The Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment (IEMA) polled 560 of its members, revealing overwhelming support for change in the way the UK economy is measured. More than nine out of 10 wanted to see ‘natural capital‘ or ‘ wellbeing’ measured alongside GDP.

The poll – the fifth and final one from IEMA in the run-up to the election – found that sustainability professionals also want to see a broad change in the way their industry is treated in Westminster.

As many as 93% of respondents want sustainability to be put above party politics, similar to the way the NHS could be treated, according to IEMA.

Without this cohesive approach, professionals have been left frustrated and disappointed by the lack of prominence that important issues have been given in the campaign. Earlier polls revealed that just 22% of IEMA members support the leaders of the three main parties.

Missing items

IEMA Members feel that critical long-term sustainability issues have been too low on the agenda, or completely missing from debate. 68% said risks from the changing climate have been missing, 55% say resource threats should have had greater prominence and 49% feel that renewable energy needed more discussion.

IEMA’s Josh Fothergill said “There is strong feeling from the profession that some really critical issues have not had appropriate prominence during the Election campaign. Each party had a real opportunity to bring these important issues to the fore. Doing so would have been a wise move as these issues are absolutely vital to the future of the UK’s economy and wellbeing of the UK electorate.

“We certainly hope that the incoming Government focuses on these issues during their first 100 days in Parliament otherwise there is a risk that the UK’s economic, social and environmental prosperity will decrease and we will lose out on the growth opportunities of a sustainable economy.”

Despite the criticism, both Labour and the Liberal Democrats have released stand-alone green manifestos, with the Lib Dems in particular making bold commitments on renewable energy and decarbonisation.

Brad Allen

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