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 / What do the outcomes of COP26 mean for UK businesses?

What do the outcomes of COP26 mean for UK businesses?

16 Nov 2021

|7 minutes

The UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, joined companies and governments from across the world to discuss actionable strategies to minimise global warming and lessen the impact of climate change and tackle escalating greenhouse gas emissions. As the ink dries, we discuss what the key outcomes mean for UK businesses.

On 13 November, COP26 delegates officially agreed the 'Glasgow Climate Pact' – a hugely important document calling on nations to set strict new climate targets by the end of 2022 and phase down unabated fossil fuel usage.

The agreement experienced a mixed reaction, with concerns raised surrounding the readiness and progress of finance, alongside last-minute objections from some of the world’s biggest polluting nations weakening the language on fossil fuels. The resulting outcome, however, is a positive one.

Thanks to the Glasgow Climate Pact, we could soon be back on track to limiting global warming to a maximum of 1.5°C by the end of the century. COP26 President, Alok Sharma, said: “Today, we can say with credibility that we have kept 1.5 degrees within reach. But, its pulse is weak. And it will only survive if we keep our promises. If we translate commitments into rapid action.”*

Setting, measuring and meeting new climate targets must therefore be seen as a global priority for governments and businesses alike. As part of this vision, UK organisations must accelerate their transition to decarbonisation, improve corporate social responsibility initiatives and step up to ever-rising sustainability targets.

Seizing the opportunity

The Climate Pact requires all countries to revisit and strengthen their climate targets by the end of 2022. The hope is that most will do so, driving sustainable change as a result. So, for corporates in the UK, the implications are simple; we should expect increasingly demanding carbon reduction targets and must embrace effective strategies to meet them.

This means two things. Firstly, there’s a clear need to focus on decarbonisation, which makes on-site renewables, procuring renewable energy and maximising energy efficiency across operations ever-more important. What’s more, there will be further scope for load management and responsive energy solutions within a flexible grid structure.

Change won’t happen overnight, but businesses should see this as an opportunity to harness trends, be ahead of the curve and leverage sustainability in the long-term.


Finally, it is worth mentioning COP26 will drive business diversification. Mid 2021, the UK’s low carbon economy was reported as being worth more than £200bn** four times the size of the country’s manufacturing sector. COP26 targets will strengthen and widen the scope for sustainable jobs further with cleaner transport, reduced air pollution and better insulated homes just a few examples.

The key takeaway is that to make the most of all COP26 opportunities, and to minimise risk, businesses will require help to decipher the changing landscape and guidelines that it is creating. It makes sense to invest time today in partnership expertise, not just on short-term CSR, but on a robust energy strategy for the future.

Shell Energy is here to advise and support you in your journey towards decarbonisation. We can help your business to transition to renewable energy and integrate COP26’s sustainability pathway into your corporate energy strategy.

With many different solutions needed for a successful transition to a lower-carbon world, Shell Energy can tailor solutions that aim to avoid, reduce or compensate for the emissions of your business, find out more about our energy solutions.


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