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Decarbonisation of 29 million homes at risk due to significant gaps in net-zero plans

25th August 2021

It’s currently too complicated for people to adapt their homes for net zero and too often things go wrong. That’s the message today from a major coalition of consumer and industry groups in an open letter to the Prime Minister.

Citizens Advice, Which?, Aldersgate Group and the Federation of Master Builders are urging the government to work with them to address the obstacles currently faced by consumers and ensure lessons from previous energy efficiency schemes are learned. Otherwise it risks undermining the UK’s ability to decarbonise its 29m homes.

By making sure this process is as easy as possible for the public to engage with and understand, the government can maintain public trust and support and realise the benefits of emissions cuts, safer and warmer homes and innovation and jobs.

  • Consumer confusion - right now the process of installing low-carbon heating, upgrading insulation or installing smart technologies is time-consuming, confusing and stressful. Researching and choosing the right technology, finding a reputable installer and having the work completed demands huge amounts of knowledge, time and effort.
  • Things go wrong too often - the process of making adaptations is often beset by problems, including poor installation, technologies not working as expected, and people facing difficulties fixing things when they go wrong.

The coalition is also urging the government to avoid the mistakes of past energy efficiency schemes. Mistakes which left too many people struggling with damp and mould due to poorly installed insulation. Others suffered damage to their homes, leaving them with long-term problems that were expensive, disruptive and distressing to resolve.

Despite recent improvements, current consumer protections are not ready for the pace and scale of the work needed to improve millions of UK homes.

The coalition is calling on the government to take the opportunity to fix these gaps through its upcoming Net Zero Strategy and put in place a long-term strategy to help households overcome the barriers to adapting their homes for the net-zero transition.

  • Information - from installing low-carbon heating to upgrading insulation, it’s confusing for people to know what steps to take and what technologies to install. People need more accessible and unbiased information to help make the right changes to their homes.
  • Consumer protections - the consumer protection landscape must be fit for purpose. If protections don’t keep up with the pace of change, the door will be opened to scammers and rogue traders. Previous energy efficiency schemes have been marred by such problems - which also began to emerge with the Green Homes Grant.
  • Costs - many people will need financial support to make changes to their homes. There needs to be a comprehensive long-term policy framework that provides certainty for businesses and consumers, which offers financial support such as predictable and well-advertised grants, low-cost loans and financing.

Dame Clare Moriarty, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“Our evidence is clear. Right now, making green changes to homes is too confusing and too often things go wrong for those trying to do the right thing. The public are behind the net-zero transition, but they need the right information and tools, particularly when it comes to adapting their home.

“By getting things right now, the government can give people the confidence to make changes and play their part in getting to net zero.”

Rocio Concha, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Which?, said:

“Decarbonising millions of households across the UK is a vital, but complex component of the government’s net-zero strategy, and its success will depend on ensuring consumers are supported in transitioning to low carbon heating systems, which will involve radical changes to their home.

“The level of support consumers need must not be underestimated, and we are urging the government to ensure its net-zero policy has provisions to help consumers navigate the heating market, through access to the right information, strong consumer protections, and if needed, financial support.”

Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said:

“Cutting emissions from homes is a significant part of achieving net-zero emissions but the transition also presents a real opportunity to improve the quality of the housing stock and the affordability of energy bills across the country.

“The Government has a significant opportunity with the upcoming Net Zero Strategy to set a clear direction of travel through predictable regulatory targets, easily accessible policy incentives and much improved information and local support measures. It is vital that energy efficiency and low-carbon heat schemes are placed on a long-term footing, so that industry can invest, train its workforce, and grow consumer confidence.”

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said:

“With our homes consuming 35% of all energy in the UK and emitting 20% of our total carbon dioxide emissions, it’s clear that net zero will only be possible alongside a long-term plan to green our homes. Short-term interventions, such as the prematurely closed Green Homes Grants Scheme, served only to undermine, rather than create, certainty for both consumers and builders.”

 “Any policy framework must be long-term, allowing time for local building firms to complete the relevant training to retrofit homes. Homeowners need to be informed about what changes need to happen to their home to make it environmentally-friendly. We recommend each building should have a renovation passport, setting out the path to net zero. We also need a locally-led approach that is sensitive to local communities’ needs.”

Housing

Theresa May appointed new Chair of the Aldersgate Group

19th July 2021

Today, the Aldersgate Group announces the appointment of the Rt Hon Theresa May MP as its new Chair, with effect from Tuesday 20 July 2021. She will take over from former Labour MP Joan Walley, who has chaired the Aldersgate Group for the last six years. Theresa May will support the Group’s ongoing work on the delivery of the UK’s net zero emissions and nature restoration targets and ensure the UK can build a globally thriving green economy in the process.

The appointment comes as the Aldersgate Group welcomes new business members from the facilities, retail, water, legal and energy sectors, and is involved in three major projects on green finance, resources and waste, and industrial decarbonisation.  

The Aldersgate Group is delighted to announce the appointment of Theresa May as its new Chair, as the organisation looks forward to a critical year for the climate, environmental and economic recovery agenda.

The appointment is a landmark moment for the Group, whose members include leading businesses, NGOs, professional institutes, and academic institutions. The former Prime Minister and MP for Maidenhead will bring immense leadership to the role and a commitment to driving action for an environmentally sustainable, net zero emissions and competitive economy.

