Associate director, public affairs, Arup
What can businesses do together to keep the UKs net zero ambitions on track now the Government has rowed back on its commitments?
Digital Transformations Consultant
Business is often miles ahead of government, with companies pioneering where politicians only plod. The net zero agenda need not be any different. For business, the fundamental challenge remains the same: producing the best product or service, at the most attractive price while minimising negative externalities. Where before, business could plead ignorance about what those externalities were, that is no longer the case and customers are ready to hold firms to account. As such, business needs to renew its focus on rising to this core challenge and tangibly delivering on it.
Business should use this as an opportunity to showcase its ability to continue with the good work already undertaken in net zero and show that it doesn’t necessarily need government policy to make it do the right thing. Publicising this will ensure it will benefit from increased trust with the general public in that it is not purely profit driven but does have a strong moral compass to do the right thing. Hopefully this will lead to business being seen more as a trusted advisor to the government therefore improving government policy and decisions.
East Midlands Network Director, Cadent Gas
First and foremost, it’s imperative that businesses remain united in their commitment to achieving net-zero emissions rather than shifting priorities. Maintaining a collective focus is crucial to progress. Once united, businesses should sustain their collaborative efforts and actively advocate for the energy transition. This advocacy serves to increase public awareness, foster ongoing innovation, and provide effective solutions to government and policymakers. By standing together, businesses can play a pivotal role in advancing sustainable practices and shaping supportive policies to drive the transition towards a net-zero future.
Net Zero Carbon Lead, Arcadis
While the government can play an essential role in setting our long term strategy and direction it has always been acknowledged and accepted that these commitments will require business to play an active and leading role to create change. In a perfect world legislation and markets would work together to ease the burden and final optimal way to deliver change. This equation has been out of balance for quite some time and is widely expected to change post 2025 election. Therefore in one way this news, while unwelcome, does not affect the playing field as far anti ally as could be interpreted. It does mean that business needs to step up more than ever to bridge the gap between more and robust legislation from the new government. One of the most critical pieces of this is creating genuine consistency and collaboration across industry, something which does not come easily to traditional business but will ultimately determine success.
Businesses should have their own targets when it comes to Net Zero and should articulate them to their clients, public or private. Targets should include direct as well as indirect carbon “footprint”.