EU referendum: How will sustainability professionals be voting?

As Britain's European Union (EU) referendum draws ever nearer, edie has collated the figures of a range of in/out surveys, with a clean sweep of poll results indicating that the majority of sustainability professionals are in favour of voting to remain in the EU.

Sustainability professionals have formed a general consensus that a pan-European approach is essential for tackling complex and transboundary environmental issues

Sustainability professionals have formed a general consensus that a pan-European approach is essential for tackling complex and transboundary environmental issues

We start by taking a look at our very own readers’ poll, first referred to within our ‘how the green economy will vote’ article (1 March) and now with more than 500 votes.

The vast majority of respondents to that snapshot survey have revealed that they will be voting to keep Britain in the EU, with almost three-quarters voting in support of Britain's position as a Member State.

The poll shows that 75% of 513 edie readers (and counting) will be voting to remain in the EU, with just 18% saying they will vote for Brexit, and 7% undecided. (Scroll down to cast your own vote).

Meanwhile, earlier this month, a survey from the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment (IEMA) revealed that an overwhelming majority of sustainability professionals believe voters have insufficient information to take environment and sustainability issues into account when they cast their vote.

That poll of IEMA members revealed that 86% of 1200 sustainability professionals believe that issues surrounding the environment and sustainability have not received the right level of focus in the debate, while 87% thought that environment should feature more prominently in the time left before the referendum.

'Strong support'

Since then, a large proportion of environmental scientists have thrown their weight behind remaining in the EU.

A survey of members of the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES) last week showed that more than two thirds (68%) of environmental science professionals believe the UK should remain in the EU, with only 4% of respondents to the survey indicated support for the UK to leave.

Members and trustees of the IES formed a general consensus that a pan-European approach is essential for tackling complex and transboundary environmental issues or problems.

IES chief executive Adam Donnan said: “The quality of our air, water and biodiversity depends on the actions of our neighbours as well as ourselves. Many environmental challenges can only be efficiently managed on an international scale. Compared to other legislative bodies the EU has a good track record on environmental issues and UK nature has benefited from our membership.   

“Our consultation with our members, staff and trustees shows there is strong support within the environmental science community for the UK to remain in the EU.”

'Frank discussion'

Finally, the plastics recycling sector completes a full house of sustainability professionals that support staying in the EU.

Visitors and exhibitors at the recent Plastics Recycling Expo in Telford were asked whether the UK should remain or leave the EU by recycling their empty plastic drink bottles through the voting bins. While views varied on how the decision will affect future investment in manufacturing facilities, imports and exports, and the recycling industry in the UK, around 65% of respondents revealed they would be voting to remain in the EU.

That poll was conducted by RECOUP, a plastics recycling member-based group. The organisation's communication's manager Anne Hitch said: “The remain and brexit decision will directly affect how the UK priorities recycling, sustainability and circular economy development, and it was interesting to hear the frank discussion from delegates about the affects the EU referendum could have.”

Brexit: What YOU have to say…

edie readers have been quizzed on their stance on Britain's EU membership, with the overwhelming majority of sustainability professionals and green groups agreeing that remaining in the EU is crucial for our transition to a low-carbon future.

Cast your own vote (if you haven't already) and let us know your thoughts about the Referendum in the comments section below.

George Ogleby


eu referendum | green policy


Green policy
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