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Wednesday, 19 November 2014 13:05

Political awards celebrate green spirited campaigners

Environmentally active parliamentarians, businesses, NGOs and the media have been presented with the 2014 Green Ribbon Political Awards, whose aim is to inspire others into best practice and cajole backsliders into action.

politic awards tony jupiterThe Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) presented the awards at a ceremony yesterday in the House of Commons. The event was hosted by Joan Walley MP, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee and is supported by the All-Party Parliamentary Environment Group and sponsored by Thames Tideway Tunnel.

One of the award Judges, Tony Juniper said: "We face a series converging environmental challenges that threaten to increase volatility, multiply risks and heighten economic stresses. Dealing with this emerging situation will require new policies across government, and not just in the environment department.

"The Green Ribbon Political Awards continue to provide the opportunity to celebrate the good work being done, often under difficult circumstances, by a committed group of individuals. I hope the attention they receive through these awards will encourage others to raise to the challenge and join them."

Here follows a list of the 2014 winners with a summary provided by CIWEM outlining the reason for their award:

political awards caroline lucasParliamentarian of the Year (MP)
Caroline Lucas MP - Member of Parliament for Brighton Pavilion since 2010
From flooding to fracking, no person has done more to raise the profile of environmental issues and wider sustainability concerns within Parliament.

Since becoming the first Green Party MP in 2010, Caroline has effectively represented the green movement as an articulate and passionate campaigner on the environment, social justice and human rights.

Her approach is forthright but inclusive, and her integrity and readiness to answer the questions that she is asked (an all too rare skillset amongst parliamentarians!), has won the respect and admiration of politicians across the political spectrum.

Parliamentarian of the year (House of Lords)

Baroness Parminter - life peer in the House of Lords
For consistently challenging for the environment both inside and outside the House, Kate Parminter is awarded Parliamentarian of the year (House of Lords). From 1998 Kate headed the leading conservation campaigning charity Campaign to Protect Rural England for nearly six years and was made a life peer in 2010. Kate is now the Liberal Democrat Spokesperson on Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, sits on the EU Sub Committee for Agriculture, Fisheries, Environment and Energy and has spoken in 25 debates in the last year, well above average amongst Lords. She is a consistently energetic and persuasive advocate for the environment.

This year for example Kate sat on the House of Lords Committee for the Water Bill and raised concerns over the potential for environmental damage resulting from the upstream competition proposals being agreed in advance of reforming the water abstraction regime.

Parliamentarian of the year (MEP)
Chris Davies, MEP for North West England June 1999 – July 2014
A profound loss to the European Parliament, Chris dedicated himself to reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. He mobilised people from across parties in a coalition called 'Fish for the future', and through hard work and deft political manoeuvring ensured that the reforms went through largely unscathed with parliament voting to end discards and overfishing by 2015. Chris was also active on numerous committees at the European Parliament, particularly as a member of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee. Chris widely promoted the use of carbon capture and storage as a means to reduce CO2 emissions with his report on the issue.

Best environmental campaign by a non-governmental organisation
political awards client earthClientEarth is an organisation of activist environmental lawyers who believe that the law can be a powerful driver of positive social change. This has proved highly complementary to the approaches adopted by most other NGOs campaigning on the environment. This award is in recognition of its work around its legal challenge to the levels of UK air pollution in the European Courts to protect people from the harmful effects of this air pollution. Since 2010 its team of lawyers has challenged the Environment Secretary for failing to produce plans that will bring air quality within legal standards by 2015. The UK Supreme Court confirmed that the Government is in breach of the EU Air Quality Framework Directive and referred the case to the European Commission to decide what action should be taken. The European Court of Justice will rule on what action to be taken shortly.

The judges reflected that it was an innovative and very effective campaign. ClientEarth is to be commended for its patient and diligent approach, using the law to secure a better environment for everyone.

James Thornton, ClientEarth CEO, said: "We are honoured to see our air pollution campaign recognised at CIWEM's Green Ribbon Awards. ClientEarth has brought legal challenges against the government for four years, and we will continue to do so until we see effective action. It has been heartening to hear a growing number of voices in the media, in civil society and in communities calling for air pollution to be tackled urgently. Recognition like today's award can only amplify their calls further."

political awards unileverBusiness commitment to the environment
Unilever is one of the world's leading suppliers of food, home and personal care products with sales in over 190 countries. In 2010 it launched its Sustainable Living Plan to put sustainability at the heart of its business model and throughout its supply chains. It has already seen successes from zero waste to landfill from 75% of their factories, to being halfway towards their target of sourcing 100% of their agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020.