As Prime Minister, Theresa May enacted the UK’s landmark commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050, making the UK the first major economy to enshrine this target in law. She also oversaw the publication of the Clean Growth Strategy and the decision to end unabated coal-fired electricity generation in the UK by 2025, both of which are helping accelerate emission cuts in the power sector and driving the growth of renewable generation such as wind and solar.

On the environment, her Government published the 25 Year Environment Plan, which provided an ambitious framework to protect and restore the natural world within a generation, a vision which is now in the process of being enshrined in the Environment Bill currently going through Parliament.

Theresa May will assume her role on 20 July 2021. She will be handed the baton by current chair, former Labour MP Joan Walley, who has completed a two-term period of office and been an asset for the Group since 2015.

Today’s announcement comes at a significant moment for the Aldersgate Group, with the organisation welcoming new members from the facilities management, retail, water, legal and energy sectors including Mitie, the Co-operative Group, Wessex Water, CMS and Octopus Energy. Their expertise and insight will bolster the Group’s knowledge base across a range of important sectors where the Aldersgate Group is driving policy change to support more rapid cuts in emissions and actions to restore the natural environment.  

The Aldersgate Group is as active as ever in this crucial time for the climate and environmental agenda, with ongoing work to support the delivery of the UK’s net zero and nature restoration targets and green economic recovery ambitions. The Group is working on three major projects ahead of the crucial COP26 climate summit, focused on the future of green finance [1], resources and waste [2], and accelerating the decarbonisation of heavy industry [3].

Theresa May, incoming Chair of the Aldersgate Group and MP for Maidenhead, said: “I am joining the Aldersgate Group to champion the business case for decarbonising the UK economy, improving resource efficiency, and investing in the restoration of nature because we are at a crucial crossroad for our climate and the environment. As Prime Minister, I was proud to lead the UK to be the first major economy to enshrine the net-zero emissions target into law and publish a strategy to overturn the decline in nature within a generation. It is vital we now accelerate our progress towards these ambitious targets and develop clear delivery plans.”

Joan Walley, outgoing Chair of the Aldersgate Group, said: "It’s been a privilege to lead the Aldersgate Group as Chair for the last six years. I am proud of the contribution we have made on setting the zero carbon and nature recovery agenda. I am delighted to leave a legacy that puts the organisation in a strong position, with membership at its highest since the Group was formed and exciting new reports on key policy areas on the horizon. I have no doubt that under Theresa May’s leadership, the Group will go from strength to strength and play a key role in leading the conversation on climate and the environment and driving ambitious policy in the critical years to come.”

Nick Molho, Executive Director, Aldersgate Group, said: “We are delighted to welcome Theresa May as our new Chair at this critical time for the Group and the environmental agenda. Decisions made in the next few years will determine whether the UK economy is on a credible pathway towards net zero emissions and whether the country is on track for overturning the decline in its natural environment within a generation. Mrs May’s unrivalled experience and her passion for the climate, environmental and clean growth agenda will be a huge asset to the organisation. As a Group, we would like to give our profound thanks to our outgoing Chair Joan Walley who has been an inspiring leader and a key part of the Aldersgate Group’s success over the past six years.”

Peter Simpson, Chief Executive, Anglian Water, said: “I’m delighted to welcome the appointment of the Rt Hon Theresa May MP as the Aldersgate Group’s new chair.  As long-time Aldersgate supporters, I look forward to working with her and other members to promote the strong environmental consensus there is amongst leading businesses and civil society groups.  I would also like to congratulate Joan Walley as she comes to the end of her very successful term.  The Aldersgate Group goes from strength to strength, and under Theresa’s leadership, the Aldersgate Group will be a decisive voice in shaping policy for the net zero age.”

Mark Versey, Chief Executive Officer, Aviva Investors, said: “Theresa May’s experience and longstanding commitment to the environment, including legislating the UK’s world leading net-zero target, will be invaluable and we look forward to working with her.”

Sergio Menendez, EMEAA Regional President, CEMEX, said: “CEMEX is delighted to welcome the Rt Hon Theresa May MP as the new Chair of the Aldersgate Group. In taking up this appointment, it shows to policy makers and wider society in the clearest way possible why it is vital that both government and businesses keep focused on delivering net zero emissions and other vital sustainability goals.”

Ece Ozdemiroglu, Founding Director, Eftec, said: “Theresa May’s arrival as Chair will boost the Aldersgate Group’s contribution to delivery of the legally binding net zero target and 25 Year Environment Plan, which are key parts of the legacy of her premiership. This combination of respected leadership and credible implementation across the Group’s diverse membership is needed to give confidence to investors in net zero, climate adaption and new environmental markets across all sectors of the economy.”

Michelle Scrimgeour, CEO, Legal and General Investment Management, said: “Climate change is not just an urgent issue for society, but also a significant investment opportunity. As business leaders, we can align our influence and financial might, collaborating with other companies and policy-makers, including through the Aldersgate Group, to help accelerate the net zero ambition, producing positive sustainable economic and environmental returns. This is inclusive capitalism in action.”

