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Businesses from across the UK welcome Net Zero Review and urge government to take forward its recommendations

Hand with green on holding a green plant

The Aldersgate Group and major UK businesses welcome the publication of the independent Net Zero Review led by Chris Skidmore MP and its conclusion that “there is not future economy but a green economy”.

The extensive engagement carried out with business, public bodies and civil society as part of the review means that it provides an authoritative account of the economic and social case for accelerating the net zero transition. It also provides a compelling summary of some of the key actions the Government needs to take as a matter of urgency.

Reacting to the publication of the review, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said:

“The Skidmore Review is absolutely right to emphasise that the net zero transition is a major pro-business and pro-investment opportunity and that delaying this transition will increase costs and risk the UK missing out on the significant economic opportunities it presents. Businesses have long recognised this, which is reflected in the rapidly growing number of businesses that are taking on ambitious net zero emission targets backed by clear delivery strategies. In the challenging economic and social context currently faced by the UK, a rapid shift towards net zero offers much needed investment, competitiveness and job creation opportunities for UK businesses and investors in varied sectors such as construction, energy, manufacturing, engineering, transport and finance.

“The findings and recommendations of the Skidmore Review are based on an impressive degree of engagement with businesses and civil society, providing a direct window into what businesses, public bodies and civil society need from the UK Government to deliver net zero and secure the economic opportunities associated with it. The Government should use the recommendations of this review to produce a strengthened Net Zero Strategy early this year. It should also crack on with some of the most pressing policy recommendations highlighted in the report, such as developing grid infrastructure, full power sector decarbonisation, energy efficiency in homes, resource efficiency, and business models to support the roll out of CCS, hydrogen and other low carbon solutions urgently needed by heavy industry.

“We welcome the fact that the Skidmore review has shed light on the importance of making clear policy decisions on a range of cross-cutting issues that are critical to get to net zero but often overlooked. In particular, accelerating the roll out of power grid infrastructure, aligning planning reforms with the net zero target, setting up an Office for Net Zero Delivery, implementing measures to restore the natural environment, and focusing on improving resource efficiency across the economy are all essential to meet the UK’s emission reduction targets in a way that is timely, co-ordinated and cost-effective.”  

Carl Ennis, CEO Siemens plc and Smart Infrastructure, GB&I, and, Chair, Net Zero North West, said:

“We congratulate Mr Skidmore and his team for a comprehensive and insightful report.  As the report notes, Net Zero is the economic opportunity of the 21st century and the UK is well placed to benefit. But as an international company, we see that there is a global race for green investment and the UK runs the risk of falling behind or losing out completely in some areas.  It is not that there is a lack of ideas or strategies. Rather, we need the Government to deliver on existing plans and provide greater policy certainty to unlock business investment.  We must also stop our siloed approach to this problem, as we do in the decarbonisation of cities, for example and adopt whole systems solutions. We hope the government will take on board the messages in this report and adopt its recommendations.”

Steve Waygood, Chief Responsible Investment Officer, Aviva Investors:

“This review and its recommendations are right on the money and highly pertinent. Net zero represents an economic opportunity for the UK, and presents a material financial risk if it is not acted upon and delivered. The greatest threat is inaction. It is therefore hugely important that the public and private sectors work together and act now to address it.”

Rachel Skinner CBE FREng, Executive Director at WSP and past President of the Institution of Civil Engineers said:

“‘Mission Zero’ answers the exam question about whether the UK’s pursuit of net zero is worth it. In a word: “Yes”.  Business, the public sector and local communities have spoken; there is a clear mandate for climate action towards net zero. Speeding up investment and effort will reduce cost and climate risk, while helping the UK hold onto its leadership position on the world stage. Through an infrastructure and built environment lens, we know that the changes required – physical and digital, cultural and behavioural, local and national – are key to unlocking net zero and its wider benefits for growth, skills and resilience. The Skidmore Review helps to cut through net zero complexity, recognising that success will rely as much on local change through delegation, clear information, meaningful incentives and trust as it does on clear, stable Government commitment to delivery.” 

Martin Casey, Director, Communications, Public Affairs & Social Impact, CEMEX EMEA, said:

“CEMEX very much welcomes the publication of Chris Skidmore’s review, and congratulate his team and him on doing such a comprehensive job. The report highlights clearly the challenges facing fundamental Energy Intensive Industries (EIIs) like cement, and offers meaningful and practical suggestions like a Carbon Boarder Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), and the need to address carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS) for dispersed sites that will help ensure the future sustainable competitiveness of these key sectors. Having commissioned the report, CEMEX believes that the Government must take note and implement the recommendations of the Skidmore review with the utmost urgency; delivery of the 2050 Net Zero target depends on it.”

James Wilde, Chief Sustainability Officer at Phoenix Group, said:

“The recommendations made in the Net Zero Review will help to unlock the investment required to deliver net zero, catalyse much needed growth and cement the UK’s position as a global leader in the green economy. Phoenix continues to be committed to playing a key role, through decarbonising our investment portfolio by 2050 and investing in sectors and companies of the future. We encourage government to act quickly and decisively to seize the economic opportunities that net zero presents.”

John Scanlon, Chief Executive Officer for SUEZ recycling and recovery UK said:

‘With net zero core to our business and the wider resources sector, SUEZ welcomed the opportunity to take part in the review, and the inclusive, collaborative and comprehensive approach used. The review highlights not only that a more resource efficient, circular economy is central to delivering net zero, but also the economic opportunity it creates for the UK. We are fully behind the call for urgent action to deliver the commitments in the resources and waste strategy, finalising these critical legislative reforms has the potential to unlock as much as £12 billion investment in developing a circular economy here in the UK. With our partners across the value chain, at SUEZ we are ready to rise to the challenge of meeting the UK’s net zero targets and play our part in delivering the resources sector’s contribution to tackling climate change.’

Robbie Epsom, EMEA Head of ESG, CBRE Investment Management said:

“We are very pleased to have contributed to this important discussion on net zero through the Aldersgate Group evidence roundtable. As a business operating in the built environment, we understand that to drive long-term outperformance in the real assets we manage, sustainable, energy efficient investment is fundamental. This UK Independent Review further underscores the huge opportunity created by the transition to net zero but importantly also focuses on the actions required to achieve net zero. As we advance through this critical decade of action for the planet, I hope these findings catalyse progress as we move into 2023.”

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