Unilever sat on the Ecosystem Markets Task Force advising the government on opportunities for UK business from expanding green goods, services, products, investment vehicles and markets which value and protect ecosystem services.

The judges decided to award Unilever 'business commitment to the environment' for changing its whole internal culture by to attempting to decouple growth from its environmental impact, and recognising environmental impacts are key to its long term growth. It has become a role model, investing in staff training and promoting positive messages on business supply chain security to the government.

Journalist of the year
Martin Wolf CBE, Financial Times
Martin Wolf, CBE, the associate editor and chief economics commentator of the Financial Times, is one of the world's most eminent, respected and influential writers in his field as well as being a leading economist in his own right. Admirably, if unusually, he also made it his business to learn about climate change, which is predicted to have major economic as well as environmental implications if allowed to continue unchecked. He researched the subject in detail, with an open mind, and no apparent green preconceptions. He came to the conclusion that it was a serious threat that needed addressing, and has not hesitated boldly to say so in print and to propose robust strategies for combatting it. If other economics and political, journalists showed similar foresight and professionalism, the public debate on the issue would be much enriched.

Best environmental campaign by a journalist
Chris Packham - Massacre on migration
political awards chris packham'Massacre on Migration – Malta' were video diaries presented by Chris Packham and produced by Jez Toogood, Ruth Pearcey and Luke Massey. They were posted on YouTube daily between the 21st and 27th April 2014.

Chris' timely campaign put the plight of migrant birds crossing the Mediterranean onto the UK and European political agendas. His powerful video diaries showed the hunting of birds on Malta and the belligerent attitude of the hunting fraternity there. Following the campaign the House of Commons debated "UK policy on protection of migratory birds in Malta" calling in to question the legitimacy of the derogation from the European Wild Birds Directive and how it has been secured by the Maltese Government.

Chris pushed the limits with his unique campaign. He created his own platform as an individual to raise awareness about a chronic threat to Europe's birds that has during recent years received too little attention. The judges would like to commend Chris for the way in which he worked with the inevitable limitations that come with his BBC position to raise awareness about one of the greatest ecological scandals of our age.

Most inspirational figure internationally
HRH Prince of Wales
HRH Prince of Wales is recognised for his hard work and commitment for more than forty years, ceaselessly working to raise awareness and to celebrate inspirational examples of good practice toward international sustainability. He constantly seeks to reflect these concerns in his own work, and is outspoken on issues such as climate change, inspiring others to do the same. HRH is a tireless convener of businesses, charities, governments and other organisations, to promote ecological awareness and to consider the solutions to the challenges that confront humankind. The Prince of Wales supports the work of great many organisations through being their Patron, he writes extensively, contributes many speeches and video messages and is an energetic and successful charity fundraiser.

The Prince's Charities reflect HRH's long-standing concerns relating to global sustainability. In recent years, HRH has demonstrated leadership and assisted, directly or indirectly, with raising more than £100 million each year to support his charitable activities. His International Sustainability Unit has piloted practical programmes in marine and sustainable agriculture. Pioneering projects in Ghana, Indonesia, Liberia and Brazil have showed results in slowing deforestation.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of The Prince of Wales's Business and Sustainability Programme, launched shortly after the first Rio Earth Summit. This ground-breaking initiative recognised that the contribution from the business community to the sustainability debate was critical. Since then the programme has influenced over 2,200 leaders representing some 1,000 organisations from more than 75 countries.

Best environmental achievement internationally
President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon
political awards ali bongoThe President is awarded for his radical commitment to green issues in Gabon. President Ali Bongo of Gabon is a rare example of a head of state who has given conservation its correct priority in the governance of his country. He has re-evaluated its development strategy to emphasise sustainability and low carbon growth.

Since he became President he has increased funding to national parks from $1million to $17 million a year. More than a fifth of the country is now protected and he is now aiming to set aside a similar proportion of Gabon's EEZ on marine protected areas. Deforestation has dropped to below 0.01 per cent a year in what is the world's second most forested country and, largely as a result, carbon dioxide emissions have fallen by around 400 million tonnes a year. He is continuing to take bold initiatives, developing a national land use plan, setting out to eliminate ivory poaching and pirate fishing and tackling corruption in the fisheries ministry - and he has worked with the Prince of Wales on a range of issues. His kind of leadership on green issues is sorely needed in both developed and developing countries throughout the world.

Green Ribbon Award for special recognition of environmental achievement
Greg Barker MP – Member of Parliament for Bexhill and Battle since 2001 and Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change 2010-2014. Greg is standing down at the next election.
Greg is commended for his work as the longest serving Minister for Energy and Climate Change and as one of the most vocal supporters of the green economy in Parliament. He acted as a climate advocate within Government and battled with the Treasury to lead successful investment into our energy infrastructure, making the UK a world-leader in renewable technology. Under his Ministership he established the Green Investment Bank and mobilised over £3 billion investment into our renewables sector in the last year. During his time in Government Greg remained both tireless and cheerful while successfully keeping the green flag flying in Westminster.

