UK firms urges government to create green Covid-19 recovery plan

UK Covid-19 recovery
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Over 200 top companies and investors in the UK are calling on the government to create a Covid-19 recovery plan prioritizing the environment.

The firms urges the UK government to make a Covid-19 recovery plan for the economy in line with its commitment to address the climate change crisis.

The business leaders believe that ministers should take advantage of the lockdown to promote a green economy. The signatories to the letter to the prime minister include Lloyds Bank, Asda, Siemens and Sky, as well as Mitsubishi, Signify and Yorkshire Water.

Letter to the Prime Minister

In the letter, the group made several proposals, including gearing investment toward low carbon innovation, infrastructure and industries.

The businesses also want the government to focus its support on sectors that can take care of the environment, create jobs and foster the recovery while reducing carbon emissions.

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They also want the government to ensure that the financial support it provides for bailing out firms will be well managed and in accordance to its climate goals.

In his speech on Thursday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed his commitment in principle to the so-called Green New Deal slogan “Building Back Better” for a more resilient society.

While there were talks of the Treasury planning to finance labor-intensive home insulation, and further invest in electric vehicles, the signatories urge ministers to publish detailed plans that will help the country meet the medium-term climate goals.

The letter stated: “Measures that cut greenhouse gas emissions and stimulate the economy have the potential to be more effective in supporting jobs and economic growth. They’ll also support our long-term climate goals and deliver better outcomes in other key areas of public interest, such as public health and well-being.”

“Investments in projects such as building renovation, offshore wind, electric vehicles, environmental improvements and low carbon industrial clusters have the potential to bring investment and job creation across multiple regions of the UK,” it added.

The move was organized by The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group (CLG). The group said: “Clearly the immediate focus has been on keeping the economy going and, understandably, there will need to be some urgent support measures that have not had significant ‘strings attached’.”

“But as long-term support measures are introduced, there should be measures within them to ensure that the money is going to well-managed companies supportive of the UK’s long term goals,” it explained.

Bailout with green objectives

While environmental groups have been calling for bailout funds to be awarded to companies with green objectives, the business leaders said: “While we can’t say no exceptions ever, green strings should be the rule, not the exception.”

“Airlines would be a very strong example of a sector that will likely need support but should also be doing its bit to adapt to the challenges of climate change and support the transition – as many senior leaders in the sector recognize,” they argued.

Liz Barber of Yorkshire Water said: “It doesn’t have to be a hard choice; I see lots of opportunities which would rebuild the economy at the same time as helping the vulnerable, securing the stable climate and protecting the natural environment.”

Legal & General’s Meryam Omi warned: “The government is understandably focusing on the present crisis, but they must heed the dangers of reacting too late to threats and remember one of the gravest in the world – the climate emergency.”

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