Why the environment matters to me…

The environment is back on the world’s agenda, especially as we get ready for COP26. We’ve been more and more exposed to the advances of climate change over the last few years – and we are starting to witness a shift in mindset on the impact we can all have in driving change. So now, to celebrate all things sustainability, help share tips for smarter environmental thinking and remind each other just how much our carbon impact matters, we’re inviting colleagues, friends of the business and our peers in the wider industry to take part in this quickfire environmental Q&A.

Next up, it’s Kirsty Shearer, development director at Agilité

Complete the sentence – the UK is great at recycling…

…but there is room for improvement and more transparency on what is actually recycled.

Which sector do you think could achieve significant environmental progress this year?

Construction.

What’s the single biggest threat to the environment, in your opinion?

Our use of plastics and the increasing output of plastics from oil and gas companies.

Share 1 tip to help people be ‘greener’, at work or at home:

Buy local – it’s something so simple, but it can make a huge difference, and helps support communities at the same time.

Tell us an environmental statistic that you think people need to know:

I’ve got two that I think are worth sharing. Firstly, the manufacturing of cement produces 8 billion tonnes of CO2 a year – which would make it the third largest polluter if it were a country – and it also uses ½ trillion litres of water per annum. Secondly, on average, an acre of forest can capture only two cars’ worth of annual emissions.

What’s the best thing you’ve ever reused/upcycled?

I once made a waterproof jacket out of recycled plastic bottles.

If you were prime minister for the day, what’s the one thing you’d do to improve the UK’s sustainability agenda?

I’d introduce a carbon tax on companies who are continuing to use harmful products in their production and offer incentives for companies who are trying to innovate and move away from their reliance on plastics and non-renewable resources.

Complete the sentence – in 100 years’ time…

I would like to see a world where our grandchildren and future generations are still able to enjoy some of the wonders of the world.

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