UK business giants call for national green recovery tied to net-zero
More than 200 UK businesses and investors, including Sky, Lloyds Bank and Asda, have called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to deliver a green recovery plan from the coronavirus pandemic that builds a stronger and more inclusive economy.
A total of 206 chief executives have signed an open letter offering support to the UK Government in tackling the health and subsequent economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The initiative is also supported by an array of networks including The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group (CLG), the Aldersgate Group, the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC), Business in the Community (BITC), the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) and the Climate Group.
“With the UK facing major economic and social concerns including the risk of high unemployment and rising regional inequality, we believe that an ambitious low carbon growth and environmental improvement agenda can do a lot to address these concerns, as well as make the UK economy better prepared to deal with future shocks such as those related to climate change,” the letter states.
The chief executives state that the recovery from the crisis must be used to accelerate efforts for the UK to become a net-zero carbon nation. Efforts to “rescue and repair” the economy should be aligned to the legislated net-zero target, the letter adds.
Eliot Whittington, Director, Corporate Leaders Group – coordinating organisation for the letter to the Prime Minister – said: “The UK needs a strong, sustainable economy able to withstand future shocks, and the Prime Minister’s plans to support a recovery after the Coronavirus pandemic must be cost-effective and focussed on building back better. The evidence is clear that a clean, resilient recovery is best for jobs, business, society and our environment.”
The Prime Minister last week reiterated a desire for the UK to deliver a “sustainable” recovery from the coronavirus pandemic in a way that brings together key international nations to reach the ambitions of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Addressing the Financing for Development in the Era of Covid-19 and Beyond” virtual event, convened by the UN Secretary-General and the leaders of Canada and Jamaica, Johnson reiterated the Government’s stance on delivering a green economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking at the event, Johnson confirmed that the postponed COP26 Climate conference would be moved to 1-12 November 2021, to allow more time to recover from the economic and travel impacts of the virus. The Prime Minister also called for renewed collaborative action on climate change.
However, numerous letters have been sent and coalitions formed calling for a green recovery in the UK and beyond.
A coalition of global healthcare organisations, backed by more than 40 million healthcare professionals, have coordinated a written plea to governments to deliver health-based and climate-focused economic recoveries from the coronavirus pandemic.
In April, business members of the European Corporate Leaders Group (CLG Europe) joined the European Parliament, policymakers and NGOs in forming an alliance for a “green recovery” of the European economy that assists with the ongoing fight against the climate crisis.
Lloyds Banking Group’s chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio added: “We have all experienced the devastating effect that Covid-19 has had on our families, communities and businesses. We must make this experience count by working together to tackle the impacts of climate change. Financial Services has an important role to play, working with others to finance the solutions that will accelerate progress.
“That’s why we’re supporting this call to put low carbon growth at the centre of the economic recovery. Working together we can build a cleaner, greener and more resilient economy for the whole of the UK.”
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