14 Apr A third of the UK’s largest businesses commit to the Race to Zero Campaign
Nearly one in three FTSE 100 companies have committed to the UN’s Race to Zero campaign, focused on accelerating the adoption of net-zero targets before the launch of COP26.
The UK COP26 unit announced this week that 30 of the FTSE100 businesses had joined the campaigns, doubling the number of committed businesses to the campaign in the last 5 months.
By committing to Race to Zero, corporates are agreeing to implement bolder targets by climate science and to applying their influence to encourage climate action across their extended networks. The business involved in the campaign covers a range of sectors from retail (Sainsbury’s and Tescos), healthcare (AstraZeneca), telecommunications (BT, Vodafone) and consumer goods (Unilever).
According to the COP26 unit, the FTSE100 signatories to Race to Zero amount to a total market capitalisation of approximately £650 million, excluding other smaller businesses and non-listed organisations. Worldwide, over 2,000 businesses have joined the Race to Zero date.
The UK Government has stated that UK businesses are leading the race internationally on climate change but hopes to see more businesses making plans to exceed the legally binding net-zero targets for 2050. Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng explains that businesses hold significant influence in driving change in society and the economy, and this power needs to be utilised to tackle climate change.
Kwarteng highlights that UK businesses are making major changes in carbon emissions and building back greener but admits that more can be done and more businesses can step up and join the fight against climate change.
The updates on the Race to Zero membership come as Kwarteng, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and PM Boris Johnson publish an open letter to businesses highlighting Government plans for economic growth and recovery from the pandemic. The letter emphasises the UK’s position on “building back better”, highlighting that it intends to combine the recovery from the pandemic with other key priorities, including net-zero. REiterating measures from the 2021 Budget and the latest Industrial Strategy, the letter explains that the Government will implement a three-staged approach to allocating funding and urging the private sector to follow a similar path. The three sections are infrastructure, innovation and skills.
Business members are meeting with Sunak, Kwarteng and Johnson as part of the ‘Build Back Better Business Council’. It is believed that the talks will support Ministers in developing sector-specific targets and the necessary foundation to assist in the three investment sections. The development of new products and processes will put the UK at the forefront of new growth opportunities and is vital to reaching key milestones such as the transition to net-zero by 2050.
Priority innovation areas include exploring batter technology for electric vehicles and energy storage, green hydrogen production for transport. Before this meeting, the Government has allocated new funding within these areas exceeding £30 million. Approximately £9 million will be invested into research into lithium recycling and the manufacturing of magnets for electric vehicles, as well as hydrogen storage options for cars and vans. The remaining investments will go towards the Faraday Institution to enhance the safety, reliability and recyclability of batteries.