WWF and Aviva urge government to make climate and nature goals central to economic policy and regulation

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Ahead of the Queen’s Speech on 10 May, WWF and Aviva have published a new paper, ‘Delivering the UK’s Net Zero Transition, that maps out the next steps the Government must take to help businesses and the public sector tackle the climate and nature crises. 

From 2023, large companies will be legally required to publish plans on how they will cut their climate emissions to net zero by 2050.

In the report, WWF and Aviva argue that delivering net zero cannot just be about setting businesses a target as a whole economy approach is required, with Government setting the direction, and also introducing its own transition planning process, aligning public spending and policy with net zero.

WWF and Aviva recommendations include:

  • Put net-zero transition planning at the heart of Government policymaking: Net-zero transition planning should not only be a task for the private sector. The Government must also set best practice by incorporating and delivering its own transition to net zero. Recommendations include, embedding net zero into core economic and financial decision-making processes, producing and regularly updating a UK economy-wide net zero transition plan and introducing Government departmental net zero transition plans.
  • Ensure private sector net-zero transition plans are consistent, credible and ambitious: Recommendations include, introducing a statutory objective as part of the HM Treasury’s Future Regulatory Framework to help the UK finance sector align with net zero, amending the Companies Act as well as FCA and DWP rules to ensure that transition planning is embedded across the private sector and developing regulatory guidance in line with best practice and scientific guidance.
  • Integrate nature into corporate, finance sector and Government net zero transition planning. Businesses and government must include provisions to protect and restore nature as well as cutting climate emissions, because without investing in nature-based solutions we will never achieve net zero. Recommendations include, embedding nature and climate within UK regulatory and legislative architecture, such as integrating it into Sustainable Disclosure Requirements (SDR) and the UK Green Taxonomy, requiring all principal financial regulators (FCA, PRC, MPC, PRA) to explicitly incorporate nature-related financial risks into their activities.

Together, these changes will help the Chancellor achieve his ambition to make the UK the world’s first net-zero financial centre which he announced at the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow. With the imminent update of the Green Finance Strategy this presents an opportunity for Government to develop and establish a whole economy approach to transition planning.

Tanya Steele, WWF’s CEO said: “WWF and Aviva share the same view – that the world still has time to avoid the worst impacts of a climate catastrophe, but only if all of us, especially governments and businesses, take immediate action.

“Shaping our net-zero future will create jobs and protect and restore the environment but for that to happen the forthcoming Green Finance Strategy must include a coherent transition plan for the whole of the UK economy.”

Amanda Blanc, Aviva Group CEO said:

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“Everyone in the UK will be touched by the climate crisis, so all of us depend on shifting the economy to net zero as soon as possible. Preventing the worst impacts of climate change will take all businesses developing ambitious, consistent transition plans to get us to a low carbon future.

“But that can’t happen in isolation – a whole of economy approach to transition is needed, with Government setting the direction. Our joint report with WWF sets out some concrete steps for how to achieve this.”

Read the full press release here.

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