Nearly 51% of UK businesses believe that the Ukraine war will delay the journey to net zero by 2-3 years, according to a study conducted by BayWa r.e.
Christine McGregor, Managing Director of BayWa r.e. UK and Ireland, spoke with ELN and shared her insights on the impact of the Ukraine war on net zero goals.
Ms McGregor said: “The war has pushed many into becoming reliant on fossil fuels once more, with the opening and more regular use of coal plants across the UK and EU. Despite this step backwards, it is one made in tandem with an all-important shift in sentiment – 47% of UK businesses say that rising energy prices have had a positive impact on their sustainability strategy.
“Our hope is that business leaders and policymakers will always recognise that a transition to renewable energy is essential to grow increasingly resilient and independent.”
Christine McGregor notes that the percentage of business leaders in the UK and EU who are already using or planning to use renewables is very high, indicating a growing interest in sustainable energy practices.
Despite the increased reliance on fossil fuels in the current climate, the rise in energy prices has prompted businesses to consider more sustainable energy sources.
Renewable energy offers a path to achieving net zero targets and building resilience against unforeseen disruptions in the future.
However, McGregor also highlights that while the ambition is positive, currently only 21% of UK businesses source all of their energy from renewables, while 25% only partially do so.
The challenge now is for businesses to remain committed and accelerate their transition by taking action and putting the necessary framework in place.
But how have rising energy prices affected sustainability ambitions?
McGregor explains that the rising energy costs have had a negative impact on businesses, but also a positive one, with 47% of UK businesses experiencing a boost in their sustainability strategy.
Christine McGregor added: “Escalating price rises have undoubtedly forced many to get serious about their sustainability commitments as the impact of relying on fossil fuels is having a massive hit on their bottom line.
“We must all strive to understand the wider implications of a reliance on fossil fuels and how sustainability strategies, net zero targets, and ultimately a transition to renewables are all routes to the survival of businesses – and the planet.”