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East Midlands Chamber News

COP26 plans to make big businesses decarbonise will put UK plc at ‘leading edge’ of world – but supply chains need support, says East Midlands Chamber

Commenting on Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s COP26 Finance Day speech, in which he outlined plans to make large UK firms publish strategies on how they will decarbonise, East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire) chief executive Scott Knowles said: “We know that businesses can be significant contributors to carbon emissions, and they will also play a huge role in the decarbonisation of our economy in the future.

“The Treasury’s proposal to ask large firms and financial institutions to demonstrate how they will hit climate change targets is a step in the right direction and is something many companies will have anticipated – indeed, many of them have already unveiled detailed plans in this respect.

“Hopefully, this will lead to a shift from the current situation where high-carbon finance remains the most profitable, and preferable, option to investors than low or zero-carbon options.

“Given the fact we are already moving towards a green global economy, this should ensure UK plc remains at the leading edge and identified as a world leader in net zero business, although not making commitments mandatory could restrict the effectiveness.

“It should also not go unnoticed that this will have a much wider impact beyond the biggest businesses. This will inevitably trickle down to smaller companies in the supply chain, meaning it will be essential to support SMEs in developing net zero pathways.

“Government must therefore ensure it is ready to offer the tools they will require in a realistic timescale – and this is something the Chamber is already helping businesses in our region to do via our Sustainable East Midlands initiative, which directs companies to support mechanisms that can create a sustainability framework.”