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Devon councils & charities lead Shop4good campaign to help the climate

Devon councils & charities are taking the lead on how to shop in a way that's good for climate and wellbeing, as research says consumers are making industry more sustainable.

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Black Friday and Christmas are approaching as well as the global climate summit in Glasgow. How can we balance shopping with protecting the natural world? A group of Devon councils, charities and carbon experts are leading the way with a program called Shop4good. 

It promotes ten ways to shop that reduce CO2 emissions and raise well-being. The campaign follows new research that shows consumer interest in sustainability has increased significantly since the pandemic, and suggests consumer buying power may be doing as much to help the climate as governments.

The councils taking part are North Devon, Torridge, South Hams and West Devon along with charities 361 Energy, Plastic Free North Devon, Resurgence Trust, North Devon Biosphere and Totnes Climate Change Response Centre and Bideford-based Carbon Savvy. Since shopping makes up a big part of our carbon footprint the programme highlights lots of ways to reduce this. Examples are buying long lasting products, sourcing locally and giving experiences as gifts, which research has shown to create stronger social bonds. 

Cllr Neil Jory, Leader of West Devon Borough Council, said: "West Devon is delighted to be involved with Shop4good and I encourage everyone to get involved. Although Governments have to drive forward big changes to counteract CO2 emissions, the protection of our environment will also need every one of us to take responsibility to change the way we live and work if net zero carbon is to be achieved."

Cllr Tom Holway, Executive Member for Climate Change and Biodiversity for South Hams District Council, said: "The more we buy locally produced goods and food, the more we support jobs in our area.  We are told there may be a shortage of Christmas goods and food because of the driver shortage, so make the most of what's on your doorstep. Order locally grown Christmas food, have a look in our local artisan workshops for Christmas present ideas, such as locally produced leather goods and jewellery, and hand crafted wooden toys for young children. Perhaps even an exciting outdoor experience for a teenager such as learning to surf or a stand up paddleboard session."

North Devon's lead member for climate change, Councillor Graham Lofthouse, said: "North Devon District Council has set a very challenging internal target of net zero CO2 emissions by 2030 and a wider community one for at the latest 2050, in line with science based targets.  We have been working with Carbon Savvy for over a year to give tips and advice to everyone who wants to play their part in saving CO2. I'm delighted that consumer power is having a growing influence because it's only by working together that we can reduce CO2 emissions and create a healthy future for the region.  So I invite everyone to join the Shop4good programme. It's going to be fun too."

Shop4good is among a string of events that aim to help reach net zero CO2 emissions.  On Sunday 17 October, the First Earthshot Awards were screened on BBC One, with Prince William, David Attenborough and a host of stars including actress Emma Watson, footballer Mo Salah and band Coldplay. On 30 October, world governments meet in Glasgow to discuss how they can increase carbon targets above those pledged in Paris in 2015. Higher targets are needed keep global temperatures below 1.5°C increase, which is said to be critical threshold for life on earth. 

Carbon Savvy's Director, Mukti Mitchell, has dedicated his life to saving CO2, and was winner of the Energy Efficiency Champion of the Year Award last week at the Southwest Energy Efficiency Awards. 

He said, "Governments and councils can only set targets, but to achieve these every individual, business and organisation needs to reduce their own carbon footprint.  I'm delighted to be working with Devon councils, charities and Falmouth University, to save CO2.  The good news is that most actions that save CO2 also increase our well-being and save money. I'm particularly excited about the Shop4good online quiz which is a bit of fun and has great prizes, so I hope you'll take part."

Mukti is keen to highlight that as consumers we are powerful.  He continues "New research by the World Wildlife Fund found that two thirds of consumers think about sustainability when shopping. As consumers, we influence industry every day and one example is that 50% of fashion executives say consumer demand is driving their pursuit of sustainability. We can build the world we want through the way we spend, because every penny is a vote."                     

The studies can be found here: www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/05/eco-wakening-consumers-driving-sustainability/

Shop4good runs from Saturday 30 October to Saturday 13 November in parallel with COP26.  Find out more and take the quiz to win a prize at www.carbonsavvy.uk

Issued 22 October 2021

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