From great sustainable action to record-breaking goals, here’s what’s making us smile in the world this week...
UK hits target with 15 million receiving the first coronavirus vaccine
With news circling daily on COVID-19, a significant milestone has been achieved with more than 15 million people in the UK now receiving their first coronavirus vaccine within just over two months after the first jab was given on 8 December. With a population of roughly 67 million, the UK’s vaccination progress is among the fastest in the world, achieving its set target of offering the vaccine to its top four priority groups and a quarter of the population in the fastest time in Europe. Whilst we still have a long way to go, this is great success on the road to recovery from the pandemic!
Coca-Cola company trials its first paper bottle in Europe
Announced this week, Coco-Cola is set to begin its first consumer test of bottles made mostly of paper this summer in Hungary in a step towards achieving its zero-waste goal by 2030. The company will sell 2,000 of its plant-based beverage, AdeZ, in Hungary to measure the performance of the container and people’s responses to the new format before bringing this environmental alternative to the market for the remainder of its products.
With Coca-Cola previously ranked the world’s number one plastic polluter last year by charity group, Break Free From Plastic, this sustainable innovation has not only pushed the boundaries of packaging, but increased the pressure placed on other brands to drive down their carbon footprints with alcoholic brands, Absolut and Carlsberg, following suit and producing their own prototypes that will be trialled later this year.
Sales of organic products boom in the UK
On a brighter note about lockdown, the booming demand in 2020 for home-grown organic produce has seen the organics market now worth a staggering £2.8bn, meaning more than £50 million a week was spent on organic food in the last year. With the figures released by the Soil Association, the Organic Market Report announced that last year saw the biggest year-on-year sales increase for 15 years, with organic food sales surging by 12.6% as more consumers sought more environmentally-friendly produce.
With shopping needs and habits changing dramatically due to the coronavirus, it is clear organic has been rightfully recognised as a vital part of the solution to the ongoing climate, nature and health crises through an increased interest in online shopping and boxed schemes driving consumer sales during lockdown.
A record-breaking population increase for Britain’s common crane
Through the conservation efforts that began in 1979, the common British crane that was recognised as extinct in the UK 400 years ago has returned with almost 200 individuals and 64 breeding pairs recorded. Noted for their loud and ecstatic courtship displays, the common crane was driven to extinction in the UK through hunting and wetland loss.
However, following a natural recolonisation and subsequent conversation work, numbers are flourishing once more and are expected to increase as conservationists set in motion the proposal for the restoration of whole landscapes and an increased protection for wetland habitats where cranes are now making their home once more.
A Paris Agreement study reveals the health benefits of climate action
According to the report by the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change, millions of lives lost annually to air pollution, physical inactivity and unhealthy diets could be saved if countries cut emissions in line with the Paris Agreement. By assessing the health benefits of meeting climate targets in 9 various countries, including the UK, China and Brazil, it was recorded that the Paris-compliant policies could save 5.8 million lives through a better diet, 1.2 million with cleaner air and 1.2 million lives with increased exercise, improving quality of life and overall health through climate action.
With the world preparing to come together for the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in November, it is clear that stronger climate policies could benefit the health of populations globally and will be an important topic taking place with this study providing evidence needed for countries to understand the impacts and actions.