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East Midlands Chamber News

BCC among business coalition calling for ‘just transition to net zero’ for UK

The UK’s top five business groups have joined forces as part of their goal to create a net-zero UK by 2050.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Make UK, Institute of Directors (IoD) and British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) say businesses and workers must play a role in the shift to a carbon-neutral economy.

As part of this commitment, they have written a joint letter to the government reaffirming their position, highlighting the need for a joined-up, effective approach to the delivery of policy aligned to the country’s long-term climate targets.

Five core principles for a Just Transition to Net Zero

This follows on from a joint report on a Just Transition to Net Zero, which sets out five core principles needed to achieve this goal:

  1. Ambition
  2. Accountability
  3. Delivery
  4. Opportunity
  5. Cost

These principles are intended to act as a “fairness test” for policymakers in planning and designing the regulatory policy frameworks, and prioritising investment.

The business community has also shown strong support for the UK’s net-zero target. In May 2020, 884 companies had set science-based targets, including 98 companies with headquarters in the UK and 456 companies with operations in the UK.

With COP26 on the horizon in Glasgow in 2021, delivering this has never been more crucial.

UK business groups on why Just Transition to Net Zero is needed

In a joint statement, the signatories said: “Businesses have long said they can’t afford to go low-carbon, but we’re now seeing a stark shift in narrative. They are enthusiastic about the future and there’s never been a better time to empower SMEs to make the shift.

“Big corporations have big budgets for green initiatives, but smaller firms need support to make sure they don’t get left behind.

“At a time when all political parties support the target that the UK should be carbon free by 2050, it’s now down to the Government to ensure businesses aren’t disproportionately hit.

"We believe that such an approach can provide a robust policy framework enabling the UK to maintain its current domestic and global ambitions, whilst being accountable, credible, and fair.

“With the right support they can play a critical role in helping the UK reach its green targets and shore up supply via a just transition.

“That’s why the five business groups have joined forces to call for a principle-led approach to develop its Net Zero aligned policy. This is a prime example of the UK's main business groups coming together to make positive change.”

Earlier this week, East Midlands Chamber – a member of the BCC – launched the Sustainable East Midlands campaign to advocate the benefits for the region’s businesses in engaging with the sustainability agenda.

A Just Transition to Net Zero: The Fairness Principles can be read here.