Letters to the editor – June 17, 2022

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Green washing

Sir,

It is no secret that ‘assumption is the mother of all failures’ yet Tesco has been made to look very stupid this week by assumptions about vegan food.

Tesco was hauled over the coals by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for claiming that swapping beef burgers for its vegan Plant Chef burgers ‘can make a difference to the planet’.

Unfortunately for Tesco it had not a jot of evidence that this was the case and given that the heavily-processed vegan burgers included ingredients shipped from all over the world, the ASA told Tesco that the adverts must not appear again in their current form.

The supermarket must also ensure that it does not make environmental claims about its products in the future unless it holds sufficient evidence to substantiate them.

This matters, not because there is any problem with people adopting plant-based diets, but because the assumption that moving from meat to a non-meat diet always provides a benefit for the environment.

As Tesco has learned, that is an assumption that cannot just be made.

The judgment should not be ‘meat bad, plant-based good’, but ‘locally sourced and sustainably produced good, food miles and heavily processed bad’.

Red meat produced in Britain is among the most sustainable in the world.

Despite the endless propaganda, cattle and sheep account for just 3.7 per cent of UK carbon emissions if you include the carbon stored in grassland and, unlike some plant-based products, very little meat consumed in the UK comes from systems that deplete rainforests and generate large amounts of emissions.

Knowing where your food comes from and how it is produced is far more important than whether it is animal or vegetable.

Challenging assumptions about the benefits of some plant-based products and the casual denigration of livestock farming matters because, if they are allowed to go unchallenged they threaten the sustainability of both the planet and the countryside.
Tim Bonner, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance

Childhood Day

Sir

Last year, the NSPCC Helpline made 897 referrals about abuse and neglect to agencies in Scotland.

With the support of local people ringing the NSPCC Helpline if they have concerns about any child we can help protect children from abuse.

As people get behind Childhood Day on Friday June 10 they demonstrate an understanding that we all have a responsibility to play our part to prevent abuse and neglect.

There will be volunteers in towns and cities throughout Scotland collecting for the NSPCC, so we would be extremely grateful for your support.

This year Lidl GB and Sky Cares are sponsoring the NSPCC’s Childhood Day as retail and media partners respectively.

Both partners have helped to raise awareness of Childhood Day, as well as holding their own activities with their colleagues across the UK to help raise vital funds.

Following the launch of Childhood Day in April, the NSPCC has been encouraging people to volunteer at cash collections scattered across Scotland between May and early June, take part in the Big Breaktime, fundraise by hosting an event in their community or donate to the charity.

People can still get behind Childhood Day and support the NSPCC by donating at nspcc.org.uk/donate

The NSPCC is urging anyone with concerns about a child, even if they’re unsure, to contact the NSPCC helpline to speak to one of the charity’s professionals.

People can call 0808 800 5000, email help@nspcc.org.uk or fill in the online form.

Caroline Renton, Supporter Fundraising Manager for NSPCC Scotland

Community regeneration awards

Sir,

The prestigious national 2022 SURF Awards for Best Practice in Community Regeneration were launched on Thursday June 9 by the Scottish Government.

The SURF Awards are delivered each year by SURF, a regeneration forum with more than 300 cross-sector member organisations across Scotland, in partnership with the Scottish Government.

The purpose is to highlight, celebrate and share the achievements of initiatives that address physical, social and economic challenges in communities across Scotland.

This year’s five thematic categories include; Supporting Youth Employability sponsored by Skills Development Scotland, Creative Regeneration sponsored by Creative Scotland, Community Led Regeneration sponsored by Highlands and Island Enterprise, Improving Scotland’s Places (previously Scotland’s Most Improved Place) sponsored by Scotland’s Towns Partnership and Architecture & Design Scotland and finally an award for Housing and Regeneration.

The winners of the 2022 Awards will be announced by a leading Scottish Government Minister at a celebratory dinner event on the 8th December.

The timescale for the 2022 SURF Awards is as follows: Thursday June 9 –  Monday  September 5 – close of application period; September – shortlisting by 20 independent judges; late September to October – visits and assessment period by judges; Thursday December 8 – SURF Awards Presentation Dinner

As we celebrate the 24th year of the SURF Awards, they remain a vital platform for recognising successful community regeneration.

The awards are inspiring examples of the possible, showcasing the wonderful work undertaken by communities and local partners to make a real difference to the lives of people.

As we build back from Covid we face new challenges which are exacerbating poverty and inequality within our most deprived communities.

The pandemic highlighted how resilient and responsive our communities can be when rising to meet unprecedented challenges.

The 2022 SURF Awards will showcase best practice examples of what people working at a grassroots level can achieve, and allow for learning to be shared and replicated throughout the country.

For further information on the SURF Awards and to download application materials please visit https://www.surf.scot/surf-awards/ or contact Emma Scott on emma@surf.sco

Emma Scott, Events, Information and Communication Manager at SURF