Marks & Spencer to receive 2008 World Environment Center Gold Medal


The World Environment Center’s (WEC) Twenty-Fourth Annual Gold Medal for International Corporate Achievement in Sustainable Development has been awarded to Marks & Spencer for linking sustainability extensively with its supply chain, operations, and customers. Marks & Spencer’s signature contribution, known as “Plan A”, was cited by the independent international Gold Medal Jury as an extraordinary and successful model of sustainability practice. Plan A is a magnificent commitment from such a large UK retailer.

Following the success of their 2005, “Look behind the label” campaign, leading UK retailer, Marks and Spencer launched a £200m ethical campaign in 2006, entitled Plan A. The 100-point, five year sustainable development program, covers all aspects of Marks & Spencer’s business. Through it, the UK retailer aims to become carbon neutral and send no waste to landfill from its own operations; extend sustainable sourcing; set new standards in ethical trading and help its customers and employees live a healthier lifestyle. Continue reading


UN Climate Change Conference Finally at an End!

The UN Climate Change Conference in Bali was concluded this week on a high after the long awaited submission of the United States to the agreement that will form the basis of the successor to the Kyoto Protocol. The United States was proving the biggest hurdle in reaching a common agreement among the 10,000 participants to this conference, which was called to identify and form targets for a global warming pact.

The US was blocking progress by refusing to agree to the ‘Bali Roadmap’, which effectively is an agreement containing schedules on emission cuts and transfer of clean technology to poor and developing countries. The US submission came after a very public statement from ex-vice president Al Gore blaming the US for blocking progress in Bali for their own economic gain.

The intense conference lasted 11 hours and caused emotions to run high at some points, but we have walked away with an agreement which applies to all 190 nations involved, and has paved the way for a new schedule after the Kyoto Protocol runs out in 2013 – including emissions reductions from developing countries, and fair and equal contributions from developed countries. The things that are missing, however, are points on deforestation, and actual targets agreed for emissions cut. At the moment the agreement is non-binding, and it is thought the real battle will come in 2009 when agreements for official numbers and targets are to be set. I think it is then that we shall see just how sincere the US are about this issue, or whether it was lipservice brought about by fear of losing face under mass peer objection. After all, the US never does like to admit it’s wrong…..

S.1930 – Combat Illegal Logging Act of 2007

As we all know, illegal logging is one of the major factors contributing towards species loss, decreasing biodiversity, habitat destruction and increased greenhouse gases. However, there are no laws or regulations in any country that stops the wood produced from this corrupt exploitative trade from being imported and used by any and all companies.

Finally, American Senator Ron Wyden has recognised the need for government to become involved in this issue and made a long overdue stand by introducing the 2007 ‘Combat Illegal Logging Act’ – or S.1930. It will make it illegal in America to knowingly import, sell, buy or transport illegally-sourced wood and wood products.

This is a massive step forward for an issue like this to be brought to the forefront of politics, especially by a world superpower, and especially by the country that is responsible for 25.2% of the world’s greenhouse emissions. the only problem is, this bill has to be voted in not only by Senate, but by the President aswell, and with George W. Bush’s long standing stubbornness to blatantly, not even skillfully, ignore climate change and global warming, we may be in for the long ride with this one.

WWF Christmas Adoption

Think outside the box this Christmas, with a gift that could brighten up a stocking and save an endangered species! WWF are offering adoption packages for a range of animals, such as Snow Leopards, Pandas, Elephants and Polar Bears.

Not only are these gifts simply adorable, but the money used to buy them will go towards conservation projects to help save them from threats such as climate change, habitat destruction and poaching. The recipient will learn a little from the information provided with the adoption certificate, and you have the option to include a token soft toy to personalise it. Educational and cute!

WFF-UK: Adopt an Animal

Julia Quick: Thesis Trip to South Africa

Ever since I decided to enrol on the Animal Behaviour and Welfare MSc at QUB, I have had my heart set on going abroad to study Primates in the field for my thesis research. I have been lucky enough to be offered a place at the University research centre in Loskop Dam Nature Reserve in South Africa by Peter Henzi, currently working on the De Hoop Baboon Project.

I will be researching vigilance and social dominance in Vervet Monkeys, and cannot wait to see these beautiful creatures behaving naturally in the wild. I will be spending two months over there, however must the fund the trip myself. Therefore, if anyone knows of any funding avenues, I would be very grateful if you could contact me Many thanks all, I will be supplying regular updates on my progress including pictures, so stay online!