Business backs UK commitment to legislate for net-zero emissionsThe We Mean Business coalition
Companies from across sectors welcomed the UK Prime Minister’s announcement of legislation to commit the country to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
The move sets the UK on track to become the first G7 country to legislate for net-zero emissions and to commit to eradicating its net contribution to climate change by 2050.
UK businesses welcomed the news, highlighting that the clear, long-term policy target will help them accelerate their own transition to net-zero emissions.
“Since the Paris Agreement, BT and others have called on policymakers to set more ambitious targets and provide the right legislation so that we can take quicker, more meaningful climate action,” Andy Wales, Chief Digital Impact and Sustainability Officer at UK telecoms company BT, said.
“As BT works towards its own net zero target, it’s great to see the Government send a real signal of intent which we hope will inspire others as we look to tackle one of society’s biggest challenges.”
Tesco’s Head of Environment Kené Umeasiegbu said: “We welcome the UK’s commitment to net zero emissions by 2050. Many businesses, like ourselves, already recognise the bold action needed to achieve the 1.5 degree ambition set out in the Paris Climate Agreement.”
Shell’s UK Country Chair Sinead Lynch added: “Shell fully supports this ambition for the UK to move faster. Achieving net zero in the UK by 2050 will require unprecedented collaboration between government, business and society. Government needs to set clear and ambitious targets and create the right policies to enable companies like Shell to adapt and respond quickly. We stand ready to play our part.”
While Coca-Cola European Partners’ Vice President & General Manager Leendert den Hollander said: “A clear sense of direction from the Government’s policies on climate change is vital to allow everyone in business to plan for a zero-carbon future.”
Ahead of the announcement, more than 120 leading UK businesses, investors and business networks, including Anglian Water, John Lewis Partnership and Kingfisher, called on the UK Government in an open letter to put climate neutrality by 2050 into legislation immediately.
G20 leaders have the opportunity to build on this progress and help to create the net-zero carbon economies of the future where no one is left behind, communities thrive, and which are resilient to the unavoidable impacts of climate change.
The We Mean Business coalition is calling on all G20 nations to demonstrate leadership by committing to develop an ambitious long-term strategy that pursues net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, consistent with the IPCC Special Report on the Impacts of Global Warming of 1.5°C.
The need for other countries to follow the UK’s lead was echoed by Prime Minister Theresa May.
“Now is the time to go further and faster to safeguard the environment for our children. This country led the world in innovation during the Industrial Revolution, and now we must lead the world to a cleaner, greener form of growth,” May said.
“Standing by is not an option. Reaching net zero by 2050 is an ambitious target, but it is crucial that we achieve it to ensure we protect our planet for future generations.”
In it’s statement, the UK government said it is imperative that other major economies follow suit.
Meanwhile, businesses including Ingka Group, which is the holding company for IKEA stores, saw the UK’s move as a signal to the European Union that others must now step up and match the level of ambition.
“We hope this can inspire more European leaders to follow and implement net zero emission goals and policies. For every part of society to contribute to the Paris Agreement and reach climate neutrality by 2050, we need an EU-wide long-term strategy,” Jesper Brodin, CEO Ingka Group, said.
A growing number of leading businesses recognize the urgent need to limit global warming to 1.5°C and are already responding to this challenge. Through the We Mean Business coalition partner initiatives, over 900 companies representing $17.6 trillion in market capitalization have made over 1,400 commitments to bold climate action.
These include setting science-based targets in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement, committing to net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest, switching to 100% renewable electricity, doubling energy productivity, accelerating the transition to electric vehicles and committing to implement the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
When policymakers and businesses work together, they enable each other to go further and faster, unlocking maximum potential for impact and innovation.