For the third consecutive year, packaging compliance scheme Valpak supported a UK delegation of school children to take part in a European initiative to produce Open Letters on the environment to key stakeholder groups.
A schools competition was organised by Valpak from July to October 2005 when environmental project proposals were submitted and judged by a panel of sponsors including Corus, Tesco, BPI, Novo Nordisk and Virgin.
Three winning schools* were selected to take part in the Youth Eco-Parliament (YEP) which involves thousands of children aged 14 to 17 years old from Europe and around the world. The projects they worked on included building a straw bale building, performing educations plays to primary schools and starting a walking bus to school. The ideas generated from these projects were then used to inform the Open Letters.
The YEP event was held in Paris in October 2006 when the school children from all the countries joined forces in different groups and set to work on their Open Letter. Each group targeted one of seven commissions: journalists, NGOs, educators, researchers, international organisations, local authorities and producers.
The Open Letters were presented to representatives from each of the stakeholder groups in a ceremony with the Pro-Europe Congress. The young people were then given the opportunity to discuss the ideas with their representative and make pledges to help the environment.
Steve Gough, Valpak Chief Executive said: ”This is such a valuable experience for the school children to exchange ideas and information with other like minded young people as well as be able to present their ideas to political and academic leaders. We were proud to put forward the UK delegation. “
The 2006 YEP was so successful that Pro-Europe has invited the participants to present their Open Letters and pledges at the European Parliament in Brussels in May 2007. Valpak is looking forward to taking another delegation to this ceremony.