Tim Yeo MP – Member of Parliament for South Suffolk since 1983, leaving Parliament in 2015
Tim is rewarded for his long standing commitment to the environment. He has served as Minister for the Environment (1993-1994) as well as in the Home Office, Foreign Office and Department of Health; as Shadow Secretary of State of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food 1997– 2001, Shadow Secretary of State for Environment and Transport 2004-2005 and as Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee.

Most recently, as Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, Tim has been an influential voice on energy policy. During the progress of the Energy Bill Tim worked alongside Barry Gardner MP to pressure the Government to commit to a target to decarbonise electricity generation by 2030. He mobilised industry support in his calls to remove the element of uncertainty for potential investors in the energy industry. In Tim's many years at the forefront of the green debate he has never wavered in his belief that the UK should be a world leader in developing and implementing effective environmental policies.

political awards joan walleyJoan Walley MP – Member of Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent North since 1987, standing down at the next election
A leading environmental advocate Joan's unrelenting efforts for the environment are seemingly largely unrecognised by her party. Joan was shadow spokesperson on Environment between 1988 and 1990 and shadow spokesperson for Environmental Protection and Development and then for Transport, a post that she held for five years between 1990 and 1995. Joan has sat on the Environmental Audit Committee since 1997 and has been its Chair since 2010, with a number of high-profile reports to her credit which have moved the debate on both inside and outside parliament. Joan also chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Climate Change and works tirelessly to raise the profile of such issues as climate change, sustainable transport and renewable energy.

Laura Sandys MP - Member of Parliament for South Thanet since the 2010, standing down at the next election
Laura is commended for her work on zero waste, remanufacturing and resource efficiency. Her strong promotion of the green economy saw her appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to Climate Change Minister Greg Barker. She has also been particularly supportive of energy efficiency and decentralised energy policies, arguing they are central to building a more sustainable energy system in the UK.

As a member of the influential 2020 Group of modernising Conservative MPs she has called for the party to make the green agenda a central tenet of its 2015 manifesto. Laura chaired the Commission for the 2020 Efficiency and Productivity Group report "Sweating our Assets " published earlier this year.

Dr Alan Whitehead MP - Member of Parliament for Southampton Test since 1997
A stalwart parliamentarian campaigner over the years, Alan is currently a member of Energy and Climate Change Committee , the Environmental Audit Committee, is the Chair of the Associate Parliamentary Renewable and Sustainable Energy Group (PRASEG) and vice chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Environment Group.

He has been a member of the Public Bill Committees for every major piece of UK energy and climate change legislation in recent years, including the Climate Change Act 2008. Alan has campaigned for the increased use of sustainable energy sources, particularly microgeneration. He is particularly commended for his committed support to a wide range of environmental organisations within Parliament.

Grey Ribbon Award for environmentally destructive contribution
political awards eric picklesEric Pickles - MP for Brentwood and Ongar since 1992, current Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
The MPs on the panel abstained from this vote, as they did not approve of the category. The rest overwhelmingly voted for one candidate among a strong field of ministers from the "greenest government ever". George Osborne, Owen Paterson and Nick Boles all received earnest consideration but none even came close to Eric Pickles.

The judges were impressed by the sheer weight of the Communities Secretary's all round contribution to undermining the Prime Ministers stated ambition. He has dismantled energy efficiency measures, playing a big part in turning the flagship Green Deal into a shambles. He has called in and turned down many applications to exploit wind energy. He was one of the architects of the national policy Planning Framework which – in spite of being modified in the face of public opposition – has put villages all over the country under siege by speculative developers. And his brief stewardship of the Government effort to combat flooding last winter ended in farce when he attacked the Environment Agency, which was dealing with it on the ground.

CIWEM state that no-one has apparently tried harder to earn this award, and the judges could not bring themselves to deny it to him.

The awards are decided by a panel of 10 high profile judges whose deliberations are informed by specially conducted surveys of politicians and environmental campaigners, as well as some searching investigation into the debating and voting records of MPs over the past parliamentary year.

The judging panel includes Jonathan Porritt, Tony Juniper, Joan Walley MP, Richard Benyon MP, Baroness Parminter, Dan Byles MP, David Baldock (IEEP) and Adrian Wilkes (EPC), and journalists Geoffrey Lean and Fiona Harvey. The judging line-up met in October to deliberate.

Green Ribbon Political Awards