COP26: What action needs to be taken at the local and national level?



COP26, one of the largest global conversations about the Climate Emergency, is underway in Glasgow!


At the two-week UN Climate Conference, countries are being asked to set ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets that align with reaching net zero by 2050. As the host nation of COP26, the UK's plans and actions could have a huge impact on the fight for climate action and justice.


“At Sustainable Merton we believe action speaks louder than words. There is no doubt we would like less rhetoric and more action as a result of COP26. The government needs to announce a coherent strategy and policies that are joined up and implemented. This may seem like a big ask but ultimately we know that the costs of inaction will far outstrip the cost of taking action now.”

- Diana Sterck, CEO


Scottish Event Campus, venue of COP26 ©️ SEC

National Level


At the national level, we urgently need a speeding up of policy that is a long time coming. From 2022, we want to see:

  • Financial incentives for businesses to help them in the transition to green energy and green transport.

  • Information and financial support for people to reduce energy usage in their home and to change to green energy solutions, moving away from fossil fuels.

  • An extension of producer responsibility laws to allow consumers to assess the net zero contribution of producers.

  • A requirement for all businesses to adopt stricter standards and greater transparency with a move away from greenwashing to a real commitment to climate action.

  • Increased charges on polluting action to influence behaviour change.


Local Level


As Merton’s local environmental charity, and with over 14 years experience of working within and with the local community to improve sustainability in the borough, we have a strong local perspective and insight into the issues that need to be addressed and action that needs to be taken as part of Merton’s climate agenda to meet the Council’s net zero carbon target of 2050 for the borough.


At the local level, we want to see:


  • Reducing, reusing and refilling placed at the heart of every business and throughout the residential community.

  • Funding for more community-led schemes to educate and encourage people to change their behaviour to reduce their carbon footprint.

  • Improved information/infrastructure on recycling and where items can be recycled and how.

  • Public transport to be more accessible.

  • Prioritisation of active travel and an improvement/extension to safe cycling and pedestrian pathways.

  • Increased funding for organisations working to improve health and well being through sustainability initiatives, particularly in more deprived areas.

  • A commitment from the Council to increase and maintain tree canopy and stop trees being cut down to make way for development and to stop an increase in paving.


How will we support this action?


We aim to mobilise our community to respond to the Climate Emergency whilst improving health and well being in the borough, and will continue to position ourselves at the heart of this action through leadership, partnership and supporting the work and messages of other organisations and groups working towards a common goal.


We will continue to run and bring new, innovative projects to the borough that will influence behaviour change and provide opportunities for everyone to make a positive difference to sustainability in their communities, and be a trusted source and amplifier of information to increase knowledge of the impact of our behaviours and encourage residents and businesses to take action to reduce their carbon emissions and environmental footprint.


“We are a small, local charity and therefore limited in the scale of changes we can effect. However, In Merton, we have a great track record of partnership working and we urge all those who are committed to climate change to take action and join us in the fight for climate action and a fair and just borough for everyone.”

- Diana Sterck, CEO (pictured below, right, alongside some of our Community Champions)



Take action!


Are you concerned about the environment and how our climate is changing - such as the more frequent and extreme hot weather we are experiencing? Have you or your business been directly affected by flooding that made national news? Urgent action is needed at the government level but we also have a responsibility as individuals and local businesses and we all have a part to play. Small actions make a big difference when we all come together.


Ask your MP to drive urgent action


Will you join us in supporting and calling for local climate action by adding your name to our letter to Merton's MPs? Our voices are stronger when we come together so let's make ours heard now, during COP26 - a crucial moment for people and the planet.


Read the letter and add your name


Join us as Sustainable Merton Community Champion


We are looking for more volunteers – Community Champions – of all backgrounds and experience, to champion a more sustainable way of life in Merton. Join our growing team of Community Champions and work within your community to encourage residents to live more sustainably for the benefit of themselves, their children, and the environment.


Find out more here and complete our volunteer registration form to sign up!


Become a Business Champion and be part of Merton’s Business Network for Climate Action


At a time when concern about the escalating climate crisis continues to grow, we want to support businesses to take action to reduce their environmental impact and to adopt more sustainable business practices. ​The aim of Merton's Business Network for Climate Action is to connect businesses who are serious about taking action on the Climate Emergency, to share their experiences and challenges and hear about useful resources, services and products to help them on their journey.


Find out more here or email ellie@sustainablemerton.org to join us.