Duncan Clark, Head of UK Region, Ørsted, said: “The economic and job creation opportunities created by the net zero target are significant and we are working hard in the offshore wind sector to skill up and grow domestic supply chains. We would like to congratulate Theresa May on her new role and look forward to working with her and the team at Aldersgate Group to maximise the benefits of the net zero transition across the UK.”

Beccy Speight, Chief Executive, RSPB, said: “As a long-standing member of the Aldersgate group, we’re pleased to welcome Theresa May as its new Chair. Aligning economic policy with the huge steps we must all take to address the climate and nature emergency will be fundamental over the coming decade and beyond. The work of the Aldersgate Group is vital in bringing both NGO and business voices together to find solutions to the emergency facing our natural world and to make a shared case for the legal and policy frameworks needed. Its work in helping to shape and influence those policies with urgency, bringing together organisations who share this mission has never been more important and we look forward to working together to secure a healthier future for us all.”

Carl Ennis, CEO, Siemens plc, said: “I am delighted to welcome Rt. Hon. Theresa May MP as Chair of the Aldersgate Group.  An ambitious, co-ordinated and accelerated approach to the climate and environmental agenda is critical if the UK is to reach a timely, equitable and economically beneficial net zero emissions future. As an experienced and respected figure, Theresa May will be an effective ambassador for this vital work.”

John Scanlon, Chief Executive Officer for SUEZ recycling and recovery UK said: “With Glasgow hosting COP26 this autumn, all eyes are on the UK to lead the way in combatting climate change. Protecting our environment goes to the very heart of our work at SUEZ and only an ambitious environmental agenda can bring about the systemic change needed to create a resource efficient economy. Aldersgate recognised early on that environmental sustainability and economic prosperity are intrinsically linked and that for our nation to thrive we need policies that can credibly deliver on both counts. In this pivotal year for our environment and our economy, I’m delighted to welcome Theresa May as Chair of the Aldersgate Group and look forward to working with her and the Aldersgate team to tackle our environmental challenges.”

Rick Willmott, Group Chief Executive, Willmott Dixon, said: “We warmly welcome Theresa May as the new Chair of the Aldersgate Group.  At Willmott Dixon, last year we announced what we believe are the construction industry’s most ambitious sustainability targets to 2030 because we see that putting net zero and green growth at the heart of our business is core to our continued development and success.

“The work of the Aldersgate Group in shaping policies that tackle environmental challenges helps drive investment in projects, innovation, skills and supply chains. Around 350,000 new roles in construction could be created by putting the UK economy on track for net zero emissions by 2050.”

Tanya Steele, CEO, WWF-UK said: “It is great to see the appointment of Theresa May as Chair of the Aldersgate Group.  As a former Prime Minister, she will bring to the group enormous experience and a clear understanding of the scale of ambition required if both governments and businesses are to deliver the cuts in emissions needed to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.

This could not be a more important year in the fight to restore the planet, our one shared home, and the UK has a central role to play as host of COP26. I look forward to continuing to work with the Aldersgate Group in the mission to build a low-carbon, nature-positive economy, the only route to long-term prosperity.”

—ENDS—

In line with the government’s Business Appointment Rules, Mrs May consulted the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments before taking up the appointment of Chair at The Aldersgate Group. This position is a voluntary role.   

[1] The Aldersgate Group recently released a report exploring the next steps for the UK’s green finance strategy. To find out more, you can access the full publication here: Financing the future: Driving investment for net zero and nature restoration. The report was launched at a webinar with Economic Secretary John Glen MP on 22 June 2021.

[2] The Aldersgate Group published its latest report, Closing the Loop: Time to Crack on with Resource Efficiency,  on 15 July 2021. The report, which was launched at a webinar with Chair of the Environmental Audit Select Committee Philip Dunne MP, assesses recent progress in England’s resources and waste policy and puts forward a number of recommendations to drive greater resource efficiency across the economy.

[3] The Aldersgate Group will publish two major reports in early September, setting out key policy recommendations to accelerate the decarbonisation of heavy industry, lower industrial electricity prices and support industrial competitiveness in the process. These have been commissioned from UCL and Frontier Economics.

Theresa May

Launch of the UK Infrastructure Bank marks important milestone for recovery and net zero

17th June 2021

Reacting to the launch of the UK Infrastructure Bank, Nick Molho, Executive Director at the Aldersgate Group, said: “The creation of the UK Infrastructure Bank is a vital and strongly welcomed intervention at a time where the UK economy needs to recover from the disruption brought about by the pandemic and put itself on track for net zero emissions. The Bank has a key role to play in crowding in much needed private investment towards crucial and complex low carbon projects and industries, which can drive innovation, supply chain growth and job creation across the country. However, with the Committee on Climate Change [1] highlighting yesterday that the UK is poorly prepared to deal with the impacts from climate change, it is essential that the Bank also has climate adaptation and nature restoration as a key part of its mandate. It is also key that the Bank be set up as an enduring institution, with the flexibility to tackle different market failures over time as market conditions evolve and with a gradual increase to its capitalisation to ensure that it has the right financial firepower to carry out its mission effectively and tackle the significant market barriers ahead.”

