Businesses call on the UK government to take ambitious action to achieve net zero
UK CEOs of businesses and finance institutions, including Amazon, the Co-op, Signify, Zurich Insurance, Coca-Cola, Bupa, IKEA, Siemens, BNP Paribas, Sky and Aviva, are calling on UK Prime Minister Liz Truss to build economic resilience through delivery of net zero emissions and restoring nature.
With inflation predicted to top 20% if gas prices continue to rise, and the Bank of England warning the UK is heading towards recession, a letter to the new Prime Minister from 116 businesses and finance institutions with more than 425,000 employees and a market capitalisation in excess of £1.8trillion underlines the urgent need for short and long term government delivery plans for net zero and nature restoration.
The letter, which affirms business and finance sector commitment to support the UK’s climate and nature targets, comes nearly two weeks after the new Prime Minister announced plans to tackle the energy crisis which included a new round of oil and gas licences and lifting the moratorium on fracking. The letter text maps out what is needed to improve energy security, shield the UK from volatile fossil fuels prices and enable the country to deliver its climate promises.
The letter states: “As skyrocketing energy bills inflict considerable costs on businesses and push vulnerable households into poverty, we would like to see you prioritise policies that will address this crisis, as part of a robust net zero strategy. […] Acting now to accelerate the energy transition, could both support UK households with the cost of living and deliver huge economic benefits, unlocking opportunities for the UK to be a leader in clean growth. Industry experts predict this action could reduce yearly household energy bills in the UK by 7 per cent by 2025, rising to a 50 per cent reduction by 2035.
“At the same time, restoring nature through a comprehensive environmental improvement plan, a strong national adaptation plan, and setting ambitious long-term targets will help build the UK’s resilience and support the economy by reducing threats to food security and the economic and social damage of climate impacts.”
John Boumphrey, VP Country Manager UK, Amazon said: “Amazon is committed to being net-zero carbon across our operations by 2040. Decarbonising our economy is good for our business, our communities and the planet. Achieving net-zero carbon will require clear signals from our new Prime Minister Liz Truss, that addressing climate change remains a priority for the government, working with businesses to drive innovation and investment.”
Shirine Khoury-Haq, Chief Executive Officer, The Co-operative Group said: “We are in the grip of a climate crisis and it is critical that business and government alike take responsibility and act urgently. That’s why at Co-op we are committed to becoming a net zero business by 2040. Together, we call on the UK government to take ambitious action to achieve net zero and reverse nature loss.”
Last month a survey by the Confederation of British Businesses (CBI) found the energy crisis was putting net zero plans at risk as companies reined in green investment in order to manage soaring energy costs. The survey found three in 10 businesses were considering pausing or halting low carbon transition investment unless the new UK government acts to cut energy costs.
Earlier this month a large group of NGOs wrote to the new Prime Minister calling for the creation of a secure, fair and green future and for the UK to lead on the world stage, while a group of MPs and peers also wrote to Liz Truss to urge her to hold to the UK’s net zero target.