To coincide with World Environment Day, Canary Wharf Group brought together an audience of peers, industry colleagues and the wider Canary Wharf community to reflect on success during 12 months of the Breaking The Plastic Habit programme.
A year of collaboration and progress across the Estate, working towards a shared goal through the framework of marine charity Surfers Against Sewage’s Plastic Free Community scheme, all culminated in this event. At the event, it was with great pride that CEO of the charity Hugo Tagholm was able to announce that the Canary Wharf Estate had reached Plastic Free Communities Approved status, the world’s first commercial centre to do so. Presenting a framed certificate to Steve Greig, Co-Managing Director, Canary Wharf Management, Hugh Tagholm commended the Group, recognising the range of work carried out to reduce single-use plastic on the Estate.
Sharing some fantastic statistics, Canary Wharf Group showed the true scale of change at Canary Wharf thanks to the Breaking The Plastic Habit programme. [Read more]
Hugo also joined Dylan Bexley, Vice President of Morgan Stanley, Amanda Keetley, Founder of Less Plastic & Author of ‘Plastic Game Changer’, Luke Manning, Head of Sustainability at Refinitv and Martin Gettings, Group Head of Sustainability at Canary Wharf Group on an expert panel. Together, they discussed how they each have taken action on single use plastics in their industries, current concerns around the environment, how to tackle the climate crisis and the impact we can each make as individuals.
One of the points that the panel explicitly stressed was that awareness is rapidly growing and that change has never been more possible. However, they did accept that we face a big challenge in the need for convenience, and that from inside a business, change can really start happening when you get the boss on board and start sharing your own learnings where you can.
In summary, they concluded the path to a plastic free future would be forged using education, collaboration and simplification. On the Estate, this future is already being worked towards by the 40 Trailblazers signed up to collaborate as part of the programme, including panel members Morgan Stanley and Refinitiv.
The highlight of the event was the Youth Takeover, a panel of school children from local primaries invited to quiz the panel. These young Eco-Ambassadors put their questions to the experts and challenged them on how they are taking action. Although questions had been taken throughout the event, these were by far the hardest hitting! Cutting right to the heart of the matter, the children asked questions around sustainability messaging in schools and on curriculums, questioned the focus on cotton buds as the next big nationwide sustainability project and what they can do to fight throwaway plastic culture.
The overarching take-away of the event was the positive message of collaboration and of opportunity, with the event ending on a call to arms; as Martin Gettings said, “every person can influence 100 people”. It was clear that although we don’t have all the answers when it comes to sustainability, there is no reason not to try. And Canary Wharf Group is going to continue to fight. As with World Environment Day 2018, 2019 saw Canary Wharf take to the malls to find out the most important issue to the people of Canary Wharf. 2019-2020 will see Canary Wharf Group tackle either Responsible Purchasing, Wellbeing, Beyond Zero Waste or Climate Change. It’s been put to the vote and all will be revealed soon.