- ENDS -

[1] Climate Change Committee (2021) Independent Assessment of UK Climate Risk

Northern-Powerhouse

Global commitment to a green recovery and progress on carbon trading and climate finance key to successful COP26

14th May 2021

In response to the publication of the UK Government’s COP26 strategy, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “The UK is right to place a strong emphasis on delivering the 1.5 degree goal of the Paris Agreement and send a clear message on phasing out the use of coal globally. This approach is clearly supported by science and countries should aim for more ambition, not less, ahead of this important summit. Plans to push for all new car sales to be zero emissions by 2040 globally and radically increasing international finance to deliver on climate initiatives are also vital.” 
 
Nick Molho added: “However, recent analysis from the International Energy Agency tells us that many parts of the world are pursuing economic stimulus investments that are taking us away from the 1.5 degree goal. To close the gap, it is essential that the UK presidency continues its diplomatic efforts to secure increased climate commitments from the world’s key emitters and a global commitment to pursue and co-operate on delivering a green economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.”
 
Nick Molho concluded: “The confirmation that COP26 will be held in person sends a strong signal for international diplomatic negotiations in the months ahead. Particular areas of focus for negotiations must include finalising a rule book for a credible global carbon trading system under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement as well as delivering on today’s commitment to provide climate finance support for developing economies, which are often disproportionately impacted by the growing impacts from climate change. The UK can also strengthen its influence globally by publishing a detailed net zero delivery strategy well ahead of COP26, in a way that provides a clear policy plan for UK businesses and serves as a credible exemplar for other major economies to follow.”

—ENDS—

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Nature restoration and net zero emissions central to national recovery

11th May 2021

Following today’s State Opening of Parliament and Queen’s Speech, the Aldersgate Group calls on Government to embed climate and environmental considerations at the heart of the levelling up agenda.

Nick Molho, Executive Director at the Aldersgate Group said: “The Queen’s Speech clearly set out the importance of delivering a national recovery from the pandemic and spreading economic opportunities across the country. Climate and environmental objectives are central to generating the geographically disperse investment and job creation the UK needs, and they should therefore be embedded at the heart of the Government’s legislative and policy programme.

“The first step must be to urgently bring forward the Environment Bill to progress vital amendments that will strengthen the Bill and allow for robust delivery of environmental targets. These include making interim targets binding and enhancing the linkages between the forthcoming environmental improvement plans and long-term targets. It is also crucial that the changes to procurement and planning policy announced today are consistent with and actively support the UK’s climate and environmental goals.”

Nick Molho added: “Alongside its legislative programme, it is critical that the Government further develops credible policy programmes to deliver on its net zero ambition in this parliamentary session. The highly-anticipated net zero strategy and Treasury’s net zero review must, together, provide a clear policy and funding plan to achieve net zero emissions and maximise opportunities for the economy in so doing.”
 
Nick Molho concluded: “Plans to spark a skills ‘revolution’ unveiled in the speech must prioritise delivery of a low carbon workforce that can drive the net zero transition. Government should carefully consider the upcoming recommendations from the Green Jobs Taskforce to prevent the supply chain issues that hindered the rollout of the Green Homes Grant.”  

—ENDS—

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Next parliamentary session vital to advance climate and environmental objectives

10th May 2021

Ahead of State Opening of Parliament and the Queen’s Speech on Tuesday 11 May, the Aldersgate Group calls on Government to place the Environment Bill at the top of its legislative programme. Nick Molho, Executive Director at the Aldersgate Group said: “The Environment Bill must return to Parliament at pace to ensure that the UK establishes an ambitious environmental governance regime which will help reverse the decline of the natural environment. The Bill itself should also be strengthened through the introduction of binding interim targets that ensure continuous action to improve nature, the inclusion of an overarching target which helps guide long-term targets, and guarantees to safeguard the Office for Environmental Protection’s independence.”
 
Nick Molho added: “Climate and environmental objectives should also be embedded in the Government’s levelling up agenda to ensure that areas such as planning and public procurement contribute towards the UK’s ambitious targets. Incorporating these issues as a core part of the Government’s legislative agenda will help boost economic opportunities across the country and create jobs.”
 
Nick Molho concluded: “A clear funding strategy from Treasury and a policy programme focused on delivering the UK’s net zero target must also be priorities in the forthcoming parliamentary session. The highly anticipated net zero strategy needs to set out a detailed cross-sector plan across all government departments of what measures will be required in the near future. It must provide a sector-by-sector analysis and ensure that the Government’s economic and industrial policy, as well as its infrastructure spending decisions, are all fully aligned with this target.”

—ENDS—

CIRCLE-parliament

Investment-led recovery must be supported by a comprehensive net zero vision

3rd March 2021

Reacting to the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Spring Budget today, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: "It is welcome to see the Budget acknowledge the importance of an investment-led recovery, which will be essential to supporting the UK’s economic growth and the development and deployment of low carbon technologies and services [1]. Whilst today’s announcements set a useful framework towards economic recovery, there are a number of significant missed opportunities within key areas such as housing and transport that must be picked up in the Government’s upcoming net zero strategy, which needs to provide a cross-economy roadmap to reach our net zero target by 2050. [2]” 

Nick Molho added: "The establishment of the first UK Infrastructure Bank in Leeds is a crucial step in this journey, with an initial capitalisation of £12bn and £10 billion of guarantees. We would urge Government to include environmental objectives in the Bank’s remit in order to increase the UK’s resilience in the long-term. [3] Further information on the UK’s first sovereign green bond is also welcomed, but it will be essential that the funding is aligned with our net zero objectives in order to support a sustainable economic recovery. The recognition of net zero and sustainability in the updated remit of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England is also a helpful signal to support the transition to a low emissions economy.”

