New initiative asks organisations to Pledge to Net Zero

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PLEDGE to Net Zero is the first industry commitment in the UK requiring science-based targets from its signatories to tackle carbon emissions within their organisations.

The pledge aims to support the UK’s net zero greenhouse gas targets in line with the Paris Climate Agreement 2015, which set a global goal to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Professor Will Pope HonFSE CEnv, Chair of the Society for the Environment, one of the organisations leading the initiative, said:

“We know that many organisations are keen to reduce their environmental impact but don’t necessarily know how to go about realising the ambition.

“This is why knowledge and good practice sharing is at the heart of the pledge, with organisations required to publish one research or thought-leadership piece each year or provide mentoring and support to help organisations achieve net zero.

“Initiatives like this one are needed to set the standard and demonstrate just what we can all achieve.”

All signatories are committing to the pledge below, which is separated into three different elements:

1. Set and commit to deliver a greenhouse gas target in line with either a 1.5°C or well below 2°C climate change scenario – covering buildings and travel as a minimum.

2. Publicly report greenhouse gas emissions and progress against this target each year

3. Publish one piece of research or thought-leadership piece each year on practical steps to deliver a net zero greenhouse gas economy. Alternatively, signatories may choose to provide mentoring and support for smaller signatory companies in setting targets, reporting and meeting the requirements of the pledge.

The commitment, aimed at organisations working within the environmental services sector, is led by Society for the Environment alongside the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE), the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) and the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC), together with environmental consultancies WSP and AECOM.

Martin Baxter CEnv, SocEnv Board member and Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA, commented:

“The transition to net zero carbon emissions is the defining challenge of our time. We are fully supportive of the environmental services sector pledging science-based emissions reductions which align with the urgency of addressing the climate and environmental emergency.

“The science of climate change is clear and it is vital that all organisations take steps to rapidly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

“The environmental services sector will be crucial in enabling organisations from all other sectors to make the transition to a net-zero economy – we fully support their leadership in supporting this pledge to demonstrate how it can be done.”