A new holistic tool from the UK’s One Planet Centre is helping organisations align their operations to meet the challenges of climate change and resource scarcity, and Swansea Council has stepped up as a first adopter.

The One Planet Standard is a self-assessment tool designed to get businesses functioning in line with what the planet can actually provide, helping develop resource-efficient strategies by engaging with employees, supply chains and customers.

At its core, the tool uses an integrated reporting methodology to measure, account for and improve on the environmental impact of organisations’ activities. 

Founding director of the not-for-profit One Planet Centre, David Thorpe, who has also been The Fifth Estate’s UK correspondent for several years, said the lifestyle of many in the western world is completely unsupportable from a resources perspective. 

“If everyone in the world lived as we do in the UK we’d need three planet Earths,” Mr Thorpe said. 

“We hope this new Standard will help to mainstream efforts to reduce the UK’s ecological footprint to our planet, by achieving wide take-up from all sorts of organisations – public, private and non-profit.”

Goals that organisations can set include reducing raw materials, tackling the lifecycle ecological footprint, cutting energy use and pollution and reversing damage to the natural world. 

While the software is free to use, organisations wishing to showcase their commitments publicly can choose to become independently accredited by partner organisation, Assessment Services.

Organisations are given a rating of gold, silver or bronze with the end goal being for all expenditure to contribute to the future security of humanity and the natural environment; “to use economic power to do only good.”

Early adopter of the tool, Swansea Council, will act as an example of the importance for both private and public organisations to do their part. 

Swansea Council deputy leader, Andrea Lewis, said the plan was to formally commit to adopting the standard, fully engaging with its offerings, and championing it for other local authorities to take part.

“We’ve made a commitment to reach net-zero as a council by 2030. It’s important to have measurable standards and an independent set of eyes making sure that we don’t have gaps in things that we should be focusing on,” she said. 

“We hope that across the city of Swansea we reach net zero by 2050. But this is about changing behaviours, winning hearts and minds, bringing businesses, bringing the public along with us and of course engaging our staff.”

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