Nick Molho added: “However, the Budget falls short of providing certainty for the housing sector by not explicitly setting out further funding for the Green Homes Grant. This is a concerning omission and one that must be rectified at the earliest opportunity with additional policy measures that address supply chain and skills issues. This clarity and support will be vital in decarbonising the housing sector, alongside regulatory standards and fiscal incentives to support investment in energy efficiency and low carbon heat.”

 
- ENDS -

[1] CCC (2017) UK business opportunities of moving to a low carbon economy
[2] Aldersgate Group (2020) Building a net zero emissions economy https://www.aldersgategroup.org.uk/asset/1697
[3] Zenghelis, D. and Rydge, J. (2020) Rebuilding to Last: designing an inclusive and resilient growth strategy after COVID-19, Commissioned by Aldersgate Group https://www.aldersgategroup.org.uk/asset/1684

 

 

CIRCLE-parliament

We're recruiting! Senior Policy Officer, 1 year contract

18th December 2020

The Group is looking to hire a highly motivated Senior Policy Officer (one year fixed term contract). The successful candidate will join a small Secretariat of seven in to provide policy for Aldersgate Group members, the Board and the rest of the Secretariat on the industrial decarbonisation programme.

Main duties and responsibilities:

  • Undertaking research that supports the Group’s strategic objectives to tackle industrial emissions whilst safeguarding the sustainable growth and competitiveness of the sector; 
  • Managing a major piece of external analysis to be published by Summer 2021;
  • Building an informal ‘coalition of the willing’ ahead of COP26, comprising of members, relevant networks and leading businesses and NGOs, that can support and amplify the Group’s policy asks on industrial decarbonisation to Government;
  • Maintaining an excellent understanding of current industrial / low carbon policy issues to inform other areas of the Group’s policy work;
  • Developing policy reports and briefings, policy updates for Aldersgate Group members and timely blogs for the website;
  • Putting together responses to relevant parliamentary inquiries and government consultations;
  • Supporting preparation for policy meetings and events attended by the Head of Policy or Executive Director through the production of briefings and meeting notes;
  • Representing the Aldersgate Group at external policy meetings or events where relevant;
  • Liaising with the Senior Communications Officer to ensure effective internal and external engagement with the Group’s policy work.

The closing date for the receipt of applications is 9am on Monday 18th January. Applications received after this time will not be considered. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide individual feedback on applications. Successful applicants will be invited to interview on w/c 25 January. See the full job description for more details.


Greater due diligence in supply chains welcome

11th November 2020

Reacting to the Government’s announcement on requiring greater due diligence from businesses to protect rainforests, Signe Norberg, Public Affairs Manager at the Aldersgate Group, said: “We welcome Lord Goldsmith’s announcement today on tackling illegal deforestation and introducing an amendment to the Environment Bill which will enhance due diligence requirements for UK businesses. Enhancing resilience, traceability and sustainability across business supply chains is essential to protect the world’s rainforests and this announcement is an important legislative step in that direction.”

Signe Norberg added: “Today’s measures can help pave the way for further protections for other vital ecological assets. Given the scale of global demand for commodities coming from rainforests, the UK must now encourage other major economies to introduce similar legal requirements and work with nations hosting vital rainforests to strengthen domestic forest protection laws.”

CIRCLE_2pexels-naveen-annam-1581693

UK must use its domestic and trade policy to lead by example on climate change

24th September 2020

Reacting to the Prime Minister’s remarks later today at a United Nations Climate Action Roundtable, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “It is positive to see the Prime Minister use this platform to call for rapid and transformational commitments on nationally determined contributions and climate finance, progress against of which will be vital to the success of COP26 in Glasgow.

But to be impactful on the global stage, the UK must demonstrate in the coming months that it is making genuine progress against its own net zero target by introducing further policies in areas such as carbon pricing, building decarbonisation and the rapid phase out of petrol and diesel vehicle sales [1]. Negotiating trade agreements that are consistent with and supportive of the UK’s climate and environmental goals will also be essential to the UK’s credibility on global climate policy [2].”

—ENDS—

[1] The Aldersgate Group will publish a new report on 5th October, Building a Net Zero Emissions Economy: next steps for government and business, which will set out detailed policy recommendations for all key economic sectors in this parliamentary term to put the UK on a credible pathway for its net zero emissions target.

