Pledge To Net Zero is encouraging more firms to join the growing initiative tackling greenhouse gas emissions within the UK’s environmental services sector, after surpassing the landmark of reaching over 100 signatories.
The recent addition of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and RPS Consulting UK & Republic of Ireland, saw the Pledge to Net Zero top the landmark 100 figure, while Wood plc and JCDecaux UK have also signed the Pledge and committed to setting science-based targets for organisational carbon emissions.
Launched in late 2019 to convene fast climate action within the UK’s environmental sector, Pledge To Net Zero requires signatories to commit to deliver a greenhouse gas target in line with either a 1.5°C climate change scenario (encouraged), or well below 2°C.
All 100+ signatories have committed to three key pledges:
- Set and commit to deliver a greenhouse gas target in line with either a 1.5°C (encouraged) or well below 2°C climate change scenario – covering buildings and travel as a minimum;
- 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 delivering an economy in line with climate science and in support of net zero carbon. Alternatively, provide mentoring and support for smaller signatory companies in setting targets, reporting and meeting the requirements of the pledge.
Rachel Purdon, head of sustainability at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, said: “Humanity stands at a crossroads – and at this crucial time in RBG Kew’s history we are committing to taking urgent action to combat the climate and biodiversity emergency, to protect and restore our natural world. Next week we will launch our Sustainability Strategy to 2030, setting out ways in which we will use Kew’s action, expertise and voice to urgently transition to net zero and beyond.”
In February, the Pledge formally joined the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) Race to Zero campaign, a move which was welcomed by UN High Level Climate Action Champion for COP26, Nigel Topping.
Dallas Wiles, Co-CEO of JCDecaux UK, said: “At the core of JCDecaux’s activity is our sustainability commitment, something that we know is key to the future of our cities. Committing to Pledge to Net Zero substantiates our intent to address the climate emergency and make an important change across our business, benefiting OOH, our partners, clients, the public and society as a whole.”
Pledge To Net Zero is led by a steering committee including Society for the Environment (SocEnv), Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA), Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE), and Environmental Industries Commission (EIC), with leading environmental consultancies WSP and AECOM.
Dr Emma Wilcox, chief executive at the Society for the Environment, said: “As we near the hugely important COP26 summit, it’s fantastic to see more and more organisations showcasing how they are playing their part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. If we are to achieve net zero by 2050, we need organisations to show leadership by turning ambition into tangible, science-based action driven by the expertise of their environmental professionals. That’s why we are calling for yet more organisations to make the Pledge to Net Zero.”
Matthew Farrow, director at the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC) said: “I’m delighted to see more organisations join the Pledge to Net Zero, including household names like Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, which will help the campaign increase its reach. In offering signatories a tangible framework to demonstrate their carbon credentials, as well as logical a pathway to other initiatives like Race to Zero, the campaign is a great way for businesses to showcase that they’re part of the solution and taking tangible actions towards meeting society’s Net Zero ambitions.”
Robert Spencer, director of sustainable development at AECOM, said: "Joining Pledge to Net Zero demonstrates a real commitment to climate action from the organisations signing up, so reaching more than 100 signatories is an impressive milestone for the campaign. Achieving net zero will require collaboration, innovation and leadership from across the environmental services sector. Initiatives like Pledge to Net Zero enable us to use our collective expertise to help organisations reach ambitious carbon targets.”
Martin Baxter, director of policy and external affairs at IEMA said: “This is an important milestone with our 100th organisation committed to Pledge to Net Zero. With over 80% of the environmental consultancy market being covered by the Pledge, we’re making a significant contribution in the Race to Zero in the run up to COP26.”
David Symons, UK director of sustainability at WSP, said: “Reaching 100 signatories in only 18 months since we launched the Pledge is a fantastic achievement and shows the importance the environmental services sector is placing on tackling the climate crisis. I welcome our new signatories and thank all of those involved in Pledge To Net Zero for their continued action and support, as it is only by working together will we achieve net zero.”
The next signatory window for the Pledge is open now and closes on 5th June 2021.