Some may say that Covid-19 is just the warm-up act for a much bigger crisis coming our way; the climate emergency.
The battle against climate change has quickly become one of the biggest challenges businesses face today. Sustainability is an important priority for IoD members, and as many businesses join the efforts to decrease their carbon footprint, it is vital that businesses have access to the necessary resources and tools.
In a recent poll of over 700 IoD members, four in five directors said that it is important for their organisation to operate in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way. However, only one in four members feel they fully understand the way in which their organisation can lower its carbon footprint and meet net-zero carbon goals. Additionally a third of members feel that the costs associated with moving towards net-zero goals in their organisation are prohibitive.
Uncertainty among businesses in overcoming both the costs and the methods required to reduce their carbon footprint proves the necessity for an long-term support. This should include green investment incentives, improved access to relevant expertise, and funded reskilling in environmental best practices. I know that this would be welcomed by businesses committed to navigating sustainability goals.
The business community is increasingly responsible for environmental issues and as an important driving force in the efforts to achieve sustainability goals nationwide, it is important that they are fully engaged in the action and decisions being taken to drive down emissions.
Like others, I am also keen to make sure that our transition to net-zero is also used as a platform to kick-start our economy and create new revenue streams for business. Investment in clean energy represents a huge opportunity for us to create a sustainable, low carbon future and recover from the impact of the pandemic.
With Senedd Cymru having approved a net-zero target for 2050, continued investment in tidal, marine, solar and wind will generate economic and social benefits, as will hydro. We’ve got the academic expertise to make sure that we lead the way in Wales and we’ve also got strategically located ports that provide valuable supply chain opportunities.
Indeed, our natural landscape provides so much opportunity for business. It gives us the foundation for economic recovery and future prosperity whilst also being vital for our well-being. A ‘Team Wales’ effort is needed.
This means government, communities and businesses working together to change behaviour and make sure that we do reduce the amount of energy and natural resources that we use.
The last Welsh Government has already announced a suite of measures this year to respond to the climate emergency and reduce the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. These plans include achieving cleaner air, putting an end to harmful agricultural pollution, a decisive shift away from fossil fuel extraction and towards green energy, working towards a net-zero public sector in Wales by 2030, and going beyond recycling and making Wales a zero waste nation.
Becoming net-zero is a big ambition. It needs us all to champion change; working together to achieve a green and clean future as the foundation of the way that we do business and live our lives. Successful and responsible businesses want this to be the basis of our future prosperity but they’ll need help getting there; adapting working practices and driving long-term sustainable growth by taking advantage of a new sector.
We’ve got a huge opportunity to improve everyone’s lives. Living and working differently will secure the economic recovery and well-being of future generations that we all want to see.