More than 200 leading businesses, investors and business networks from across the UK have called on the government to deliver a Covid-19 recovery plan that ensures a more inclusive, strong and resilient economy.
In an open letter penned to politicians, CEOs from organisations including National Grid, EDF Energy, Lloyds Bank, Natural England, Siemens, Aviva, Sky, Mitsubishi and a range of other firms from the energy, finance, consumer goods, retail, construction, water and communication sectors.
The signatories have offered to support the government in tackling the coronavirus crisis and have urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to set out a clear strategy to enable a recovery in line with the country’s wider social, environmental and climate goals.
They say this would require driving investments in low carbon innovation, infrastructure and industries, developing improved resilience to future environmental risks, as well as supporting sectors and activities able to bolster sustainable growth, drive increased job creation and accelerate the simultaneous recovery and decarbonisation of the economy.
The organisations also say such a plan must involve financial support packages measures to ensure businesses receiving help are being well-managed and their strategies are science-based and aligned with national climate goals.
The letter states: ‘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.”
Colin Matthews, Non-Executive Chairman of EDF Energy said: “There’ll be no healthy economy without a healthy population and a healthy planet. Investment to rebuild Britain after coronavirus should be aligned with industries and projects that support net zero.
“Prioritising investment in new low carbon infrastructure and energy projects will unlock high-quality jobs and investment in towns and regions that have been hardest hit by the crisis.”
The letter and its signatories are supported by the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group (CLG), the Aldersgate Group, the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC), Business in the Community (BITC), the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) and the Climate Group.