Many remain sceptical of the UK’s ability to hit decarbonisation targets by 2050

Many remain sceptical of the UK’s ability to hit decarbonisation targets by 2050

Transitioning to net zero makes economic sense for businesses in the East of England, as well as being a moral imperative – yet many remain sceptical of the UK’s ability to hit decarbonisation targets by 2050.

These are the key messages which emerged from CBI event run this week in partnership with the University of East Anglia (UEA) and Cadent Gas, and attended by prominent business leaders from across the region.

Webinar attendees heard from sustainability experts within the CBI and UEA, as well as panellists from Simply Sustainable, Cadent, Bidwells and Cambridge and Peterborough Combined Authority, who all spelled out priorities for firms keen to take the next step in their journeys to net zero – as well as the economic benefits of doing so.

Speakers offered practical tips as well as outlining key strategic actions needed from both public and private sectors to meet climate action goals.

Attendees – drawn from across a wide range of East of England business sectors – said their own firms are at different stages of their own net zero transition, with some well advanced and others just starting out. A revealing poll however showed that none of those present felt ‘very confident’ that the UK is on track to meet its 2050 climate pledges.

To accelerate the transition, the CBI’s climate change priorities for business and Government include:

Actions for Government:

  • Accelerate the energy transition by growing investment in renewables and nuclear.
  • Enable investment in energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation.
  • Scale up production and uptake of low carbon transport.
  • Support competitiveness of energy intensive industries.
  • Invest alongside private sector to cement global leadership in key technologies.

Actions for business:

  • Measure emissions and plot a trajectory for their reduction.
  • Influence supply chains, customers and staff to make more sustainable decisions.
  • Report progress in a clear and credible way.
  • Engage and collaborate to achieve economies of scale.
  • Embed plans to improve broader environmental outcomes.

Richard Tunnicliffe, CBI East of England Director, said:

“The warning signs are all around us, as the impact of climate change is being felt in everyday life. From fires and floods to rising temperatures, climate change is very much on our doorstep – and there is a growing recognition of the need to act.

“We need to act urgently, and business can provide the investment and innovation needed. In the past, there may have been reservations about the cost of transitioning and the impact on competitiveness – but the penny has dropped that the cost of inaction will be far higher.

“A transition to net zero is not just a moral obligation, but also an economic opportunity. Moving to carbon-free can be a driver for levelling up and economic growth, and it will be a race to the top for businesses who take the lead by investing in green technologies such as carbon capture and bio energy.

“Putting sustainability at the heart of the agenda is the rational choice for business – and the time to act is now.”

To find out more or to become a member visit the Confederation of British Industry website

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