skip to content

Corporate Leaders Groups

Business leadership for a climate neutral economy
UK Business Group Alliance for Net Zero launch

29 April 2021 - The UK Business Group Alliance for Net Zero (BGA) formally launches six months before COP26 with the aim of increasing ambition to achieve a net zero UK by 2050 at the latest. The alliance draws together some of the most ambitious and proactive business groups and organisations to work and think together, working collaboratively with the UK Government and other stakeholders.

Andrew Griffith MP, the UK’s Net Zero Business Champion said: “With six months to COP26, the launch of the UK Business Group Alliance for Net Zero is timely. With its influential membership, the Alliance will play a vital role in raising ambitions and persuading more British businesses to take part in the Race to Zero by setting science-based targets.”
Today, the Corporate Leaders Groups (CLGs) joins fellow BGA members Business in the Community and the UK Green Building Council in announcing they are Race to Zero ‘accelerators’. These Accelerators will help grow business participation in Race to Zero by signposting their business members towards relevant Partner Initiatives, and supporting their members in meeting the Race criteria. 
Beverley Cornaby, Chair of the BGA and Senior Programme Manager, CLG said: "It is more vital than ever for businesses to take a pivotal role in the challenge of tackling climate change. In this milestone year for action on committing to and delivering net zero, it is great to formally launch the UK Business Group Alliance for Net Zero and confirm the CLG is helping to accelerate the Race to Zero. This group of willing and progressive business groups understands the threat climate change poses to the UK economy and will continue working with their business members towards a net zero transition.”
As the BGA launches, member group CDP has confirmed the UK is the first country to have more than 100 businesses now signed up to Race to Zero through the SBTi Business Ambition for 1.5 campaign. With an estimated market cap value of £760bn, the 100 businesses include Kingfisher, Johnson Matthey, Drax and Compass Group UK & Ireland who are all announcing their commitment today. 
Alberto Carrillo Pineda, Director of Science Based Targets at CDP said: "We are proud to see that the UK has become the first country to reach the milestone of 100 businesses signed up to the SBTi Business Ambition for 1.5°C Campaign. Many of the UK's biggest companies have now committed to aligning their goals with a net-zero 1.5°C future, ensuring they build resilience firmly into their business model. In the lead up to COP26, we urge their peers to follow suit and lead on climate action."
This route into Race to Zero requires the businesses to set an ambitious science-based target to reduce their emissions to net zero by 2050 that keeps warming within 1.5 degrees. Supported by the BGA and its other members, CDP is aiming to double the number of big UK businesses signing up to the SBTi Business Ambition for 1.5 campaign by COP26.
Nigel Topping, UN High Level Climate Champion for COP26 said: "With over 30% of the FTSE100 in the Race to Zero, credible climate commitments are fast becoming the new normal in the UK. Companies that have so far failed to engage with climate change should take note - if they don't join soon, they risk falling behind the curve."
The BGA’s current focus is enabling the successful delivery of COP26 in the UK in November 2021, but it has been driving collaborative business sector efforts on UK climate action since 2019. In November last year, members of the BGA signed a letter to the UK Prime Minister, highlighting the urgent need for the Government to set out an ambitious emissions target for 2030.
The coordination of the alliance is led by CLG, hosted by CISL, and guided by a core group of members including the Aldersgate Group, Business in the Community, the CBI, CDP, the International Investors Group on Climate Change, the UK Business Council for Sustainable Development and the UK Green Building Council. 
In June 2020 members of the Alliance worked together to organise a public letter from UK business CEOs  to the Prime Minister, signed by more than 200 businesses and asking the government to deliver a clean, green recovery. While in May 2019, members of the Alliance developed a letter from business CEOs to the UK Government in support of a 2050 net zero greenhouse gas emissions target and signed by more than 120 leading UK businesses, investors and business networks.
Peter Simpson, co-chair of the CLG and CEO, Anglian Water said: “There is a tangible sense of progress being made as we head towards COP26 in November, with new international targets being set at government level, and at an industry level, more and more companies signing up to the Race to Zero.  Through the UK Business Group Alliance for Net Zero we want to build on that momentum, using the power of collective action to drive forward the UK business sector’s response to climate change.”
Robin Mills, Managing Director, Compass Group UK & Ireland said: “The climate emergency is clearly the biggest challenge of our lifetime and as the UK’s largest food service provider, we can make a real difference. That’s why I’m delighted to support the launch of this Alliance and to announce that Compass Group UK & Ireland has joined the Race to Zero initiative.”
Ron Gerrard, Chief EHS and Operations Officer at Johnson Matthey said: “At Johnson Matthey we are proud to be contributing towards ensuring a cleaner, healthier world through our products and services and our commitment to the Race to Zero.  Collaboration between businesses and all parts of society is essential if we are to win this race against time, and we are proud to support climate change.”
Will Gardiner, Drax Group CEO, said: “The climate crisis is the greatest challenge the world faces, and tackling it requires action that transcends borders, bringing together businesses and governments with a shared goal. By joining Race to Zero we are committing to further reducing our emissions and tackling the climate emergency.”
Roy Bedlow, Chief Executive and Founder of Low Carbon said: “In our 10th year of operation, we are proud to support the Race to Zero as part of our affiliation with The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group. With our 5GW strong renewable energy pipeline and our solar, wind, waste to energy, battery storage and energy efficiency investments, we are committed to building momentum towards a green revolution. In the run up to the COP26 Climate Summit, we hope that the Race to Zero will encourage more businesses to plan for a low carbon future so that we achieve net-zero emissions in the UK and globally.”
The alliance officially launched at a webinar on Thursday April 29, 2021. Discussions explored UK business leadership on net zero and how business can contribute to the success of COP26.
Speakers included:
  • Keynote: Andrew Griffith MP, The UK's Net Zero Business Champion
  • Eliot Whittington (Chair), Director, CLG
  • Rain Newton-Smith, Chief Economist, CBI
  • Amanda Mackenzie OBE, Chief Executive, Business in the Community
  • Peter Simpson, CEO, Anglian Water
  • Compass Group – Robin Mills, Managing Director UK & Ireland
  • Drax – Clare Harbord, Group Director of Corporate Affairs
  • Johnson Matthey – Ron Gerrard, Chief EHS and Operations Officer
  • Kingfisher – Thierry Garnier, CEO
  • Lendlease – Paul King, Managing Director Sustainability & Social Impact – Europe

UK Business Group Alliance for Net Zero (BGA) is a formal network of leading business groups working to increase political and business ambition with the aim of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 in the UK. The coordination of the BGA is led by the CLG, hosted by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), and guided by a core group of members that includes the Aldersgate Group, Business in the Community, the CBI, CDP, the IIGCC, the UK Business Council for Sustainable Development and the UK Green Building Council. 

For information about joining the BGA please contact us.