Compass Group, Nestlé and Diageo are among a number of food and beverage businesses urging the government to create a green recovery from Covid-19.
In a letter sent to the Prime Minister this week coordinated by UKSSD and the UN Global Contact Network, over 150 businesses and civil society organisations called on Boris Johnson to use the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to consolidate and future proof Covid-19 recovery plans in the UK.
The letter recommends the SDGs are used to prioritise the most vulnerable in society and level-up regional and societal inequalities.
Business leaders called on the government to build coherent policies for a healthy planet and to aid the transition to net zero, and to unite all sectors behind a plan to build a stronger and more resilient economy.
Signatories, which also include Baxter Storey and InterContinental Hotels Group, welcomed the Prime Minister’s recent statement about the need for a “fairer, greener and more resilient global economy” and to “build back better” after the coronavirus crisis.
They noted there is already “widespread support” across UK society, including the business community, for the future the global goals define.
The SDGs comprise 17 goals and 169 targets that set out a 2030 agenda for a world that is fairer, safer, healthier, more prosperous and in better balance with nature. Among the goals are for zero hunger and responsible production and consumption.
The letter noted that there is no need to “reinvent frameworks or agreements”, and that the global goals should form the basis for a socially just and green recovery in the UK and abroad.
“We recognise that the scale of recovery will pose many challenges for the government. But the Covid-19 crisis has shown that businesses, government, and civil society can and will work together to create lasting and positive change,” the letter concludes.
When there is such a responsive and fair wind — for both inevitable and vitally necessary — change, would it not be at the same time short sighted and inept in the extreme for any government to languish and dawdle and not push firmly on that open policy door? Tentative, hesitant, steps now, surely, will never be forgiven by future generations left to pick up the ecological pieces — a potentially endless heavy cost? But bold, imaginative government and boardroom moves now, be they sufficient, will no doubt long be applauded by history. So is Boris Johnson really a conservative made in a similar mould to Churchill? Is 2020 not the world’s most challenging hour yet?
We fully support the initiatives to drive Government policy in this direction for our sector. The foodservice equipment industry has developed a three-point plan to address the opportunities with capital equipment. The industry supply chain is committed to helping operators and the country meet net-zero carbon targets, but it needs Government support to make it happen. An integrated strategy of support is needed to underpin and evolve this important work.