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Industry calls for Pledge to Net Zero

Environmental experts have launched Pledge to Net Zero, the first industry commitment in the UK requiring science-based targets from its signatories to tackle greenhouse gas emissions within their organisations.

The pledge aims to support the UK’s 2050 net zero greenhouse gas emissions target and is aimed at all organisations working in the environmental services sector.

It comes at a time where countries are ramping up their greenhouse gas commitments ahead of the global climate summit in Glasgow in 2020, and aims to provide leadership for the private sector to lend full support.

The initiative, led by the Society for the Environment (SocEnv), the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE), the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) and the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC), together with leading environmental consultancies, WSP and AECOM, seeks to make the sector a leader for taking action on climate change.

All signatories have committed to three pledges:

  • Set and commit to delivering a science-based greenhouse gas reduction target in support of the transition to a net zero carbon economy;
  • Publicly report greenhouse gas emissions and progress against this target each year;
  • Publish one piece of research or thought-leadership piece each year on practical steps to deliver a net zero greenhouse gas economy.

David Symons, UK director of sustainability at WSP, said: “The environmental services sector is at the heart of delivering a sustainable and prosperous economy through its advice.  It’s tremendously exciting that the sector has now come together to take action on its own greenhouse gas emissions.”

Dr Emma Wilcox, chief executive at the Society for the Environment said: “We are delighted to be part of this initiative. It is so important that the environmental services sector, which stands for professionalism and competence, takes a united leadership role in achieving net zero by 2050. We hope it will encourage organisations around the world to be part of the solution to the Climate and Environmental Emergency.”

Martin Baxter, chief policy advisor for IEMA, said: “The transition to net zero carbon emissions is the defining challenge of our time.  We are fully supportive of the environmental services sector pledging science-based emissions reductions which align with the urgency of addressing the climate and environmental emergency.”

David Barwell, chief executive, UK & Ireland at AECOM, said: “The environmental services industry is home to many of the individuals who will make the road to net zero emissions a reality.  It will be the defining work of our careers. But if we are to be convincing champions for our clients, then we must lead from the front and that is why AECOM is kicking the carbon habit and joining hands with our peers and professional institutions to galvanise this effort.”

Matthew Farrow, executive director, Environmental Industries Commission, said: “All organisations have to step up and take responsibility for their emissions if we are to reach net zero and the environmental consultancy sector is no exception.  As well as being a huge force for good in the work consultancies do with their clients they should lead by example and EIC is delighted to be supporting Pledge Net Zero – we will be encouraging our member firms to sign up.”

Companies wishing to be part of the commitment can make their pledge with director support at www.pledgetonetzero.org.

The pledge is open until 31 January 2020, with organisations asked to report back performance on their commitment by the end of December 2020.

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