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Corporate Leaders Groups

Business leadership for a climate neutral economy

1 December 2020 - In the run up to the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement on climate change companies, business groups and investors are calling on Boris Johnson to announce a substantial emissions commitment.

NDC letterRead the letter in full

As hosts of the postponed United Nations COP26 climate summit the UK is being urged to lead the way for other nations to deliver similarly ambitious interim emission targets to ensure global temperature rises stay well below 2C and that efforts are pursued to limit it to 1.5°C.

In a letter to the UK Prime Ministercompanies, business groups and investors highlighted the urgent need for the Government to set out an ambitious emissions target for 2030, known as a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), by the end of this year. 

The letter states:

“As we stand a year away from the start of the COP26 Climate Summit, and five years on from the Paris Agreement, we believe there is an opportunity for the UK to demonstrate the right level of ambition to guide a green recovery and secure international momentum. […]

“As the UK calls on other governments to set their own increased NDCs, it has a unique opportunity to catalyse action globally and lead the way for other countries to reflect this level of ambition. We hope you will announce an ambitious UK NDC before the end of the year…”

The business groups, including The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group, the Aldersgate Group, Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, UK Green Building Council, The B Team, We Mean Business, UK Business Council for Sustainable Development, call on the UK’s NDC to be at least in line with the Paris Agreement, the UK’s own net zero by 2050 target and advice from the Climate Change Committee.

This letter is supported by 81 businesses and investors including Tesco, BT, ScottishPower, Sky, National Grid, Nestlé UK & Ireland, EDF, Heathrow, JLL, SSE and Coca-Cola European Partners, as well as, a number of progressive small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Eliot Whittington, Director, The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group said:

“A substantial and realistic 2030 emissions target for the UK not only corrects our course to reach net zero by 2050, and shows the right level of ambition expected from other nations for COP26, it also fits with the actions needed to deliver a larger economy and more jobs.  

“The Prime Minister’s recent Ten Point Plan has set out an unprecedented set of measures to credibly drive change across the economy towards decarbonisation, building new industries and restoring our economy. To secure the UK’s leadership position on climate change the government can build on these actions to set us on the right path to achieving climate neutrality in the next 30 years.” 

The letter outlines its support for an emissions pledge that is:

  • Aligned with business targets: We represent businesses many of whom have set their own net zero targets, including a number who have signed the Business Ambition for 1.5 pledge, and investors that are aligning their portfolios to the goals of the Paris Agreement. UK businesses and investors would value a clear signal from the UK Government that ambition for the economy aligns with their own aims.
  • Setting out clear ambitions for resilience: The NDC should be supported by solid plans and ambitions to ensure the UK is well prepared for the impacts of climate change.
  • Embedded in UK policy: The NDC should include a comprehensive, just and inclusive delivery plan supported by all parts of government. We welcome your decision to publish a comprehensive Net Zero Strategy in the lead up to COP26. We stand ready to work with you on the development and delivery of this strategy, including policies that will deliver near-term emission reduction in multiple sectors.
  • Supportive of the UK building back better: An ambitious NDC can support the UK’s green recovery efforts, helping deliver significant job creation and growth opportunities. Clear policy can encourage investment in the technologies, such as carbon capture and storage and hydrogen, and resource efficient business models that are essential for a competitive, zero emissions UK economy.

Nick Molho, Executive Director, Aldersgate Group said: “Having an ambitious NDC in place will crucially strengthen the UK’s leadership role ahead of COP26 and galvanise international ambition for decarbonisation ahead of this important summit. With increased commitments from countries with a large share of global emissions such as China, it is now key that the UK remains a leader on climate action, with a strengthened NDC in line with the Climate Change Committee’s advice, and backed by a comprehensive domestic plan to deliver its climate targets. This will put the UK credibly on track to meet its climate ambitions and deliver a sustainable economic recovery, whilst sending a powerful investment signal to mobilise private finance.”

Stephanie Pfeifer, CEO, Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) said: “As host of COP26, the UK has a unique platform to support global ambition on climate action through setting out a progressive NDC this year. Investors are clear that governments should be much more ambitious in addressing climate change and this is a significant opportunity for the UK to demonstrate true leadership. This is even more vital as we look to ensure a sustainable recovery from the economic impacts of Covid-19.” 

