Multinationals call for zero-carbon policies

9th April 2014


Related Topics

Related tags

  • Mitigation ,
  • Reporting ,
  • Business & Industry

Author

Alasdair Revie

Kingfisher, Shell and Unilever are among 70 businesses urging governments to take rapid action to ensure the global economy can become zero-carbon by 2100

The firms, which are members of the Prince of Wales’ Corporate Leaders Group, have signed a communique calling on politicians worldwide to adopt policies that will incentivise the switch to low-carbon technologies, including action to ensure a “robust” carbon price.

The companies cite research from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which states that to keep global warming below 2°C total cumulative global carbon emissions cannot exceed one trillion tonnes. Despite the fact that more than 500,000 tonnes of CO2 has already been emitted, putting the world on track to breach its carbon budget by 2034, the firms claim it remains possible to keep manmade CO2 below the critical trillion tonne mark.

“To keep cumulative emissions below one trillion tonnes of manmade CO2 global emissions need to peak and begin to decline as soon as possible, achieving net-zero before the end of the century,” states the communique.

“We believe that the transition to a net-zero emission economy can be delivered in ways that create new business opportunities, with manageable costs.”

Ahead of the UN meeting in Paris next year to agree the successor to the Kyoto protocol, the businesses, which include GlaxoSmithKline, Heathrow, Marks & Spencer and Sky, call on policymakers to set a timeline for achieving net zero carbon emissions before the end of the century. A “credible strategy” to transform the energy system is also needed, alongside a plan to manage the world’s reliance on fossil fuels, in particular coal, they say.

The firms acknowledge that to become zero-carbon much greater energy and resource efficiency will be needed across the built environment, energy, industry and transport sectors, but that government policies were needed to drive that change.

“We will need to completely reformulate our relationship with energy as new infrastructure, technologies, processes and business models for the 21st century are introduced,” states the document.

“The policy framework, including fiscal incentives, needs to be adjusted to shift investment and stimulate innovation into low-carbon energy infrastructure. This must incorporate a robust carbon price.”

Sir Ian Cheshire, group chief executive at Kingfisher, said: “Businesses cannot act alone: they need clear regulatory frameworks to provide certainty and help them drive transformation towards a more energy secure future.”

Meanwhile, Niall Dunne, chief sustainability officer at BT, commented: “We need to get beyond the concept that progressive climate change policy is bad for business: it can be a huge driver of innovation and create opportunities for growth and prosperity.

“Conversely, there isn’t an organisation I know of which isn’t already being impacted by climate change at some level. Collective responsibility across governments, business and civic society is vital to ensure the world is on track for net zero emissions before the end of the century.”


Transform articles

Agency prosecution brings largest fine for a water company

The Environment Agency has successfully prosecuted Southern Water for thousands of illegal raw sewage discharges that polluted rivers and coastal waters in Kent, resulting in a record £90m fine.

23rd September 2021

Read more

In Elliott-Smith v Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the claimant applied for judicial review of the legality of the defendants’ joint decision to create the UK Emissions Trading Scheme (UK ETS) as a substitute for UK participation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).

30th July 2021

Read more

Thames Water has been fined £4m after untreated sewage escaped from sewers below London into a park and a river.

30th July 2021

Read more

None of England’s water and sewerage companies achieved all environmental expectations for the period 2015 to 2020, the Environment Agency has revealed. These targets included the reduction of total pollution incidents by at least one-third compared with 2012, and for incident self-reporting to be at least 75%.

30th July 2021

Read more

Global greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture are projected to increase by 4% over the next 10 years, despite the carbon intensity of production declining. That is according to a new report from the UN food agency and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which forecasts that 80% of the increase will come from livestock.

30th July 2021

Read more

Half of consumers worldwide now consider the sustainability of food and drink itself, not just its packaging, when buying, a survey of 14,000 shoppers across 18 countries has discovered. This suggests that their understanding of sustainability is evolving to include wellbeing and nutrition, with sustainable packaging now considered standard.

30th July 2021

Read more

Billions of people worldwide have been unable to access safe drinking water and sanitation in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a progress report from the World Health Organisation focusing on the UN’s sixth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) – to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030”.

30th July 2021

Read more

New jobs that help drive the UK towards net-zero emissions are set to offer salaries that are almost one-third higher than those in carbon-intensive industries, research suggests.

5th July 2021

Read more

IEMA has today urged the UK government to focus on developing green skills and expertise across business, industry and civil society following the publication of an alarming report from the Climate Change Committee (CCC).

16th June 2021

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert