'We're in this together' say Government and business

Leading corporations have teamed up with Government to launch a campaign to encourage members of the public to take steps to reduce their individual carbon emissions.

Whilst in times past corporations bore the brunt of environmentalists' ire, a growing number of forward-thinking companies are now taking the initiative in efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

Government too has now woken up to the need to tackle climate change.

Paradoxically, though public concern may have driven the corporate and political change, individual action does not always match aspiration, partly because people are at a loss to know what practical steps they can take to make a difference.

Formed as a deliberate response to research showing that people feel powerless when faced with the challenge of climate change, the campaign is being run by The Climate Group, an NGO created to act as a go between to help business, state and civil groups to tackle climate change together.

The corporate coterie's campaign, We're in this together, aims to address the disconnect between action and intention while also allowing eight major businesses to showcase the steps they are taking to do their bit.

It outlines practical steps which can be taken to help households reduce their emissions by one tonne over a three year period.

Dr Steve Howard, CEO of The Climate Group said: "Today marks an unprecedented commitment from some of the UK's favourite brands to help their customers tackle climate change. These brands have come up with new and innovative ways to make it easier to save energy, from watching TV, insulating roofs and insuring cars, to washing our clothes and lighting our homes."

Dr Howard continues: "These companies have developed solutions which allow consumers to do their bit. All our partners are committed to making dealing with climate change more accessible to their customers. The success of the campaign will rest on reaching as many people as possible, not just the usual audience for green initiatives. We can only deal with climate change if we do it together."

Speaking at the launch, Prime Minister Tony Blair said: The Government will continue to give a lead in tackling climate change both at home and internationally to reduce emissions globally. By working together - as individuals, businesses and nations - we can meet this challenge and safeguard our way of life and our planet."

David Miliband, the Environment secretary, said: "Climate change doesn't discriminate. Whether you're a business, a Government, or an individual, it is a threat to us all and therefore a challenge for us all.

"I believe that collectively we can meet this challenge and the Government fully supports the campaign being launched today.

"As part of the wider effort, Government also has to empower individuals to make the right choices to reduce their CO2 footprint, influence other nations to join the global fight against climate change, and get its own house in order.

"We are absolutely committed to tackling climate change on all these fronts and are putting in place the policies to deliver on this."

The companies backing the initiative so far are B&Q, Barclaycard, British Gas, Marks & Spencer, O2, Royal & SunAlliance, BSkyB & Tesco with more businesses set to join throughout 2007 including HSBC and National Express.

Sam Bond



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