200 business leaders call on Government to create low carbon recovery plan

More than 200 business leaders have called on the Government to deliver a Covid-19 plan that uses “the recovery to accelerate the transition to net zero”.

An open letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to provide clear vision for recovery efforts that align with the UK’s wider social, environmental and climate goals.

The letter was co-ordinated by The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group and its signatories included Asda chief executive Roger Burnley, Yorkshire Water chief executive Liz Barber, Irwin Mitchell’s chief executive Andrew Tucker, and Cllr Andrew Thornton, chair of West Yorkshire Pension Fund’s investment advisory panel.

Burnley said: “This crisis has upended the way we do business, even for those of us that have continued to trade, but in recovery there is always opportunity.

“Our new normal must be one that is more sustainable and more resilient to the challenges of climate change than before, and it is incumbent on all businesses and government to work together to make this happen.”

The letter said: “With the UK facing major economic and social concerns including the risk of high unemployment and rising regional inequality, we believe that an ambitious low carbon growth and environmental improvement agenda can do a lot to address these concerns, as well as make the UK economy better prepared to deal with future shocks such as those related to climate change.

“The current crisis, in moving us all away from business-as-usual, has already created shifts in how we operate, and we believe we must use the recovery to accelerate the transition to net zero.

“Efforts to rescue and repair the economy in response to the current crisis can and should be aligned with the UK’s legislated target of net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest.”

The signatories come from both multi-national and national businesses, across industry sectors, including energy, finance, consumer goods, retail, construction, water and communication.

They have called on the UK to deliver a clean, just recovery, that creates quality employment and builds a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient UK economy.

Specifically the group wants to drive investment in low carbon innovation, infrastructure and industries, and focus support on sectors and activities that can best support sustainable growth, increased job creation and accelerate both the recovery and the decarbonisation of the economy.