Britain's Business Chiefs Target Global Warming

Nov. 26, 2007
Plan by group is to develop new products and services that will empower households to halve their (carbon) emissions by 2020.

Britain's leading employers' body, The Confederation of British Industry, said on Nov. 26 that tackling climate change was an "urgent" priority for business, government and consumers. It placed global warming at the heart of its agenda as its annual conference began in London. The CBI includes 80% of the firms listed on London's FTSE 100 shares index

The CBI will address "urgent, concrete and measurable actions that UK business needs to take to address the risk of climate change," Martin Broughton, the group's president and British Airways chairman, said in a speech that opened the two-day conference.

On Nov. 26, the CBI published a flagship report from its climate change task force, a high-level grouping of 18 chief executives and chairmen from top British companies. Contained in the report were a series of pledges by the powerful lobby group aimed at helping companies to adopt greener practices. "Firms will have fundamentally to change their business models to meet consumers' and society's needs in an era of climate change," the task force report said. The task force comprises bosses from well-known British companies that together employ two million people. They include supermarket giant Tesco, energy majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell, and steelmaker Corus.

One key pledge was to "develop new products and services that will empower households to halve their (carbon) emissions by 2020."

Another commitment was to save an extra one million tons of carbon emissions among the employees of task force members within the next three years.

Meanwhile, the CBI has questioned the British government's ambitious targets to slash the country's carbon emissions. "The UK's carbon reduction targets for 2020 are likely to be missed but that 2050 goal, whilst stretching, can be achieved at a manageable cost -- provided a greater sense of urgency is now adopted," it said, citing analysis commissioned by consultants McKinsey.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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