Reacting to the publication today of the Synthesis Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Aldersgate Group urged world leaders and the UK government to deliver an international deal at the pace and scale called for by climate science.
Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “The world’s scientific community has given us both a clear warning and a message of hope. It has made it crystal clear that man-made climate change is a reality but has also shown that prompt, cost-effective and coordinated action by the world’s governments can help limit the detrimental impacts that unabated climate change would have on the natural environment and the world economy. It is now time for governments to deliver a deal at the pace and scale required by climate science.”
Referring to recent research from the New Climate Economy Foundation and Cambridge Econometrics, Nick Molho added: “Beyond the benefits of avoiding the economic damage that would be caused by unabated climate change, Governments should also remember that moving to an efficient and low-carbon economy is an opportunity in itself. Recent research shows for instance that meeting the UK’s existing carbon targets under its Climate Change Act would result in higher GDP, higher household income and higher levels of employment by 2030 compared to a situation where the UK does little to reduce its emissions.”
The Aldersgate Group launches a new report today (28th October), at a high profile event in central London with Secretary of State Vince Cable to mark the GIB’s first two years of operation.
The report highlights the GIB’s impressive achievements but urges the next Government to increase the power and remit of the GIB to ensure it provides the necessary support to the UK’s growing green economy.
All contributors congratulate the GIB’s achievements and welcome the cross-party support that has provided it with firm foundations. In its short lifespan the Bank has demonstrated that investment in green infrastructure can be profitable, has drawn in new sources of private sector capital and contributed to the UK’s position as one of the world’s most attractive destinations for private sector green investment.
Peter Young, Chair of the Aldersgate Group and one of the editors of the report said: “The GIB’s achievements are all the more remarkable considering the restrictions within which it has operated. The government must now broaden the Bank’s remit into new sectors and grant it the ability to borrow, by issuing new products such as green bonds and ISAs. This will widen its impact, increase its leverage and allow the general public to invest in the clean, green industrial revolution that is essential to secure our future wealth and wellbeing.”
Reacting to the European Council announcement, Nick Molho, Executive Director at the Aldersgate Group said: “European leaders have made the right decision to commit to a greenhouse gas emission reduction target of at least 40% by 2030, which keeps open the option to increase the EU’s commitment to a higher and more adequate target in the event of successful climate negotiations in Paris next year. Beyond the obvious environmental benefits, recent research shows that a strong greenhouse gas target is in the interest of the UK economy and we therefore urge the UK Government to push for an ambitious international deal on climate change in 2015.”
Nick Molho added: "It is on the other hand disappointing that the package contains insufficient ambition on energy efficiency, one of the cheapest ways of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, protecting consumers against rising energy bills and improving energy security. We urge the next Government to make energy efficiency a national infrastructure priority in the UK to ensure its environmental, economic and energy security benefits can be maximised."
In the run-up to the crucial European Council on 23rd-24th October, the Aldersgate Group has signed a letter to the Heads of State and Government of the European Union, calling for "a robust 2030 energy and climate policy framework and energy security strategy," that can meet Europe's long-term climate objectives and deliver a global climate agreement in next year's negotiations in Paris.
The letter, signed by 57 companies, funds and associations, asserts that an ambitious agreement would “contribute towards a modern, resource-effecient and low carbon growth as a central driver for Europe’s economic recovery and competitiveness agenda”. Signatories include the Aldersgate Group members Philips, Kingfisher, and Interface.
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, thanked the staff, directors and members of the Aldersgate Group in a farewell speech at law firm Hogan Lovells.
He said: "The biggest achievement over the last seven years, beyond any specific policy campaign, is the group's ability to bring together some of the most influential actors in the UK to demonstrate real leadership on the environmental agenda. We have not been bogged down by the lowest common denominator, where so many business coalitions get stuck, but have continuously strived to be the highest common denominator. We owe this track record to a committed and progressive membership that is the key to everything that we do.
"My successor, Nick Molho, is absolutely the right man to take the organisation to the next level. He has repeatedly brought together business coalitions for change and will ensure that the AG is a driving force for a sustainable economy in the run up to the next election and beyond."
At the event, the winner of the "Dragons' Den", Mike Barry, Director of Sustainable Business at M&S, said: "This is Andrew's last gig at the Aldersgate Group and he has done a phenomenal job. The reason why we are all here today is because he has led this organisation and made it very special."
