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More than 120 leading businesses urge UK Government to legislate for 2050 net zero economy

last modified Aug 20, 2019 09:24 AM
May 31 2019 – More than 120 leading UK businesses, investors and business networks, including the CBI, Anglian Water, John Lewis Partnership, BT, Aviva, Arup, Coca-Cola and Kingfisher, are calling on the UK Government to put climate neutrality by 2050 into legislation immediately.

Business response to CCC

Read the letter here

In an open letter, CEOs from across the economy are urging the UK to accept the recommendations of the Committee on Climate Change and lead the way by becoming the first major economy to legislate for an ambitious, domestic decarbonisation target that delivers net zero by 2050 at the latest.

The letter, signed by 128 businesses, investors and business networks, states: ‘As leading businesses and investors, we are determined to support an affordable transition and drive innovation. Many of us are setting our own net-zero and science-based targets. We are also increasingly investing in and purchasing clean energy, using low emission and electric vehicles, converting land to carbon sinks and improving energy efficiency throughout our operations and portfolios – and making new green jobs in the process.

‘We are doing this because we see the threat that climate change poses to our businesses and to our investments, as well as the significant economic opportunities that come with being an early mover in the development of new low-carbon goods and services. But we need effective, long-term policies to support the investment and innovation required if the UK is to accelerate the necessary transition and ensure it is delivered fairly.’ 

The signatories come from both multi-national and national businesses, across industry sectors, including energy, finance, consumer goods, retail, construction, water and communication.

The business and investment networks supporting this initiative include the CBI, The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group (CLG), the Aldersgate Group, and the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), representing more than 190,000 businesses, more than 7 million workers, and more than £20trillion in assets under management.

The signatories acknowledge the urgency of the climate crisis, calling on the UK to legislate immediately to end its contribution to global warming within 30 years.


Carolyn Fairbairn, Director-General, CBI said: “Business stands squarely behind the ambition for the UK to have a net zero emissions economy by 2050 and build on our global leadership in cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Immediate and decisive action is needed to avoid the catastrophic impacts of climate change, and create opportunities in low carbon technologies.

“However, it is critical that when setting a net-zero target, the Government works with businesses and the public to make the changes they need to deliver this. Businesses are already helping to lead the way, and clear and aligned roadmaps are needed for the sectors that face the toughest challenge in achieving this target. The CBI has previously called for cross-Government consensus on the transition that includes those businesses that are fundamental to delivering net-zero emissions and this should be pursued once a target has been established.”


Eliot Whittington, Director, The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group (CLG) said: “Changes in the power sector have already shown how the UK has built strong foundations for a new zero-carbon economy, and in doing so won huge benefits, such as cleaner air, and the establishment of a global lead in the offshore wind industry.

“Committing to a 2050 net-zero goal will sound the starting gun for the next wave of innovation and investment, sending a clear signal to business and investors that they should plan for a zero-carbon future, and work to position the UK at the heart of the new industries that will be created as the world steps up its response to climate change.”


Peter Simpson, CEO, Anglian Water: “We have committed ourselves to even greater reductions and recently the whole of the UK water industry agreed to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2030. This experience has convinced us that more ambitious national targets are not only essential but they are also good for business.”


Leendert den Hollander, Vice President & General Manager, Coca-Cola European Partners said: “As a business with significant operations in Great Britain we’re already investing in the transition to a low-carbon future. We have reduced the carbon impact of our core operations by 62% since 2010 but we know there is much more to do across all of society. A clear sense of direction from the Government’s policies on climate change is vital to allow everyone in business to plan for a zero-carbon future. That’s why we would encourage the Government to bring forward a target for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in Great Britain by 2050 at the latest.” 


Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive at UKGBC said: “The writing’s on the wall for business and policymakers alike: the time for climate action is now. This letter demonstrates that the climate crisis is rising to the top of boardroom agendas by the sheer number of business heavyweights calling for Government to legislate for a net zero carbon UK. No doubt many of these leaders recognise the growing opportunities of transforming their businesses for a net zero carbon economy. Given that the built environment contributes around 40% of the UK’s total carbon footprint, this is particularly true of the construction and property industry, so we’re delighted to see so many of our members as signatories on this letter.”



