Race to zero: driving the UK's sustainable future

Race to zero: driving the UK's sustainable future

Climate change demands urgent action: business must lead the way

The UK has a legally binding net-zero by 2050 target, a commitment to ‘build back better’ after COVID-19 and are the hosts of the COP26 climate conference in 2021. Business will be at the heart of the delivery of net-zero, and we are calling on government to clarify how policy will get the UK on track to reach this target.

The change we're calling for

Driving this fundamental change across all sectors of the economy requires immediate action from business and government, with business committing to decarbonise and government supporting the transition through clear sector roadmaps to net-zero and long-term policy support. With this collaboration, the UK will be poised to become global leaders in the race to net-zero.

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    Government must develop policies to support progress towards domestic targets including low-carbon electricity, electric vehicles, decarbonisation of industry and low-carbon heating

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    Business must commit to climate targets and work collaboratively across industries to decarbonise throughout supply chains

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    Business and government must support the UK as a global leader in decarbonisation and to create better international collaboration to tackle climate change

Why it's needed

To avoid the devastating effects of climate change, the UK has a legally binding emissions target of net-zero by 2050. Government and business must work collaboratively to achieve this.

Over the last decade, connected renewable energy has increased by 500%, while the return of onshore wind and solar, a target of 40GW of offshore wind by 2030 and a 5GW target for low-carbon hydrogen reinforces government’s commitment to decarbonising power. Without long-term roadmaps for decarbonisation across sectors, and visible financing strategies for CCUS and hydrogen, business is prevented from taking the next steps.

Governments wider decarbonisation targets include ending sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 and installing 600,000 heat pumps by 2028. To achieve this, government must work with industry now to incentivise investment and install necessary infrastructure.

Innovation and low-carbon investment will be key enablers for net-zero, business must harness the opportunity to reap the decarbonisation and wider economic benefits of net-zero.

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"Our energy system is going through profound change at the moment. Industry needs to work with government so we can continue to invest with confidence as we move to a low-carbon economy, where our energy comes from a wide range of sources and businesses and households are in more control of the energy they use."

Carl Ennis, Managing Director, Energy Management, Siemens PLC

Net-zero means better business

The vast growth potential of renewables

A net-zero future will be great for the planet and phenomenal for business and our economy too. The journey to net-zero will drive significant economic growth, provide vast employment, export opportunities and national cost savings.

  • Scale of government investment in the low-carbon economy will stimulate private investment and support up to 250,000 jobs by 2030

  • Government to mobilise £12bn of public funding that could leverage more than three times that amount from the private sector

  • UK emissions fell by 43% between 1990 and 2018, whilst the UK has decarbonised faster than any other G20 country since 2000

Net-zero for every business

Achieving net-zero will require businesses across sectors to make real changes. From business pledges to internal policies, find out more about how your business can be part of the global effort against climate change, and how the CBI is supporting you in the transition.

Our progress and impact

The CBI campaigns tirelessly on behalf of our members so that business creates prosperity for all. Learn more about the work we do and the impact we are making on this issue.

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Sign up to the Race to Zero campaign

Achieving the UK’s net zero target by mid-century and limiting the rise in global temperatures requires all businesses to act – large and small, all sectors and all regions.

The CBI is supporting the UN’s Race to Zero campaign and encouraging our members to sign up through one of the affiliated networks. Participating businesses commit to:

  1. Pledge: Pledge at head of organisation level to reach net zero by 2050 at the latest
  2. Plan: In advance of COP26, explain what steps will be taken in the short to medium term and set interim targets
  3. Proceed: Take immediate action consistent with the plan
  4. Publish: Commit to report progress at least annually

To make the commitment or to find out more, fill in your details.

Join the growing number of businesses that have committed to net zero emissions before 2050

Support the change

  1. Are you a business leader?

    Join the CBI

    Our members are our mandate, and the reason we’re the most influential business organisation in the UK. Join the voice of business, and help us campaign to ensure the government hits the new net-zero emissions target.

    Find out more
  2. Are you a CBI member?

    Have your say

    Could your business feel the impact of new emissions regulation? Are you striving to meet the net-zero target? Share your story and help shape a net-zero future.

    Get involved
  3. Are you a policymaker?

    Make a difference

    This campaign is led by the CBI's Infrastructure and Energy team.

    Contact Tom Thackray, Director of Infrastructure and Energy, to find out about the change UK business urgently needs to reach a net-zero future and how you can support it.

    Contact us