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Business must grab this chance for a greener world

By Alka Graham

This week, we’ve seen Britain’s most powerful business leaders call on the Government to create economic recovery plans that secure UK climate goals and at the same time help rebuild a resilient economy in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

Almost 200 chief executives – from companies including Lloyds, HSBC and National Grid – signed a letter to the prime minister calling on the government to “deliver a clean, just recovery”.

Close to our hearts at Surya is the message that we need to “create quality employment” and helps to build “a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient UK economy for the future”.

And the CBI also held one of its daily cornerstone webinars on the issue with leading experts in including Professor Cameron Hepburn, Director, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford, and Guy Grainger, Chief Executive Officer, EMEA, JLL, on how we can practically achieve these goals.

You can hear the webinar here. It covers insights into the latest economic outlook, how and why business and government should work together to ensure a green recovery, and the role of technology and infrastructure in supporting the UK’s trajectory to net-zero emissions by 2050.

There was also pressure on the Government to take steps, especially with SMEs, to incentivise firms with offers around making offices solar or renewable fuelled. We need to keep this pressure up as the Government has done this before with Zero Home policy but then shelved the initiative in 2015.

And, while not many of us are the kinds of big business names on the letter, all employers need to be at the forefront of these conversations to ensure the application of this thinking is enabled.

This is a once-in-generation opportunity to improve the clean air in our cities and try and incorporate greener offices and business policy into the employee and employer mindset – and only having the right people in your organisation in place will ensure it happens.

As this letter to the G20 from global health organisations sets out, this is paramount to not just building better business, but in creating better lives for everyone who lives on this planet.

The UN has said that there has been around a 7% reduction in greenhouse gases worldwide during the pandemic, however, this has to happen year on year to hit the 2050 target.

Our chance to see if Government is ready to put its money where its mouth is on these matters as it’s likely we will have an early July budget and expectations are that this will have a focus on carbon reduction, increased energy efficiency and steps to get the UK to the net zero target by the middle of this century.

It’s only by being a collective, no matter how big or small your business, that we will ensure these changes happen and the generations to come will see we grabbed this opportunity to make something good out of this terrible virus.

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