UK businesses call for coherent Net-Zero Strategy supported by Treasury

More than 80 UK businesses have signed a joint letter sent to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, calling on the Government to strengthen domestic approaches to climate leadership, namely through the publication of the upcoming Net-Zero Strategy.

UK businesses call for coherent Net-Zero Strategy supported by Treasury

The UK’s Net Zero Strategy is expected to be published in October

With less than two months until the COP26 climate summit, 81 businesses have convened through the UK Business Group Alliance for Net Zero (BGA) calling on heightened policy leadership on net-zero in the UK.

Companies including BT, Coca-Cola, Tesco, Anglian Water, JLL, Santander, Unilever, ScottishPower, the Co-op and Heathrow have sent a joint letter to Boris Johnson, calling for a coherent Net-Zero Strategy that is supported by the Treasury.

The letter states: “A successful summit that achieves the UK Presidency’s goals requires strong UK leadership combining effective diplomacy with credible outcomes, including international solidarity with countries lacking the resources to tackle these challenges alone.

“The countdown to COP26 gives you a limited window to show such leadership. You must seize key opportunities like the upcoming Net Zero Strategy. To get results across the economy, this strategy will need strong support from HM Treasury through the Net Zero and Comprehensive Spending Reviews. You will also need to align other government policies and action across transport, housing, our natural environment and our international aid budget.”

Strategic waiting

The UK’s Net Zero Strategy is expected to be published in October and will outline how the Government plans to reach net-zero by 2050. It will provide some much-needed certainty for businesses that are striving towards their own net-zero strategies.

The Net-Zero Strategy isn’t the only key legislative framework that businesses are waiting on. The Environment Bill has faced numerous delays, most recently over concerns regarding deforestation governance. The Bill is not expected to be passed before COP26 in November.

Elsewhere, the Heat and Buildings Strategy is still awaiting publication, with many expecting it to arrive later this month.

The BGA is led by CLG UK, hosted by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), and guided by a core group of members that includes the Aldersgate Group, Business in the Community, the CBI, CDP, the IIGCC, the UK Business Council for Sustainable Development and the UK Green Building Council.

Commenting on the letter, Beverley Cornaby, Chair of the BGA and policy lead for CLG UK said: “The time is now to align climate action with the scale of the climate impacts taking place all over the world. The COP26 Summit in Glasgow has the potential to deliver a step-change in global action to reset and retool our economies. We need to see strong UK leadership built on a foundation of credible domestic action to carry the COP to a successful outcome.

“There has long been a strong tradition for British businesses to support UK climate leadership – backing both the net-zero ambition, and also the concrete action to deliver it. As the pace of change accelerates and expands across the economy, business needs to see a coherent and integrated strategy from the UK government on how to achieve our climate goals.” 

Earlier this year, the BGA formerly launched, with a specific focus of enabling the successful delivery of COP26 in the UK in November, with the groups involved encouraging corporates to sign up to the Race to Zero Campaign.

The groups have been working together informally since 2019, delivering letters to Government calling for heightened climate targets for 2030, and the pursual of a green recovery in the immediate aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.

Matt Mace

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