Declaration of climate emergency and UK Climate Change Committee report: Businesses must now show they are part of the solution

In response to yesterday's Westminster MP vote to declare a climate and environmental emergency, following on the heels of Scotland and Wales and the UK’s Climate Change Committee today making it clear that we can get to net zero carbon emissions by 2050 by deploying existing technologies, Gudrun Cartwright, environment director at Business in the Community, said: 

"So we have now agreed that there is an emergency and we need to act immediately. While the target date is 2050, it is vital to remember that this is the absolute limit.  Each year that we stall makes it less likely we will get there. The suggestions of yearly reductions in carbon emissions implies a slow, steady, path.  The reality is that we will only achieve the end goal through spending the little that is left of our carbon budget on putting in place the infrastructure and systems we need to live well in a zero-carbon world. 

"The findings from our Responsible Business Tracker, released this week, showed that businesses do not yet fully comprehend the existential threat that the dual challenges of climate change and environmental degradation present to business models, communities that we live in and our own hopes for an enjoyable retirement and watching our children and grandchildren flourish.     

"Businesses must now lead the way by using the opportunities given by this emergency to create new products and services, change systems and processes, inspire and engage new talent and find new markets and customers through showing they are part of the solution, not adding to the problem."

Jonathan Kini, chair of Business in the Community's newly established Net Zero Carbon Taskforce and chief executive of Drax Retail, says:

"I am looking forward to working closely with Government and other businesses to find innovative ways to enable us to collectively achieve the UK Climate Change Committee’s recommendations as quickly as possible. Their advice today drives home the message that business needs to act at speed and scale to deliver a sustainable future for all of us. I am excited by the challenge and looking forward to the opportunities that we can unlock for UK PLC."    

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Notes to editor

Katherine Howbrook, head of media and external affairs, Business in the Community, Tel: 07515 119 096, Email: katherine.howbrook@bitc.org.uk 

About Business in the Community

Business in the Community, part of the Prince’s Responsible Business Network, is a business-led membership organisation made up of progressive businesses of all sizes who understand that the prosperity of business and society are mutually dependent. We exist to build healthy communities with successful businesses at their heart. 

We use our Responsible Business Map to guide members on a journey of continuous improvement, working across the whole responsible business agenda. From community engagement to employment, diversity and the circular economy, we offer expert advice and specialist resources, driving best practice by convening, sharing learning and recognising great performance across our influential network. www.bitc.org.uk