Post COP26 – Integration across organisations and society matters

CSR news

Posted by SPIE UK

George Adams, SPIE UK's Engineering and Energy Director, gives his post COP26 update.



At COP26, several countries joined an existing coalition of states comprising companies and banks who have committed to phase out coal power and end international public support for the unabated fossil fuel energy sector by the end of 2022.

Investors, companies, local authorities, and the wider community are all part of our citizenship and are responsible for the impacts on the environment. It is therefore inevitable that we all have to create solutions, methods and actions to transition to a net zero economy and become more socially responsible. This responsibility is about a sustainable future for all life on Earth. Without this, there can be no discernible long-term future.

All key stakeholders must turn the same ingenuity they use to deliver policies, services and products to apply carbon management, incorporating the wellbeing of the planet in order to thrive in a zero-carbon world; ‘There Is No Planet B’ as referred to by Mike Berners-Lee in his book. However, social and commercial organisations are largely dependent on fossil fuels, with 84% of the world’s energy deriving from these depleting natural resources.

Net Zero Roadmap

The evidence shows that currently about 100 companies are responsible for about 70% of global emissions. These organisations are responding to increasing pressure to change their business strategy, such as oil companies moving more into solar energy and hydrogen solutions.

However, UK economics is at long-term risk if the alternative of renewable energy and large-scale energy efficiency measures are not advanced fast enough. Public and private sectors alongside communities will need to collaborate more to work towards the significant changes needed.

The transition from fossil fuels to renewables is already significantly progressing in the UK, including moving away from petrol/diesel vehicles and gas heating, which is currently in circa 80% of homes. Organisations such as SPIE are substantially moving up the green ladder towards decarbonising their operations with the first in a series of EV rollouts last year, along with increasing the amount of green client work, such as the installation of heat pump systems at a number of Unite’s student accommodation buildings.

Ecology & Technology Diagram

The UK has set a target of 78% C02 reduction by 2035 and has become the world’s first major economy to set a target of net zero by 2050. The UK's new Net Zero Strategy sets out plans to deliver its emissions targets and puts forward an achievable and affordable vision that will bring net benefits to the UK through its ‘Net Zero Build Back Greener’ report.

The ambitious yet comprehensive UK strategy is setting a globally leading benchmark as its basis for COP26. But more actions must happen quickly to help ensure the UK net Zero map comes to fruition and is seen as a success.

The time scale of gas resources running out and the achievement of net zero are not that far apart. Therefore, the economic steps to safeguard UK sustainability need to be in place to underpin the nation’s financial security and create more sustainable employment for current and future generations.

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