The Aldersgate Group is delighted to confirm two new appointments to our Board of Directors: Mark Gough, Head of Sustainability at The Crown Estate, and Luke Herbert, Head of UK Government Affairs at Jaguar Land Rover.
Both have been involved in Aldersgate Group activities through their employers' membership of the Group.
Mark Gough said: "I am really thrilled to be joining one of the most progressive organisations in the UK. With new leadership and building upon a really strong foundation this is an exciting time for the Aldersgate Group and I am honoured to be a part of it. We have a lot to do, but I am confident that the team, members and supporters will rise to the challenge and move us closer towards a sustainable economy that works."
Luke Herbert said: "In my time working across business and in government affairs, I have seen the huge contribution that business can make in innovation and delivery to improve the environment and delivery jobs and growth. The Aldersgate Group has constantly impressed me in its ability to bring progressive business, policymakers and those with an environmental interest together around a common agenda. As the UK moves to the next stage of action on climate change whilst seeking to have an even more competitive economy, the need for the Aldersgate Group could not be greater. I greatly look forward to supporting the work of the Group in this role."
A new report and series of pilot projects finds that business can play a leading role in leveraging their strengths to deliver the combined outcomes of greater opportunity for the poor, benefits for the climate and resilience against physical climate changes.
Written by the Aldersgate Group and DfiD-supported Climate Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), the report finds that business-to-business partnerships can create the conditions for transformational change, through the creation of climate resilient global supply chains, opening up new markets and creating jobs and income, or developing innovative and scalable solutions to tackling emissions and poverty.
These partnerships can be effectively supported by strategic and targeted aid, turning climate and development opportunity into climate and development success. Directly following the publication of the report, four pilot projects have been funded by DfiD, including renewable energy village power in Sub Saharan Africa, energy efficiency for businesses in Peru and decentralised energy access in rural India.
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “Our study shows that with the right incentives and support, business-to-business partnerships can be a valuable tool to mitigate climate change, build resilience, and alleviate poverty, a win-win-win! We are delighted that this has led to four pilot projects around the world to help further test the concept and build the evidence base.”
Andrew Raingold, the Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, has told the Environmental Audit Committee that the Government is "running out of options" to deliver on its pledge to be the greenest government ever "if there is less Government spending available (and) if there is less appetite to regulate". He said that greater leadership was required to drive "sensible" fiscal reform and "best value" public procurement.
As an oral witness to the Committee's inquiry on An Environmental Scorecard, Mr Raingold said: "A priority for the next Government should be sensible fiscal reform which seeks to raise taxes on damaging activities like pollution and reduce taxes on beneficial activities like work. The Office for National Statistics shows that the proportion of environmental taxation has fallen during this Parliament. If this trend were reversed over the next five years and delivered in a smart way, there would be benefits for growth, jobs and wellbeing."
The report gives the Government a ‘red card’ for its efforts to reduce health-damaging air pollution, protect biodiversity and prevent flooding in a scorecard assessment of its green policies during this Parliament.
Mike Barry, Director of Sustainable Business at M&S, was voted the winner at the Aldersgate Group's UN Climate Summit Dragons Den. The event heard from a series of business leaders who met the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s challenge to make bold pledges to close the emissions gap and deliver a low carbon economy.
He said: “There is no single thing that governments can work out in a smoke filled room in New York, Paris or anywhere else that will change business. Governments have to invite business to the table to work with them".
"My challenge is that governments should invite the big industrial sectors of the global economy to come to Paris in 15 months time to show how they are going to reduce by 80% the carbon in their business models, in their supply chains and operations and consumer use of their products. Also, they need to turn up with a plan to show how they are going to scale that across the millions of companies within their sectors.”
The Aldersgate Group welcomes the wide acceptance of the work of the business-led Ecosystems Markets Task Force (EMTF) set out in the Government’s response published on 5th September. But while the Government has favoured the vast majority of the recommendations, the actions described could fall well short of delivering the contribution to growth and business opportunity that ambitious implementation of the EMTF's carefully crafted suggestions would make.
