Tackling Climate change must be a 'national priority' says CBI report

27 November 2007
Climate change is a growing problem and commitments are being made by businesses to play their part in tackling it, but this will only bear results if it is made a national priority for everyone – consumers, the government and companies, according to a new report by the Confederation of British Industry.

Leaders from every major sector of British business have come together to form the CBI Climate Change Task Force – a culmination of 18 chairmen and chief executives, led by Ben Verwaayen, Chief Executive of BT. For 10 months, the group has been assessing the challenges facing British business and identifying possible measures which can be taken to prevent climate change.

The report, titled 'Climate Change: Everyone's Business', has revealed that carbon reduction targets for 2020 are overly optimistic and likely to be missed, but that this can be rectified by 2050, and targets could be met by 2030, providing a "greater sense of urgency" is adopted, ensuring that businesses take responsibility for their role.

The Task Force has reported that in order for the environment's and consumer's needs to be met, firms will have to change the fundamental ways they do business, and that the longer it takes for them to act, the more expensive it will become – both to the pocket and the environment.

While tackling climate change is expensive, there are also profits to be made for companies that take advantage of the opportunity to be involved in developing innovative environmental technologies which have the potential to prosper in new, multi-billion-dollar world markets.

Ben Verwaayen commented: "Today the CBI Task Force has demonstrated its commitment to tackling climate change. This is a call to action to the wider business community whose support we need, an offer of partnership with government, and a commitment to empower consumers. They are key to any solution because of their power to demand environmentally friendly goods, and their influence on government as voters.

"We need to support the consumer with better information and more choice. We have to involve our employees and we must report transparently our own carbon footprints. This is not just a challenge, it is also the chance to become leaders in a new low carbon economy. In business, in government, as consumers and citizens we are all part of the solution."

Richard Lambert, CBI Director-General, added: "This report makes clear that in the future, businesses will have to be green to grow. To manage their costs and to maintain the trust of their customers, they will need to build carbon management into their corporate DNA."

The CBI has also shown its support for a proposal that will see stamp duty cut for households with low-energy usage, because it would create a clear, financial incentive for consumers to do their bit against climate change.

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