As you know, sustainability and the future of our planet is something we hold very close to our hearts here at Kamro. In the 14 years since the passing of the Climate Change Act, greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by 28% and it has provided the foundation for the planning, coordination and expansion of climate change measures in the UK.
The Climate Change Act was updated in 2019 to further include an ambitious target for net-zero emissions by 2050, putting the UK at the forefront of climate change and becoming the first major economy in the world to put such a target into law. And we, as a UK business, are a part of that!
The UK has shown great commitment to the mitigation of the climate crisis. If we meet these ambitious targets, we, as a country, will set an example for the rest of the developed world that decarbonisation is possible without having to compromise economic performance, with the great city of London leading the way to a net-zero carbon future. A significant and vital step in fighting climate change and paving the way for a more sustainable future.
Net-zero represents the balance between the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere, and the amount removed from the atmosphere through measures created to counteract these emissions. While setting a target of net-zero carbon by 2050 is ambitious, the city is already responding to the challenge by developing new technologies and services to help dramatically reduce emissions.
Much like many other major cities, London is a city strangled by traffic. If the city’s population continues to grow at the current rate, we could be looking at a city that is home to more than 11 million people by 2050. To mitigate the effects of climate change and to achieve the goal of a net-zero status, various sectors including transport, energy infrastructure, waste and construction all need to take crucial steps to achieve carbon neutrality.
Walking towards sustainability
One of the highest contributing factors towards air pollution is traffic. London would need to see a 60% reduction in car journeys, even if all cars were low emission, by 2035 .
Strategies already implemented to achieve this include London’s congestion charge, its Ultra Low Emission Zone, and the UK’s plan to ban all new petrol and diesel cars by 2035 which is further reinforced by temporary cycling lanes and car-free zones which could become permanent features. We as businesses need to look to implement measures of our own. How are our staff getting to work? Is there a carpool system in place? How do we facilitate a low-impact commute to work and encourage a sustainable mindset in the workplace?
Building for the future
According to the UK Green Building Council, the construction industry is responsible for approximately 40% of the UK’s total carbon emissions.
Reducing carbon emissions of buildings means reassessing both the choice of materials as well as the way we build, paying attention to energy efficiency and the embodied carbon of a building. Carbon emissions within the construction industry include everything from extracting, processing, manufacturing and packaging, to transporting the materials used, the construction process itself, as well as maintenance and eventual demolition. Building materials also present a huge issue with glass, steel and cement ranking highest for emissions. Cement alone is responsible for about 8% of global emissions due to its widespread use as cities continue to expand at an alarming rate.
Furthermore, the building design itself would need to adopt tactics to counteract the existing impacts of climate change. Robust insulation including green roofs and walls – which absorb carbon dioxide, reducing air pollution – also helps insulate buildings and reduce energy demand, along with airtight doors and windows, LED lighting, and less glazing. Take a look around your office – are the lights left on 24/7?
What is your office furniture made of? And are the suppliers you support working towards a greener future?
The shift from burning coal and gas to renewable, low-carbon energy sources such as solar, hydroelectric, wind and geothermal, are imperative and the move towards implementing more and more of these measures has already begun in the UK. Is your building powered by the sun? What power sources are being used in the office canteen? How do we reduce our energy draw as a business?
Waste not want not
How’s this for a statistic: London PRODUCES SEVEN MILLION TONNES of waste each year, only 41% of which is recycled. The aim is to reduce food and packaging waste by 50% by 2030, this will include installing easily accessible water points to help reduce the purchasing of single-use plastic water bottles. The strategy also endeavours to recycle 65% of waste and ensure that no biodegradable or recyclable waste is sent to landfill by 2026. The idea is that all non-recyclable waste would then be converted into renewable energy that can be used to heat and power homes. Reduce, reuse, recycle is a mantra that should be a mission. What recycling strategies does your business have in place?
By the people, for the people
Incorporating a sustainability strategy is crucial for businesses today to help build a greener future. Businesses throughout the UK are placing more and more focus on becoming sustainable, with actions that were once deemed ground-breaking now being seen as the norm for responsible businesses. The rapid uptake of net zero targets is just one example of the exception quickly becoming the rule.
But paving the way to a more sustainable future will need to involve everyone, requiring innovation and collaboration between the public and private sector offering sustainable, convenient, accessible and affordable measures for all.