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October 2021

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UK’s biggest restaurants and brewers pledge net-zero operations by 2030, value chains by 2040

A coalition of almost 30 of the UK’s biggest restaurants and brewers including Nando’s, Burger King and Adnams, set up to plot a joint course to net-zero for the sector, has now revealed its plans for delivering decarbonisation.

The roadmap was launched at an event in London (pictured), featuring the chief executives of supporting businesses and trade bodies

The roadmap was launched at an event in London (pictured), featuring the chief executives of supporting businesses and trade bodies

The Zero Carbon Forum was launched late last year with the support of trade associations UK Hospitality and the British Beer and Pub Association. It promised to create a roadmap to net-zero for the sector by autumn 2021, with a deadline more ambitious than the UK’s legally binding 2050 ambition.

The forum has this week published the roadmap, which will require businesses to reach net-zero for their Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (power-related) emissions by 2030, and net-zero for their Scope 3 (indirect) emissions by 2040. Scope 3 emissions notably account for 60% of the sector’s overall carbon footprint.

The roadmap supports businesses to prioritise decarbonisation over offsetting. It states that, by 2040, participating businesses should reduce operational (Scope 1 and 2) emissions by 90%. The reduction should be 57-78% for Scope 3 emissions by this time, with the reduction level likely to depend on each business’s context; breweries have different setups than, for example, quick-service restaurants. These targets are aligned with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C trajectory, according to roadmap development supporter Carbon Intelligence.  

In total, 27 businesses have signed up to the forum and pledged to follow the roadmap so far. They include Nando’s, Pizza Hut Restaurants, Revolution Bars, BrewDog, Fuller’s, Burger King, Pizza Express, Boparan, Shepherd Neame, Marston’s, Azzurri, Adnams, Greene King, KFC, M&B, Young’s, St Austell, Stonegate Group, Westbury Street Holdings and The Restaurant Group, which owns brands including Wagamama and Frankie & Benny’s.

Additional businesses are expected to be announced as forum members in the coming weeks. Also, for SMEs that may not wish to join the forum, a toolkit for aligning with the roadmap will be open-sourced.

Collaborative approach

Speaking at an event in London to launch the roadmap, the Zero Carbon Forum’s sustainability lead Kristen Filice said member businesses will all achieve net-zero at different speeds, but will likely deliver decarbonisation more rapidly through collaboration than they would have alone. She outlined four key opportunities from collaboration: speeding up decarbonisation, data-sharing, engaging stakeholders, accelerating innovation.

UK Hospitality’s chief executive Kate Nicholls stated that “Covid-19 has made what was already a collaborative sector being even more collaborative”.  Despite the financial and staffing challenges at present, Nicholls explained, the sector sees climate action as “an important part of resilience-building going forward”, particularly in terms of energy bills and supply chain security.

After measuring baseline emissions data and working with Carbon Intelligence, the forum members collaboratively identified four topics for priority workstreams, covering emissions hotspots and harder-to-abate parts of the value chain.

They are renewable energy, buildings, transport, food and beverages, other sourcing and carbon removals.

Action on renewable energy will be a priority for forum members. All members are striving to switch to 100% renewable electricity this decade. Since the forum launched, it has doubled the number of members buying 100% renewable energy. Energy efficiency is another priority in the short term, with an initiative designed to help businesses switch off technology overnight already saving businesses up to £4,900 on their annual energy bills per outlet.

Engaging consumers

Much of the conversation at the launch event centred around how businesses in the hospitality sector can engage the general public with the topic of net-zero – specifically, about how businesses can make people feel like the necessary behaviour changes are accessible and will make a positive impact on their lifestyles.

Pizza Hut UK’s chief executive Jens Hofma described the relationship between hospitality businesses and consumers as “intimate”, arguing that the sector  “can play a massive role in opening the minds of consumers to different ways of eating…  we know that people are more adventurous in a restaurant than they are in their own kitchens”.

Hofma emphasised the importance of ensuring that customers are enabled, rather than patronised, as people “fundamentally still visit restaurants for their pleasure”. “Deliciousness and craveability”, he said, may well be prioritised over sustainability for many.

Adnams’ chief executive Andy Wood agreed, stating that businesses should avoid bringing eco-anxiety to the drinking and dining experience and causing what he called “distress purchases”. Wood said the wider sector could learn much from the coffee-to-go space, which has made plant-based milk alternatives more widely available.

The panel was specifically asked how the net-zero transition would affect menu items and pricing. Speakers agreed on the need for more plant-based items and other low-carbon alternatives, but argued that choice addition is favourable to full-on choice editing.

Burger King’s chief financial officer Tim Doubleday spoke of how the chain has transitioned from having no plant-based main menu items to these options accounting for 10% of main menu options within a year, stating that the business is “very much looking at how we manage our menu” and is “seeing more of that level of focus across the sector”.

To the question of cost, Doubleday admitted that many plant-based proteins are more expensive at present than meat, for a business of Burger King’s scale.  But, he said, some actions to accelerate decarbonisation, including improving energy efficiency, will bring cost savings in the near term. “The question, then, is how you reinvest those cost savings, because things tend to get more expensive as you move up the scale [towards 2040],” he stated, adding that the Government could help SMEs bolster these savings.

