More than 2,000 business leaders urge UK Government to boost climate action at COP28

Image: Business Declares

Hand-delivered by Business Declares, the letter urges the Prime Minister to spearhead swift measures, aiming to reinstate the UK as a global climate leader at the upcoming COP28 summit.

The initiative follows an earlier plea presented as a result of the Queue for Climate and Nature in September. At the event, hundreds of workers from businesses of different sizes and sectors queued in London to sign a letter demanding that policymakers take “firm and urgent” action to tackle the climate and nature crises.

The escalation from 300 to 2,000 signatures underscores the increasing pressure on the Government to react promptly and restore the UK’s position as a climate leader, building on the momentum gained since the September demonstration.

Green economy leaders including Deborah Meaden, Paul Polman, Chris Packham and Dale Vince have publicly endorsed the letter, alongside decision-makers from Triodos Bank, WHEB Asset Management, Tribe Impact Capital, Riverford, COOK Food and Café Direct.

Triodos Bank UK’s marketing and communications director Zoe Ruthven said: “On the current trajectory we face a climate and ecological emergency – the time to act is now.

“The ask of political leaders is clear and the broad coalition of businesses supporting this initiative provides a powerful representation of the appetite for change. We will not achieve a greener future without coordinated and urgent action from our Government. Only a truly collective effort can turn current anxiety about the future into something more hopeful.”

Calls to action

The missive, supported by Net-Zero Review author, Chris Skidmore, emphasises the critical need for a comprehensive climate action plan to provide long-term security and certainty for UK businesses, countering the backdrop of recent governmental climate policy rollbacks.

Outlined within the letter are clear and decisive calls for the Government to rapidly escalate investment and incentives in renewable energy while addressing grid connection issues and driving energy efficiency.

A stable rollout plan is sought to attract investments and facilitate essential training for a seamless transition, ultimately reducing community living costs and ensuring business certainty for future growth.

The letter also urges the Government to undertake decisive actions to protect and restore nature, aiming to halt further decline by 2030.

A National Plan is urged to achieve nature targets within regulatory frameworks, allowing rivers, seas, food and farming to flourish. A level playing field is deemed imperative to enable unified business action, alongside well-funded regulatory agencies to enforce the highest environmental standards.

Lastly, the calls for action include ceasing new fossil fuel developments in the UK, aligning with global calls to action from the UN Secretary-General, climate scientists and the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Earlier this month, the Government unveiled its Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill, despite warnings from the IEA that the 1.5C-aligned pathway to a global net-zero energy system by 2050 must include an immediate halt to all upstream oil and gas projects with long lead times.

Nevertheless, it is hoped that despite recent policy rollbacks, the Government will strive to reclaim its role as a global climate leader at the forthcoming COP.

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