British Chambers of Commerce pushes Government for clearer, more ambitious net-zero pathway

The BCC is calling for changes like more resources for the Climate Change Committee (CCC) plus a new public body to hold the Government to account for delivering its low-carbon policies.

These calls to action are included in a new ‘Green Innovation Challenge’ report – the first of five policy documents published by BCC’s new Business Council as part of its ‘Future of Economy’ project.

The report draws upon expertise from businesses of all sizes, academia and leading think-tanks.

While acknowledging strides made in reducing carbon emissions in electricity supply in the UK, the report cautions that efforts must intensify across all sectors of the economy, spanning transportation, heating, waste management and aviation.

Key policy recommendations outlined in the report focus on long-term clarity and short-term financial support for green industrial innovation and technologies such as solar power, carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS), and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) mandates.

While acknowledging the challenges of shifting supply chains and potential short-term cost burdens, the report concludes with an urgent call for action, declaring that “we are now entering a crunch phase for delivery on net-zero.”

The report also advocates for the establishment of a new public body dedicated to overseeing the implementation of core climate policies, with a focus on long-term commitments and intergenerational equity.

BCC’s president Martha Lane Fox said: “One of the most pressing challenges for all business is the transition to a green and sustainable future. We will have no habitable planet if we don’t encourage rapid and effective actions.

“Our report outlines clear and realistic recommendations to accelerate the UK’s transition to net-zero. A robust strategy focused on delivery across the economy must be underpinned by clear and consistent messaging from the Government.

“BCC research and engagement with businesses tells us that firms of all sizes want to play their part, but face barriers along the way.”

Green industrial strategy

The report stresses the imperative of aligning green industrial policies into a cohesive, long-term strategy, echoing calls from investors for greater policy coherence.

The report emphasises the need for deeper collaborations between businesses and Government entities.

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) cautioned last year that the UK is failing to capitalise on the economic benefits arising from the worldwide transition to a net-zero carbon future, primarily due to the absence of a well-defined green industrial strategy.

Ministers have not comprehensively updated the UK’s Industrial Strategy since its launch in 2017 – two years before the UK legislated for net-zero by 2050.

Transition plan focus

Lastly, the BCC is calling for more support and enhanced resources for the Climate Change Committee (CCC), enabling it to conduct in-depth sector analysis for efficient transition planning.

Large businesses in high-emission sectors are being urged to draw up net-zero transition plans by the Financial Conduct Authority, in line with the Transition Plan Taskforce’s recommendations. The TPT published its finalised ‘gold standard’ guidance last Autumn and recommended that the mandate apply to 40 different industries.

Covid-19 and changes in Prime Minister impeded efforts to implement a mandate for gold-standard-aligned disclosures before the end of 2023 as originally promised. edie understands that the Government will take a decision on the mandate’s timeline before the next general election, which must be called by January 2025.

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