[2] The Aldersgate Group published a policy briefing on 24 June, making the case for aligning the UK’s trade policy with its climate and environmental goals and setting out key measures to be taken in the Trade Bill and future trade agreements. The briefing is available at: https://www.aldersgategroup.org.uk/latest#uk-trade-policy-must-be-aligned-with-environmental-and-climate-goals

onshore-wind

Clean growth key to deliver new viable jobs

24th September 2020

Reacting to the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s economic update, Signe Norberg, Public Affairs Manager at Aldersgate Group, said: “We welcome the new measures announced today by the Chancellor to safeguard jobs and businesses over the winter months. To deliver the “new opportunities” and “viable jobs” the Chancellor wants to see created across the economy, the Government must align its upcoming stimulus measures and policy interventions to support growing investment in low carbon solutions and infrastructure. Areas such as renewable energy, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, industrial decarbonisation and nature restoration deliver high economic growth multipliers in the short and long term. [1] This can help put UK businesses in a competitive position in the growing global market for low carbon goods, which is expected to be worth more than £1 trillion a year by 2030. [2]”
 
Signe Norberg added: “It is also vital that the Government looks to introduce further support and training to equip the current and future workforce with the skills that are required for this transition. As set out in our forthcoming report on skills [3], a national ‘low carbon skills and levelling up strategy’ is urgently needed. Sustainability urgently needs to be embedded across the educational curriculum, alongside reforms to apprenticeship standards and T-levels. Together, this will support the Government’s vision for “building back better” and ensure the UK can capitalise on the markets of the future.”

—ENDS—

[1] Dimitri Zenghelis and James Rydge (2020) Rebuilding to Last: How to Design an inclusive, resilient and sustainable growth strategy after COVID-19. This report was commissioned by the Aldersgate Group and is available here
 
[2] CCC (2017) UK business opportunities of moving to a low carbon economy
 
[3] The Aldersgate Group will be releasing a briefing on skills in mid-October, which will set out what a credible UK wide skills strategy should look like and where businesses and educational institutions most need support from the policy and regulatory framework.

Siemensturbine

UK Citizens And Businesses Both Ready To Crack On With Achieving Net Zero Emissions

10th September 2020

Reacting to the launch of Climate Assembly UK’s report, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “Today’s report, which follows growing business calls for an environmentally sustainable recovery [1], shows that there is extensive public support for cracking on with efforts to achieve net zero emissions and for aligning the UK’s economic recovery strategy with its net zero target. Despite the hardship brought about by the COVID-19 crisis, the Government benefits from a unique context whereby both the public and the business community desire clear leadership and policy interventions to put the UK on a credible pathway to net zero emissions.”
 
Nick Molho added: “The Government should in particular take note of the specific recommendations made by members of the Climate Assembly with respect to road transport, buildings, power and product standards, which are all areas where the UK needs to achieve substantial emission cuts in the near future. Through a combination of clear regulations (such as energy and resource efficiency standards), greater devolution of political and financial autonomy to local bodies, and support measures for the most vulnerable in society, government action could play a significant role in putting the UK on a credible path towards a just and timely transition to net zero emissions.”  
 
The Aldersgate Group will shortly publish a report, that sets out businesses’ key policy priorities for this parliamentary term to put the UK on track for net zero emissions [2].

—ENDS—

[1] On 1 June 2020, around 200 business leaders – including several Aldersgate Group business members - wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and called for an economic recovery plan aligned with the UK’s net zero target and other environmental goals. More information is available here
 
[2] The Aldersgate Group will launch a new report on 5th October, Building a net zero emissions economy: Next steps for government and business, looking at key policy interventions required in key economic sectors during this parliamentary term to put the UK economy on track for net zero emissions by 2050.

onshore-wind

Treasury takes important first steps toward a resilient recovery, must be followed up by policy commitments in Budget

8th July 2020

Reacting to the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Summer Economic Update today, Signe Norberg, Public Affairs Manager of the Aldersgate Group, said: “The Government faces a significant challenge to the get the economy and employment going again, and in the words of the Chancellor, the UK must have “a green recovery with concern for the environment at its heart”. The UK has a huge opportunity to put the economy on track for a resilient and long-term recovery by aligning it with the UK’s climate and environmental goals [1]. The £3bn investment package focused on energy efficiency spending in 2020/2021 can support rapid and regionally spread out job creation, as well as deliver important social and environmental benefits by having better homes and driving cost-effective emission cuts. These benefits could be significantly amplified if similar support continues to be provided in the years ahead.”
 
Signe Norberg added: “Building on today’s positive first steps, long-term policy commitments now need to be made by the time of the Spending Review and the Autumn Budget in order to genuinely deliver long-term and transformative change. This needs to include fiscal incentives, clear regulatory standards to mandate high levels of energy efficiency performance in buildings, a phase out of petrol and diesel vehicle sales around 2030, a UK Emissions Trading Scheme with a carbon price in line with the UK’s net zero target and product standards to drive down the embedded carbon in industrial goods. [2]”

—ENDS—

[1] On 12 June 2020, the Aldersgate Group published a policy briefing, Seize the Moment, setting out a wide range of nature restoration and low carbon projects which could deliver rapid job creation across multiple regions of the UK whilst also improving the resilience of the economy and putting the UK on track for its climate and environmental goals. The report is available here.
 
[2] The Aldersgate Group will be releasing on 15 July economic analysis commissioned from the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics. The report will highlight the key lessons learnt from recoveries from past financial crises, set out what a successful recovery plan should look like and examine what should be the role of environmental and climate issues within that.

