How COP26 has Impacted UK Businesses

Consumers in the UK are more interested in environmental ethics than ever before. Indeed, recent research shows that 76 per cent of UK adults are concerned about climate change in general, while 29 per cent of adults take environmental impact into account when buying food. COP 26 was one main event over the last few years that helped shaped this agenda and increase awareness of climate change amongst consumers and policymakers. Below, we explore how exactly it’s impacted UK businesses.

What was COP26?

COP26 was the 26th iteration of the United Nations Climate Change Conference and it was held in Glasgow around October 2021. The aim of this meeting was to make progress toward upholding the plans set out by the Paris Agreement. More specifically, the targets of COP26 were centered around securing global net zero by 2050 and restricting climate change to 1.5 degrees of warming.

New regulations and legislation

COP26 led to new regulations and legislation being implemented, and many of these changes affect UK businesses. 20 countries – including the UK – pledged to halt public financing of projects that involve fossil fuels, both domestically and overseas. On top of this, the same 20 countries also pledged to stop artificially lowering the costs of damaging resources such as coal, oil and gas. As a result, UK businesses will face increasing regulatory pressure as the years go by.

Implications for businesses

The sustainability policies of COP26 will be challenging for businesses to keep up with. In many cases, the operations of companies will have to change significantly. To make it easier to adapt to new regulations, the UK government has offered business rates relief for companies investing in green technology. The intention of this is to make it necessary for businesses to create a Carbon Reduction Plan. If you’re unsure how you can plan for your business to meet these changes, you can seek the advice of consultants to help you make that next step.

Net zero

The ultimate implication of COP26, though, is that businesses will have to pivot to meet net zero by at least 2050. As a result, businesses will need to adapt quickly and plan for the low-carbon economy. A failure to do so will result in a business being exposed in front of its customers. Plus, any new policies in the future will also see the business fall further behind its competition. As a result, you should plan for your business to adopt the changes put forward in COP26.

Businesses in the UK will need to pivot towards more sustainable operations soon. And by following the guide above, you should be well placed to understand these changes.

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