Big-name businesses pledge to help make London world’s ‘greenest city’

A group of 11 businesses including Tesco, Siemens, Landsec and Sky have pledged to source 100% renewable power for their London facilities by 2020 in support of London Mayor Sadiq Khan's recently announced plans to make the capital the "greenest" city in the world by 2050.

The companies, which collectively employ more than 165,000 people in the capital, have also committed to electrify their London-based transport fleets by 2025 to support the targets of the new London Environment Strategy (LES).

Published in May, the LES has a headline goal of the capital becoming carbon-neutral by 2050. It also sets out ambitious targets of increasing London’s current solar PV capacity by 20 times by 2050, reducing CO2 emissions by 40% by 2020 against a 1990 baseline. Zero-emissions zones in some town centres will be created by 2020, five years ahead of the previous target, to assist businesses with the uptake of electric vehicles.

Khan said that the new commitments showed a “great example of how cities and businesses can come together to take bold action on climate change”.

“I’m doing everything in my power to reduce London’s carbon footprint, and going further and faster than national government to make London a zero-carbon city by 2050,” he said. “Not only are these businesses committed to renewable energy, clean transport and reducing waste, they’re also committed to working together to achieve results as quickly as possible.”

The companies to have made the electric vehicle (EV) and renewables commitments will be known as the London Business Climate Leaders. They will be required to disclose emissions for their London operations by the end of the year – ahead of the April 2019 deadline set out in the Clean Growth Strategy. The 11 businesses are TescoSky, Siemens, Derwent London, Landsec, ISG, Morgan Sindall Group, Informa and RELX Group.

The businesses have additionally pledged to halve their waste outputs by 2030 and send zero waste to landfill by 2025, as well as aiming for zero-carbon buildings by 2050.

Collaborative action

The Launch of the London Business Climate Leaders was welcomed by the CDP’s chief operating officer Frances Way, who said the initiative would “accelerate action on climate change” and make London “more resilient” to climate challenges.

Way said in a statement that CDP would like to see other businesses in global cities forging similar partnerships in the near future.

The launch of the initiative comes as thousands of policymakers, business representatives and city leaders meet in San Francisco for the Global Action Climate Summit, which serves to highlight the importance of collaborative action in the face of sustainability challenges.

Sarah George

Comments (1)

  1. Jonathan Lodge says:

    Using renewables in a city is not enough to make it green! There is far more to be gained by reducing the need for energy. 1m2 of UK rooftop solar PV generates the equivalent of 9 litres of diesel per year. A good commercial greenhouse should grow several hundred pounds worth of the hardest to transport fresh produce. Devoting expensive buildings for use as ‘factory farms’ has been proven as not sustainable – especially as they still rely on expensive ‘final mile’ distribution. Our CloudGro systems use patented technology to create automated rooftop greenhouses. We can install on roofs where the framing needed to support PV makes it prohibitively expensive. We can grow to order at the point of need and avoid all costs of distribution – and more of many varieties than Tesco can sell. All heavily occupied buildings pay to dump heat and CO2, need a reliable source of fresh produce and to find a responsible way to dispose of transit only packaging (or better still – don’t buy it in the first place!). No city can really claim to be smart if it does nothing about using wasted resources to help feed itself. A CloudGro system can be run for much of the summer using a few PV panels – imagine a whole suppy chain with no added energy bill! That would free up renewables for use by those that cannot avoid the need for energy – like electric taxis that would suffer less congection with unnecessary delivery trucks taken off the road.

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