1. Keith Skeoch, CEO, Aberdeen Standard

2. Pauline Walsh, CEO, Affinity Water

3. Nick Molho, Executive Director, Aldersgate Group

4. Joanna Bacon, Partner, Allies and Morrison

5. Andy Milner, CEO, Amey

6. Peter Simpson, CEO, Anglian Water

7. David Partridge, Managing Partner, Argent (Property Development) Services LLP

8. Manfred Rudhart, CEO, Arriva

9. Dervilla Mitchell, CBE, Chair UK, India, Middle East and Africa, Arup

10. Patrick Bellew, Principal, Atelier Ten

11. Charles Kirwan Taylor, Chairman, Atlas Infrastructure

12. Jason Sibthorpe, Principal and President U.K., Avison Young

13. Maurice Tulloch, Group CEO, Aviva

14. Steven Boyes, CEO, Barratt Developments Plc

15. Rab Bennetts, OBE, Director, Bennetts Associates Architects

16. Steve Burr, Director, Black Architecture

17. Melanie Leech, Chief Executive, BPF

18. Caroline Rush, Chief Executive, British Fashion Council

19. Chris Grigg, Chief Executive, The British Land Company PLC

20. Denise Le Gal, Chair, Brunel Pension Partnership

21. Chris Oglesby, CEO, Bruntwood

22. Andy Wales, Chief Digital Impact and Sustainability Officer, BT Group

23. Hayden Wood, CEO & Co-founder, Bulb

24. Neil Squibbs, Chief Executive Officer, BuroHappold Engineering

25. Gerry Keaney, CEO, BVRLA

26. Paul Lewis, CEO, Carbon Credentials

27. Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General, CBI

28. Steve Timbs, Executive Director, Head of UK Building Consultancy, CBRE

29. Paul Dickinson, Executive Chair, CDP

30. Richard Hookway, CEO, Centrica Business

31. Ray Upjohn, Chief Executive, chapmanbdsp

32. Andrew Brown, CEO, Church Commissioners for England

33. Leendert den Hollander, Vice President and General Manager, Coca-Cola European Partners

34. Dougie Sutherland, CEO, Cory Riverside Energy

35. Azos L. Rashid, Board Director, Crowd2Fund

36. Tomás Neeson, Managing Partner, Cundall

37. Will Gardiner, CEO, Drax

38. Edward Collins, CEO, Earth Capital

39. Mark Chadwick, CEO, EcoAct

40. Peter Madden, OBE, Founder Director, Ecovid

41. Simone Rossi, CEO, EDF Energy

42. Lindsley Ruth, UK CEO, Electrocomponents

43. Doug Kerr, Managing Director, Elementa

44. Lawrence Slade, CEO, Energy UK

45. Nicola Lovett, CEO, UK & Ireland, Engie

46. Emma Howard Boyd, Chair, and Chair of the Investment Sub Committee of the Environment Agency Pension Fund, Environment Agency

