British businesses are committed to do what it takes to tackle climate change but the UK effort will only succeed if it becomes an urgent, shared national priority for companies, consumers and the government" a groundbreaking new report published last month stated. The report entitled "Climate Change: Everyone's Business", was published by The CBI Climate Change Task Force in November.
For the first time, senior representatives from every major sector of British business have come together to assess the challenges posed by climate change and to identify the actions necessary to tackle them. The CBI Climate Change Task Force report is the culmination of ten months' intensive work by 18 Chairmen and Chief Executives from some of the UK’s biggest companies, under the independent chairmanship of BT Chief Executive Ben Verwaayen.
Analysis developed specifically for the report by consultants McKinsey shows the UK's carbon reduction targets for 2020 are likely to be missed but that 2050 goals, whilst stretching, can be achieved at a manageable cost - provided a greater sense of urgency is now adopted. It identifies priority areas for action that would put the UK back on track to meet its targets by 2030. Today’s report explains how business will play its part, and commits the CBI to continue to play a leading role, both nationally and internationally.
The report says that firms will have fundamentally to change their business models to meet consumers’ and society’s needs in an era of climate change. The Task Force says the longer we wait the higher the cost will be - but that if we act early, the cost for each household can be limited to around £100 a year by 2030.
It stresses that alongside the risks, the shift to a low carbon economy offers the UK a unique opportunity to develop innovative environmental technologies of the future and prosper in new, multi-billion-dollar world markets - but only if research funding is better co-ordinated and prioritised.
Within the report, 'Climate Change: Everyone's Business', Task Force member companies make a series of pledges to adapt their businesses for the new low carbon world. These include:
- A promise to develop new products and services that will empower households to halve their emissions by 2020.
- A commitment to work in partnership with our 2 million employees to achieve major cuts in their emissions both at work and at home - our initial aim is to identify and promote action that will save an extra one million tonnes of CO2 emissions within three years.
Reference CBI, 2007. Climate change: everyone’s business. CBI Report. November.