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Decarbonising London: the role of business
13 November 2020
We have many things to be thankful for here in London.
We have a strong and resilient economy, diverse and inclusive neighborhoods and lots of green space.
Year after year we perform well in city rankings, and even in this year with all its challenges, have been identified as the world’s leading city brand.
Both here in London and globally there has been an explosion in interest in addressing climate change in recent years. Our 2020CEO Survey found that 64% of UK CEOs now see climate change as a threat to their business, with the 25% who are ‘extremely concerned’ having tripled since 2016.
Even in this extraordinary year shaped by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there seems to be a groundswell of personal, public and private ambition to take action. COVID-19 has shown us that to tackle a crisis, citizens, businesses and governments need to come together for the common good.
As lockdowns were implemented around the world this spring, many of us looked to nature for comfort. As planes and traffic ground to a halt, air became noticeably cleaner, birdsong louder, and ecosystems thrived. People enjoyed a greater connection to, and appreciation of, nature.
Suddenly, a sustainable future began to feel more possible. We saw what can be achieved when people, governments and business work together. Climate change, like COVID-19, will have profound implications across the breadth of our economies and societies. In facing both challenges head on, we have a unique opportunity to catalyse transformative change.
What PwC is doing We all need to do our part to help shift economies onto a more sustainable path. That’s why we’re proud that at PwC UK, we’ve decoupled our emissions from our growth and have been carbon neutral already for 13 years.
It’s why we’re trying to do our part, supporting London First and their decarbonisation manifesto, and supporting other local efforts in support of net zero transformation.
Beyond London, we announced last month a worldwide science-based commitment to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. As much here in London as anywhere, we hope this new commitment will catalyse and support our colleagues to take action.
What other businesses are doing London is committed to zero carbon by 2050 but our authorities can’t get there alone. We will need all of London to work together. Delivering zero carbon is going to require private sector skills, investment, innovation, technologies and more.
We must develop more effective ways to partner and address issues locally. We must make use of the breadth of our expertise across our community to make the greatest impact.
Finance is a big part of London and the sector is already taking action. Leading voices are recognising the essential role of finance supporting net zero transformation and calling for accelerated change, as emphasised by the recent release of ‘Our Planet: Too Big to Fail’, created by Silverback Films and WWF.
Across London’s built environment sector too there have been calls for faster action. Most larger REITs are committing to, or have already committed to, net zero targets in some form with many signed up to the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Framework. The direction of travel seems clear.
What this means for London We welcome the growing momentum of net zero initiatives both here in the capital and globally. We’ve seen London sharing lessons with other cities via C40’s Deadline 2020 platform and business leaders aligning with global peers around the Business Ambition for 1.5 Degrees.
Another way we in London are making a contribution already is in helping to create global standards. As climate change becomes a central theme in academic, political, business and financial circles, London-based initiatives like the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures are laying foundations that can support accelerated global change.
What’s next? Change is coming quickly, but not yet fast enough. We hope to keep working with London First to turn commitments into action.
We know that supporting the transition to a zero carbon future is the right strategy for us, for our people and for our clients. We know also that decarbonising ourselves will help us build capability to help others. We welcome the growing wave of London businesses already reorienting themselves towards a zero carbon future and for businesses who have not yet taken clear action, we offer encouragement.
To policymakers in London and the UK. We acknowledge and support your low carbon ambitions. We know the transition to net zero will need new partnership approaches, new business models and new thinking.
Now is the time for London businesses to do our part supporting local, national and global climate action.
As the economy is re-launched, decisions we take now can significantly accelerate or hinder our net zero ambitions. It is vital that we rebuild aligned to a net zero future to avoid irreversible climate breakdown. Our communities, economies and businesses depend on it.
Further information If you’d like any further information, please feel free to reach out to us, or have a look at our website.
To discuss how net zero helps us achieve our purpose, please contactEmma Cox.
To find out more on our net zero work here in London, please contactChris Reeve.
To get the latest on how we’re helping cities decarbonise, please contact Dan Dowling.
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