The start of 2020 was optimistic. The economy was attempting to be more environmentally friendly and big brands were curbing their carbon footprint. Global companies were aiming to reduce their plastic consumption and non-plastic alternatives were gaining traction. However, with the emergence of Covid-19, plastic use is rocketing. Hand dispensers, disposable PPE (personal protective equipment) necessitate the use of plastic.
Environmentally Friendly Economy
Over 200 top firms in the UK are calling the government to take action with an environmentally friendly Covid-19 recovery plan. They have requested that this be the priority and that for too long combating climate change has been a choice and not a necessity. The initiative has been coordinated by the Corporate Leaders Group (CLG), supported by The Prince of Wales. Companies seem to be taking their social responsibility seriously and aiming to take more action against climate change. In turn, they are pushing the government to do the same. They have proposed that this lockdown period should be the starting point for a “green economy”.
In the letter, companies are urging the government to prioritse environmentally friendly solutions to recover from Covid-19. Lloyds, Sky, Asda and Siemens are some of the firms amongst the signatories. Amongst some of the proposed ideas they include investment in low carbon including innovative solutions and infrastructure. They also suggest prioritising and focusing on sectors which support the environment. They state that firms receiving bailout cash and support should be well managed with clear actionable climate goals. The idea behind this is two-fold; boost the economy by creating employment and job opportunities whilst simultaneously reducing the carbonisation of the economy.
Last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a commitment to build a more resilient economy. It is postulated that the Treasury will be putting money towards electric vehicles and home insulation solutions.
The signatories of the letter are pushing government officials to get back on track with their climate goals. The firms who have signed include big names such as Yorkshire Water and Mitsubishi. The letter comes with the hope that these multinational and large-scale national companies have the influence to push the government to achieve these goals.
A New Job Market
One of the goals of this initiative is to support the struggling economy as we come out of a global crisis. The job market has taken an irrevocable hit and will be suffering for years to come. However, by focusing on environmentally friendly solutions and investing in these companies, this in turn will create new jobs.
The letter takes away the assumption that we should only focus on recuperating the economy on a financial level. These business leaders are proposing a win-win solution, simultaneously supporting economic growth and healing the environment. They claim in their letter that “measures that cut greenhouse gas emissions and stimulate the economy have the potential to be more effective in supporting jobs and economic growth”. On a more long-term level, they want to improve public health and wellbeing. They propose focusing investment in sustainable energy (such as offshore wind plants). They also specify electric vehicles and low carbon industries.