The COVID-19 pandemic has sharpened focus on social responsibility, the need to put people first, and the importance of building resilient communities.  

The public have told us that they want radical change, and policies that might recently have been viewed as pipe dreams must now be at the heart of this change. 

The real question is: how do we deliver this change? This Greenprint is a manifesto laying out practical and tested policy proposals to respond to the priorities we heard from the British public, businesses and local authorities. 

what the public wantBUSINESS RESPONSE

The Greenprint includes 10 policies, across five themes which, if adopted, would contribute to a green recovery and reduce inequality in communities across the country. 

Create greener homes

Our homes are responsible for 20% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions but there are simple steps we can take to make them greener. Bringing in mandatory minimum environmental and water efficiency standards for all new housing developments can help us end fossil-fuel heated homes by 2025 and make the way we live more sustainable.

Connect our communities

In the UK, 11 million people are digitally isolated and 28 million smartphones are lying unused in people’s homes. The creation of ‘Community Connection Centres’ in areas of the UK with the poorest access would offer local people the opportunity to learn digital skills on donated, quality technology. Manufacturers can play their part by ensuring older phones can continue to be updated with the latest security software.    

Our Community Calling campaign in partnership with O2 supported isolated households to connect with loved ones and opportunities using repurposed smart phones during lockdown.

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Introduce mandatory reporting on food waste by major food companies

More than 10 million tonnes of food is wasted every year in the UK, and less than a third of the major food companies committed to reducing food waste are actually publishing their data. We can encourage a reduction in waste and make healthy surplus food available in our communities by introducing mandatory reporting on all surplus food sent to landfill or waste facilities. This would create more transparency in the sector, incentivise retailers to reduce edible food waste, and allow local communities, charities, and groups to benefit from more food donations. The reporting would be carried out by an independent evaluator, using transparent data which companies would provide from across their supply chain.

Create 'Community Food Hubs'

‘Community Food Hubs’ can both improve our communities and help vulnerable people. We want to see Hubs in areas of high food insecurity to improve access to healthy food and basic cooking lessons. With Government support, the Hubs would be at the heart of our communities. They would offer a sharing scheme for donated food; provide a marketplace for local producers; deliver food boxes for local households in need; and their kitchens could be used to support local people with cooking skills and nutritional advice.

Our network of almost 100 community fridges, and four community kitchens, connect people and communities through food, while tackling waste.

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Help consumers make the switch to electric vehicles

We need to help more consumers make the transition to electric vehicles, electric household car sharing, and e-bikes. If we properly incentivise car scrappage schemes by providing larger grants and incorporate electric vehicle household car sharing and e-bikes, we will make it easier to reduce our emissions and improve air quality. At the same time, we need to make specific funding available for community electric charging hubs so that electric vehicles become a more convenient choice. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to move away from our reliance on cars and towards low emission vehicles and active travel, which is why we would also like to see a reduction in the rate of VAT for e-bikes. 

Create 'Community cycling hubs'

Many people in urban communities across the country do not have access to bikes. This affects their physical and mental health, as well as the environment and their access to skills and job opportunities. The barriers preventing bike ownership include cost, culture and education. To address this, creating ‘Community Cycling Hubs’ would offer access to bikes, repair services, and training to empower people with the tools, knowledge, and confidence to cycle more.

Ensure no roof is unused

Green roofs use neglected spaces by covering them with plants and vegetation, which bring a number of excellent benefits for both the home and environment. Government backed small grants to help businesses and households green their roofs with plants and mosses or install solar panels would help transform urban centres, by increasing their biodiversity and building resilience to climate change.

On-the-go recycling in green spaces

Our green spaces have been a vital resource during COVID-19, but with increased use has come the problem of littering. We want to make sure our green spaces, beauty spots, and local parks stay clean by asking the Government to create national standards and guidance for all local authorities to provide well-marked litter and recycling facilities in these locations.

Our Leeds By Example campaign transformed on the go recycling habits in Leeds, and is being scaled across major cities in the UK and Ireland.

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Support textile innovators

The fashion industry needs to start using fabrics that are better for the environment and society. With our heritage and expertise, the UK has an opportunity to become a world leader in textile R&D. Government investment in the next generation of textile innovators would increase skills and bring the industry back to towns and cities with a textile heritage. With British Business Bank support providing sustainable textile entrepreneurs with loans, we could help create new jobs, particularly for those in left-behind communities.

Introduce a single-use clothes levy

We export the majority of UK’s waste textiles. Investing in UK recycling facilities would create a more circular economy, reduce the environmental impact of our fashion industry, and create jobs. We would like to see the behaviour change that consumers are calling for and see retailers increase their investment in R&D for textile recycling in the UK, or face paying a fee on the sale of clothing that is not recyclable.

Hubbub currently supports the APPG for Ethics and Sustainability in Fashion.

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    This is a Greenprint for a better Britain. The public don’t want to go backwards. We want to move forwards. Taken together, we may never get the opportunity to reshape our country, society, and economy like this again. 

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