The second goal of COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference currently underway in Glasgow, is ‘Adapting to protect communities and natural habitats’. Our oceans are intrinsic in our fight against climate change, as a healthy, biologically diverse ocean provides us with great environmental services such as sequestering carbon, providing sustainable and healthy food sources, and supporting coastal communities around the globe.
Human activity is causing the decline of marine biodiversity
Yet human activity is threatening the health of our oceans, as plastic pollution, rising temperatures, toxic levels of harmful chemicals and overfishing are all contributing to loss of marine biodiversity. This in turn reduces the ability that our seas have to support human life on earth. Take the so called ‘Whale pump’* as an example – by feeding in the deep and then excreting at the surface, whales move vital nutrients around the seas to feed phytoplankton, which in turn sequester billions of tonnes of CO2 per year. Whale numbers may be increasing since the ban on their hunting in 1986, but there is significant evidence to show that their population grown is being severely limited by poor health due to the marine plastics and toxins they are ingesting**.
Certifications play a vital role of protecting the marine environment
Our clients are working to take action to limit the impact they have on the marine environment, be it through better managing, or eliminating their use of plastic, collecting and repurposing ocean bound waste, ensuring they take a sustainable approach to fishing, or preventing harmful industrial waste from entering our waterways.
Certifications against internationally recognised standards play a vital role in helping businesses to limit their environmental impact. Standards such as Plastic Free, Ocean Bound Plastic, Global Recycle Scheme and the Marine Stewardship Council function as a set of guidelines around which companies can shape their operations for the protection of the environment. These standards are regularly reviewed to ensure that, whilst being achievable and valid, they also represent a robust approach to protecting our natural habitats and communities.
How COP26 could help protect marine biodiversity
Our Oceans do not respect international borders and are currently suffering worldwide. To respond to this, businesses would benefit from greater inter-government guidance in order for them to collaborate efficiently. It is only with this level of international collaboration that businesses can all play their part in properly protecting the marine habitat and the communities which rely on it in the long term.
Federica Cionci, who run’s our Plastics and Textiles certifications in the UK, has said:“My aspiration for COP26 is that our political leaders do not forget the impact that plastics have on our delicate marine ecosystems. We need international agreement on policies which will reverse the trend of plastic pollution reaching our seas. For example, there is a lack of circularity of plastic at present, with huge volumes of waste being created, but no standard approach to collecting, sorting, and recycling it. This has led to a shortage of raw materials for plastic recycling facilities. An international approach to managing plastic waste would benefit our marine biodiversity and have the added benefit of reducing our reliance on fossil fuels to satisfy the demand for virgin plastic.”
How Control Union can help
At Control Union we work to support the actions of our clients in limiting their environmental impact, and furthermore to become positive influences on the natural habitats and the communities they work within. To find out more about our plastics, textile, and fisheries schemes, please follow the links below, or alternatively contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
to find out more.