47. Richard Speak, Founder Director, Environmental Finance

48. Chris Sheppard, Group CEO, European Metal Recycling EMR

49. Richard Poole, Managing Partner, Fluxx

50. Basil Demeroutis, Managing Partner, FORE

51. Andy Steele, Group Chief Executive, Geoffrey Osborne Limited

52. Joost Bergsma, CEO, Glennmont Partners

53. Patrick Caiger Smith, CEO, Green Energy Options

54. Craig McWilliam, CEO, Grosvenor Britain and Ireland

55. Jon Fisher, CEO, GRS Group

56. Ben Spencer, Managing Director, GS8

57. Simon Willis, CEO, Hanson UK

58. John Holland-Kaye, CEO, Heathrow Airport Limited

59. Saker Nusseibeh, CEO, Hermes Investment Management

60. Jon Lovell & Miles Keeping, Co-Founders, Hillbreak

61. Gary Tucker, Managing Partner, Hoare Lea LLP

62. Dean Drinkwater, Managing Director, Hutchinson Engineering

63. Steve Sharratt OBE, CEO, IBMS

64. Richard Walker, Managing Director, Iceland Foods Group

65. Chris Brown, Executive Chair, Igloo

66. Stephanie Pfeifer, CEO, IIGCC

67. Douglas Lamont, CEO, innocent drinks

68. Nigel Stansfield, President, Interface EAAA

69. Adam Balon, Co-Founder, JamJar Investments & innocent smoothies

70. Andrew Renshaw, Lead Director, UK Valuation & Professional Advisory, and UK Board Sustainability Sponsor, JLL

71. Nick Lakin, Group Director of Corporate Affairs, Kingfisher plc

72. Melanie Richards, Deputy Chair, KPMG UK

73. Nigel Wilson, CEO, Legal & General

74. Dan Labbad, CEO, Lendlease Europe

75. John Vincent, CEO & Co-Founder, LEON

76. Peter Rogers, Founding Partner, Lipton Rogers Developments LLP

77. Roy Bedlow, CEO and Founder, Low Carbon

78. Chris Harrop OBE, Group Marketing and Sustainability Director, Marshalls

79. Rob Lambe, Managing Director, Melius Homes

80. Julian Brown, Vice-President & UK Country Manager, MHI Vestas Offshore Wind

81. Deane Flint, Branch President, MEU-UK & IRE, Mitsubishi Electric, Living Environmental Systems UK

82. Keith Howells, Chair, Mott MacDonald Limited

83. Ashley Muldoon, CEO, Multiplex Construction Europe Limited

84. John Pettigrew, CEO, National Grid

85. Julia Szajdzicka, Managing Director, ND Metering Solutions

86. Stefano Agostini, CEO, Nestlé UK & Ireland

87. Tom Greatrex, CEO, Nuclear Industry Association

88. Matthew Wright, Managing Director, Ørsted UK

89. Fiona Reynolds, CEO, Principles for Responsible Investment

90. Mathew Riley, UK Managing Director, Ramboll UK Limited

91. Adam Starr, Managing Director, Redevco UK Ltd

92. Ivor Catto, CEO, RES

93. Justin Francis, CEO & Founder, Responsible Travel

94. Benjamin Derbyshire, President, RIBA

95. Sarah Merrick, CEO and Founder, Ripple Energy

96. Mike Coupe, Chief Executive Officer, Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd

97. Mike Hughes, President, UK & Ireland, Schneider Electric

98. Keith Anderson, CEO, ScottishPower

99. Claire Mack, CEO, Scottish Renewables

100. Liv Garfield, CEO, Severn Trent Plc

101. David Sleath, CEO, SEGRO

102. Sinead Lynch, Country Chair, Shell UK

103. Alan Shingler, Chairman, Sheppard Robson

104. Juergen Maier, CEO, Siemens UK

105. João Pola, CEO, UK & Ireland, Signify

106. Nicola Stopps, CEO, Simply Sustainable

107. Gregor Craig, President & CEO, Skanska UK

108. Alistair Phillips-Davies, CEO, SSE

109. Diba Salam, Principal & Founder, StudioDS

110. David Palmer-Jones, CEO, SUEZ recycling and recovery UK

111. Alan Pemberton, Managing Partner, TFT

112. Halla Tómasdóttir, CEO, The B Team

113. Helen Clarkson, CEO, The Climate Group

114. Dame Alison Nimmo, DBE, CEO, The Crown Estate

115. Sir Charlie Mayfield, Partner & Chairman, the John Lewis Partnership

116. Eliot Whittington, Director, The Prince of Wales's Corporate Leaders Group

117. Bevis Watts, CEO, Triodos Bank UK

118. Peter Anderson, Managing Partner, Troup Bywaters + Anders

119. Julie Hirigoyen, CEO, UKGBC

120. Sebastian Munden, Executive Vice President and General Manager, UK & Ireland, Unilever

121. Steve Fraser, Chief Operating Officer, United Utilities

122. Josh Bayliss, CEO, Virgin Group

123. John Elkington, Founder, Volans

124. George Latham, Managing Partner, WHEB Group

125. Rick Willmott, Group Chief Executive, Willmott Dixon

126. Nigel Topping, CEO, We Mean Business

127. Frazer Mackay, UK Managing Director, Water, Energy and Industry, WSP

128. Ricardo Moreira, Managing Director, XCO2 

Learn more about the CLG's work with policymakers.