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Chancellor’s energy efficiency stimulus is a good start but must form part of broader low carbon package

7th July 2020

Reacting to the £3bn energy efficiency stimulus package expected to be unveiled on Wednesday by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “It is positive that the Chancellor wants to align the recovery effort with the UK’s climate, environmental and clean growth objectives. The £3bn package to support energy efficiency investments in 2020/2021 is a good start and could deliver meaningful emission cuts, better buildings and net job creation if similar support is provided in the years ahead, in line with Conservative Party’s manifesto commitments. The £1bn focused on improving energy efficiency in public buildings, such as education institutions and hospitals, is a welcome move as it is high time for the public sector to lead by example. 

But kickstarting the economy and putting the UK on a credible pathway for its net zero target also require targeted public spending in areas such as electric vehicle charging infrastructure, energy networks, broadband and nature restoration projects, so it is important that this week’s announcements be followed by further stimulus measures ahead of the Autumn Budget. [1]” 

Nick Molho added: “Beyond public investment to support shovel ready projects and low carbon innovation trials, it is critical that the government puts forward a comprehensive policy plan in the autumn to drive private sector investment towards the low carbon and environmentally resilient infrastructure needed to put the UK on track for its net zero and nature restoration targets. Clear regulatory standards and fiscal incentives in areas such as energy efficiency, clean transport and industrial decarbonisation will be vital if the private sector is to do a lot of the heavy lifting to build a competitive, jobs rich, low carbon economy. [2]”
 
—ENDS—

[1] On 12 June 2020, the Aldersgate Group published a policy briefing, Seize the Moment, setting out a wide range of nature restoration and low carbon projects which could deliver rapid job creation across multiple regions of the UK whilst also improving the resilience of the economy and putting the UK on track for its climate and environmental goals. The report is available here.

[2] The Aldersgate Group will soon be releasing a commissioned report, authored by economists at the London School of Economics, on what a successful recovery plan should look like and the role of environmental and climate considerations within that. It will set out criteria for public investment and how to encourage private sector investment in areas of public interest, such as the natural environment.

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Prime Minister's speech is an important first step in recovering from COVID-19

30th June 2020

Following the Prime Minister’s economic recovery speech, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “The Prime Minister’s speech today is an important first step. It demonstrates his vision to build back better and tackle some of the UK’s unresolved challenges as the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Welcome announcements include investments of £900m for a range of ‘shovel ready’ local growth projects in England over the course of this year and next, as well as the Prime Minister’s commitment to reforest Britain by planting over 75,000 acres of trees every year by 2025."
 
Nick Molho added: “The Prime Minister’s speech rightly identifies the importance of ‘building back greener’ but this has to be rapidly backed up by support for shovel ready projects and policy decisions that are aligned with the UK’s climate, environmental and clean growth goals. This means focusing public investment and policy measures in areas such as nature restoration, energy efficiency, clean transport, industrial decarbonisation, and skills [1]. Such an approach is not just needed to meet the UK’s environmental ambitions, but it is also essential to ensure that the UK’s recovery plan can address key public interest concerns around unemployment, regional inequality and resilience.”

—ENDS—

[1] The Aldersgate Group will soon be releasing a commissioned report, authored by economists at the London School of Economics on what a successful recovery plan should look like and the role of environmental and climate considerations within that.

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It is now or never for the UK’s climate targets and clean growth

25th June 2020

Reacting to the Committee on Climate Change’s Progress Report out today, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “It’s crystal clear from today’s report that actions taken this year and during this parliamentary term will have a decisive impact on whether the UK can meet its net zero target, build a competitive low carbon economy and successfully recover from the COVID-19 crisis [1]. Businesses need this to be a priority for the whole of government, with the Prime Minister leading a two-pronged approach to this challenge.

First, new regulations and fiscal incentives must urgently be introduced to accelerate emission cuts in areas where solutions are well known, such as in buildings and surface transport. Second, the Government must adopt a ‘learning by doing’ approach and put in place a truly ambitious innovation policy that accelerates the development of critical technologies to drive down emissions in more complex sectors like heavy industry.”

Nick Molho added: “The CCC hits the nail on the head today by highlighting the central importance of restoring the natural environment to help the UK adapt to climate change and deliver much needed negative emissions to get to net zero. It is absolutely vital that the work being done to drive more investment in the natural environment as part of the Agriculture and Environment Bills is accelerated and made fully consistent with delivering the UK’s climate targets.”  

—ENDS—

[1] On 12 June 2020, the Aldersgate Group launched a policy briefing, Seize the moment: building a thriving, inclusive and resilient economy in the aftermath of COVID-19, setting out a wide range of environmental and low carbon projects that could support a successful economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis whilst also delivering the UK’s climate and environmental goals

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More than 200 business leaders urge the Prime Minister to put low carbon growth at heart of recovery

29th May 2020

More than 200 leading UK businesses, investors and business networks, including several Aldersgate Group members [1], are writing to the Prime Minister today, urging for an ambitious environmental and low carbon agenda to be put at the heart of the upcoming economic recovery. In the letter, coordinated by several of the UK’s business groups [2], business leaders argue that such an approach is essential to tackle key public interest concerns, such as high unemployment, regional inequality and lack of resilience.