Pizza Hut UK’s Hofma said “it would be an illusion to think that industry will absorb any and all costs” of the net-zero transition, considering it already operates on low margins and faces high VAT rates. “In the end, we either have to find more cost-effective solutions, pass some of the cost on to the consumer, or support needs to be provided by the Government through a much fairer taxation system”.

Revolution Bars’ chief executive Rob Pitcher added: “There are undoubtedly extra costs and it’s up to us to shoulder some, in order that we can share experimentation results openly.” The forum, Pitcher said, will help prevent cost duplication and help prevent SMEs from needing to take major financial risks through knowledge-sharing.

Sarah George

News

Brady Technologies acquires Igloo Trading Solutions to accelerate growth in European energy markets

LONDON – 20 October 2021 – Brady Technologies (“Brady”), a leading provider of energy and commodities trading, risk and logistics management software, has acquired Igloo Trading Solutions (“Igloo”), a next generation, cloud-native, SaaS trading and risk management platform for European energy markets. Igloo has a diverse client base including leading trading organisations, hedge funds, producers, and suppliers of power and gas which utilise its state-of-the-art platform. The acquisition will strengthen Brady’s position as a market… Source: RealWire

News

Net Zero Strategy

The Net Zero Strategy sets out how the UK will deliver on its commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050. A landmark Net Zero Strategy setting out how the UK will secure 440,000 well-paid jobs and unlock £90 billion in investment in 2030 on its path to ending its contribution to climate change by 2050 has been unveiled by the UK government today (19 October). Building on the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan, today’s UK Net Zero Strategy sets out a comprehensive economy-wide plan for how British businesses and consumers will be supported in making the transition to clean energy and green technology – lowering the Britain’s reliance on fossil fuels by investing in sustainable clean energy in the UK, reducing the risk of high and volatile prices in the future, and strengthening our energy security. The commitments made will unlock up to £90 billion of private investment by 2030, and support 440,000 well-paid jobs in green industries in 2030. This will provide certainty to businesses to support the UK in gaining a competitive edge in the latest low carbon technologies – from heat pumps to electric vehicles – and in developing thriving green industries in our industrial heartlands – from carbon capture to hydrogen, backed by new funding. As part of the strategy, new investment announced today includes: £3.9 billion of new funding for decarbonising heat and buildings, including the new £450 million 3-year Boiler Upgrade Scheme, so homes and buildings are warmer, cheaper to heat and cleaner to run; £120 million towards the development of nuclear projects through the Future Nuclear Enabling Fund. There remain a number of optimal sites, including the Wylfa site in Anglesey. Funding like this could support our path to decarbonising the UK’s electricity system fifteen years earlier from 2050 to 2035. Both the Net Zero and Heat and Building Strategies build on the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan in November 2020 which laid the foundations for a green industrial revolution, kick-starting billions of pounds of investment in new and green industries to help level up the country. To date, the UK has decarbonised faster than any other G7 country. Published alongside these two strategies today is HM Treasury’s Net Zero Review, an analytical report which explores the key issues as the UK decarbonises. It helps to build a picture of where opportunities could arise and the factors to be taken into account when designing decarbonisation policy. While there are costs in reaching net zero, the cost of inaction is much higher.

BEIS 19th Oct 2021 read more »

Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener.

UK Government 19th Oct 2021 read more »

UK Government 19th Oct 2021 read more »

Net Zero Strategy: Government unveils historic plan to make UK ‘fighting fit’ for the global green industrial revolution. The government has today published a landmark Net Zero Strategy, detailing how it intends to catalyse multi-billion pound investment in clean technologies over the coming decade so as to bolster the UK’s economic competitiveness and put the country on a course to meet its ‘world-leading’ climate goals. The hugely wide-ranging strategy features a raft of new policy plans and spending commitments that together are expected to unlock £90bn of private sector investment through to 2030 and secure around 440,000 jobs, while also ensuring the UK meets its emissions targets for the 2020s and remains “on track” to deliver on its targets for the 2030s onwards. Specifically, it promises new support for nuclear, carbon capture and storage, and hydrogen projects, confirms plans to create two zero carbon industrial hubs, and announces increased funding for electric vehicle infrastructure, heat pump installations, sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs), and natural carbon sinks, among many other measures. The government stressed the new strategy would unlock multiple economic and environmental benefits, while having a negligible cost impact on consumers and businesses.

Business Green 19th Oct 2021 read more »

In reaction to the government’s Net Zero Strategy, Rebecca Newsom, Greenpeace UK’s head of politics, said “This document is more like a pick and mix than the substantial meal that we need to reach net zero. Extra cash for tree planting and progress on electric vehicles doesn’t make up for the lack of concrete plans to deliver renewables at scale, extra investment in public transport, or a firm commitment to end new oil and gas licences. There are only half-hearted policies and funding commitments to decarbonise our draughty homes at the speed necessary, and it fundamentally fails to grapple with the need to reduce our meat and dairy consumption to stop global deforestation. With just eight years left to halve global emissions, the government can’t just keep dining out on its ‘ambitious targets’. Until the policy and funding gaps are closed, Boris Johnson’s plea to other countries to deliver on their promises at the global climate conference next month will be easy to ignore.”

