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21 February 2018

James Beard, Climate and Transport Specialist at WWF said:

“The ruling that a 2040 petrol/diesel sales ban and passing the buck to local authorities do not add up to a satisfactory air quality plan, means we’re back to the drawing board. Defra should bring forward its petrol/diesel sales ban to 2030. This will help local authorities clear the air in their streets in the near term, while cutting carbon emissions and helping protect people and nature from the impacts of climate change.”

20 February 2018

Tony Juniper, WWF Executive Director for Advocacy and Campaigns

“If our farmers are feeding their happy cows soy grown on deforested land in the Amazon, our food system will continue to be a main driver of environmental destruction.

We applaud the government for recognising the links between our food and our planet’s health. This means protecting our soil, water and wildlife here at home, but also tackling problems on a global scale.”

 

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Make a promise

Right now we’re up against the biggest environmental threats that our generation, or any generation, has ever faced.

Wildlife we love, like elephants, turtles and polar bears, are at risk from the effects of climate change, pollution & over-consumption.

There are clear solutions to fix our broken planet – our home urgently needs everyone to act on them now. Here are some of the promises you could make, and the impact your choice will have on the planet:

1) I will refuse plastic cutlery with takeaway food

By 2050 there could be more plastic in the sea than fish! By refusing a plastic knife and fork with your lunch each working day of the year, you could personally save 466 items of unnecessary plastic.

2) I will use a reusable coffee cup rather than disposable ones

It’s estimated that around 2.5bn coffee cups are thrown away in the UK each year – that’s seven million a day! By using a reusable cup on your commute you could prevent 233 cups going to landfill every year.

3) I will wash my clothes at 30 degrees or below

Washing clothes at 30 degrees uses around 40% less energy and it’s just as effective, so there’s no compromise on the clean!

4) I will make my next vehicle an electric one

Most of the 30 million plus vehicles on UK roads produce emissions that exacerbate climate change and are harmful for us to breathe. Electric power eliminates exhaust pipe emissions meaning cleaner air for us and the environment.

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what other promises can you make?

5) I will reuse or compost leftover food

We throw away seven million tonnes of food and drink per year in the UK alone. Composting a tonne of food and drink waste has a carbon footprint of just 6kg. Sending the same amount to landfill via your bin produces more than 100 times that amount – equivalent to driving a car for 24 hours!

6) I will become a flexitarian and eat less meat 

Livestock require vast amounts of land, water and feed. Shockingly, the UK food supply alone is linked to the potential extinction of approximately 33 species. Reducing meat consumption and eating more plant-based foods can reduce your carbon and water footprint and help safeguard wildlife.

7) I will switch my energy to a green energy supplier

Switching your home to renewable energy can save around 1.5 tonnes of carbon emissions a year - equivalent to taking a car off the road for six months. As well as saving carbon you can also save money too.

 

Be part of the world’s biggest movement to protect our planet. Share your promise with us at #PromiseForThePlanet and switch off your lights at 8.30pm on Saturday 24 March.

It’s your planet, and you have the power to protect it this Earth Hour.

Make and share your promise for the planet

Did you know, pangolins are the most trafficked mammal on the planet? On average, one is taken from the wild every five minutes to meet a luxury consumer demand for delicacies and 'alternative' medicines.

Sadly, most people have never heard of a pangolin. Of a recent survey we conducted, only 8% of people knew what a pangolin was. It sounds like an ancient dynastic word for an armoured fighter, or perhaps a mythical dragon-like creature. Well both of these ideas aren’t too far from the truth.

Described as a ‘scaly anteater’, the pangolin is the only mammal with scales, which it uses to protect itself - taking on a dinosaur-like appearance. It’s mainly nocturnal, which has also made it hard for scientists to track its habits. It has no teeth, but instead it has an incredibly long tongue – as long as its body. Pangolins also carry their young on their tails.

Illegally trafficked scales from a pangolin

 

These beautiful and charismatic creatures receive only a fraction of the attention of rhinos and elephants, yet both sit behind the pangolin on the list of illegal trafficking. They desperately need our help.

Protecting pangolins 

Luckily for the pangolin, WWF and TRAFFIC are working together in Asia and Africa to increase their protection, and in 2016 a global trade ban was agreed on pangolins and other trafficked mammals.

Pangolins also feature in the global wildlife policy agenda, and in October 2018 the London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade will again come together to debate how to tackle the illegal trade, with elephants, rhinos and of course pangolins,, on the agenda.