Peter Young, Chairman of the Aldersgate Group and a member of the EMTF said: “The business opportunities highlighted by the EMTF will not be realised if Government is not prepared to make them tangible and secure for investment in new nature based markets. For example, it is vital that the current consultation on biodiversity offsetting does not result in a voluntary scheme which, the published Impact Assessment shows, will deliver absolutely nothing for growth. It would be a massive missed opportunity which has been estimated to be worth £450 million over the next decade. I am pleased that there will be the opportunity to scrutinise progress on all 22 recommendations next spring.”
The Aldersgate Group is delighted to confirm the appointment of Nick Molho as its new Executive Director. Nick replaces Andrew Raingold who is standing down after more than seven years leading the organisation.
Molho is currently Head of Climate Change and Energy Policy at WWF. He is an environmental lawyer who started his career at CMS Cameron McKenna, where he spent six years working on commercial energy law for a range of international businesses, regulators and governments. At WWF he has continued building connections with the private sector, recently managing a joint statement in The Times that was signed by 110 businesses and industry organisations in support of the Fourth Carbon Budget. A regular public speaker, Molho also writes for a range of outlets such as The Economist Insights, Business Green and the Huffington Post.
Peter Young, Chair of the Aldersgate Group said: “Andy has done a fantastic job for Aldersgate Group and when he leaves in October he should take huge pride in the journey he has led us on, since our inception eight years ago. But we have always exploited every challenge as an opportunity to take our agenda forward and this is no exception.
“I am delighted to welcome Nick Molho as our new Executive Director. He comes with a wealth of experience in developing evidence-based policy positions, engaging with business, delivering transformation and communicating to a mass audience. His arrival is perfect timing, as we launch our An Economy That Works campaign and gear up towards making the next Government a green success. He will bring us new momentum and experience, and I expect us to go to from strength to strength under his leadership.’
Nick Molho said: “I have long been a supporter of the Aldersgate Group and its ethos that environmental policies must sit above everyday party politics and can play a key role in improving the competitiveness of our economy. The current political and financial climate has proved this point many times over and this makes the Aldersgate Group one of the most important and exciting bodies to be leading today.”
The Chairman of the Aldersgate Group, Peter Young, has said we need a repayment plan to address the natural capital debt. Delivering the closing remarks at RSPB's Conference for Nature alongside other keynote speeches from Sir David Attenborough and the Rt Hon Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister, he said that the debt to nature was far worse than the financial debt.
Peter Young said: "If the Greek debt crisis looked bad our natural capital debt is even more grave. The plant will become truly bankrupt if we don't start reducing it soon. We need a credible repayment plan to start restoring nature now."
"The next government must act for nature. New legislation to halt destruction and start recovery, a clear long term remit for the Natural Capital Committee Mk II, and consistent linkage between the health of the individual, the economy and nature in policy making would do it for me. It is time to halt the selfish complacency of procrastination which politicians have shown in dealing with our urgent environmental problems."
The Aldersgate Group has welcomed the latest report by the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) demanding more government support in the transition towards the circular economy which to date "lacks ambition and leadership". The report makes a series of policy and fiscal recommendations including the establishment of an Office for Resource Management, ban on food waste going to landfill, and the removal of trade barriers for remanufactured goods.
Steve Wallace, Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: "The EAC's call to end the 'throwaway society' rightly recognises the finite nature of resources. Progressive businesses have identified this challenge and are responding to it, but much more can and should be done at a national level to facilitate the transition. Countries that proactively manage the change will have the economic advantage in the future. Those that follow a business as usual strategy will fall behind".
The AG is a partner, with WRAP, in project REBus. The project delivers the technical support business requires to implement the models needed for such a transition and illustrates the financial benefits of doing so.
The Aldersgate Group has supported an announcement by DECC Secretary of State, Ed Davey, that the Government will not amend the Fourth Carbon Budget. The budget covers the period 2023 to 2027 and will stay at its existing level of 1950 MtCO2 equivalent.
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: "Mainstream businesses warmly welcome the Government's commitment to the Fourth Carbon Budget. This provides greater certainty for long-term investments in the low carbon technologies that can provide a backbone to growth, jobs and competitiveness.
"The global race to develop and adopt low carbon solutions will help define prosperity in the twenty-first century. This is an important step to ensure that the UK's overall policy framework maximises the economic opportunities of the transition."
