The environment is at the heart of business, says the UK’s chief executive, but it needs to be protected.
We need to be able to meet our environmental commitments, said Philip Hammond in his keynote address to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).
It’s not just about protecting the environment; it’s also about managing business and our economy, he said.
He said: We need to act now to make sure that the world’s economic growth and jobs can be sustained.
But to make that happen, we need a climate-smart, inclusive and fair society.
And that means ensuring that our businesses are climate-friendly, that they’re transparent, that we have effective emissions trading schemes, and that we get the right to regulate.
Hammond said that, by 2020, all businesses would need to use 100% renewable energy to meet their emissions targets.
Businesses will need to change their behaviour, Hammond said, so that they are doing the right thing.
He added that the Government would “ensure that all businesses in the UK are making the right environmental decisions”.
The Prime Minister said: It is clear from this year’s economic report that businesses have become more engaged and that business is leading the way in meeting our climate change commitments.
That is why we need businesses to change, to adapt, and to be part of a growing economy that supports sustainable development.
Businesses are making clear the benefits of the green economy, Hammond added.
In his speech, Hammond also announced a £1 billion investment in the green technology sector, in a bid to build a new generation of jobs in the sector.
The announcement came as the Government’s plan to reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2050 was confirmed by the European Union.
The Prime Ministers’ Climate Change and Clean Growth strategy, published in March, aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the economy by 20% below their 1990 levels by 2030.
“The UK will be leading the global shift towards a green economy by 2050,” Hammond said.
“It’s a good time to be a Green Business.”
Hammond also announced that the UK would join the European Climate Action Network (ECAN), a global network of 27 member countries, to provide technical assistance and training to businesses in their global green economy transformation initiatives.
The ECAN, which is supported by the World Bank and the European Commission, aims at helping business to make more sustainable business decisions and to reduce their carbon footprints.
Hammond told the CBI that it was important that businesses were part of the solutions to climate change.
I’m proud to say that I will be working with businesses to develop the UK as a Green Economy leader, said Hammond.
“We need them to be the greenest businesses on the planet,” he added.
The UK’s Climate Change Strategy was published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the UK Climate Change Institute, which Hammond chairs.
It will include measures to support green business development, including: a carbon trading scheme for the energy sector; introducing green technology apprenticeships; and a green workplace policy.
The Government is also launching a new initiative to help businesses adapt to the changing climate by investing £100 million in a “Green Climate Fund”.
This will help small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) to adapt to climate changes by investing in research and development, procurement, and green infrastructure.
This investment will also help create a green business network that will support UK businesses to create new, sustainable green jobs and grow their businesses.
The government also announced £2.2 billion for a new “green economy” in 2020-21, in order to support businesses to make better use of the opportunities provided by climate change and help them meet their climate change targets.