Greenpeace 19th Oct 2021 read more »

Politics latest news: Britain will be ‘Qatar of hydrogen’, Boris Johnson says as No 10 publishes net zero strategy. Britain will become the “Qatar of hydrogen”, Boris Johnson has said as he laid out his Government’s green agenda today ahead of the Cop26 climate summit. Speaking at the Global Investment Summit at the Science Museum, the Prime Minister hailed the advances of the private sector in enabling the production of Covid vaccines and bringing wind power to the market. “And that’s what we’re now doing with hydrogen,” Mr Johnson said. “We want to be the Qatar of hydrogen – I think Qatar may already be the Qatar of hydrogen, but we want to be with you.”

Telegraph 19th Oct 2021 read more »

Net Zero in the North East of England: regional transition impacts. Independent research to model potential regional economic impacts of the transition to net zero, piloted for the North East of England.

BEIS 19th Oct 2021 read more »

Net Zero: principles for successful behaviour change initiatives. A report setting out the main principles identified through exploring past government-led behaviour change and public engagement initiatives.

BEIS 19th Oct 2021 read more »

Net Zero transition: gender, race and social inclusion – literature review. This report sets out the findings from a literature review to inform inclusive net zero transitions.

BEIS 19th Oct 2021 read more »

The UK government has set out its long-awaited strategy for reaching net zero emissions, with a plan ministers said would create up to 440,000 jobs and “unlock” £90bn in investment in the next decade, most of it from private sector companies. But experts and campaigners said the proposals did not go far enough and were under-funded, while the government would continue to support fossil fuels. The plan involves an expansion of electric vehicles, including increasing the network of charging points, and further growth of offshore wind, as well as investments in new technologies such as hydrogen and sustainable aviation fuel and £120m towards at least one new nuclear power station.

Guardian 19th Oct 2021 read more »

Finally, we have a plan to reduce emissions, but much of it rests on technology that is yet to be tested at scale. The PM confidently claimed that we will be flying and driving everywhere, guilt-free, with zero-emission technology. This optimism – based on a techno-centric, market-driven vision of the future low carbon society – is what underlines the entire net zero strategy. Take for instance the reliance on greenhouse gas removal technologies that remain untested at scale. Between now and 2050, the government envisions removing and storing more carbon than we currently emit from all our homes today. It would of course be a mistake to dismiss out of hand the possibilities that these technologies offer, but to have them play such a central role in our strategy is a gamble. To make it work would require careful planning. A similar reliance is placed on hydrogen, which the strategy foresees us using a tremendous amount of, though we barely have any production facilities in the UK today. None of this is impossible, but climate change offers very little slack for policymakers to try to fail, so getting it right the first time is paramount. The headline-grabbing announcement of a £5,000 subsidy for heat pumps distracts us from the lack of investment in insulation and making our homes warmer. At the New Economics Foundation, we estimate that the scale of finance committed by the government in decarbonising our leaky housing stock is less than a quarter of what is actually needed by 2025. That is why we launched a campaign called the Great Homes Upgrade, calling on the government to retrofit 19m homes by 2030. Without an investment of at least 2% of GDP annually, the strategy could well remain a non-starter, but the chancellor has an opportunity to fix that in his upcoming budget and spending review.

Guardian 19th Oct 2021 read more »

Net zero strategy: The key climate policies in Boris Johnson’s plan. Boris Johnson’s government has published its long-awaited climate strategy, outlining how the UK plans to reach its target of net zero emissions by 2050. The much-delayed document was unveiled on Tuesday ahead of the Cop26 climate talks in Glasgow. But critics have been quick to warn the strategy, which runs to more than 360 pages, does not provide enough policies or investment to drive the transformation needed to reach net zero. “This strategy shows how we can build back greener without so much as a hair shirt in sight. In 2050, we will still be driving cars, flying planes and heating our homes, but our cars will be electric gliding silently around our cities, our planes will be zero emission allowing us to fly guilt-free, and our homes will be heated by cheap reliable power drawn from the winds of the North Sea.”

Independent 19th Oct 2021 read more »

The government has laid out its plans for reaching net zero by 2050, including new EV charging funding, a review of the frequency of Contracts for Difference (CfD) auctions and green finance and innovation commitments.

Current 19th Oct 2021 read more »

The UK Government has finally published its Net-Zero Strategy, a comprehensive run-through of how the nation will decarbonise in a way that “transforms every sector of the global economy”, although some green groups don’t believe the steps outlined in the Strategy can mobilise action to deliver net-zero by 2050.

Edie 19th Oct 2021 read more »

A substantial step forward, or huge letdown? The green economy reacts to the Net-Zero Strategy. The UK’s Net-Zero Strategy is finally here, but the reaction to the nation’s blueprint to decarbonisation ranges from those believing it provides much-needed clarity for business to others claiming it does nowhere near enough to drive all parts of the economy to net-zero by 2050. Tom Burke, chair, E3G said “New nuclear power can do nothing to help the UK achieve a net-zero power system by 2035. It will, however, take away a huge amount of public investment from things that could get us to net-zero cheaper and faster. If nuclear is at the heart of our trip to net-zero, then it is a rotten heart.”

Edie 19th Oct 2021 read more »

The decarbonisation of the electricity grid will be led by more than 40GW of offshore wind, supported by a revised plan to replace ageing nuclear generators. A much delayed new facility at Sizewell will be unveiled, without Chinese involvement by 2024, while the UK is also teaming up with Bill Gates and his pursuit of small nuclear reactors. But it does not expect these SMRs to be contributing much, if anything, before 2035.

