Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
Daily news about corporate social responsibility, ethics and sustainability

What Are The Environmental Impacts Of Brexit?


Brexit may put an end to ‘corporate sustainability’ efforts in Britain.

Dailycsr.com – 21 June 2016 – As the fateful referendum voting date of 23rd June 2016 draws near, amid the uncertainties brooding on the horizon, Tom Idle writes that, citizens of the United Kingdom may wake up to a “very different political landscape” on the morning of the 24th June 2016.
Although, the results of such a historic voting session remains “unknown”, the media has stressed on the impact of leaving EU on Britain’s economy and immigration picture. However, there has been little talk about Brexit’s “impact on social and environmental issues”, which according to Idle “cannot be overlooked”.
Driving our attention towards the “Dow Jones Sustainability index scores”, the Director of Global Business & Society, Brunswick, said:
“The fall out of ‘casino capitalism’ has taught us the value of having values and prompted businesses to rethink their higher purpose…Much of this has been achieved not despite economic upheaval, but precisely because of it”.
Nevertheless, the activists and campaigners alike fear the outcome on “environmental regulation” under the “Conservative government” if Britain chooses to quite EU. The MP of Green Party, Caroline Lucas, argues:
“If you really think the UK is going to maintain its environmental legislation, you haven’t been paying attention to what’s been going on. We have a prime minister who wants to get rid of what he considers to be ‘green crap’ and have a bonfire of regulation.
“The government has instructed its MEPs to obstruct laws to improve inspections on the real world emissions of vehicles. And, in Boris Johnson, you have a man that doesn’t even believe climate change is caused by human activity.”
The people supporting the Remain camp, hold the “relative success of the Paris Accord reached last Christmas” as a proof that the membership of EU is crucial for Britain in “taking a strong position on tackling climate change”, whereby Lucas adds:
“There are 40,000 premature deaths caused by air pollution in the UK ever year. 50% of the particulate matter comes from emissions created by other European countries. That’s why the clean air policy package is so important, with legal action looming if countries fail to deal with pollution.”
Contrarily, others believe that EU is not the solution to all environmental issued faced in Britain, whereby the most challenging voice in this field, the founder of “New Energy Finance”, Michael Liebreich, says:
“You have to look at deeds of nations, not words. The US has made more progress on phasing out coal than any EU nations. And despite all the talk about how great Germany’s Energiewende programme is, the emissions coming from its energy sector have not budged in 17 years.”
While, Liebreich argues:
“We will solve our climate problem through innovation. But we have outsourced a lot of that innovation to the EU and it is spending Horizon 2020 money on social-economic research, rather than hard science”.
In fact, the debate over EU membership poses a question mark on the “corporate sustainability profession”, for like many other professions, benefits from the EU connection through the “free movement of employees”, which enables the employers to recruit from a “larger talent pool” in an efficient manner.
Moreover, Tom Idle writes:
“It has also prompted conversations about the role of business in the context of an ever-shifting governmental landscape at the mercy of political whims. Companies are much better placed to be creative, nimble, agile and innovative than governments. The propensity for business to taker a much bolder stance on sustainability issues than governments might well appease those fearful that Brexit will spell the end for the UK’s environmental protection efforts”.
Therefore, Idle urges that irrespective of the voting decision, the efforts of “corporate sustainability activities” towards creating “the economic, social and environmental value” needs to be preserved.