The Aldersgate Group publishes its Programme for Government: Catalysing Investment in Climate and Nature


  • Informed by major businesses, NGOs and academic institutions from across the UK economy, the Aldersgate Group’s Programme for Government sets out priorities across eight key sectors. Crucially, it demonstrates the clear business consensus in favour of ambitious action on climate and nature from the next government.
  • The recommendations outline important climate and environmental measures that will drive growth, bolster energy security, improve productivity and create thousands of jobs across the country.
  • In the context of increasing global competition for green investment from the United States, EU and China, the new paper highlights how a long-term approach from the government could prevent capital flight and secure the UK’s leadership position in the industries of the future.

Today, the Aldersgate Group publishes its Programme for Government, developed following extensive engagement with major businesses, NGOs and academic institutions. It provides a clear set of recommendations that the next government should take forward to strengthen the UK economy and put the country on a positive footing for the future.

The UK’s green economy has remained resilient despite a challenging context and will be a crucial engine of future growth. Research demonstrates that the low-carbon sector grew 9% in 2023 in contrast with the wider economy, which saw only 0.1% growth during that period, and businesses involved in the sector currently provide gross value added (GVA) of £74 billion to the UK economy [1].

Recommendations in the publication include amending the planning system to accelerate the delivery of renewables, setting out a clear long-term industrial strategy with decarbonisation at its heart, completing the implementation of the 2023 Green Finance Strategy and delivering a UK Green Taxonomy. This is alongside vital measures to boost energy efficiency, decarbonise transport, restore nature, and develop the skills required for a low-carbon future.

As international competition from the United States, EU and China increases, the next UK Government must ensure it puts in place the policy measures required to secure green investment. This publication sets out clear priorities that are backed by major businesses from across the economy. The right approach can drive job creation, boost energy security, and increase investment across the country.

Rachel Solomon Williams, Executive Director, Aldersgate Group, said: “The next government will face significant systemic challenges, from economic stagnation to geopolitical disruption. Acting to lower emissions and drive green investment in the UK will be crucial to addressing these problems in a way that boosts prosperity across the country. Businesses are ready to invest in the transition, and recognise that it will ultimately create jobs, drive down energy prices, and boost productivity, but they need the right policy landscape. This programme outlines a clear vision of a prosperous, greener Britain that is well positioned to thrive in the coming decades.”

Stew Horne, Head of Policy, Energy Saving Trust, said: “By the end of the next parliament, key climate targets will need to be reached and action stepped up to achieve net zero by 2050. Addressing the UK’s inefficient homes will be crucial in achieving these targets, improving energy security and reducing household bills. Yet policy progress remains fragmented.

As Aldersgate Group’s Programme for Government highlights, a major barrier for people in England looking to upgrade their homes is the lack of trusted, impartial and tailored advice. Decision-makers need to recognise the importance of a national service empowering people with personalised, accessible advice to accelerate the roll out of insulation and low carbon heating at the pace and scale needed. The set-up costs of a comprehensive national advice service in England would be a fraction of the amount committed by the current government to decarbonise homes and would have a high return on investment.”

Rich Speak, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Finance Earth, said: “Despite our ambitious targets to reverse nature loss through the Global Biodiversity Framework, we are not making progress because simply not enough investment is flowing into habitat creation and restoration, and too much is flowing into investments making the situation worse. The UK Government has been supporting the development of high integrity markets for climate and nature in the UK, but we believe there is a lot more needs to be done to accelerate their growth and to attract private capital into nature-based infrastructure across the UK.”

Peter Jelkeby, CEO and Chief Sustainability Officer, IKEA said: “This Programme for Government makes clear the opportunities for business, the wider economy and for society to reap huge benefits from the drive towards Net Zero; to ensure we’re able to deliver a just transition, we need Government to set out a clear, consistent vision and approach, which protects not only the business landscape but consequently our environmental landscape too.

The 2050 target needs to be maintained and supported through public policy designed in collaboration with business including interim and long-term targets. By working collaboratively with businesses like IKEA, government will be able to unlock the investment needed to power a green transition that works for the many people.”

