CCC unveils five-point plan for stronger business action on climate

The proposals, published earlier this week by a new CCC expert advisory group on climate action in the private sector, are a precursor to a major report on the potential of business action to combat the climate crisis. This is due out later this year.

Before diving into the proposals, the report reiterates the commercial opportunities of delivering net-zero – and the financial risks of failure for the private sector.

Opportunities include launching new products and services to new markets; improving efficiency; being seen as an innovator and building in resilience against future risks including supply chain stocks.

The report also stresses that leading on net-zero is “central” to the competitiveness of British businesses on the global stage, as other nations also scramble to take a piece of the pie in low-carbon sectors.

It then details five key ways in which businesses can take more robust climate action.

The first is to set credible targets and to improve reporting on their delivery. Earlier this month, Net Zero Tracker concluded that the quality of corporate emissions goals is only increasing incrementally. Most businesses still do not use science-based goals.

The second point in the CCC report is scaling investment into low-carbon solutions. While many businesses have climate targets, far fewer have clear plans on how they will invest to meet them, in solutions like electric transport, energy efficiency and clean energy.

Thirdly, the report emphasizes the importance of creating broader change beyond business operations. It highlights the need for more joined-up and ambitious work on decarbonisation across supply chains and the benefits of embedding low-carbon requirements into procurement.

The last two points are innovation and influence. The former relates to leading sectors or national markets, and to proving the benefits of doing so to workers, who will gain opportunities to upskill.

The latter relates to influencing culture, consumers and policy. It bears noting that the UN-backed Race to Zero campaign now has a requirement for business members to engage proactively with policymakers, including indirectly, through trade bodies.

On policy engagement, the report implores Whitehall to facilitate new net-zero partnerships between Government departments and businesses. In this way, businesses can send a clear and unified message to policymakers, and better understand the processes in Government.  The report’s title is ‘the power of partnership’, with this in mind.

Shevaun Haviland, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, chairs the CCC’s private sector advisory group. She warned that there is “a real danger” of UK Plc falling behind on the global low-carbon transition stage if policymakers do not come up with strong plans to realise the economic benefits of the net-zero transition.

Other professionals participating in the advisory group included representatives from Barratt Developments, Lloyds Bank, DHL, John Lewis and Futerra.

CCC chief executive Chris Stark said he was “grateful” to the group for the report. He added: “Our own analysis emphasises the integral role that the private sector must play in the transition. It is businesses that will develop and deploy low carbon technologies, their capital investment is the majority needed for net-zero their offering to consumers will drive the change in lifestyles.”

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