The Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment, (ACE) UK, has announced a partnership with leading environmental research institute Earthwatch. Coinciding with the UN’s launch of the International Year of Forests 2011, the aim is to bring together responsible businesses to promote and celebrate sustainable forestry. In addition to providing renewable raw materials, forests can protect biodiversity, combat climate change and provide other vital natural services.
"Surprisingly, the importance of forests to the wellbeing of the planet does not appear to be widely understood," comments ACE UK CEO, Richard Hands. "Indeed, our own research among consumers found that only 11% recognise that forests can help in the battle against climate change. Even fewer recognise their extraordinary value in preventing soil erosion and protecting water resources. Given that this month sees the launch of the UN’s International Year of Forests, what better time for the business community to take action? The grocery sector in particular can play a major role."
Motivated by the UN Year and the research findings, ACE UK and Earthwatch hosted a roundtable in Parliament for policy makers, NGOs and retailers. "The International Year of Forests is a great opportunity for organisations to come together to promote and celebrate forests’ contribution to sustainability and quality of life" says Hands. "We are also delighted to have such a highly-respected research partner as Earthwatch on board."
ACE UK and its members will be developing a number of forest-themed activities to raise the profile of the Year, and is inviting other organisations to join them.
Dave Hillyard, Earthwatch’s international partnerships director said: "The sustainable management of commercial forests is a business priority. With the support of organisations like Earthwatch, the corporate sector is in a unique position to develop and implement strategies and policies that will ensure the forest resources utilised within supply chains will thrive into the future, and to communicate the importance of sustainable forest management to their customers.
"We therefore welcome the opportunity to work with ACE UK members and their suppliers to ensure that the forests from which they source raw materials are responsibly managed, and to improve knowledge and commitment to act on environmental issues."
Ms. Jan McAlpine, Director, United Nations Forum on Forests, said, "We are delighted that ACE UK and Earthwatch have come together to help promote the UN International Year of Forests 2011. Our aim is to raise awareness of the sustainable management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests. The combined commitment of the wood and paper-based industries, policymakers and environmental leadership from Earthwatch, among others, is a great step in helping raise awareness of the International Year in the UK."
Beverage carton recycling increasing
After significant investment from ACE UK members, carton recycling facilities are now available in a total of 87% of UK Local Authority areas – from a standing start four years ago. Across the UK, nearly a third of households now benefit from carton collection at kerbside, rising to 58% in London.