Renew Economy 20th Oct 2021 read more »

Editorial: In a number of ways the net zero strategy published by the UK government on Tuesday falls short of what was hoped for, and perhaps even expected by more optimistic observers. The public investment that ministers have committed to is insufficient, their faith in private-sector solutions overblown. The combination is concerning. As the host of the upcoming Cop26 summit, and the first major industrialised country to put a net zero target into law, the UK is in a unique position. By significantly upping their ambitions with regard to emissions cuts, ministers had the chance to send a powerful message. Instead, they have hedged many of the new commitments in ways which risk undermining them. Nowhere is this clearer than in the section of the strategy dealing with the heating of homes and other buildings. Heating accounts for almost a third of the UK’s total emissions, and progress on reducing these has long lagged behind other areas. Bold action to end households’ dependence on gas was urgently needed. But instead of clear deadlines, the strategy states only an “ambition” that by 2035 no new gas boilers will be installed. And while grants to enable 90,000 households to install low-carbon heat pumps are likely to be popular, gestures such as this are not enough. Just last month the government was strongly criticised by the National Audit Office for the shambolic handling of a £1.5bn green homes scheme. But the net zero strategy does not make it clear how such mistakes are to be put right. A domestic energy-use policy should contain strict new standards for insulation, as well as mandating the switch from dirty to clean energy. This would have the huge bonus of helping people to reduce bills, at a time when the cost of living is rising and average household incomes are certain to be badly squeezed. Instead, the government has concentrated on a business-friendly package, with the promise of £3.9bn funding to help create 240,000 new jobs. Strong support for the offshore wind sector is one of the strategy’s more positive aspects. This forms part of a wider commitment to decarbonise the electricity supply altogether by 2035, conditional on security of supply. The emphasis on carbon sequestration, both through natural means (peat bogs, trees) and new capture and storage technologies, is welcome. The commitment to build another new nuclear power station, after Hinkley Point C, looks like the least bad answer to the question of how to meet the demand not met by renewables. The further expansion of electric vehicle infrastructure also makes sense, although the government’s broader road policies must be watched closely. While electric cars are a big improvement on internal combustion engines, what is needed is a modal shift away from driving.

Guardian 19th Oct 2021 read more »

The British public face a raft of new taxes to pay for the Government’s vast decarbonisation of the UK economy over the next three decades, the Treasury has warned. Boris Johnson published his long-delayed Net Zero Strategy, setting out his roadmap to dramatically reduce the country’s carbon emissions by 2050. Under the plans, the Government will invest heavily in nuclear and wind power, electric vehicle infrastructure and in cutting emissions from the built environment in bid to meet its legal target to reduce global warming.

iNews 19th Oct 2021 read more »

More taxes needed on cars and gas bills to reach net zero, warns Treasury. Black hole in public finances must be filled, admit ministers as they publish most comprehensive plan yet for how to hit climate change goal. New taxes will be needed to make Britain “net zero” in carbon emissions by 2050, the Treasury warned on Tuesday as it opened the door to extra levies on motorists and gas bills. The £37 billion a year raised in taxes linked to the driving of polluting vehicles will disappear over that time, meaning other “motoring taxes” must help fill the black hole in public finances. The Government will also have to pay for some of the estimated half a trillion pounds of public investment needed to convert the economy, again possibly through tax. Other knock-on impacts include an expected rise in prices for goods and services that use a lot of carbon, raising the prospect of more expensive petrol, flights and meat.

Telegraph 19th Oct 2021 read more »

If ever there was a slow motion political car crash unfolding before our very eyes, it is Boris Johnson’s drive towards a zero-carbon future. Over the past 30 years or so, it has become customary to liken any similarly looming fiasco to the Poll Tax, but this will make the public backlash to the rates replacement pale into insignificance. It, too, involves saddling millions of households with additional expenditure for unknowable benefits in an unfair way. Proponents may argue that this is justified to save the planet; but if the world’s worst polluters are just carrying on regardless then our sacrifice is pointless. Moreover, if we are merely outsourcing our own CO2 emissions to other countries – such as China and India – through imports it is also hypocritical.

Telegraph 19th Oct 2021 read more »

Britons face new taxes or reduced public spending to pay for the country’s rapid transition to net zero, the Treasury warned yesterday as splits emerged at the top of government over the costs of decarbonisation. Boris Johnson pledged that Britain could meet its ambitious net zero targets “without so much as a hair shirt in sight” as he set out a cross-government plan to realise the country’s climate change ambitions. But a separate document published by Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, warned that, even under the existing plans, the government would have to deal with a £37 billion-a-year black hole in its finances because of loss of revenue from fuel duty. It added that if more money were needed to decarbonise, this might require funding through “additional taxes” or cuts to “other areas of spending”. It added: “Depending on choices made by the government the transition to net zero could have potentially significant implications for the UK’s fiscal position.

Times 19th Oct 2021 read more »

Boris Johnson has pledged that Britain could meet its ambitious net zero targets “without so much as a hair shirt in sight” as the government set out its plans to decarbonise the economy. Johnson said that by 2050 we would “still be driving cars, flying planes and heating our homes” but the cars would be electric, the planes zero emission and homes heated by “cheap reliable power”. So what exactly is the government’s plan, how will it change different sections of the economy and what are the risks involved?

