The Climate Change Committee (CCC) has unveiled a five-step strategy aimed at enhancing business efforts to address climate change, in light of concerns surrounding target credibility and tangible impact.
The proposals were released by an expert advisory group on climate action in the private sector, preceding an upcoming comprehensive report on the potential of business action to combat the climate crisis, scheduled for later this year.
The report highlights the commercial advantages of achieving net zero emissions and the financial risks that businesses face in case of failure. These benefits include opportunities to introduce new products and services to untapped markets, enhance efficiency, demonstrate innovation, and build resilience against future risks, such as supply chain disruptions.
Furthermore, the report emphasises that taking a leadership role in net zero initiatives is crucial for the competitiveness of British businesses on a global scale, as other countries also strive to gain a foothold in low-carbon industries.
The report outlines five key approaches for businesses to adopt in order to bolster their climate action. Firstly, setting credible targets and improving reporting on their progress is essential. Currently, the quality of corporate emissions goals is only marginally improving, with the majority of businesses still not adopting science-based targets.
Secondly, businesses need to ramp up investments in low-carbon solutions. While many companies have established climate targets, fewer have clear plans on how they will invest in areas like electric transportation, energy efficiency, and clean energy to meet those targets.
The report also emphasises the need for broader change beyond business operations. It underscores the importance of cohesive and ambitious efforts to decarbonise supply chains, as well as the benefits of incorporating low-carbon requirements into procurement processes.
Innovation and influence are the fourth and fifth points in the CCC report. The former involves leading sectors or national markets and demonstrating the advantages of such leadership to workers, who can seize opportunities for upskilling.
The latter point refers to exerting influence over culture, consumers, and policy. Notably, the UN-backed Race to Zero campaign now requires businesses to proactively engage with policymakers, including through trade bodies.
Regarding policy engagement, the report calls on the UK government to facilitate new net zero partnerships between government departments and businesses. This collaboration would enable businesses to communicate a clear and unified message to policymakers while gaining a better understanding of government processes. The report’s title, “the power of partnership,” reflects this notion.
Shevaun Haviland, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce and chair of the CCC’s private sector advisory group warned that there is “a real danger” of UK Plc falling behind on the global low-carbon transition stage if policymakers do not come up with strong plans to realise the economic benefits of the net zero transition.
Other professionals participating in the advisory group included representatives from Barratt Developments, Lloyds Bank, DHL, John Lewis and Futerra.
CCC chief executive Chris Stark said he was “grateful” to the group for the report. He added: “Our own analysis emphasises the integral role that the private sector must play in the transition. It is businesses that will develop and deploy low carbon technologies, their capital investment is the majority needed for net-zero their offering to consumers will drive the change in lifestyles.”
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