Glasgow Climate Pact: Business

Cop26 – in the House of Commons on 15th June 2022.

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Photo of James Sunderland James Sunderland Chair, Select Committee on the Armed Forces Bill, Chair, Select Committee on the Armed Forces Bill

What assessment he has made of the role of businesses in implementing the Glasgow climate pact.

Photo of Alok Sharma Alok Sharma Minister without Portfolio , COP26 President (Cabinet Office)

COP26 was one of the first such summits where the corporate sector’s presence and commitments were significant. Over 7,000 international businesses have now signed up to the UN Race to Zero campaign, which commits them to reaching net zero by 2050 at the latest. The private sector will of course be critical to helping deliver on the commitments in the Glasgow climate pact.

Photo of James Sunderland James Sunderland Chair, Select Committee on the Armed Forces Bill, Chair, Select Committee on the Armed Forces Bill

My constituency of Bracknell is blessed with several businesses of 10 employers or fewer. How might they be helped and persuaded towards climate neutrality when key decisions may not be in their immediate economic interest?

Photo of Alok Sharma Alok Sharma Minister without Portfolio , COP26 President (Cabinet Office)

In fact, there are many businesses, both large and small, that are committing to cut emissions, because they have understood that it is good for their bottom line and actually gives them a competitive advantage with clients and customers. I refer my hon. Friend to the UK business climate hub, which is championed by the Government and climate groups. Over 3,000 UK small and medium-sized enterprises have already signed up. I am sure that, if small businesses in Bracknell look at the website, they will understand the positive impact of making a climate commitment.

Photo of Deidre Brock Deidre Brock Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Wales), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

The COP26 President will be aware of concerns raised about aspects of biomass, so how does he intend to ensure that carbon emissions from this sector and businesses such as wood-burning power stations are reflected in the reformed UK emissions trading system? How does he think the COP commitment to protect the world’s forests aligns with existing UK Government policies for burning imported wood and the considerable UK Government subsidies given to this industry?

Photo of Alok Sharma Alok Sharma Minister without Portfolio , COP26 President (Cabinet Office)

There are quite a lot of questions there in one. We have a very clear commitment, not only in our legal framework but in the net zero strategy, which sets out how we will decarbonise through different sectors of the economy. The hon. Member mentioned forests, and she will know that at COP26 over 140 countries representing more than 90% of forests made a commitment to reverse deforestation by 2030. I have just returned from Stockholm, where I and other UK Ministers held a meeting to discuss how we can push forward those commitments. They are not just written down; we are actually seeing progress.