By reducing poaching and demand and disrupting illegal trade chains, we can hopefully bring about an end to wildlife crime in pangolins and other illegally traded animals.

What can you do?

You can help us by reporting wildlife crime, particularly when abroad, but also in the UK.

You can share this page with your social media network, and help us put the plight of the pangolin firmly in the picture.

Slashing your carbon footprint has never been easier …  

We are teaming up with Big Clean Switch to make it as easy as possible for you to switch to a renewable energy provider. Using the Big Clean Switch website, it’s simple to find a trusted green supplier, and can save a typical home about £300 a year.

How to switch in three easy steps:

  1. Shortly after Earth Hour, we’ll email you with a link to Big Clean Switch.

  2. Pop in your details to find out the green energy tariffs on offer to you.

  3. Like what you see - switch there and then. It only takes 5 minutes.

 

We'll be offering you the chance to switch for a three week period in April following Earth Hour, with special tariffs available during this time.

Want to know a bit more detail about green energy tariffs and how the switching process works?

 

Frequently Asked Questions

The basics

Who can I speak to if I need help?

If you have a question that isn’t answered here, email the Big Clean Switch at help@bigcleanswitch.org. Alternatively, you can phone them on 0800 249 4770.

What is ‘renewable electricity’?

The main renewable electricity sources are:

• Wind power

• Solar power (the power of the sun)

• Hydro power (capturing the energy of our rivers as they carry water to the sea)

• Bioenergy (converting plants into ‘biofuel’ that can burned to generate electricity)

• Tidal and wave power (using the movement of our oceans to generate electricity).

Why is renewable electricity a good thing?

Traditionally, electricity has been generated by burning fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas. Generating power in this way causes air pollution and releases gases like carbon dioxide that contribute to climate change, so there is global agreement that we need to massively reduce our dependency on them. In contrast, renewable electricity sources have much lower climate change impacts.

What is ‘clean electricity’?

‘Clean electricity’ is sometimes used interchangeably with ‘renewable electricity’. Renewable electricity is considered ‘clean’ because it has a much smaller impact on our climate, and also because most renewable electricity sources have very low impacts in relation to air pollution.

Isn’t renewable electricity expensive?

Far from it. As more and more renewable energy generation has been installed around the world, the costs of building and installing the equipment have fallen. In 2016, new renewable electricity generation projects all over the world were coming in at prices well below both fossil fuel and nuclear options, and this is expected to be the norm by 2022. At the moment a typical home can save over £300 a year by switching to the cheapest green energy tariff. Depending on where you are in the country, the cheapest green tariff is within around £30-£40 a year of the very cheapest tariff on the market.

Who is Big Clean Switch?

Big Clean Switch is part of Brakkn Ltd, a ‘profit with purpose’ company that aims to accelerate take-up of renewable electricity by making it easy for homes and businesses to switch to green energy providers.

Who can I switch my energy to?

Big Clean Switch offer a growing panel of vetted suppliers, so you can choose the right tariff for you, all at a competitive price.

What happens at the end of the three week exclusive tariff window? Can I still switch?

Yes, the WWF page will remain open for you to switch through for the foreseeable future. Certain tariffs may not be available though after the three week period is over at the end of April.

 

About 100% renewable tariffs

Doesn’t all electricity come from the National Grid? How do 100% renewable electricity tariffs work?

When you’re on a renewable electricity tariff, your supplier promises that, however much electricity you use in your home, the same amount of renewable electricity will be put into the National Grid. The more this happens, the cleaner the Grid will get. Because you’re still getting your electricity from the National Grid, there’s no need for engineers’ visits and no disruption to your supply when you switch.

Is there a risk that I’ll lose power when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow?

No – you’ll still get your electricity from the National Grid, which manages the UK’s electricity supply to ensure everyone always has enough power.

Can I get clean gas as well as electricity?

By replacing fossil fuels with energy from the sun, wind and water, we can generate clean electricity without the pollution and carbon emissions. Gas is unfortunately much harder to replace, because we’re directly burning a fossil fuel, rather than using it to generate a different form of power, but it is possible to generate gas from plant crops (including food waste). Although this is still a fossil fuel, it has lower carbon emissions, providing the crops used are replaced (because plants absorb carbon dioxide – a greenhouse gas – from the air). However, so far, this lower carbon gas still makes up a very small proportion of the gas used by UK homes, so very few suppliers offer ‘100% renewable gas’ in the same way as you can get 100% renewable electricity. If they do, will be shown on the Big Clean Switch website in the tariff description.
 

About switching

Is it easy to switch?

