Three quarters of businesses think net zero 2050 is achievable

A new report from npower Business Solutions has found that 75% of businesses believe that achieving net zero emissions by 2050 is a realistic target.

The report Your Business Blueprint – The road to Net Zero, which will be submitted to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) looks at the activities and opinions of 100 businesses across sectors including manufacturing, public sector and professional services, to gauge views and plans on the net zero target.

The majority of businesses – 75% – believe that achieving net zero emissions by 2050 is a realistic target and, when asked whether they had a clear plan to hit net zero emissions ahead of 2050, nearly two thirds (64%) agreed.

The majority – 83% –  also believe that their organisation would benefit from the changes required during the net zero transition. Reasons included greater operational long-term resiliency through saving money and reducing carbon emissions, a positive impact on reputation and an opportunity to diversify their offering into new areas or develop new products that aid sustainability.

Concerns were raised about how the net zero transition would be funded, with 46% of respondents worried about the potential economic impact on their business.  There was also a difference in opinion as to who should fund the majority of the transition – when asked to rank who should bear the cost, respondents were split between the government and large energy intensive industries, with financial institutions also ranking highly.

That said, there was an acknowledgement that there would be an obligation on businesses to contribute to the net zero ambition.  The majority felt this needed to be via new government incentives to invest in either renewable technologies or flexibility to give businesses the opportunity to change their demand, generate their own energy and support the grid.

A third of businesses (32%) also recognised that there would be some level of general taxation, while nearly one in four (23%) believed it should form part of their existing climate obligations.

Anthony Ainsworth, Chief Operating Officer, I&C, said: “The initial announcements from the government this summer to improve energy efficiency in homes and public buildings were a promising start, but – at the moment at least – they lack any major net zero stimulus for businesses.

“At the time, we released our own insight, which showed that 90% of businesses backed a green recovery plan and 85% believed that organisations with a serious commitment to sustainability should be prioritised for post-Covid-19 government support.

“This report takes this a step further, and asked respondents whether they believed their business would benefit from the changes required during the net zero transition – it shows that a huge number felt that they would.

“However, the message coming through, loud and clear, from this consultation is that more is needed to support the corporate and business community.  As businesses have such a crucial role to play in the net zero transition, it is important that their voices are heard. That is why we will submit this report to BEIS to provide guidance on what UK organisations want to see in terms of incentives and mandates to enable them to effectively plan for a cleaner, greener and more sustainable future.

The report can be downloaded here: energy-hq.co.uk/businessblueprint

net zero info graphic

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