New chair of Peat-free Partnership: Belinda Howell

Belinda Howell has been appointed Chair of the Peat-free Partnership to establish peat-free legislation across the UK and Northern Ireland and to protect precious peatlands.

Belinda Howell

The Peat-free Partnership is a UK coalition of environmental NGOs and horticultural organisations working towards the phasing out the use of peat in Horticulture. The Partnership brings together the RHS, the Wildlife Trusts, the RSPB, the National Trust, Garden Organic, Plantlife and many others, with the overarching goal of ending the commercial trade in peat across the UK.

Peatlands are incredibly valuable ecosystems that play a crucial role in carbon sequestration, biodiversity, flood protection and water quality. However, the ongoing extraction of peat destroys precious habitats, but also releases hundreds of thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year.

A member of the Export Guarantees Advisory Council (EGAC), whom advise the Secretary of State for International Trade on UK Export Finance’s operations, Belina Howell is a sustainability strategy expert with extensive board experience in international multi-stakeholder organisations. Howell has advised PLC boards across a wide range of sectors from natural resources, renewable energy and agri-commodities through the supply chain to consumer goods and retail. She has extensive scientific understanding of climate change, environmental and social impact and ESG risks in responsible investment. Howell established the sustainability strategy consultancy, Decarbonize Limited, and currently serves on the boards of the Marine Management Organisation, London Pensions Fund Authority and Digital Catapult. Belinda holds a Masters in Business Administration and Diploma in Company Direction, both with distinction.

“As Chair of the Peat-free Partnership, I am committed to raising awareness about the importance of peatlands and promoting sustainable alternatives to peat across the Horticultural sector. Together with our steering group and members, we will promote measures that will support a home-grown, British Horticulture industry that can be resilient, innovative, sustainable and support a circular economy.

One of my main goals as Chair is to collaborate with the Horticultural sector throughout the supply chain – with growing media producers, nurseries, garden centres and retailers – to encourage policymakers to bring in the widespread adoption of peat-free mandates. Only clear, legislative, time-bound targets for phase out of peat can provide the certainty and level playing field that producers need to enable a peat-free Horticulture sector to thrive” writes Howell.