A national conversation is needed to educate people on the impact of our food choices on nature and health, according to a new citizen-led report.
Coordinated by the National Trust, RSPB and WWF, The People’s Plan for Nature was created in collaboration with thousands of people across the UK including the UK’s first nationwide citizen’s assembly on nature. It calls for urgent, immediate action from governments, businesses, charities, farmers and communities to protect nature and change the way we value it.
Businesses are urged to appoint a director for nature to their board, whose role is to monitor and report on their nature impact. The plan also calls for clearer reporting on activities and costs of action to protect nature, tax breaks for nature-friendly research and development, and league tables of nature-friendly businesses.
The plan has a strong focus on food and farming. It calls on businesses to label food in terms of environmental impact and encourage a shift to sustainable farming by integrating the principles of nature-friendly farming into their operations.
Businesses are also urged to publish and promote annually their environmental credentials including what they have done to support the renewal of nature, not just its protection.
Individuals should change their consumption patterns to support nature-friendly businesses, even if the costs to themselves are higher. The plan seeks for the majority of people to reduce meat, dairy and fish consumption by at least 25% by 2030.
Those involved in developing the plan included a representative group of 103 people with different backgrounds, values and experiences chosen at random to form the citizen’s assembly. They agreed that businesses should take greater responsibility for food waste, better support people in being able to purchase produce containing less packaging, and encourage consumers to eat sustainable fish products.
The plan also includes recommendations for government including a cross-party commitment to enact a UK future well-being act and the inclusion of nature in all national and local policy and decision-making.
Existing legislation and designations to protect nature should be more robustly enforced, according to the plan, which also calls for stronger, more ambitious legislation and targets to show that nature is valued, and the creation of a set of UK-wide and regional targets to renew nature and increase biodiversity, led by ecological experts.
The plan calls too for the establishment of a new, permanent, UK-wide assembly for nature comprising appointed representatives from NGOs, industry and members of the public. Their role would be to scrutinise, challenge and hold to account government leadership and action that impacts on nature.