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Businesses urged to work towards a 'zero-carbon Britain'

Businesses urged to work towards a 'zero-carbon Britain'

Businesses urged to work towards a 'zero-carbon Britain'

Businesses have an important role to play in the drive towards making a 'zero-carbon Britain' a reality, according to the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT).

The research organisation released a report emphasising that the country already has access to all the technologies it requires to reach a position of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. However, serious commitment is needed from businesses and policymakers if this is to become a reality, according to CAT.

 

 

In its study, the group outlined some of the changes and initiatives required to make Britain a zero-carbon country, a number of which are relevant to businesses. It stressed that existing buildings must be retrofitted to reduce their energy consumption and new buildings must meet net-zero carbon standards.

Employers can help to reduce carbon emissions by encouraging staff to walk or cycle to work, or possibly by introducing car-sharing schemes.

Focusing on transport, CAT noted that this sector is responsible for about a quarter of the UK's domestic greenhouse gas emissions. It argued that, as well as helping to combat climate change, decarbonising transport would reduce the health costs associated with air pollution by more than £20 billion a year.

Companies that are reliant on road transport can do their bit for the environment by using vehicles that run on electricity, biofuels or hydrogen.

When it comes to managing their premises, businesses can reduce their emissions and also save costs by switching to zero-carbon heating and efficient lighting. It's also advisable to ensure that any providers of services to commercial properties - cleaning firms, for example - have strong green credentials of their own.

Discussing CAT's zero-carbon proposals and the action that is required to make them a reality, project coordinator Paul Allen said it will be "vital" to provide evidence that workable solutions already exist.

He stressed that citizens will be empowered and policymakers will have "no excuse for inaction" if it's clear that the measures and innovations needed to enable progress are already available.

"CAT's previous research has shown that we have all the tools and technologies we need; this new report now demonstrates how we can overcome the cultural, economic and political barriers," he added.

Adrian Ramsay, chief executive of the research body, said: "The shift to zero-carbon could be one of the most exciting opportunities in human history, offering many benefits including better housing, accessible transport, reduced obesity, better physical and psychological wellbeing and more jobs. It is essential that we understand and start to overcome the barriers to making this shift happen."

Businesses that want to encourage their employees to engage with subjects like environmental performance and energy efficiency might need to find innovative ways of doing so. That could involve coming up with interactive training sessions or arranging out-of-the-office activities that reflect these themes.

Posted by William Rodgriguez

Image courtesy of iStock/frankpeters