Márcia Balisciano, Chair, UN Global Compact Network UK said: "Five years on from the Paris Agreement, we face a health and economic maelstrom. But we must not overlook the climate crisis.  The UK Government has an opportunity to commit to an ambitious Nationally Determined Contribution that will chart a path to a green recovery and the long-term well-being of both citizens and the economy.

Jason Longhurst, Chair and Chief Executive, UK Business Council for Sustainable Development said: “For economic recovery, read green recovery - the two are inextricably linked.  This proposed NDC is an opportunity to give clear direction that will galvanise businesses across all sectors to transition to Net Zero.  UKBCSD members are proof that they have not only the will but, critically, the way, because they are already doing this and will share their expertise with others.  We call on Government to set the benchmark, ultimately using legislation that supports the NDC and fixes the SDGs in the business psyche.” 

For quotes from 40 of the business signatories to the letter click here.

For a blog by Keith Anderson, CEO of ScottishPower on why business needs to see an ambitious NDC click here.


Business briefing: The UK’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC)

Download this CLG briefing to find out more about the NDC and how the UK can set an ambitious climate change target for 2030.

The briefing, supported by modelling from Cambridge Econometrics (see here and here), indicates the Ten Point Plan is predicted to grow GDP by up to an additional 1.8 per cent (£43billion) by 2030, while achieving a reduction in emissions of nearly 60 per cent on 1990 levels. This would rise to nearly 70 per cent by 2035. This trajectory puts the UK on track to meet its existing 2030 target but it is not in line with its net zero target, and the UK will need to go further and faster to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. The modelling suggests an ambitious new UK NDC 2030 reduction target of at least 70 per cent based on 1990 levels, supported by a strong Long-Term Strategy, could accelerate this. 

Letter signatories:

  1. Nick Molho, Executive Director, Aldersgate Group
  2. Chris Turner, Executive Director, B Lab UK
  3. Amanda Mackenzie OBE, Chief Executive, Business in the Community
  4. Paul Dickinson, Executive Chair, CDP
  5. Chris Southworth, Secretary General, ICC United Kingdom
  6. Paul Vanston, Chief Executive, Industry Council for Packaging and the Environment (INCPEN)
  7. Stephanie Pfeifer, CEO, Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC)
  8. Kinvara Carey, General Manager, Natural Source Waters Association
  9. Halla Tómasdóttir, CEO and Chief Change Catalyst, The B Team
  10. Helen Clarkson, CEO, The Climate Group
  11. Peter Simpson, Chief Executive, Anglian Water Group, and Co-Chair, The Prince of Wales's Corporate Leaders Group
    Colin Matthews, Non-Executive Chairman, EDF Energy, and Co-Chair, The Prince of Wales's Corporate Leaders Group
  12. Jason Longhurst, Chairman,UK Business Council for Sustainable Development
  13. Julie Hirigoyen, Chief Executive, UK Green Building Council (UKGBC)
  14. Márcia Balisciano, Chair, UN Global Compact Network UK
  15. María Mendiluce, CEO, We Mean Business coalition

Businesses supporting the letter:

