently proved that they will not be leading the charge to end diesel in the near future. Our Environment Minister Michael Gove may have gained front page splashes by saying that the UK would ban diesel and petrol cars and vans by 2040, but this target is unambitious to say the least. Even the petrol-heads at at Top Gear commented that the government probably wouldn’t have any cars to ban in 2040. With a few pushes, we can make sure of that.

The worst culprit in this air pollution and climate crisis is Volkswagen. This company has known for years that diesel is poisoning us.  Yet instead of taking responsibility, they cheated official tests that would have exposed just how toxic their diesel cars were – all the while filling their pockets with the tainted profits. Since then, they’ve refused to pay for the cost of a crisis they created – most recently telling London Mayor Sadiq Khan that they wouldn’t pay backdated congestion charges.

It seems only fair then, that VW start helping to lead the charge in a future that is bound – whatever they do – to be dominated by electric vehicles. After all, this problem cannot fall on the average car owner. When my Dad bought the diesel car he uses to drive to work there was nothing on the advert about an air pollution crisis choking children’s lungs. Neither was there an affordable green alternative offered to car drivers like him.

VW made €4.4 billion last year – so while car users don’t have the means to stop the air pollution crisis caused by diesel, VW do – and their lack of action speaks volumes. 8000 Greenpeace supporters have sent personal messages to VW asking them to ditch diesel and go electric, in the last 24 hours alone, will you be next?

The post If Volvo can ditch diesel, so can VW. appeared first on Greenpeace UK.

Categories: Activist News