Bristol companies call on politicians to back climate bill

More than 70 Bristol businesses – including Triodos Bank, Better Food, Sawday’s, Aardman Animations, Natracare and Boston Tea Party – have issued a joint letter to the parliamentary candidates for all five of the city’s constituencies, asking them to back the Climate and Nature Bill ahead of the General Election.

The Climate and Nature (CAN) Bill is new framework legislation designed to tackle the dual climate and nature crises. It was first introduced in Parliament in September 2020 and has two main goals: to reduce UK emissions in line with the UK’s share of the remaining global carbon budget for 1.5°C of global warming; and to halt and reverse nature loss by 2030.

The bill offers multiple benefits to businesses including a regulatory framework to support the transition to net zero with the least emissions possible, the creation of new jobs in green industries, a potential reduction in energy costs as renewable sources continue to expand and, ultimately, a more sustainable local economy.

Bevis Watts, chief executive of Triodos Bank UK, which coordinated the letter, said: “The business community in Bristol has joined forces today, on World Environment Day, to advocate for people and nature. We all stand to benefit from the transition to a low carbon, nature positive future, and we are calling on our local candidates to represent our combined voices in Parliament. By backing the Climate and Nature Bill they will be playing a vital part in ensuring a bright future for the businesses of Bristol and a happy, healthy and prosperous future for its people. And that’s something we would all vote for.”

James Sutton, director of Strategic Partnerships at Zero Hour, the campaign group behind the Bill, added: “It’s very telling that this many businesses in Bristol have made such a direct call to the prospective parliamentary candidates and incumbent MPs in the Bristol constituencies for them to publicly declare their backing for the Climate and Nature Bill. Business clearly understands that the CAN Bill represents opportunity for their companies, as well as an instrument to manage governance risk posed by the climate and nature crises. The economy and businesses are always central to the plans of government, so we stand with the businesses of Bristol and hope that their voice is heard and that the PPCs make the sensible, obvious choice and commit to the CAN Bill.”

The Bill is supported by 180 MPs and Peers from all main parties in the UK Parliament. It also has the backing of 851 prospective parliamentary candidates who will be running for election in July.

The joint letter, which will be issued to the parliamentary candidates for Bristol Central, Bristol East, Bristol North East, Bristol North West and Bristol South next week, states: “As local businesses, we are increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of climate-related extreme weather events, as their frequency continues to rise throughout the UK. We want this to stop.

“Climate and ecological breakdown is a governance risk to businesses everywhere. Our supply chains will be even more disrupted by unpredictable and chaotic climate, and the costs to our businesses have the potential to skyrocket due to climate-related weather events or disasters. The CAN Bill can help mitigate this risk to our businesses.

“As we so often hear, there is no business on a dead planet. Our companies and their products and services rely on stable value chains many of which depend on nature inputs. The CAN Bill will help reverse the destruction of nature here in the UK, as well as address the damage that the UK causes to nature globally through our ecological footprint overseas.”