Times 20th Oct 2021 read more »

News

Green Tech Investment

Government teams up with Bill Gates and top corporates to catalyse wave of green tech investment. Prime Minister announces £9.7bn of inward infrastructure investment, as government launches new £400m public-private clean tech innovation fund. Prime Minister Boris Johnson this morning used the Global Investment Summit as a curtain-raiser for the government’s much-anticipated Net Zero Strategy, announcing almost £10bn of new foreign investment in a wave of primarily low carbon infrastructure projects. The government confirmed a new package of 18 deals worth £9.7bn, which are set to ramp up investment in a host of clean infrastructure projects, including offshore wind, hydrogen development, carbon capture and storage (CCS), and green homes. Meanwhile, Johnson shared a virtual stage with billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates to announce the UK government has teamed up with Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Catalyst clean tech venture to each invest £200m in a new fund for supporting cutting edge clean tech projects. “The world’s top investors have seen the massive potential in the UK for growth and innovation in the industries of the future,” Johnson said. “The fantastic £9.7bn of new investment we have secured today will power our economic recovery, creating thousands of jobs and helping to level up across the country.

Business Green 19th Oct 2021 read more »

The UK government has announced plans to launch a £400m package of investment alongside the US billionaire Bill Gates to boost the development of new green technologies. Boris Johnson said the deal would help power a “green industrial revolution” and develop emerging technologies that were currently too expensive to be commercially successful but were essential to hitting the government’s climate goals. Speaking at a Global Investment Summit at the Science Museum in London on Tuesday, the prime minister said the partnership would help develop UK technology related to carbon capture and storage, long-term battery life, jet zero (zero-carbon aviation) and green hydrogen technology.

Guardian 19th Oct 2021 read more »

News

Net-Zero Strategy: Government unveils plans to transform every sector of the economy

The UK Government has finally published its Net-Zero Strategy, a comprehensive run-through of how the nation will decarbonise in a way that “transforms every sector of the global economy”, although some green groups don’t believe the steps outlined in the Strategy can mobilise action to deliver net-zero by 2050.

The strategy collects all previous climate commitments as well as building on them

The strategy collects all previous climate commitments as well as building on them

With a little over one week to go until the start of COP26 in Glasgow, the UK Government has on Tuesday (19 October) published its long-awaited Net-Zero Strategy.

The 368-page document outlines how spending will be prioritised to deliver job growth while reducing emissions from transport, power, heavy industry and the built environment.

“The UK’s path to ending our contribution to climate change will be paved with well-paid jobs, billions in investment and thriving green industries – powering our green industrial revolution across the country,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “By moving first and taking bold action, we will build a defining competitive edge in electric vehicles, offshore wind, carbon capture technology and more, whilst supporting people and businesses along the way.”

The policies and spending brought forward in the Net Zero Strategy mean that since the Ten Point Plan was introduced last year, the Government has introduced more than £26bn in capital investment geared towards net-zero.

The Strategy claims this will support up to 190,000 jobs by 2025, and up to 440,000 jobs by 2030, and leverage up to £90bn of private investment by 2030.

Here, edie explores the key pillars of the UK economy and how the Government aims to transform them to net-zero emissions by 2050.

Power

The Net-Zero Strategy has a heavy focus on power. Earlier this year, the UK Government confirmed that plans to end unabated fossil-fuelled electricity generation by 2035, floated by Boris Johnson at the Conservative Party Conference, would be enshrined in law.

As well as reiterating that commitment, the Strategy outlines that the UK will support 59,000 jobs by 2024 and up to 120,000 by 2030. This will be facilitated by mobilising between £150-£270bn in public and private investment.

Boris Johnson’s vision for the UK to host 40GW of offshore wind by 2030 is reiterated as a cornerstone of the strategy, as is the recently announced target for floating offshore wind, committing to hosting 1GW by 2030. On floating offshore, the Strategy points to the North and Celtic Seas as potential hotspots for deployment and the technology will be back by £380m in funding.

While renewables are touted as a key driver in decarbonising the grid, the Strategy earmarks £120m in new investments for a Future Nuclear Enabling Fund, retaining options for future nuclear technologies, including Small Modular Reactors.

Hydrogen, oil and gas

The Strategy emphasises that not all sectors can rely on electrification to reach net-zero. As such, the Strategy outlines the role that hydrogen can play in providing low-carbon energy.

According to the Government, hydrogen can support up to 10,000 jobs by 2030 in fuel supply alone and the Strategy commits to mobilising between £20-30bn in investment as part of an existing plan to deliver 5GW of hydrogen production capacity by 2030. This, the Strategy claims, will halve emissions from oil and gas.

The Government has already set up the Industrial Decarbonisation and Hydrogen Revenue Support (IDHRS) scheme to fun new hydrogen and carbon capture clusters. The Strategy notes that up to £140m will be provided here, including up to £100m to award contracts of up to 250MW of electrolytic hydrogen production capacity in 2023 with further allocation in 2024.

In August’s Hydrogen Strategy, BEIS stated that it will take a “twin-track” approach, supporting both green hydrogen – produced by splitting water using electrolysers powered with renewable energy – and blue hydrogen, produced by splitting natural gas and capturing most process emissions with man-made technologies. This approach has proven controversial among green groups, as carbon capture technology is in its relative infancy at a commercial scale. Moreover, blue hydrogen production facilities cannot easily be retrofitted to become green.

