Net-zero in the consumer sector: strategies and positive implications

Net-zero in the consumer sector: strategies and positive implications

Wed 09 Feb 2022

Following the conclusion of COP26 in Glasgow, the focus on the UK’s commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 is taking centre stage. With the Government committing to significant reductions in emissions alongside rapid policy and regulatory change, businesses need to be abreast of these changes and what they could mean for their business.

In this article, we explore the latest developments and highlight some of the key elements – and benefits – of a net-zero strategy for the consumer sector.

In June 2019 the Government amended the Climate Change Act to introduce a target for at least a 100% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the UK by 2050 (compared to 1990 levels) and in April 2021, the Government announced the sixth Carbon Budget, setting into law the climate change target to reduce emissions by 78% by 2035 compared with 1990 levels.

Government, of course, will not be able to achieve these reductions without the co-operation and support of the business community, and we can expect a ramp-up in regulation and policy amendments to encourage businesses to play their part. Legislation for larger businesses is already in place under the Streamlined Energy & Carbon Reporting (SECR) and the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) regulation, which will result in increased pressure being applied to mid-cap and smaller businesses, who supply these larger businesses. The policy is changing at a rapid pace with the Crown Commercial Services recently announcing that suppliers who want to bid for in-scope contracts in excess of £5m per annum will have to submit a carbon reduction plan with their bid.

There can be no doubt that all businesses including those within the consumer sector will be affected by this transition to net-zero and it is, therefore, important to stay ahead of the curve and start putting a plan in place now.

When putting a plan in place it is important to understand and therefore take advantage of the business benefits that accrue from embarking on a net-zero journey, rather than considering it to be a costly box-ticking exercise with no value.

What are the business benefits for you as a retailer?

First and foremost, adopting a net-zero strategy will ensure that your business remains relevant. Customers, suppliers and employees are increasingly making sustainability-linked decisions and consumers are much more focussed on corporate social responsibility issues than ever before.

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