Absolutely. Once the tariff is live, just pop in a few details about your energy use on the Big Clean Switch website to get a tailored quote. If you like what you see, it takes a few more minutes to sign up. Then just sit back and relax – no need to contact your old supplier and no need for engineers’ visits.

How does switching supplier work?

The word ‘supplier’ is actually a bit misleading, because most people’s electricity is supplied by the National Grid. The companies you pay for your electricity and gas should really be called ‘sellers’, because that’s all they do – they sell the energy in the Grid to you. That means that no matter who sells us the energy, it still comes from the Grid. No interruptions of supply, no visits from engineers – just a different name on your bills.

When will the switch actually take place?

Once you’ve completed your switching application with the Big Clean Switch, we’ll send your details to your new supplier. Submitting your application also starts a 14 day cooling off period, during which you are free to change your mind and cancel your switch. In practice, most of the suppliers we work with don’t charge leaving penalties, which means you’re free to leave them at any time if you choose.

During this 14 day period, your new supplier will contact your current supplier to let them know you’re moving, make sure your account is in order, and set a date for the switch (which they’ll then tell you about). This is typically about three weeks from the date of your switch application. On that day, you’ll stop paying your old company for your energy (they’ll send you a final bill up to that date), and start paying the new one. You may be asked to submit a meter reading on that day, too.

Will I get the same quality of customer service?

All the suppliers available through the Big Clean Switch have been vetted to make sure their customer service and environmental credentials are up to scratch. That’s why, in the unlikely event you have a problem that you can’t resolve with your new supplier, Big Clean Switch promise to take it up with them on your behalf.

Will I be charged for switching?

No, switching is free. Big Clean Switch is funded from commission paid by suppliers. This doesn’t affect the price of the tariffs we offer (which are the same as the ones you’d find on suppliers’ own websites, other than where we’ve negotiated an even better deal).

What’s the difference between a fixed rate tariff and a variable tariff?

You may have noticed that they come in two types – ‘fixed’ or ‘variable’. What’s the difference?

Fixed tariffs

When you sign up to a fixed tariff, the amount you’re charged for a unit of energy will stay the same for a set period (usually a year). The total amount you pay could still go up or down depending on how much energy you use.

If you leave a fixed tariff before the end of that set period, some suppliers may charge you a penalty fee, which will be added to your final bill. And when you come to the end of a fixed tariff, you’ll usually role onto the suppliers’ most expensive variable tariff, so remember to switch again before this happens.

Variable tariffs

When you’re on a variable rate tariff, your supplier can increase or decrease the amount they charge you for a unit of energy, providing they give you advanced warning. Unlike fixed tariffs, there’s no charge for leaving a variable tariff, so if the price does change, you’re free to go elsewhere.

Which is right for you?

If you want the certainty of knowing that the price of the energy you’re buying won’t change for a set period, opt for a fixed tariff. If you don’t mind uncertainty (and remember prices can go down as well as up) and would rather not have to switch at the end of every fixed term deal, then a variable rate may be better for you.

Do I need to contact my old supplier to let them know I’m switching?

No. We’ll let your new supplier know that you want to switch to them, and they’ll contact your old supplier for you. If your old supplier confirms that the account isn’t in arrears, your new supplier will then confirm the switch date with you.

Do I have to pay to leave my current supplier?

If your current supplier has promised to keep the price you pay for a unit of electricity the same for a certain period (known as a ‘fixed tariff’), then they may charge you a penalty for leaving them before the end of that time (usually a year, although some fixed tariffs last longer). However, switching may still be worth your while if the savings outweigh the penalty. If you think an early-leaving charge might apply to you, give us a ring on 0800 249 4770 and we can talk you through the options.

I’ve never heard of the suppliers on your site. Can I trust them?

It’s understandable to be concerned about switching to a company you’ve never heard of, but in fact most renewable energy suppliers are leading the way when it comes to customer service. Smaller suppliers in general make up a growing part of the UK energy market, in part because they’re often much better at looking after their customers. We vet the suppliers listed on the Big Clean Switch to make sure their customer service is up to scratch before listing them, and because we’re so confident in them, we make a simple promise to all our users: if you have a problem that you can’t resolve directly with your new supplier, we’ll take it up with them on your behalf.

I rent my home. Does that mean I can’t switch supplier?

If you pay the energy bills, then it’s your choice – if you want cleaner, cheaper energy, you can have it! If your landlord pays the energy bills, then why not ask them if they’ll switch (and let them know they could save money in the process)?

I have a smart meter with my current supplier. Can I still switch?