Ben Goodwin, Director of Policy and Public Affairs, IEMA, said: “It’s imperative that both government and the private sector do more to prioritise investment in climate and nature. The suite of recommendations developed by the Aldersgate Group go a long way in setting out what the policy environment must look like for this to happen rapidly and with impact. A critical enabler for a cleaner and greener economy is that we have a workforce that can deliver, and we echo the calls being made to tie skills and job growth in the UK to our long-term climate and environment goals.”

Emma Hoskyn, UK Head of Sustainability, JLL, said: “We support Aldersgate’s call for government to take ambitious action towards investment into climate and nature. Only through an holistic approach can long-term decisions be made that support a resilient economy, such as through a planning system that sustains nature recovery and through the introduction of a minimum whole lifecycle carbon standard for building design, both recommendations within the Programme for Government.”

Clive Selley, CEO, Openreach, said: “For big fleet operators like Openreach the transition to zero emissions is both a brilliant opportunity and an ongoing challenge: we’re committed to moving to zero emissions and are well on that journey with more than 4,000 EVs in our fleet. To help us get there will require real strategic intervention at a governmental level to tackle charging infrastructure, pricing and a consistent and transparent approach from planning authorities across the UK.”

Philippa Spence, Managing Director, Ramboll UK, said: “The next UK government has one chance in a narrowing window to show leadership on sustainability at a pivotal moment. Their opportunity is to enable UK growth by addressing some of the most pressing issues of our time including the green energy transition and biodiversity restoration. But to do so they must put in place a coherent policy framework to codify green development through a UK green taxonomy, unblock planning and incentivise private sector investment in the green economy. They must be decisive and they need to stay the course – we have too little time left for them to do otherwise.”

Katie-jo Luxton, Executive Director, Global Conservation, RSPB: “In one of the most nature-depleted countries on earth, the message from both NGOs and businesses is clear: the next UK Government must take bold, urgent and practical actions to reverse the UK’s poor track record on nature and to drive its recovery. The Aldersgate Group’s Programme for Government sets out a clear set of critical policy interventions, including a rapid delivery programme to fulfil the international commitment to protect and effectively manage 30% of our land and seas for nature and to ensure the nature-friendly farming budget delivers for nature, climate, jobs, and the health of businesses and communities. Adopting these proposals would hardwire nature’s needs into decision-making, reducing conflict during consenting and building a more resilient economy.”

Bevis Watts, CEO, Triodos Bank UK, said: “This election offers an opportunity to embed a comprehensive net zero and nature positive strategy at an absolutely critical point. It must be the catalyst for an increase in the pace and scale of change on the transitions we need to see as we approach 2030, in the understanding that they will be to the benefit of everyone in the long run. The Aldersgate Group has created a clear and achievable set of measures which would enable the UK to undertake the step change needed. We urge the next Government to take an unequivocal approach to addressing these challenges.”

Andrew Wilson, Director of Corporate Communications and Responsible Banking, Santander UK said: “Delivering the UK’s climate and nature targets has the potential to drive investment, create jobs and boost prosperity across the country. This is why we’re taking steps to accelerate decarbonisation both in our own operations and with likeminded stakeholders. But to see a nationwide progress, we need a clear, long-term policy commitment from the government that can deliver a just transition. This new publication from the Aldersgate Group sets out several recommendations, from green finance to energy and industry, that could speed up delivery of such a plan, providing significant benefits for the UK.”

Dr. Adam Read, Chief External Affairs and Sustainability Officer, SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK, said: “SUEZ is pleased to support the launch of this critical report which outlines a clear vision for a greener Britain, and sets out key recommendations for driving growth in the UK economy. Whatever the make up of the next Government, we are looking for ambitious action on both climate and nature and an industrial strategy with decarbonisation at its core that prioritises green skills and job growth for the future health and prosperity of the country.

The waste and resources sector underpins green transitions across a number of industries and sectors. Resource efficiency makes environmental and economic sense, as a resource efficient economy is a thriving one. We urge Government to implement the policy proposals first set out in the 2018 Resources and Waste Strategy so that we can get on with the task of reforming the sector. SUEZ is ready to invest and we’re committed to playing our part in delivering the transition to a more circular and resource efficient UK economy, but we need decisive commitment from Government and a clear long-term vision for green growth, underpinned by a joined-up policy and appropriate regulation approach to ensure successful delivery on our commitments.”