With COP26 fresh in our minds, we look at the key changes that will shape the future and bring the world closer to net zero. Hosted in Glasgow, the UN climate change conference tackled the relationship between businesses and greenhouse gases with a new level of urgency. For a greener future moving forward, businesses will have to comply with a range of new legislation introduced to achieve targets set out in the Paris Agreement.
Businesses Must Adapt
During the COP26 Glasgow conference, businesses were encouraged to take meaningful steps towards greener operations. To support this, the UN Race to Zero Climate Commitment was promoted to businesses of all sizes. This global campaign aims to accelerate the transition to a decarbonised economy and prevent climate threats.
SMEs account for almost 99% of UK businesses and 25% of UK emissions, highlighting the important role smaller companies must play in climate action. For a greener future, businesses of all sizes must reduce their carbon footprints and prioritise energy management within commercial buildings.
Phasing Out Coal
During COP26, a coalition of 190 countries was formed to phase out coal, the single biggest cause of global warming. The group, known as Powering Past Coal Alliance (PPCA), was launched at COP23 and has recently increased in size thanks to the recent conference. Unfortunately, China and India were reluctant to join the PPCA and only agreed to phase down their use of the fossil fuel.
The phase out of coal represents tangible progress in the fight against climate change. The non-renewable fossil fuel is primarily used to generate electricity in power plants, which is subsequently used to heat homes. Over the coming years, low-carbon heating alternatives such as ground source heat pumps and air source heat pumps will be fitted in buildings around the world.
Company Climate Disclosures
From the 6th April 2022, pending Parliamentary approval, over 1,300 of the largest UK-registered companies will be legally required to disclose climate-related financial information. The disclosures initiative is designed to increase the quantity and quality of climate-related reporting in the UK business community. The secondary goal is to prompt companies of all sizes to assess the risks and opportunities of global warming and set out their emission reduction plans and sustainability credentials.
Initially, this will only be mandatory for financial institutions and companies with over 500 employees and more than £500 million in turnover. If approved by Parliament, this scheme will bridge the gap between the commercial world and the environmental crisis. In the future, smaller companies may also have to abide by similar regulations regarding climate reporting.
Net Zero Targets For Government Supply Chains
Before COP26, it was agreed that all companies bidding for commercial contracts worth more than £5 million a year must commit to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. The new rules demand that businesses must have a carbon reduction plan which shows where emissions originated and the steps they’re taking to manage their impact on the environment.
Companies will be obligated to report direct and indirect carbon emissions and also emissions from factors such as business travel, transportation, distribution and waste. Currently, these requirements only apply to government contracts, but they could affect other supply chains in the future.
Net Zero Strategy
On 19th October, the UK government published its Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener to end our domestic contribution to global warming. Since 1990, UK greenhouse gas emissions have reduced by 44%, and this strategy aims to continue this progress. The long-term plan is designed to facilitate the transition that our country will undergo over the next three decades.
Concerning heat and buildings, the strategy has set a target that all new heating appliances installed in homes and workplaces will be low-carbon alternatives such as heat pumps by 2035. To support this ambition, the Public Sector Decarbonisation scheme has received £1 billion in funding to reduce emissions from public sector buildings by 75% by 2037.
Key policies from the strategy:
- Deliver at least £1.5 billion of funding to support net zero innovation projects
- Make sure the biggest polluters pay the most through fair carbon pricing
- Our power system will be fully decarbonised by 2035
- By 2035, no new gas boilers will be sold
- Introduce a £60 million Heat Pump Ready programme to achieve 600,000 installations a year by 2028
- £3.9 billion of new funding to facilitate the decarbonisation of heat and buildings, including the new £450 million three-year Boiler Upgrade Scheme
A new environment bill was introduced on 9th November which maps out environmental targets, improvement plans, policies and enforcement functions for improving the natural environment. The new legislation also aims to halt the decline in species by 2030 and clamp down on illegal deforestation. The Environment Act 2021 is now in place and experts anticipate that legally-binding targets for air pollution, water quality, biodiversity and waste are on the horizon.
At Artic, we’re passionate about supporting your transition to a low carbon, energy-efficient, sustainable future. Partnering with you, we will develop a tailor-made plan for your organisation which is supported by our specialist supply chain. We’ll conduct a comprehensive audit of your site’s energy consumption and identify ways to improve your energy efficiency and reduce your energy bills.
To ensure we achieve exceptional results, we constantly follow best practices and benchmark our solutions against industry and carbon-accredited protocols. We have the experience, equipment, and resources needed to reduce carbon emissions at sites of all sizes while rectifying any facilities challenges we face along the way.
If you’d like to discuss how your organisation can reduce its carbon footprint, please contact us.