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National Trust, RSPB and WWF urge employees to speak up for nature at work

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The National Trust, RSPB and WWF unveiled guidance on Wednesday designed to help workers encourage their businesses to put the climate and nature crisis at the heart of decision-making.

It comes as a YouGov poll, commissioned by the Save Our Wild Isles campaign, asked more than 1,100 employed adults on May 2 and 3 about how their workplace approaches nature.

The poll found that 62% said their employer should be doing more to tackle issues such as nature loss and climate change, yet 42% do not feel confident to start a conversation on the subject.

It also suggests that three-quarters (77%) of employees are worried about the state of nature in the UK, rising to 82% in the 45-54 age group.

And almost nine out of 10 (89%) employees agreed that employers should consider the impact their business has on nature when making decisions, the poll found.

Citing Office for National Statistics data that three in every 100 firms monitor nature and biodiversity risks, the conservation charities warned that businesses have a critical role to play in tackling the climate crisis.

The new online guide, which was developed with the input of a number of businesses, will give workers at all businesses the confidence to speak up and take action, they said.

The suite of resources includes a step-by-step guide on how to start conversations at work on ways businesses can help bring nature back from the brink.

The National Trust, RSPB and WWF are calling on businesses to act now to prevent supply chain disruption, asset loss, increased costs and declining employee health from getting worse without a thriving natural world.

The campaigners said firms can take action such as embedding net zero into the company strategy or switching to a greener pension plan that funds habitat restoration.

Supply chains could be improved by analysing transportation emissions, packaging waste and energy consumption at every stage, the organisations suggested.

They also said businesses could choose to support community groups and local green spaces, either financially or through volunteering, or improve biodiversity on site through nature-friendly planting.

In a joint statement, Hilary McGrady, director-general of the National Trust, Beccy Speight, RSPB chief executive and Tanya Steele, WWF chief executive, said: “If we can inspire the 30 million people at work in the UK to think about nature in their day-to-day decisions, just think how powerful that could be to bring real change to our natural environment.

“By making changes to the way we all work and do business, we can transform our natural world.”

Deborah Meaden is an ambassador for both the RSPB and WWF (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

Dragons’ Den star Deborah Meaden, a business leader and ambassador for both the RSPB and WWF, said: “The need to protect and restore nature is something businesses cannot afford to ignore. Without it, supply chains would collapse and most companies couldn’t function.”

“Our business community is packed with innovative thinkers and pioneering companies, capable of speaking to millions of consumers and influencing government policy.

“I’ve no doubt we have the ability to tackle the nature and climate crisis but we need to act fast, and we need to act now.”

Fiona Ellis, director and co-founder of Business Declares, who was involved in the development of Nature’s Workforce guidance, said: “This tool will encourage people, who recognise the crisis and the need to restore nature to feel empowered to influence at work and take action.”

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