Less ‘Blah, Blah, Blah’! More action

Greta Thunberg has called for business and governments to stop the 'blah, blah, blah' and get on with tackling the climate crisis. Tim Wynn-Jones, Business Development Director at Centrica Business Solutions, discusses how business can 'walk the talk' on sustainability.

Less ‘Blah, Blah, Blah’! More action

Climate change is the most serious future threat to the global environment, economies and societies. Science shows that failure to take urgent climate action will be catastrophic, unless we can limit global temperature rises to 1.5°C – compared to pre-industrial levels.

Net Zero leadership starts with big business

This means reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 – a huge ambition that will require everyone to play their part. It is the moral duty of businesses and public bodies across the developed world to take the lead in driving sustainability across their own operations and value chains.

This must start with the largest enterprises, like ours. It involves building a diverse and engaged people culture that balances purpose and profit to deliver positive and measurable environmental and societal impact.

How to nurture planet and profit

But as organisations re-build in the aftermath of the pandemic, how do we ensure that social and environmental purpose aren’t forgotten. At a fragile time of economic recovery, coupled with rising prices and inflation, how can businesses pursue that purpose while also prioritising cost management and operational efficiency?

Fortunately, doing the right thing for the planet is also good for profits. By aligning carbon reduction with recovery planning, businesses can gain both financially and environmentally.

Our recent research demonstrates that a progressive approach to energy management can bolster finances. Firms investing in innovative energy technology have cut costs and carbon emissions, while building operational resilience and unlocking new revenue streams from their energy assets.

Despite current economic challenges, 43% of companies we surveyed claim that operating a sustainable business model remains a top priority. They also recognise the need to get a head start on decarbonisation to protect themselves from rising carbon costs and future regulatory risks.

‘Walking the talk’ on sustainability

We’re using the proven methods and low and zero-carbon technologies that are decarbonising our own business to help our customers achieve their environmental ambitions. One of the key goals of our People & Planet Plan is to reach net-zero by 2045 and help our customers be net-zero by 2050. This includes bringing forward our target to electrify our 12,000-strong British Gas fleet to 2025.

This approach is working. Between 2015 and 2020 we helped customers cut around 9.4 million tonnes of carbon, while our own business now emits 80% less carbon than we did a decade ago. As a result, we’ve achieved a CDP ‘A’ rating for leadership on our action and disclosure on climate change.

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