Further detail on the “twin-track” plans will be provided early next year in a separate hydrogen sector strategy for production.

However, the Net-Zero Strategy confirms that a new “climate compatibility checkpoint” will be introduced for future licensing on the UK Continental Shelf, with the oil and gas industry to be regulated through a revised strategy to reduce emissions. The Government has faced numerous legal challenges over its oil and gas policies and while the UK’s oil and gas industry has published a strategy designed to align businesses with the 2050 net-zero target, green groups want more done to cap production and increase investment in renewables.

Heavy industry

As mentioned, the Government is keen to utilise low-carbon solutions like hydrogen and carbon capture and storage (CCS) to decarbonise industrial clusters and the Net-Zero Strategy outlines steps to decarbonising heavy industry as a whole.

The Strategy outlines steps aimed at supporting 54,000 jobs by 2030. This will be kickstarted through £14bn in public/private investment at minimum, which in turn will deliver four CCUS clusters and capture 20-30 MtCO2 across the economy, including 6 MtCO2 of industrial emissions, per year by 2030.

The Hynet and East Coast Clusters will act as the economic hubs and a testing ground for decarbonisation. This puts Teesside and the Humber, Merseyside and North Wales, along with the North East of Scotland as “reserve clusters”, the Strategy notes.

The Government will also aim to “incentivise cost-effective abatement” across industry. This will be delivered through the UK Emissions Trading System and the Government will consult with business on a cap consistent with net-zero. This will be introduced in partnership with the Devolved Administrations.

Heat and Buildings

The official Heat and Buildings Strategy was launched on Monday (19 October) and is reiterated in the Net-Zero Strategy.

The Government will aim to support up to 100,000 green jobs across the built environment by the mid-2020s, rising to 175,000 by 2030. Investment here will reach around £200bn.

As outlined in the Heat and Buildings Strategy, the Government will aim to ensure that all new heating appliances in homes and workplaces from 2035 are low carbon. This will be facilitated through a £450m boiler upgrade scheme for homes as part of a broader £3.9bn funding package.

The Strategy also includes previously confirmed funding for the Social Housing Decarbonisation Scheme and Home Upgrade Grants (reaching £1.75bn) and £1.425bn for Public Sector Decarbonisation, with the aim of reducing emissions from public sector buildings by 75% by 2037.

The Government is focusing on energy efficiency upgrades for the built environment, but the strategy mentions little about buildings standards and the role they can play in improving the overall efficiency of housing and non-domestic stocks.

Transport

Transport is the UK’s highest emitting sector and decarbonisation levels have stagnated in recent years.

Earlier this year, the Government moved forward the commitment to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars to 2030, with an extra mandate that all cars must be zero-emissions capable by 2035. The Net-Zero Strategy aims to build on this by ensuring consumers have a smooth transition to electric vehicles (EVs). “A zero-emission vehicle mandate to improve consumer choice”, the Strategy notes.

Additionally, £620m will be made for zero-emission vehicles and EV infrastructure (although the Government doesn’t disclose how this is split). A further £350m will be invested on top of the existing £1bn Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF) to support the electrification of UK vehicles and their supply chains.

Trials for low-carbon Heavy Goods Vehicles will also continue to take place, although no ringfenced funding has been provided.

Existing commitments, including £2bn to make sure half of journeys in towns and cities are cycled or walked by 2030, £3bn to create new bus networks, delivering 4,000 zero-emission buses and creating a net-zero rail network by 2050 are all included.

Overall, the Government believes it can support 22,000 jobs across the transport sector on the road to net-zero by 2024, rising to 74,000 by 2030. Investments surpassing £220bn will need to be delivered, the Strategy notes.

Nature and biodiversity

The Net-Zero Strategy commits the UK Government to boost the existing £640m Nature for Climate Fund with an additional £124m, ensuring that at least £750m will be spent by 2025 on peat restoration, woodland creation and management.

Another commitment will include restoring approximately 280,000 hectares of peat in England by 2050 and trebling woodland creation rates in England. This, the Strategy claims, will contribute to an overall target of increasing planting rates to 30,000 hectares per year by the end of the Parliament.

Greenhouse Gas Removals

The Net-Zero Strategy outlines ambitions for the UK to remove emissions from the atmosphere, contributing to the “net” aspect of its net-zero target.

The Government will mobilise around £20bn in funding in a bit to deploy at least 5 MtCO2 /year of engineered (greenhouse gas removals) GGRs by 2030.

This aspect remains largely undefined in the Strategy, however, with the Government pointing to ways to explore regulation of the market and incentivising private investment as current stumbling blocks for action.

