Race to Zero – a Global Pledge, Bringing Back the West Sussex Kelp Forest, Scotland Restores Seagrass and Oyster Reefs, Giant UK Foodservice Goes Green

by | Feb 9, 2022 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

Race to Zero – a global pledge, plus bringing back UK’s West Sussex kelp forest. Scotland restores seagrass and oyster reefs, plus UK foodservice giant, JJ’s, goes green.



Yesterday, we talked about the Race to zero on North American campuses. Today, it’s the global Race to Zero campaign, led by the United Nations. The campaign launched ahead of the COP26 summit in November 2021 in Glasgow. It’s led by Nigel Topping from the UK and Gonzalo Muñoz from Chile, the UN’s High-Level Climate Champions for Climate Action.

The goal is to halve global emissions by 2030 by working with businesses, cities, regions, investors, and financial and educational institutions in every part of the globe. Any group or locale can sign up to join the Race to Zero global pledge. But there are steps and benchmarks to reach:

  • pledge to hit the 2030 net zero and 50% emissions reduction ASAP.
  • within a year of signing up, have a plan on how you’re going to hit those targets.
  • follow through and take action
  • publish results on progress annually

According to the website, “If all goes well, the Race to Zero campaign will recognize your targets as “credible and science based”, offer access to a community of knowledge-sharing, and support you in achieving your climate goals.” Why does the Race to Zero matter to us? Because Climate Change.

DEEPER DIVE: Global Citizen, C40 Knowledge



JJ Foodservice, which services branches in eleven cities all across the UK, recently pledged to cut its carbon footprint. The British foodservice wholesaler hopes to do that three ways. One is converting 15% of total energy consumption for its London branches from conventional to solar powered energy generation. A second carbon footprint reduction strategy is through expansion of its vegan and organic produce offerings. These products are less harmful to the climate. JJ’s is also expanding its use of biodegradable-packaging.

A third way the foodservice giant hopes to reduce its carbon footprint is by moving its computing infrastructure to the cloud. According to research, a shift to cloud-computing decreases total IT emissions total about 5.9% because it relies less on hardware and physical machines. The migration starts this year and is expected to be completed within the next 24 months. 

Why does JJ Foodservice’s green pledge matter to us? Globally, food systems account for more than a third of all carbon emissions. And thanks to JJ’s, we now see  it’s not just from the agricultural side, but also from the packaging and food business administration sides as well. Glad to see them cleaning up their act.

DEEPER DIVE: Market Watch, UN News



Since 1987, trawling and various human pressures destroyed 95% of kelp. In March 2021, the Sussex Nearshore Trawling Bylaw passed. The bylaw protects the nearshore seabed of the Sussex coast from bottom-towed trawling gears. In 2021, two UK councils–Adur and Worthing–won the right to lease the West Sussex coastline to restore its natural kelp forest.

Interesting bit of trivia for us non-Brits: The Crown Estate manages the land on behalf of the Queen. It owns the seabed to a distance of 12 nautical miles (22km) off the coast. That’s who Adur and Worthing Councils won the right to lease the seabeds from. The two councils also partnered with the Sussex Kelp Restoration Project, and neighboring local authorities on the project. 

The kelp restoration project expects to bring biodiversity back to the coastline. To get the project off the ground, the councils voted to contribute £50,000 (about $68,000 USD) of their own funding to help the development of the lease scheme. The project hopes to attract more funding. The project is currently in the research phase to build an understanding of baseline biodiversity in the marine area.

What does the kelp forest restoration matter to us? Says Sir David Attenborough.”This large-scale protection of over 200 kilometers of the seabed is a vital win in the fight against the biodiversity and climate crises.”  A biodiverse ecosystem would support seahorses, lobsters, cuttlefish, bass, sole, black seabream and other species native to this part of the UK coast.

The carbon capture estimate for a fully restored kelp forest off the Sussex Coast is equivalent to 66 million miles driven in a diesel car.

DEEPER DIVE: BBC, SKYNEWS, The Wildlife Trusts, Edie




In a region  called Firth of Forth in Scotland, a project called Restoration Forth is underway to restore Seagrass meadows and oyster reefs  along the coast. The aim of the project is to restore up to six acres of seagrass and 10,000 oysters per year by the end of 2024. The project is slated to run for three years.

The seagrass meadows and oyster reefs once flourished in the Forth estuary. Both went nearly extinct from overfishing and commercial sea traffic. This is Scotland’s first community oyster restoration project. It kicked last October before COP26. 

ScottishPower Foundation’s new Marine Biodiversity Fund granted a total of £600,000 (about $750,000) over three years for the project. It is the fund’s first award and the biggest ever provided by the ScottishPower Foundation. The World Wide Fund for Nature WWF, a leading independent conservation organization, manages the award.

Why does Scotland’s Restoration Forth project matter to us? Seagrass are flowering plants which cover only 0.2% of the seafloor yet absorb 10% of the ocean’s carbon each year. And adult oysters can filter over 50 gallons of water a day, cleaning it of pollutants.

DEEPER DIVE: The Scotsman, Edinburgh News