Some of the UK’s largest businesses have today called on the Government to simplify how organisations report the carbon emissions associated with the energy that they purchase. A survey of energy professionals finds that there is confusion about current Government policy, leading a number of businesses to question the benefit of so-called “green” tariffs. A number of inconsistencies provide relatively weak and complex signals, leading some Boards to retreat from investing in renewable technologies.
The report, Enable the Label, was written by energy experts Utilyx and commissioned by a steering group that comprises the Aldersgate Group, BT, EY, HSBC, Reed Elsevier, Sky and the Retail Energy Forum. The report recommends that businesses speak to their energy supplier to adopt an electricity label and help to transform the energy market.
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “Customers have a right to know the ingredients of the product they are buying, but this is not the case in the energy market. Energy bills must pass the ‘horsemeat test’. Most buyers are unable to determine if the electricity they are purchasing is from renewables, nuclear, gas or coal.”
The Aldersgate Group have welcomed a new report by LSE on how UK carbon policies affect the competitiveness of businesses. It finds that arguments in favour of revising the Fourth Carbon Budget, based on concerns about competitiveness, are not supported by the evidence. Existing data suggest that the impact of current policies is small or negligible, dwarfed by a range of other economic factors.
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: "LSE's comprehensive analysis of carbon policies supports the mainstream view of British business that current UK carbon policies do not have a major negative impact on competitiveness. It also demonstrates the beneficial impact of smart environmental policies on potential growth and productivity performance of the UK’s economy as a whole relative to other trading partners. This provides yet more evidence to the call from business leaders for Government to accept the 4th carbon budget without any further delay or uncertainty."
Leading companies do not know where their energy comes from, according to the outcomes of an Aldersgate Group workshop held at the Green Corporate Energy Conference (hosted by The Crowd). The seminar found that organisations would make better energy purchasing decisions if they had better information. Despite some positive steps forward with the publication of a Defra consultation on the reporting of renewables, there is a lack of a comprehensive and transparent approach that can be clearly communicated to stakeholders.
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: "Companies have a right to know and account for the ingredients of the energy they buy. That is why many businesses are calling for an electricity label that would visually communicate the quantity and carbon emissions on their energy bill. We have it for cars and fridges but not the product with the largest carbon impact."
Mr Raingold was joined on the panel with representatives from BT, Npower and EDF. To find out more about the launch of the electricity label and how businesses can benefit, click here.
The Aldersgate Group have welcomed an announcement by Shadow Environment Minister Barry Gardiner that, if elected, Labour would undertake a ‘Stern Review' of resource security in a bid to better identify the escalating resource supply risks the country faces. Last year, the AG published a Business Statement strongly supporting Government Chief Economists' proposal to commission a robust and independent review into the impacts of resource security and climate change on UK growth.
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: "Resource insecurity is already having a tangible impact on growth and the Government must play its part to understand and safeguard future prosperity. Labour's commitment to a resource security review will be widely supported by the business community but cross-party consensus is essential to take this forward effectively."
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, has announced that he will be leaving the Aldersgate Group in the autumn. He has played a pivotal role within the organisation since he joined as the first employee in 2007, building the Aldersgate Group into one of the most influential and progressive voices in the environmental policy debate.
He said: "After seven hugely enjoyable years leading the Aldersgate Group, I feel the time is right for a new challenge and I will be focusing on interests in the charity sector. From small beginnings, I am extremely proud of the impact we have had at the highest levels of Government and business, driving forward our mission of action for a sustainable economy."
"The influence we have brought to bear in a number of critical areas of policy, such as mandatory carbon reporting and establishing the world's first Green Investment Bank, is credit to a prominent, active and progressive membership. It has been the utmost privilege to work alongside so many leading thinkers and manage such a talented team. The Group is in a very strong position to continue to provide the expert knowledge, influence and leadership that has become its hallmarks."
Andrew Raingold, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, has said that a leap forward in policy delivery is still needed to meet the UK's climate targets and drive economic growth. Speaking to the Guardian, he said that data from the Committee on Climate Change shows that Britain has performed well in new wind generation as well as in improving the energy efficiency of residential buildings and new cars.
"But the pace of change overall has slowed," Raingold said, and "the cross-party consensus (at the time of the Climate Change Act) has fallen apart over the past few years... The UK in a strong position (in the green economy race) thanks to our world-leading legislation, but it's at risk of slipping behind competitors.