More to follow, including reaction from the green economy

Matt Mace

News

Energy Transitions

Rapidly decarbonising the global energy system is critical for addressing climate change, but concerns about costs have been a barrier to implementation. Most energy-economy models have historically underestimated deployment rates for renewable energy technologies and overestimated their costs. The problems with these models have stimulated calls for better approaches and recent efforts have made progress in this direction. Here we take a new approach based on probabilistic cost forecasting methods that made reliable predictions when they were empirically tested on more than 50 technologies. We use these methods to estimate future energy system costs and find that, compared to continuing with a fossil-fuel-based system, a rapid green energy transition will likely result in overall net savings of many trillions of dollars – even without accounting for climate damages or co-benefits of climate policy. We show that if solar photovoltaics, wind, batteries and hydrogen electrolyzers continue to follow their current exponentially increasing deployment trends for another decade, we achieve a near-net-zero emissions energy system within twenty-five years. In contrast, a slower transition (which involves deployment growth trends that are lower than current rates) is more expensive and a nuclear driven transition is far more expensive. If non-energy sources of carbon emissions such as agriculture are brought under control, our analysis indicates that a rapid green energy transition would likely generate considerable economic savings while also meeting the 1.5 degrees Paris Agreement target.

Oxford University 14th Sept 2021 read more »

News

Sodexo targets net-zero value chain by 2045

Food and facilities service firm Sodexo has unveiled new climate commitments to reach net-zero by 2045, with a new interim target to reaching carbon-neutral operations also set for 2025.

The company, which employs more than 30,000 people, will aim to become carbon neutral across its direct operations by 2025

The company, which employs more than 30,000 people, will aim to become carbon neutral across its direct operations by 2025

Sodexo has unveiled a new roadmap to reaching net-zero emissions across its UK and Ireland business and value chain.

The company, which provides a diverse range of services to large business and public sector clients, has exceeded science-based targets to reduce emissions by 34% by 2025 against a 2017 baseline ahead of schedule.

Now, the company, which employs more than 30,000 people, will aim to become carbon neutral across its direct operations by 2025.

This will enable Sodexo to then reach net-zero emissions across all three Scopes by 2045. This includes a target to reduce emissions by 55% by 2030 and remove 90% of emissions across all three scopes – accounting for suppliers and client sites as well as operations – in order to reach the 2045 target.

Sodexo’s UK and Ireland chairman Sean Haley said: “The commitments we make today are the culmination of an extraordinary amount of work from our world-class team of sustainability experts. Their unswerving dedication to developing, not just a set of targets, but a detailed action plan to achieve them, gives me absolute confidence in our future ability to not just meet but to exceed our net-zero goals.

“This will enable us to continue to support and improve the communities in which we live, work and serve.”

Sodexo has confirmed several steps to reach net-zero. This includes the launch of an electric vehicle (EV) company car policy, continued membership of the RE100 initiative to procure 100% renewable electricity by 2022 and switching to 100% reusable, recyclable and compostable packaging by 2025.

Additionally, Sodexo will increase the number of plant-based meals and recipes it offers clients to 33% by 2025 and will reduce food waste by 50% in the same timeframe.

Sodexo will work with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to gain validation for these new ambitions, with a decision expected early next year.

Sodexo has been working with SBTi as one of 80 companies chosen to road test the target validation criteria and guidance for SBTi’s upcoming Net-Zero Standard, which is set to launch later this month.

The SBTi issued its first guidance on net-zero targets in September last year.

The Foundations for Science-Based Net-Zero Target Setting in the Corporate Sector paper was released by the SBTi, which consists of representatives from CDP, UN Global Compact, the World Resources Institute (WRI) and WWF. The paper was created following consultation with businesses, financial organisation, conservation organisations and the scientific community.

The paper is the first step in an effort to ensure that corporate net-zero targets are aligned to climate science and efforts to deliver a net-zero world by no later than 2050.

Matt Mace

News

Net-Zero November: edie to bolster COP26 coverage with bumper month of content and events

With the crucial COP26 climate summit now just weeks away, the award-winning edie content team is gearing up for the return of Net-Zero November – an entire month’s worth of digital content and live events, all dedicated to accelerating the race to a more resilient, zero-carbon economy.

Under the theme of "Seize the moment", Net-Zero November 2021 will be focused on turning global ambitions into tangible business actions

Under the theme of “Seize the moment”, Net-Zero November 2021 will be focused on turning global ambitions into tangible business actions

Brought to you in association with edie’s headline partner EDF, Net-Zero November will offer edie readers an array of net-zero-themed exclusive interviews, downloadable guides, reader blogs, virtual events and podcasts throughout the month. 

The month will include a free-to-access online event combining a selection of webinars and masterclasses (25 November); a face-to-face, workshop-based event for members of edie’s Net-Zero Leaders Club (30 November); on top of a plethora of exclusive interviews, features, reports and guides. 

Commenting on the campaign, EDF’s I&C Director Matthew Nunn said: ’”The time to go net-zero is now. With COP26 billed as ‘’the most important climate change meeting on earth”, this key milestone highlights the need for British businesses to join together and take action.

“At EDF, our ambition is to help British businesses and public sector organisations achieve net-zero. Together with edie, we’re committed to building a sustainable future, which is why we’ve partnered on net-zero November. This month-long programme of news and events brings to life steps businesses can take to lower carbon emissions and support organisations to maximise their full net-zero potential through zero-carbon energy.” 

Net-Zero November: Content & events

Whilst previous iterations of Net-Zero November have focused on driving corporate ambitions to decarbonise, this year’s campaign will be focused on turning those ambitions into tangible business actions, under the theme of “Seize the moment”. Content and event highlights include: 

> 25 November: The Net-Zero Inspiration Sessions (online)

As the flagship digital event of this year’s Net-Zero November campaign, the Net-Zero Carbon Inspiration Sessions offer up an afternoon of live, interactive webinar presentations and discussions – all dedicated to accelerating your organisation’s decarbonisation progress. 

