Cop26 underway – Every action counts

Written by ELBA CEO, Ian Parkes

COP26 is now underway. In the last few weeks we here at ELBA and BIG have talked a lot about getting ready to mark the start of the conference. Over the course of the next ten days we have practical activities underway out in the environment and habitats of east London and Islington; we are offering community organisations help from our business partners to start developing their own carbon net zero plans; and we have some big climate debates happening – one between business and school students; and one between business and the voluntary sector.

Our theme is that every action counts. It is the daily changes that individuals, communities, businesses and organisations make that will make the difference. Our other theme is keep it practical – by which I mean using the time, energy and expertise of our business volunteers to make tangible differences. While it is great to have debate and discussion, in the end, most people and organisations want to know how they can do something and make a contribution.

Building on advice we had last week from our panel of experts we are going to start our practical hands on work with two major themes – one land based, one water based. The land theme will major on planting, habitats and carbon reduction; the water theme on the plastic cycle and how we here in east London can take actions which will keep plastic out of our local waterways and the world’s oceans.

We will also be looking at so called “green jobs”. One issue we see is that at present the number of such jobs is lagging behind the intention – there does not appear to be much demand in the labour market as yet. The other is that we need to make sure that we don’t end up replicating some of the inequality we see in the labour market everyday in the green economy. Let’s make sure people from every background get a chance to get into some of the professional and better paid careers that will start to emerge. I am going to debate these issues at a round table organised by our friends at Shared Intelligence for Friends of the Earth on Wednesday. It’s a good time talking about these issues – but in true ELBA style, we will be looking for the tangible outcomes for our local residents and communities.

COP26 and its gathering of nations may seem remote, but there is much we can do at local level. ELBA with our amazing business volunteers and community partners have been supporting the environment of east London for over 30 years – we aim to use the extra momentum of COP26 to do even more.

Why not join our business and community debate and panel discussion about how we can work together on 8th November at 3pm. You can register at and see more information here.

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