The UK government issued a call today for businesses to take urgent action on their carbon emissions by signing-up to Race to Zero and setting out clear pathways to get to net zero.

Launched in June 2020 under the stewardship of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Race to Zero is a global campaign designed to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions, and investors committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest, and to build momentum around the shift to a decarbonized economy ahead of the upcoming UN Climate Summit, COP26.

According to the UK’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), nearly a third of the companies largest companies have already joined the initiative, with 30 of the UK’s FTSE 100 companies having signed on, including AstraZeneca, BT Group, Sainsbury’s, and Unilever.

Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said:

“Businesses wield incredible influence to drive change across society and the economy – we need to harness this power to fight climate change.

“UK businesses are already leading the way in cutting carbon emissions and building back greener – it is fantastic to see so many of our biggest companies already pledging to reach net zero.

“But more can be done, and so today I am calling on more fantastic British companies to step up, follow suit and pledge to join the fight against climate change.”

The UK has been actively announcing policies and commitments aimed at addressing climate change risks, including measures to reduce emissions in the country, increase renewable energy capacity, and improve climate-related transparency and accountability by companies. In November 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson launched a 10-point plan for the UK’s Green Industrial Revolution, earmarking tens of billions of pounds of investments in areas including renewable energy, clean mobility and green building initiatives. The country is also advancing on plans to make TCFD-based climate reporting mandatory for companies.

UK Net Zero Business Champion Andrew Griffith said:

“Today’s news of 30 of the FTSE100 joining the Race to Zero makes the UK a global leader on tackling emissions with British companies representing a third of those signed up globally. It shows what can be done but, in the months running up to COP26, every board should engage on this vital topic.”

UK High Level Climate Champion for COP26 Nigel Topping added:

“With over 15% of the global economy – and now 30% of the FTSE100 – in the Race to Zero, we are close to a critical inflection point, with credible net zero commitments fast becoming the new normal. If they don’t join soon, the companies that have so far failed to engage with climate change risk falling behind the curve.”