This premium online event effectively combines four edie webinars and masterclasses into a single afternoon, with each session taking a particular format. Registrants will get access to all four webinar sessions on the day. Full details of the webinar sessions will be released in due course.

> 30 November: SPARK! Net-Zero Action Workshops (Birmingham)

A day of energy innovation and co-creation, SPARK! is the flagship event of the year for the Net-Zero Leaders Club. Tying in with the Net-Zero November campaign, this full-day event creates the time and space for energy and sustainability changemakers to connect, collaborate and seize the moment of net-zero.  

The primary purpose of the day is to spark new ideas and actions among the Club’s membership base of corporate net-zero leaders. The unique event will include keynote presentations from an array of business and climate thought-leaders, a networking lunch, and five collaborative workshops that will see Club members co-create solutions to key decarbonisation challenges and discuss exciting new opportunities with like-minded peers.

For more information on attending the SPARK! event and joining the Net-Zero Leaders Club, email edieleaders@fav-house.com.  

> 4 November: #SustyTalk panel on the Net-Zero Energy Transition

Tying in with the official Energy Day of COP26, a special #SustyTalk episode will feature a selection of businesses and experts who are driving and overseeing the energy transition.

> 8 November: The business guide to water efficiency

With water resources under increasing pressure from climate change, population growth, and nature loss, it’s clear that water efficiency has an essential role to play in the global net-zero transition. Our Business Guide to Water Efficiency, produced in association with Waterscan, will provide a much-needed breakdown of how organisations can embed water efficiency into their sustainability strategy and minimise water use across the business and value chain.

> 10 November: #SustyTalk panel on Clean Transport

Tying in with Transport Day of COP26, a special #SustyTalk episode will feature a selection of businesses and experts who are driving and overseeing the clean transport transition.

> 15 November: edie Explains: Net-Zero Carbon Business 

What is ‘net-zero’ in the context of business emissions? Which organisations are most suited to adopting net-zero carbon strategies? And, what is the impact of the coronavirus on the net-zero movement? Our free-to-download edie Explains guide will help sustainability and energy professionals understand exactly how they should adopt net-zero strategies for their businesses; what the benefits are; what the key considerations should be when doing so.

> 17 November: edie Explains: Scope 3 emissions 

What are Scope 3 emissions? How are they calculated? How can they be mitigated and reduced? And, what are the business benefits of doing so? This free edie Explains guide gives you everything you need to know. This free-to-download guide answers all of these key questions and more to tackle these hard-to-abate emissions.

> 30 November: Net-Zerothemed Innovations of the Month round-up

Closing off the month, this exclusive feature powered by edie’s Innovation Partner Springwise, will showcase some of the latest technological innovations which are shaping the future of net-zero carbon business. 

Net-Zero November: Get involved, make a pledge

Making a Mission Possible Pledge is also a great way to get involved. No Mission Possible Pledge is too small or too ambitious for the Wall – so long as it is a new, measurable action that will help your organisation on its mission to achieve a sustainable future. MAKE A NET-ZERO RELATED PLEDGE HERE. 

Additionally, if you would like to suggest or contribute net-zero related content, please contact the edie editorial team here

Last year’s Net-Zero November saw the editorial team deliver more than 40 pieces of original content which resulted in edie’s most successful month ever in terms of website traffic and audience engagement. You can view all of that content here.

We’re excited to be supporting and empowering our readers to seize the moment and make net-zero carbon a reality for your business! 

Luke Nicholls, Matt Mace and Sarah George

News

Solar – Northern Ireland

One of Northern Ireland’s first large-scale solar farms is being liquidated after the owner failed to pay the rent. Maghaberry Solar Farm — which once supplied almost a third of Belfast International Airport’s electricity — is made up of 80,000 solar panels as well as racking and equipment which is now being disposed of. According to a listing on online advertising platform Gumtree all of the panels need to be removed and the site at Maghaberry Airfield, Co Antrim returned to its former state.

Belfast Telegraph 17th Oct 2021 read more »

News

Solar Vehicles

A team of students from the Netherlands are due to complete an 1,800-mile (3,000km) road trip across western Europe in a solar-powered camper van that they designed and built themselves. The Stella Vita is designed for two passengers and has a kitchen, sitting area, bed, shower and toilet. Using solar energy alone, the vehicle can cover up to 450 miles on a sunny day, reaching a top speed of 75mph, as well as powering all the inside amenities, a TV and a laptop. The vehicle has solar panels on the roof that can be expanded into a sun cover when parked. The van can also be charged through electric charging ports.

Guardian 15th Oct 2021 read more »

Plans have been unveiled to expand the solar farm at Nissan in Sunderland with the aim of making the plant run entirely on green energy. The proposed 37,000-solar panels extension would be a further step in Nissan’s ambition to become carbon neutrality, the firm said. Sunderland City Council is now considering the application. If approved it would result in 20% of the plant’s energy coming from onsite renewables. This would mean enough to build every single zero-emission Nissan Leaf sold in Europe, the company said.

BBC 16th Oct 2021 read more »

Sunderland Echo 15th Oct 2021 read more »

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