Yes you can, although you will probably lose some of the functionality, which will mean you having to provide meter readings manually again. Most suppliers are now rolling out a new generation of smart meters which will allow you to switch providers without this happening – you can ask your new supplier to install one of these. If you’re concerned about losing smart meter functionality, it’s best to take a note of the make and model of your smart meter and call your preferred new supplier to check with them whether they’ll be able to support it.

I’m on a fixed term tariff. Can I switch early?

You may incur a penalty for leaving your existing contract early, but with many homes saving hundreds of pounds a year by switching, you may still be better off switching now. If you’d rather wait, don’t worry – Big Clean Switch’s switching site will stay open so you can switch at a time that suits you.

I have (or am thinking about getting) solar panels – can I still switch?

Yes, absolutely. When you first install solar panels, the chances are you’ll buy your electricity from the same supplier who agrees to purchase your surplus solar energy through the Feed In Tariff. However, the Feed In Tariff agreement and the supply agreement are separate, and independent of one another, which means you are free to switch your supply to a different provider in exactly the same way as a house without solar panels. Your Feed In Tariff arrangement will remain unchanged.

15 February 2018

His Royal Highness Prince Charles hosts thank you lunch for WWF supporters

HRH hosted a heart-felt Thank-You lunch on Valentine’s Day, in appreciation of some of WWF’s amazing supporters.

In his role as WWF UK President, HRH joined WWF ambassador Sir David Attenborough, WWF UK CEO Tanya Steele, Sir Andrew Cahn - Chair of WWF-UK Board of Trustees and a range of WWF supporters from all walks of life at Clarence House.

HRH joined guests to hear about how our wonderful supporters are going above and beyond for our planet: from multi-marathon runners, to heads of Green Ambassador schools; high-profile backers, to sustainable business champions; scientists dedicating their life to conservation; and staff from the Wildlife Crime Unit.

Our amazing supporters all deserve a huge thank you. Over 332,000 members of the UK public helped us to raise more than £60 million to fund vital conservation work in 2017. Hundreds of thousands of people took part in campaigns like Earth Hour, and joined our call to stop the illegal ivory trade

We’re delighted HRH was able to share his appreciation too.

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Eating for two degrees

Livewell is WWF-UK’s work on sustainable food consumption that looks at the food changes needed for a One Planet Future. It demonstrates a diet that is sustainable – looking at carbon, water and land – affordable and in line with national nutritional guidelines and food preferences in the UK.

Our Livewell work has helped shape the debate on sustainable diets over the last few years, taking it from a niche topic into the mainstream.

Our latest Livewell report Eating for 2 degrees – new and updated Livewell Plates looks at what we need to eat between now and 2030 to meet our Paris Agreement commitments. In addition to introducing water use and land footprint, this report also presents Livewell Plates for adults, adolescents, the elderly and vegans.

This latest report builds on years of research which spans four countries: the UK, France, Spain and Sweden. The last three were part of a European Commission funded project called LiveWell for LIFE, which aimed to show how sustainable diets can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the EU food supply chain by at least 25% by 2020 – whilst being healthy, nutritious, culturally specific and affordable.

We continue to progress Livewell and use our substantial knowledge in our work with business leaders and policy-makers to encourage dietary change.

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The Livewell plate

The Livewell Plate is at the centre of our sustainable diets work. It’s a visual presentation of a healthy and sustainable diet and illustrates the types and portions of food an average adult needs. It’s based on the Eatwell Guide – the UK government’s recommendations for a healthy, balanced diet – but by adding environmental criteria to this, we have successfully demonstrated that it’s possible to define a healthy, sustainable diet.

Just like the Eatwell Guide, our Livewell Plate is primarily a policy tool that illustrates our recommendations. We use this and the six Livewell principles in our work to influence change.

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The six Livewell principles

The great thing about Livewell is that it's accessible to everyone. Have a look at the six Livewell principles to learn more about how you can lead a healthy, sustainable life.

Eat more plants

Enjoy vegetables and wholegrains

Eat a variety of foods

Have a colourful plate

Waste less food

One third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted

Moderate your meat consumption, red and white

Enjoy other sources of proteins such as peas, beans and nuts

Buy food that meets a credible certified standard

Consider MSC, free-range and fair trade

Eat fewer food high in fat, salt and sugar

Keep food such as cakes, sweets and chocolate  as well as cured meat, fries and crisps to an occasional treat. Choose water, avoid sugary drinks and remember that juices only count as one of your five a day, however much you drink.

