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In its climate action efforts, the UK has enshrined in law the goal to achieve Net Zero emissions by 2050 and we have seen an accelerating movement to align its strategy towards this target. The upcoming United Nations Conference of Parties (COP26) which is the biggest international event ever hosted by the UK, has been confirmed to take place in Glasgow in November, is a major opportunity for the UK to not only demonstrate its global leadership and technological capabilities around a net zero economy, but also and more crucially to form the relationships that will become the fabric of its future global trading network. The four main goals of the conference are explained in more detail by Alok Sharma, former Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and COP26 President-Designate, in his ‘Pick the Planet’ speech.

Make UK is equally committed to supporting and guiding its members in achieving the UK’s Net Zero by 2050 objective and has set up a Net Zero framework to help our members. It comprises a set of Net Zero Guiding Principles (download here), a Toolkit exclusively for our members developed in partnership with Energy & Carbon Management ‘My Net Zero Toolkit’ and other resources including a series of educational ‘Demystifying Net Zero’ workshops. Additionally, we will be building a sectoral roadmap that should be ready in time for COP26.

In this context, we also plan to provide an opportunity for our members to participate in the COP26 in November, through our standalone and/or joint events in the official Blue (UK Pavilion) and Green (public) zones, for which we have submitted several expressions of interest. We should know soon whether these have been successful and will want to involve our members. 

Make UK also offers the unique chance to be part of a video featuring a selection of 10 case studies and prefaced by Nigel Topping, the UK high-level champion for climate action appointed by the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change).  

The aim of these events and of the video is to showcase our innovative manufacturers, demonstrating the pace and ambition of the sectors’ transition to a sustainable economy. The events will highlight manufacturers' crucial part in helping everyone achieve net zero. By helping the UK government demonstrate its global leadership in this area,  we will be contributing to the future creation of many international and domestic business opportunities. 

To participate in the COP26 events, organisations must take part in the COP26's official promotion campaigns, also recognised by the United Nations, the 'Race to Zero' for large individual businesses (≥500) or 'The SME Climate Hub' for smaller companies (<500 employees), and make the following commitment: to halve your greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030, to report your progress annually and publicly, and to achieve net zero by 2050 or earlier. 

1. Larger businesses (> 500 employees)

Can join the Race to Zero campaign through the following initiatives and coalitions– all of which are official partners.  By joining one of these initiatives/coalitions you will be directly included in Race to Zero- you only need to ask your partner initiative to include you on the Race to Zero list.
There are four main ones and a cohort of others:
  • Business Ambition for 1.5oC (a global coalition set up by UN Global Compact, the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTI), and We Mean Business) and is the SBTI’s leadership campaign. In a nutshell, it offers 2 options: 1) commit to 1.5oC by 2020-2030 or 2) commit to Net Zero by 2050
  • The Climate Pledge (essentially committing to Net Zero by 2040- founded by Amazon, and Global Optimism)- reporting, carbon elimination in line with the Paris Agreement), credible offsets (quantifiable, real, permanent and socially beneficial)
  • B Corp Climate Collective for those who want to use business as a ‘force for good’ to improve global well-being and take action on the climate emergency and towards climate resilience. The independently verified B-Corp certification legally requires members to consider the impact of their decisions on all their stakeholders and undergo an impact assessment on their business as a whole (not just on a product or service).

Sector-specific initiatives:

2. SMEs (≤ 500 employees)

Are encouraged to sign up to The SME Climate Hub.To align with the SME Climate Commitment, businesses will need to cut their absolute greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 50% before 2030, from a base year not more than 2 years back in time. This means that its own emissions (both scope 1 and scope 2 emissions), as well as those related to business travel must be cut in half this decade. Where the value chain emissions (scope 3) are material to the total emissions and where data allows them to measure it, companies should also aim to cut scope 3 emissions in half this decade. 

You will have 18 months from making the commitment to provide the first progress report and the format of the report is more flexible than for large businesses. More on the SME Climate commitment here.

SMEs signing up to the SME Climate Commitment will also be able to post your case study on the COP26’s ‘SME Climate Hub’ (see further below how to). 

The Race to Zero and The SME Climate Hub campaigns will not stop at COP26 and they can be taken as an opportunity for your company to make that all-important commitment to start working towards achieving net zero by 2050 or earlier.  
If you would like to get involved in our events at the COP26, please let us know by emailing your response directly to [email protected], as soon as possible.

Sharing best practices: we want to hear about your sustainability efforts and share best practice

Even if you do not wish to/cannot be involved directly in the COP26 promotion campaign, we still want it to inspire and support net zero commitments and sustainability efforts. We are calling for you to share your case study with us as soon as possible. Your case study will then: 

  • be displayed on our website (in a special collection)
  • feature in our communication campaigns- we plan to release a few at regular intervals (depending  on the number we get)
  • be presented as real-life examples in our workshops
  • allow you to participate in our peer to peer mentoring network

You are invited to provide a few short paragraphs as soon as possible using this simple guide on how to write your case study and to send submit it to Brigitte Amoruso, our Energy and Climate Change Lead, at [email protected].

News / Make UK / Net Zero