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Capital’s leading businesses unite on call for sustainability to be at the heart of London recovery plans
13 November 2020
50 leading London businesses set out the practical steps business and local government need to take for London to seize the opportunity of a green recovery and meet the goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2030
Government’s announcement of a ‘green gilt’ a good first step, but more needed
All London Mayoral candidates should make clear commitments to make Net Zero Carbon a central plank of their campaigns. That’s according to the business group London First and consultancy firm WSP, as well as fifty of the capital’s leading businesses.
With 2021’s Mayoral election a ‘pivotal moment’ for the capital, London First CEO Jasmine Whitbread and WSP Executive Director and Institute of Civil Engineering President Rachel Skinner have written to prospective London Mayoral candidates, calling on them to:
Set out a clear pathway to achieve London’s net zero goals, developing a clear model of how carbon emissions in London are measured and convening all parts of government to collaborate to achieve this;
Promote investment in net zero and support innovation and mobilise green finance;
Help Londoners make informed choices and decisions on net zero, through promotional activities and support for schools and universities.
The recommendationsare set out in their Business Manifesto for Delivering Net Zero Carbon in London which sets out a vision to drive forward a green recovery, with the private sector working alongside the public sector to deliver a step change well ahead of 2030, the Mayor of London’s target for making the capital a net zero emissions city.
Contributors to the report include Canary Wharf Group, Great Portland Estates, Port of London Authority, Lloyd’s Banking Group and PwC, as part of a 50-strong coalition of the capital’s leading businesses, demonstrating the huge desire for practical support among the business community and a recognition of the step-change needed to build a sustainable economic recovery.
The report also sets out recommendations for business, urging all London firms to commit to three measures:
To put in place Climate Action Plans (CAP) that are transparent and standardised, which outline plans to mitigate climate change and reduce greenhouse gases;
To use climate action to address inequality and benefit all communities via a Just Transition;
To support other businesses and help suppliers and customers to achieve Net Zero, through increased collaboration and creating opportunities for firms to learn from each other.
Jasmine Whitbread, Chief Executive of London First, said:
“We have had a small glimpse of what abrupt decarbonisation might look like, with temporary improvements in air quality due to lockdown, but the fall in emissions will just be a blip unless we take urgent action now.
“Businesses are already doing their bit – investing in new technologies and services to help reduce emissions and adapting business models – but the pace of change is simply not fast enough, and there is a real desire for practical support.
“That’s why we’ve set out clear actions for the Mayor and the capital’s businesses to help make London cleaner and greener. Now we need the Government to fulfil its side of the equation – from focusing spending on low-carbon investment to upgrading charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.”
London First is also calling for the Government to publish the Energy White Paper and National Infrastructure Strategy, as soon as possible, alongside clear roadmaps for the decarbonisation of transport, heat, and buildings that will allow companies to build their own net-zero investment plans with confidence.
Rachel Skinner, Executive Director at WSP and President of the Institution of Civil Engineers, said:
“Delivering net zero in London is everyone’s business. Reducing emissions in the capital to a position where we can achieve a genuine net zero balance will be the challenge that defines London’s future prosperity. No person is better placed than the Mayor to champion and steer this transition.
“While there is progress to report in reducing carbon emissions in London, it is not nearly enough. We must now imagine, plan, design, build and deliver a net zero carbon capital to enable all Londoners to thrive. With Mayoral elections only a few months away, and COP26 hosted in the UK in one year’s time, London has a unique opportunity to show it means business when it comes to net zero. WSP and the broader business community stand ready to support in this exciting journey.”
 A Just Transition ensures that the policies of a clean, green city tackle inequality and benefit low-income communities.
Tune in to series one and two of What Next for London? to hear views on London, our Covid-19 recovery and more