Following His Royal Highness’s attendance at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, over the last twelve months The Prince of Wales has continued to champion the pressing need for society to transition to a low-carbon economy. Climate Change and environmental degradation most affect the poorest in our societies, and His Royal Highness has actively sought to highlight the consequences of this through his work on the Circular Economy to address the scourge of plastics pollution; on global deforestation and consequential soil loss; on the promotion of wool; and through his efforts with the Royal Meteorological Society to write about the interconnected and negative consequences of extreme weather events.
Campaign for Wool
His Royal Highness, Patron of Campaign for Wool, hosted the inaugural International Wool Conference at Dumfries House in September. The Conference was designed to encourage those who had worked hard to improve the status and perception of wool in recent years, and to encourage others to join and lend their support in the future. The event was attended by key players in the global wool market including Marks & Spencer CEO, Steve Rowe; world renowned fashion designer, Sir Paul Smith; model and entrepreneur, David Gandy; and the Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast, Max Whitlock, who performed an acrobatic routine wearing a suit designed by Sir Paul Smith to demonstrate the fibre’s flexible qualities. The Conference closed with the signing of the Dumfries House Declaration wherein the signatories committed their efforts, time and talents to promote, educate and enforce the natural attributes of wool.
Unit Plastic Design Symposium
The Prince of Wales’s International Sustainability Unit (ISU) has been working in collaboration with other organisations to understand the implications of, and solutions to, the growing quantity of plastic ending up in the ocean. Current estimates suggest that eight million tonnes of plastic enters the ocean every year from our ‘make, use, dispose’ economy. Marine wildlife and ecosystems are at risk from this seemingly unending flow of pollution. The ISU, working with His Royal Highness’s Business In The Community initiative, brought together designers from some of the world’s biggest brands alongside sustainability professionals and senior executives to discuss how products can be designed better to stay in the economy and out of the ocean. At the Plastic Design Symposium, The Prince listened to the views of senior company representatives and there was widespread agreement that stakeholders from all parts of the plastic value chain need to work together towards a more coordinated, transparent, simplified and accountable system.
Unit Cocoa Convention
On Thursday 16th March, The Prince of Wales brought together CEOs and high-level representatives of twelve of the world’s largest cocoa and chocolate companies at a meeting in Central London. The companies, representing over 80% of the world’s cocoa market, committed to ending deforestation and forest degradation in the cocoa supply chain.
The meeting and commitment were organised by The Prince’s International Sustainability Unit, working in partnership with the World Cocoa Foundation and the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH). In attendance were Ministers from Ghana and the UK, alongside senior officials from The Netherlands, Germany, Norway and senior representatives of international organisations.
“There are many reasons for this being, intrinsically, the right thing to do. I have for many years been deeply committed to the protection of the world’s tropical rainforests. They play an absolutely crucial role, both globally, and locally, in climate change mitigation and adaptation. But perhaps the most powerful direct reason for action is that deforestation threatens to undermine the very resilience of the cocoa sector itself, and with it the livelihoods of the millions of smallholders who depend on it, due to the increased climate variability that follows forest loss.”
The Prince of Wales in his remarks to the meeting
France Order of
In March, His Royal Highness, a farmer himself and a long-standing supporter of rural communities, received France’s Order of Agricultural Merit – one of France’s highest orders – for his dedication to the welfare of agricultural communities, the promotion of sustainable forms of agriculture and his commitment to tackling climate change.
Leader of Change
The Prince of Wales was awarded the 2016 Eco-Age Global Leaders of Change Award for “His Royal Highness’s outstanding contribution to global environmental preservation and protection, and his passionate vision for a better future for humanity”. The award recognised His Royal Highness’s charitable endeavours and his engagement with the private sector in seeking solutions to today’s environmental challenges, highlighting in particular his work on rainforest and wildlife preservation. The award was presented by Livia Firth, Founder of the Green Carpet Challenge, at Clarence House.
"I was really worried about the collapse of the dairy industry in Scotland and I, like the other producers in Ayrshire, was looking at ways to seek alternative income. The Prince’s Dairy Initiative helped me look at my business differently and I began diversifying the way we worked. We introduced new things such as rotational cattle grazing, opened up a new farm shop to sell milk directly to the public and provided milk to the cook school at Dumfries House. Our next step is to look at becoming a fully organic credited farm to continue progressing."
Bryce Cunningham, Participant,
The Prince’s Dairy Initiative
"I would like to thank The Prince’s Countryside Fund and the Course Directors. The course has been one of the best experiences of my life so far. The friends and contacts within the industry I have made will stay close and guide me through whatever the future may hold for agriculture. The content of the course has been truly amazing. I came away feeling that there is no stone left unturned but, should I ever find one, I now know someone who could give me the answer."
James Nightingale, Delegate, Farm Business
Development Programme run by Bishop Burton College
After speaking at the opening ceremony of the Paris Climate Change summit in November 2015, The Prince of Wales began work on a plain English guide to the subject. Recognising that many people lacked the time and opportunity to study the science and implications of climate change, The Prince teamed up with two experts, Dr. Tony Juniper and Dr. Emily Shuckburgh, to produce a short illustrated book which covers the causes of climate change and how it is related to human activities, what we can expect to happen as a result, the challenges this will pose to people and what can be done to avoid the worst effects of it.
The book was peer reviewed by six experts in accordance with the procedures governing the publication of scientific papers, and in January 2017 was published by Ladybird Books as part of a new series of guides for adults. The book went straight into The Sunday Times’ best seller list on the week of its release and stayed there for several weeks thereafter. Although produced primarily for grown-ups, the book was also written to be accessible and to pique the interest of children.