Following the coverage of the letter to the Prime Minister in the Financial Times and BBC news ahead of the publication of two major reports on the UK’s economic recovery, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “Today’s letter to the Prime Minister from business leaders across the UK economy shows that the economic, social and environmental agendas are fully aligned.  From clean industrial clusters and energy efficiency to tree planning and renewable energy, low carbon growth and natural capital investments can play a key role in recovering from COVID-19 pandemic. These measures will help tackle unemployment and bring investment to parts of the UK in urgent need of economic opportunities. Placing climate and the environment at the heart of the recovery will also ensure that the UK economy is built on foundations that will make it competitive in the long-term and more resilient to future risks.”

The Aldersgate Group will soon be publishing a policy briefing setting out examples of projects and investments that will help rebuild the economy better, followed by an in-depth economic analysis on how to best design the UK’s upcoming recovery.

—ENDS—

[1] The following Aldersgate Group members have signed the letter: UKGBC, Aviva Investors, BT plc, Buro Happold, CEMEX EMEAA, IKEA UK and Ireland, IEMA, Interface, Johnson Matthey, Kingfisher plc, Legal & General Investment, Lloyds Banking Group, Melius Homes, Michelin Tyre PLC,  National Grid, Ramboll UK Limited, ScottishPower, Siemens GB&I, Sky Group, SUEZ UK, Tesco, Thames Water, Triodos Bank UK, Willmott Dixon, WSP.

[2] The letter published by the Prince of Wales Corporate Leaders Group today was supported by multiple business groups including the Climate Group, the Aldersgate Group, CDP, the B Team, Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, the Climate Group, Business in the Community, the UK Green Building Council, and more.


COP26 delay must be used to maximise summit success

28th May 2020

Reacting to the announcement made by the UNFCCC and the UK Government today regarding the new date for the COP26 climate summit, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “With the UK presiding over two high stakes summits in 2021 (G7 and COP26), Boris Johnson’s government is entering a crucial period where it will have a major role to play on the global stage. The Prime Minister must ensure his Government uses the full year’s delay to COP26 to maximum effect so that the summit is a genuine success. Alongside targeted diplomatic engagement to deliver progress on some of the most thorny negotiation issues, the UK can maximise its impact at the summit by putting low-carbon growth at the heart of its economic recovery plan and by publishing a credible strategy to put the country on track for its net zero target. By delivering bold climate ambition at home and abroad, Boris Johnson’s government can raise the UK’s diplomatic profile and provide a vital platform for UK businesses to be amongst the most competitive providers of carbon goods and services.” 
 
Nick Molho added: “The UK's domestic agenda should include an economic recovery plan with a strong focus on low-carbon growth and a clear strategy to put the UK on a credible track to achieve its 2050 net zero emissions target. Leading by example will not only help the UK maximise its influence at COP26, but it will also allow its businesses to develop and strengthen their competitive advantages in the growing global market for low carbon goods and services.” 

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EU Recovery Plan: Aldersgate Group reactive

27th May 2020

Responding to today’s announcement on the European Union’s recovery plan, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “The Aldersgate Group welcomes the European Commission’s economic recovery proposals, which total €1,290 billion of targeted support. The proposals include aligning the EU’s economic recovery with its goal of building a competitive, digital and climate neutral economy by 2050, and introduce the 'Next Generation EU' instrument to boost the EU budget in the short-term to protect livelihoods and foster sustainable and resilient growth.”
 
Nick Molho added: “An economic recovery plan with an ambitious climate and environmental agenda at its heart is a big part of the solution to European public interest concerns around unemployment, regional inequality, long-term competitiveness and resilience. Today’s announcement has the potential of driving investment and support growth in European supply chains in areas such as renewable energy, electric vehicles, low carbon industry and environmental improvements. This can deliver much needed economic activity and job creation in Europe whilst improving the resilience of the EU’s economy and society.”
 
Nick Molho concluded: “It is critical that these measures are now rapidly put in place and backed up by similar strategies at the member state level, such as through targeted public spending, policy measures and business support packages that are compatible with the Commission's target to reach climate neutrality within three decades and reverse the decline of of the EU’s natural environment and biodiversity.”

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Petersberg Climate Dialogue: Aldersgate Group reactive

29th April 2020

Reacting to the outcome of the 11th Petersberg Climate Dialogue held virtually by Germany and the UK, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “We welcome the result of this two-day conference, which gave an important signal on the importance of climate action during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. It was good to see countries around the world reasserting their climate ambition, the critical role of climate finance, and the importance of medium-term 2030 targets. Indeed, COVID-19 has not altered the fundamental assessment of climate change and of its impacts. As the host of both COP26 and the G7 summit in 2021, the UK now has a central role in galvanising concrete and joint global action on COVID-19 economic recovery and climate change.”
 
Nick Molho added: “The UK government deserves credit for its positive contribution to the dialogue, both from Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and COP26 President Alok Sharma. We particularly welcome the UK government’s recognition that a successful and responsible recovery is one that stands the test of time by ‘turning the tide on climate change’ and making the UK economy far more resilient to future environmental shocks. With existing and potential low-carbon industries located around the country, accelerating investment in low-carbon infrastructure and natural capital will help the UK rebuild its economy better by addressing immediate public interest concerns around unemployment and regional inequality as well as longer-term concerns around resilience to future crises.”

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