Some of the UK’s largest companies have pledged hundreds of millions of pounds to tackle climate change and improve sustainability. HSBC has committed to invest £350 million in solar parks and wind farms, while John Lewis has announced plans to switch its heavy delivery trucks to low-carbon biomethane-powered versions by 2028, cutting HGV emissions by over 80%.
In association with last week’s Green GB week, the government has launched a virtual pledge wall that shows a growing list of companies making sustainable commitments under the five campaign pillars of Energy, Resources, Mobility, The Built Environment, and Business Leadership.
Energy and Clean Growth Minister, Claire Perry, said: “We need businesses around the world to step up to the mark, and today our largest companies are leading the way, making significant pledges worth millions to cut emissions while continuing to grow the green economy”.
As another example, Amazon announced that it has signed a deal to power its UK buildings with 100% renewable energy, as well as planning to deploy up to 20MW of large-scale rooftop solar systems.
Meanwhile, EDF set out its plans for the electric vehicle market, with a commitment to convert its whole fleet to electric vehicles by 2030. It will continue to invest in the trialling and adoption of smart charging and to offer tariffs to support the move to electric vehicles. Amongst a number of initiatives, the energy company is involved in a number of V2G trials. Vehicle to grid chargers allow a two-way flow of electricity between the car and the charger, which enables cars to deposit unused electricity back onto the charger and subsequently return it back to the grid. They also open up the potential for electric vehicles to become portable energy storage.
Under the Paris Agreement, 197 countries have agreed an aim to hold the rise in global average temperature to “well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels” and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C. However, indications are that we are currently on a trajectory towards 3°C, highlighting the need for increased action towards emissions reductions. In the UK, the Climate Change Committee was asked last week to advise the government on whether a date should be set for a net zero emission target.
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