Prince Charles demonstrated an interest and concern about the environment well before this became fashionable. Now, the Prince has been awarded the Global Environmental Citizen Prize by Harvard Medical School’s Center for Health and the Global Environment in New York. He received the prize from last year’s winner, former Vice President Al Gore. According to the BBC of 29 January, 2007, the Prince and the Duchess of Cornwall travelled to the US on a scheduled British Airways flight from Heathrow. Nevertheless the decision to go to the US was criticised by environmental campaigners, who do not seem to criticize anyone else’s travel, including their own. (Australians will be well aware of this practice of reserving criticism for members of the Royal Family for some activity or practice. In Australia , one particular politician, as well as some journalists, predictabley attack the Royal Family, and almost only the Royal Family, concerning the alleged “costs” of their visits. More recently the politician has taken to asking questions about the costs of other VIP visits to Australia, perhaps to demonstrate his more general concern on these matters.)
Earlier, the Prince had called on companies to cut carbon, according to a report by Sam Bond published on 11 December 2006 in Environmental Data Interactive – UK. Launching an “Accounting for Sustainability” project, the Prince had urged business, voluntary groups and public sector organisations to put environmental issues at the core of their activities and report clearly and consistently on their performance.
Prince Charles has been included in the Environment Agency’s recently published list of top 100 “eco-heroes” for his support of organic farming and other green issues. His organic food company Duchy Originals already beginning to quantify the greenhouse gas emissions produced during the growth, production and distribution of its products.
The Prince plans to set a target to reduce substantially his own carbon emission, including those of his Office and Household. Changes might include less reliance on private planes and helicopters and more use of public flights and trains, as well as switching all his official Jaguars to biodiesel. Staff will be provided with bicycles instead of cars and steps will be taken to improve energy efficiency at his country homes.
The Prince of Wales’ principal private secretary, Sir Michael Peat, said: "The Prince of Wales has said that climate change is the greatest challenge to face mankind and he has asked what our children and grandchildren will say when they look back and assess what we did about it, in the light of what we know now. There is clearly a growing awareness of the need to preserve the environment and considerable strategic commitment from many organisations to do so. We hope that this project, working with a range of organisations, will develop the kind of practical mechanisms that will enable managers to translate this strategic commitment and vision into operational reality."