«We not only have to stop climate change and save the planet for the future, but we also must acknowledge that climate change is already happening and damaging humanity» British Ambassador to Italy says
UK and Italy’s Pre-COP26: a series of events, talks and meetings
In November 2021 almost all countries on the planet will come together in Glasgow for the COP26, the 26th United Nation climate change conference, to discuss the next steps and increase global ambition. With the UK as President of the summit in partnership with Italy, the countries’ representatives will address issues such as the reversal of biodiversity loss caused by the increase in global temperature. The partnership between UK and Italy resulted in the Pre-COP26, a series of events, talks and meetings which took place in Milan between 30 September and 2 October, bringing together ministers from different countries to exchange views and possible solutions setting the tone for the conference. «It was an occasion to deepen our collaboration. The UK and Italy are two leader countries with a strong relationship and shared ambitions on climate change. We have worked between Italy and UK, we kept going there even during the pandemic with webinars and online events not only on the main themes of COP26, but also on themes relevant to the UK: sustainable mobility, smart cities, sustainable fashion» Jill Morris, British Ambassador to Italy, says about the partnership between Italy and the United Kingdom.
Making the 26th annual summit on climate change as inclusive as possible
Building a broad coalition with a shared vision for COP26, the two European countries worked close to each other to make the 26th annual summit on climate change as inclusive as possible involving civil society, cities and young people as well as scientists and researchers. UK and Italy aim at building on that legacy and put climate-related issues at the heart of the multilateral agenda of 2021 and beyond including through the G7, G20 and COP26 Presidencies. In order to achieve this goal, Italy hosted another event in Milan between 28 September and 30 September: YOUTH4CLIMATE: DRIVING AMBITION. An event which brought together 400 young people aged between eighteen and twenty-nine from the 197 Parties of the UNFCCC to discuss climate change and engage with ministers and representatives of the institutions. The outcome of the summit was a document with their proposals and recommendations on several themes, such as sustainable recovery and developing sustainable conscious societies, which was presented to the Pre-COP26 event. «I want to congratulate the Italian government and the City of Milan for this initiative, a great platform to have young people’s voices heard and injected in the negotiations of Pre-COP26. We know this must be a comprehensive effort and, as the next generation, youngsters are drivers for the changes which they need», says the British Ambassador. Aware of this urgency, the UK has established a Youth Engagement Team and a Civil Society and Youth Advisory council in their COP department committed to involving activists from civil society, young people, indigenous communities and faith groups.
YOUTH4CLIMATE: DRIVING AMBITION
On 29 September, in the framework of YOUTH4CLIMATE: DRIVING AMBITION, the Youth event: Gender, race and inclusion in climate change took place. An occasion to reflect and debate on how climate change is affecting different groups of society, such as women, ethnic minorities, indigenous communities and poor countries. «We have to address this inequality in the impacts of global warming and fight for climate justice. Women and young girls face higher risks and greater burdens from the impact of climate change; an extreme weather event increases the likelihood of young girls dropping out from school and stopping their education, it puts women’s jobs at risk making it difficult for them to provide for their families. When it comes to race, indigenous people suffer from climate change because of the strong dependency on their environment and its resources», Morris explains. The United Kingdom has a long history of commitment towards sustainability as it was the first country to devote its efforts to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 launching in 2018 a Clean Growth strategy, UK’s national commitment to make sure they deliver on Paris Agreement. The involvement of businesses in the fight against global warming is stressed by Morris and finds fulfillment in the agenda of COP26 and of Pre-COP26 events. In Italy, seventy-two businesses are already working alongside governments to channel their energies and resources into the design and development of innovative sustainable technologies and strategies necessary to enable the green transition, which is not to be considered a cost for the world’s economy, but an opportunity, as well as a necessity. Morris explains how Italy and the UK have been collaborating for years on a common interest, the introduction of hydrogen – an element which will play a key role in the process of decarbonization and reduction of emissions – in the production systems of some complex industries, such as steel, chemicals, cement and so on. When it comes to carbon emissions and pollution, it is common knowledge that the fashion industry is one of the major polluting industries in the world being responsible for eight percent of annual global carbon emissions. To address this issue, the not-for-profit UK organization Wrap (Waste and Resources Action Programme) has launched Textiles 2030, a ten year voluntary action plan backed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and by the major UK fashion organizations.
Lampoon review: YOOX’s UK Fashion for a Sustainable Future
The plan aims at aligning with the 1.5°C global target, cutting water waste and putting in place a circular textiles roadmap for the UK. As COP26 President, the UK initiated a collaboration with YOOX, part of YOOX NET-A-PORTER-GROUP, the Italian e-commerce platform active in the fashion and luxury sectors. On 30 September, the Department for International Trade in Italy and YOOX launched UK Fashion for a Sustainable Future, a pop-up gallery dedicated to eight sustainable fashion and accessory British brands jointly selected by YOOX and Marina Iremonger, Head of the Creative, Consumer & Retail team of the Department for International Trade in Italy: Alighieri, Bottletop, Finisterre, Jo Gordon, Ninety Percent, The Jacksons, Toms, Vivienne Westwood. The brands have been chosen on the basis of strict UN sustainability criteria also highlighted by the G20 resolution, such as employment and human rights, respect for the environment and for the animal world, innovation, design and manufacture to ensure product longevity, enable repair, reuse and recycling. Morris is keen to stress the creation of a circular economy enabling the reuse of consumption goods, especially garments.
According to Morris, the choice fell on YOOX because of the brand’s long history of sustainable and responsible fashion and consumption which resulted into their Infinity sustainability strategy, which combines a vision with twelve measurable commitments to 2030, all connected to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In line with the UK’s values, the Italian e-commerce platform aims to direct consumers’ habits. To drive progress, YOOX NET-A-PORTER builds on its legacy in sustainability initiatives such as YOOXYGEN, established by YOOX in 2009, which was the first online platform dedicated to responsible fashion. Another environmental issue addressed in Milan on 1 October is the reduction of waste in the food and packaging industries, which more than others are struggling to find sustainable and smart solutions to achieve zero impact. Government representatives, institutions and organizers of major trade exhibitions gathered in Milan to address the challenges the industry is facing in implementing the circular economy, reducing food waste and packaging waste and creating a sustainable low impact system. The Institutional Talk will be followed by a workshop with Tuttofood, a B2B fair active in the agro-food ecosystem, which will take place later in October. On that occasion, Italian food and packaging companies will present the sustainable plans and innovative products they have developed to help the industry make that transition. All the events and meetings of Pre-COP26 and YOUTH4CLIMATE: DRIVING AMBITION will take place inside Villa Necchi Campiglio, a historic residence located in the city center of Milan which is part of the ‘Case museo di Milano’ circuit. In 2001, the last heirs of the Necchi Campiglio family donated the house to FAI (Fondo Ambiente Italiano), an Italian non-profit foundation established in 1975 with the intent to protect, safeguard and enhance Italy’s artistic and natural heritage. The relationship between Villa Necchi and the UK started in 2015 during EXPO. In 2018, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the British Consulate in Italy, Queen’s Birthday Party took place at Villa Necchi under the aegis of the British flag, with the presence of the English Consul in Milan and the Minister of Investments.
The 2021 United Nations climate change conference and this year will be the 26th annual summit. With the UK as President in partnership with Italy, COP26 takes place in Glasgow in November 2021. As part of this effort, Italy hosted two milestone events in Milan: YOUTH4CLIMATE: DRIVING AMBITION (28 – 30 September 2021) and PRE-COP26 (30 September – 2 October 2021), preparatory meetings for COP26.