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UK’s top five business groups call for ‘just transition’ to net-zero by 2050

The UK’s top five business groups have joined forces as part of their goal to create a net-zero free UK by 2050.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Make UK, the Institute of Directors (IoD) and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) say businesses and workers must play a role in the shift to a carbon neutral economy.

As part of this commitment, they have written a joint letter to the government reaffirming their position, highlighting the need for a joined-up, effective approach to the delivery of policy aligned to our long-term climate targets.

This follows on from a joint report on a a Just Transition to Net Zero, which sets out five core principles needed to achieve this goal:

  1. Ambition
  2. Accountability
  3. Delivery
  4. Opportunity
  5. Cost

These principles are intended to act as a ‘fairness test’ for policy makers in planning and designing the regulatory policy frameworks, and prioritising investment.

The business community has also shown strong support for the UK’s net-zero target. In May 2020, 884 companies had set-science based targets, including 98 companies with headquarters in the UK and 456 companies with operations in the UK.

With COP26 on the horizon in Glasgow in 2021, delivering this has never been more crucial.

In a joint statement, the signatories said: “Businesses have long said they can’t afford to go low-carbon, but we’re now seeing a stark shift in narrative. They are enthusiastic about the future and there’s never been a better time to empower SMEs to make the shift.

“Big corporations have big budgets for green initiatives, but smaller firms need support to make sure they don’t get left behind. At a time when all political parties support the target that the UK should be carbon free by 2050, it’s now down to the Government to ensure businesses aren’t disproportionately hit.

"We believe that such an approach can provide a robust policy framework enabling the UK to maintain its current domestic and global ambitions, whilst being accountable, credible, and fair. With the right support they can play a critical role in helping the UK reach its green targets and shore up supply via a just transition.

“That’s why the five business groups have joined forces to call for a principle-led approach to develop its Net Zero aligned policy. This is a prime example of the UK's main business groups coming together to make positive change.”

Ross Crapnell

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