We know it’s critically important to engage on the potential environmental impact of any extractives and infrastructure development as early as possible – ideally from the moment an extractives concession is awarded to a company.

To help us do just that, WWF-UK and WWF-Norway have developed a tool that maps extractives activity and concessions, and shows where these overlap with areas of biological and social importance. It’s a spatial land-use and early warning system mapping tool called WWF-SIGHT.

 

 

How WWF-SIGHT can help investors and governments protect the environment

 

This tool can provide WWF with a first-cut assessment and early warning of where extractives operations and other major developments could threaten protected areas and other sites of natural importance.

WWF-SIGHT enables us to engage at an early stage with governments, companies and investors. It allows us to enter into constructive dialogue about alternative and more sustainable land-use and development scenarios that would avoid possible damage to wildlife and habitats and the associated business risks.

This data has been used in a number of reports, including the prominent 2015 Safeguarding Outstanding Natural Value report compiled by WWF-SIGHT, Investec Asset Management, and Aviva Investors.

To find out more, visit the WWF-SIGHT website >>

 

 

 

NEW! WWF-SIGHT introduces Analytics

WWF-SIGHT Analytics is a new tool by WWF-UK that displays data online in an easily understandable format.

The pressure that our natural world is under is enormous. Land has never been in such great demand, with our pristine natural areas being challenged by a wide range of development issues. Previously, it was difficult to envisualise these conflicts, let alone imagine them on a country-by-country basis. This is what WWF-SIGHT Analytics aims to do, using a wealth of extractives and environmental data to make land use conflicts more clear than ever before.

Extractive concessions and protected areas can be viewed at a country level. What this means is that a country's environmental assets - from World Heritage Sites to protected areas - and potential threats to their natural areas - oil and gas and mining concessions, for example - can all be understood quickly and comprehensively, allowing for comparisons to be made between countries. Any existing overlaps between natural and developmental data sets are accessible and visual.

What are the overlaps between protected areas and extractive concessions in your country? Find out at WWF-SIGHT Analytics [external]

 

Related Work

The Status and Importance of developing a National Spatial Data Infrastructure >>

(2016) As increasing pressures are placed on land, and intrusive development projects are on the rise, land-use conflicts between communities, organisations, governments and companies are growing more common. A solution for preventing and resolving these land use conflicts is for organisations to encourage early engagement in the decision making related to these development projects.  This is what a National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) can help to achieve. More >>

 

Preliminary Threat Analysis of the East Africa Crude Oil Pipieline >>

(2017) A Preliminarily Threat Analysis (PTA) carried out using WWF-SIGHT’s approach for risk analysis highlights some of the potential environmental impacts and associated socio-economic implications of the development of the Hoima – Tanga pipeline and provide an early warning on some of these concerns and encourage a thorough risk analysis and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the pipeline. Read the blog >> or jump straight to the full report >>

 

WWF-SIGHT used to identify Norwegian investments in UNESCO World Heritage Sites >>

(2017) Using WWF-SIGHT, WWF-Norway analysed how many companies that have oil, gas and mining activities in World Heritage sites are included in the holding lists of five major Norwegian investors . The results show that the worrying picture has not changed significantly since 2015, and arguably it have deteriorated:

• Globally, 72 natural and mixed World Heritage sites are threatened by extractive activity, that is a licence issued by a government to permit a company to explore for and extract oil, gas, and mineral resources.
• The five Norwegian investors assessed together invest in 25 companies that are involved in extractive activity in 23 World Heritage sites.
• The five Norwegian investors appear to have invested roughly NOK 102 billion in these companies.

Read the summary >> or jump straight to the full report >>

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New tool from WWF: WWF-SIGHT Analytics

WWF-SIGHT Analytics is a new tool by WWF-UK that displays data online in an easily understandable format.

The pressure that our natural world is under is enormous. Land has never been in such great demand, with our pristine natural areas being challenged by a wide range of development issues. Previously, it was difficult to envisualise these conflicts, let alone imagine them on a country-by-country basis. This is what WWF-SIGHT Analytics aims to do, using a wealth of extractives and environmental data to make land use conflicts more clear than ever before.

Extractive concessions and protected areas can be viewed at a country level. What this means is that a country's environmental assets - from World Heritage Sites to protected areas - and potential threats to their natural areas - oil and gas and mining concessions, for example - can all be understood quickly and comprehensively, allowing for comparisons to be made between countries. Any existing overlaps between natural and developmental data sets are accessible and visual.

What are the overlaps between protected areas and extractive concessions in your country? Find out at WWF-SIGHT Analytics [external]