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Corporate Leaders Groups

Business leadership for a climate neutral economy

9 March 2020 – As the UK begins preparations to host this year's global climate summit, businesses including Unilever, Anglian Water, EDF, Tesco, Sky, Coca-Cola European Partners, and others are urging Prime Minister Boris Johnson to show strong climate leadership with a clear strategy championed from the top of government.

In a new briefing paper, The Prince of Wales's Corporate Leaders Group (CLG), convened by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), outlines a set of leadership priorities for the UK Government that must aim to engage all parts of society in taking action.

The paper highlights that, despite some progress, present UK action on climate change is insufficient to protect our national and global environment, and allow for a prosperous future where people can thrive.

CLG Director Eliot Whittington said:

"CLG business leaders are issuing a call to Prime Minister Johnson and his government to deliver a clear UK strategy for accelerating climate action. There is an urgent need for strong and robust leadership that can draw all parts of society and politics together to address the climate crisis.

"This year offers us a chance to translate the UK's powerful track record on climate action into effective policies that can guide the country to net zero by 2050 at the latest. Business's role in encouraging creativity and innovation to support transformation is evident, and CLG intends to redouble our efforts to support the delivery of a climate neutral economy."

Acting Together: How the UK can accelerate action to deliver a thriving net zero economy that works for all is based on discussions with business, policymakers and other key stakeholders and explores five priority areas: buildings, transport, electricity, industry, land use and agriculture. It focusses on the urgent actions the UK Government can take to accelerate the scale and pace of change, identifying the following priorities: 

  • Increase ambition across the economy;
  • Accelerate the decarbonisation of power and set out a clear vision for UK power generation providing for increased demand as other parts of the economy electrify;
  • Set out a joined-up strategy for UK domestic transport – putting decarbonisation as an essential requirement alongside other key drivers;
  • Introduce new standards and support to ensure UK homes are renovated and see significant improvements in energy efficiency, whilst encouraging innovation in a suite of potential technologies to decarbonise heat;
  • Use the opportunity of the new Environment and Agriculture Bills to create and implement a new, holistic vision for UK agriculture and land use which actively supports carbon sequestration and biodiversity recovery alongside other goals;
  • Support targeted innovation to help decarbonise strategically important but hard-to-abate industrial sectors.

The briefing paper will be launched at an event in London on March 9. Speakers will include CISL Founder Director Dame Polly Courtice, Anglian Water CEO Peter Simpson and EDF Energy Non-Executive Chairman Colin Matthews.


Peter Simpson, CEO, Anglian Water Group and co-chair of the CLG said:

"As corporate leaders, we need to demonstrate that not only is net zero possible, but that it can be done in a way that brings social and economic prosperity." 

Colin Matthews, Non-Executive Chairman of EDF Energy and co-chair of the CLG said:

"2020 is a pivotal year for the UK to demonstrate strong climate leadership. This briefing offers important cross-sectoral insights for UK Government as it sets ambitious policies to accelerate the transition to a thriving, competitive, inclusive zero carbon economy. EDF is strongly committed to investing in low carbon technologies, both in generating the renewable and nuclear electricity the country needs and in developing products and services to help our customers to transition to greener habits such as electric cars."

 Access the briefing here.