Read how IEMA Policy & Engagement Lead Nick Blyth responds to achieving the net-zero UK emission target

Giventhe urgency of addressing global carbon emissions, IEMA believes a Net-Zero UKemission target is a unique opportunity for renewed Climate Leadership. Although 2050 feels distant, if under-pinned by policies and commitments,Net-Zero can be a powerful transition signal, supporting business certainty andinvestor confidence, and potentially an industrial strategy that will re-designour economy. What else is required?

Sustainabilityprofessionals working across the economy, articulate a common theme - the needfor longer term certainty, with criticism of successive Government tinkeringand change to climate change policies. Any ambitious 2050 Net-Zero targetwill need to be under-pinned by milestones with effectiveand lasting regulation, fiscal measures, guidance and standards. NewStreamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) importantly extends a mandatory annualdisclosure requirement to over 11,000 businesses in the UK. Transition Risk disclosure is similarlyimportant and TCFD will warrant evolution into a mandatory requirement. IEMA is supporting these and developments internationally,an example being our work with ISO to develop new climate change guidance forstandards writers and advising on international standards development in carbonneutrality.

Post Brexit, a further central pillar tosupport any net zero target is the UK new Environment Act. Due laterthis year, concerns exist that current Government proposals do not yet fill theovernance gapleft by departing the institutions of the EU and especially inclimate change. However, the Act is an opportunity to significantly supportclimate action and to help integrate climate urgency across Governmentdepartments from Treasury and BEIS through to Transport, Education, Housing andEnvironment. Energy efficiency and renewables are essential, and importantwider contributions exist from land management (e.g. forestry and peatland sequestration)right through to also ensuring our economy, public services and communities arewell adapted and resilient to the impacts of climate change.

Achieving Net Zero clearly requires a strategic approach on manyfronts. A further key ingredient is sustainability skills, extending fromtechnical and environment specialists, right across to strategic management,corporate sustainability and business transformation. The priorityfor innovation identified in recent work by the Aldersgate Group net zeroreport is also a priority for sustainability professionals in their own work.This includes technical innovations, but importantly also extends through tocollaborative approaches and championing of the ransition business case A diversity of sustainability skills will need to be harnessed indelivering our transition to Net-Zero.

Nick Blyth, IEMAPolicy & Engagement Lead


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