A local food department within Edinburgh City Council, a bespoke Edinburgh Sustainability planning and regulatory system and the launch of a One Planet Edinburgh Festival were just some of the ideas put forward to Edinburgh City Council Leader Adam McVey during a recent workshop of leading businesses and organisations in the city.
Facilitated by Bioregional and hosted at the Edinburgh office of international multi-disciplinary engineering consultancy Cundall, the One Planet Living Roadshow brought together local businesses and the city council to workshop how local organisations can further embrace One Planet Living as a catalyst to creating a city that is more prosperous, healthier, fairer, more resource-efficient and better for business.
Councillor McVey welcomed the participants’ ideas and feedback as part of the ongoing dialogue of the Council-led Edinburgh City Vision, an initiative that aims to see the city become carbon neutral by 2050.
Said Councillor McVey: “We’ve made real progress as a city with Edinburgh’s carbon emissions falling by 33 percent since 2004, and our target of achieving a 42 percent reduction by 2020 is the most ambitious carbon reduction target of any Scottish city. The conversation we’re having on our vision for Edinburgh and how we become carbon neutral by 2050 will give us a successful and green future. The challenges are great, but if we pull together, we can achieve that aspiration. Cities across the globe are using One Planet Living to drive their sustainability efforts, and I look forward to hearing more about it and taking learning that the capital can use to accelerate our progress towards a carbon-free future.”
The One Planet Living® framework was developed by Bioregional together with WWF following its involvement in the award-winning BedZED eco-village, the UK’s largest mixed-use eco-community. One Planet Living is based on ten simple principles that work together to help embed sustainability at the heart of any project.
The One Planet Living principles are now being used across the world – from a small community of 131 homes in Seattle to a self-build development in Western Australia to a major tourist resort near Paris.
Sue Riddlestone OBE, CEO and co-founder of Bioregional, said: “Edinburgh has been one of the few cities really leading the way in sustainability for decades. The recent announcement by the IPCC climate scientists reminds us that we need to take action on sustainability to another, deeper level. We just all need to make it a priority. So it was great to hear Edinburgh City Council Leader Adam McVey set out his vision for this great city and to hear of the work that Cundall are doing with the University.
“As a result of our workshop, it seems that there might be some great opportunities to apply the One Planet Living approach to areas of the city. Once people experience it, it will help us all to see and embrace the idea that sustainable cities are better cities, with a better quality of life, and future-proofed economies which are fair for all. As Adam said on the day, let’s move it to doing!”
Mariana Trusson, Cundall Associate Director and Chair of Edinburgh Sustainable Development Partnership (ESDP), said: “The One Planet Living Roadshow workshop and visioning exercise has opened up some exciting new lines of dialogue in creating a truly sustainable Edinburgh. I am particularly excited to start looking at the practicalities of a One Planet Festival in Edinburgh as a result of the discussions.”
As the world’s first consultancy to be endorsed as a One Planet Company, Mariana described how One Planet Living is now a cornerstone of Cundall’s business. The consultancy was part of the team helping to deliver Scotland’s first zero-carbon lecture building at South Lanarkshire College and Mariana and her team are now working with University of Edinburgh to help develop an estate-wide sustainability strategy based on the One Planet Living principles.
“Sustainability is an integral part of being an engineer. It’s what I’ve been doing for 20 years,” said Mariana. “I’ve been lucky enough to be in a position to practice what I preach most recently, with a company like Cundall and through the opportunities given to me through the ESDP. However, even at this stage of my career, I find that people still think of sustainability as something separate; something to be “dealt with”. One Planet Living gives everyone common ground. These are easy to grasp, really basic, universally accepted principles for what we need to do now to reduce the strain on the planet’s resources.”
Mariana is determined to take the lessons learned from her personal experience as well as the shared knowledge and skills of Cundall, the ESDP and Bioregional to help Edinburgh stay at the top of the list of the most attractive place to live and work. “The vision of a pollution-free, zero-carbon and resource-efficient city, whilst at the same time giving people more opportunities and creating better spaces for prosperity and growth, is my vision of Edinburgh.”