  1. Alessia Gotti, Textile Agent, AG Textiles Studio
  2. Peter Simpson, Chief Executive, Anglian Water Group, and Co-Chair, The Prince of Wales's Corporate Leaders Group
  3. Jack Harvie-Clark, Director, Apex Acoustics
  4. Charles Kirwan-Taylor, Executive Chairman, ATLAS Infrastructure
  5. Sue Riddlestone, CEO, Bioregional
  6. James Amos, Company Director, Boodles
  7. Rachel Elwell, CEO, Border to Coast Pension Partnership
  8. Denise Le Gal, Chair, Brunel Pension Partnership
  9. Andy Wales, Chief Digital Impact and Sustainability Officer, BT plc
  10. Morten Nilsson, CEO, BT Pension Scheme Management
  11. Neil Squibbs, CEO, Buro Happold Limited
  12. Jane Paterson-Todd, CEO, Cambridge Ahead
  13. Martin Garratt, CEO, Cambridge Cleantech
  14. Peter Hugh Smith, CEO, CCLA
  15. Chris O’Shea, CEO, Centrica
  16. Chathura Sudharshan, CEO, Chanodil
  17. Ian Duncombe, Board Director, chapmanbdsp
  18. Adam C.T. Matthews, Director of Ethics and Engagement, Church of England Pensions Board
  19. Stephen Moorhouse, Vice President and General Manager, Great Britain, Coca-Cola European Partners
  20. Tim Attwood, Managing Director, Conisbee
  21. Dougie Sutherland, CEO, Cory Riverside Energy
  22. Alex Vaughan, CEO, Costain Group plc
  23. Peter Flavel, CEO, Coutts
  24. Steve Foots, Group Chief Executive, Croda International Plc
  25. Jean-François Baralon, CEO, Dorval Asset Management
  26. Michael Lewis, CEO, E.ON UK
  27. Emmanuelle Spriet, CEO, E-Voyages Ltd
  28. Gordon Power, Chief Investment Officer, Earth Capital
  29. Stuart Lemmon, CEO, EcoAct UK, an Atos company
  30. Andy Clark, CEO, EdenTree Investment Management
  31. Colin Matthews, Non-Executive Chairman, EDF Energy, and Co-Chair, The Prince of Wales's Corporate Leaders Group
  32. Nicola Lovett, CEO, ENGIE
  33. James Brueton, CEO, EnviroBuild
  34. Robert Gould, Chair, Environment Agency Pensions Committee, Environment Agency Pension Fund
  35. Richard Speak, Co-Founder, Environmental Finance
  36. Bryan Smail, Chief Finance Officer, Falkirk Council Pension Fund
  37. Joost Bergsma, CEO and Managing Partner, Glennmont Partners
  38. John Holland-Kaye, CEO, Heathrow Airport Ltd
  39. Marc Waters, Managing Director UK, Ireland, Middle East & Africa, Hewlett Packard Enterprise
  40. Nigel Stansfield, President (EAAA), Interface
  41. Chris Ireland, UK CEO, JLL
  42. Cesar Taillardat, CEO, Jogu Ltd.
  43. Mike O'Donnell, CEO, and Lord Kerslake, Chair, London CIV
  44. Doug Heron, CEO, Lothian Pension Fund
  45. Roy Bedlow, Chief Executive, Low Carbon
  46. Robert Lambe, Managing Director, Melius Homes
  47. Chris Smith, Managing Director, Michelin Tyre PLC
  48. Simon King, Director of Sustainability and Social Value, Mitie
  49. Nicola Shaw CBE, Executive Director, UK, National Grid
  50. Julia Szajdzicka, Managing Director, ND Metering Solutions
  51. Stefano Agostini, CEO, Nestle UK & Ireland
  52. David Fairbrother, Managing Director, NSR Management Ltd
  53. Jean-Pierre Grimaud, CEO, OFI Asset Management
  54. Jack Broadley, Founder/Owner, Pelorus Consulting
  55. Jon Johnsen, CEO, PKA
  56. Jose Luiz Moura Neto, SVP & COO UK & Ireland, Salesforce
  57. Keith Anderson, Chief Executive, ScottishPower
  58. Stephen Rouatt, CEO, Signify UK&I
  59. Nicola Stopps, CEO, Simply Sustainable
  60. Jeremy Darroch, Group Chief Executive, Sky
  61. Mark Smith, Chief Executive, Southern Co-op
  62. Alistair Phillips-Davies, Chief Executive, SSE plc
  63. Richard McIndoe, Director, Strathclyde Pension Fund
  64. Michael John Lytle, CEO, Tabula Investment Management
  65. Jason Tarry, CEO, UK & Republic of Ireland, Tesco
  66. Alistair Allison, Managing Partner, TFT
  67. Sarah Bentley, CEO, Thames Water
  68. Tom Druitt, CEO, The Big Lemon CIC
  69. Saker Nusseibeh, CEO, The International Business of Federated Hermes
  70. Harry Grocott, CEO & Founder, Treeconomy
  71. Bevis Watts, CEO, Triodos Bank UK
  72. Yvette Edwards, Communications and Sustainable Business Director, Unilever UK & Ireland
  73. Dave Worthington, Managing Director, Verco
  74. Louise Kjellerup Roper, CEO, Volans
  75. Nicci Russell, Managing Director, Waterwise
  76. Matthew Orme, Director, Wenlock Spring Water LTD
  77. Mario Mazzocchi, Group Chief Executive, Wesleyan
  78. George Latham, Managing Partner, WHEB Asset Management
  79. Charles Malissard, Head of Media & Public Affairs, WSP
  80. Liz Barber, Chief Executive, Yorkshire Water
  81. Tulsi Naidu, UK CEO, Zurich Insurance Company