Climate Change: The Power of Zero
Climate change is transforming the UK’s business landscape. Delivering the UK’s binding commitment to net zero emissions by 2050 requires far-reaching changes in energy, land, infrastructure (transport and buildings), agriculture, manufacturing, resource management and industrial systems.
While the government commits to renewable energy and decarbonisation of heat and transport, the transition to a carbon-free economy is creating new trends in how stakeholders such as consumers, investors, business partners, and regulators make decisions. Customers are rewarding companies for sustainability. Businesses are committing to clean energy and carbon reduction. Investors are demanding climate-risk disclosure and committing to ESG (environmental, social and governance) investment criteria.
Net zero and the wider sustainability agenda presents huge opportunities for businesses in all sectors across the UK where customers, investors and regulators are demanding new low carbon technologies, solutions, products and services. Meanwhile businesses are realising that improving their sustainability can generate long term business value through increased resource efficiency, innovation, resilience, compliance, employee relations, and market share.
1. What is Walker Morris doing?
We announced our own commitment to positively respond to the impact of climate change through the launch of our staff climate change competition. Walker Morris employees were asked for their thoughts on how we could be more sustainable as a business. The overwhelmingly positive response revealed a number of initiatives which will be implemented in the coming months including carbon footprint measurement, car sharing, switching to 100% renewable energy and installing more EV charge points. In the last 12 months Walker Morris has:
- achieved 25% reduction in paper
- achieved 95% reduction in plastic water bottles
- saved 28,000 plastic cups and 24,000 plastic lids
- switched to 100% biodegradable pens
- pledged our support to the Sustainable Recruitment Alliance
- Walker Morris commits to Green Pledge for arbitrations.
Our commitment to these initiatives was confirmed at the Climate Action Dinner held in association with Deloitte, Walker Morris and the University of Leeds. 38 businesses including local councils, regional and national companies committed to contributing to further the conversation surrounding climate action and begin to implement positive, practical solutions. Following this, Walker Morris, Deloitte and a number of other businesses from across our Region formed the Yorkshire Climate Action Coalition. This is a business-led group which aims, through collaboration, to help businesses define and accelerate their own pathways to NetZero, and at the same time help companies embrace the opportunities arising from the future green economy.
Ben Sheppard, our Head of Energy & Infrastructure, was also part of a cohort of a dozen mayors, business leaders and NGOs who joined forces to urge the Prime Minister to commit to tougher air pollution targets in an open letter coordinated by UK100. Read more here.
2. The effects of climate change on your business
Climate action is happening now. The minimum energy efficiency standard (MEES) sets out standards for energy efficiency in commercial properties. The Future Homes Standard introduced proposals for new energy efficiency standards in new homes. The “diesel tax” imposes higher levies on diesel-vehicles. New energy and carbon reporting standards for companies were introduced in 2019. Smart meters are being installed in residential and commercial properties across the UK to minimise CO2 emissions.
3. How Walker Morris can help
The business and regulatory landscape is rapidly changing in response to climate change. Our specialists have extensive expertise in environmental law, renewables, green energy, low-carbon infrastructure.
With a portfolio of high-profile clients in the energy and infrastructure sectors and recognised for its expertise by leading independent legal guide, Chambers, Walker Morris’ Infrastructure & Energy team can advise businesses in all sectors to respond positively to the challenges of climate change and opportunities of the low carbon economy.
For insight into how climate change could affect your business, please contact one of our specialists below.