Make climate and nature goals central to economic policy and regulation, WWF and Aviva say

Woods UK

The Government must produce an economy-wide plan to transition to net zero, a paper published by WWF and Aviva says.

Ahead of the Queen’s Speech (10 May), WWF and Aviva have published a new paper, ‘Delivering the UK’s Net Zero Transition’, that they say maps out the steps the Government “must take to help businesses and the public sector tackle the climate and nature crises”.

The 2 organisations argue that a clear net-zero objective is needed in the regulatory framework being developed for the financial sector. The paper also sets out that the Government should adopt its own transition planning process, to align public spending and policy with net zero.

From 2023, large companies will be legally required to publish plans on how they will cut their climate emissions to net zero by 2050.

In the report, WWF and Aviva argue that delivering net zero cannot just be about setting businesses a target as a whole economy approach is required, with the Government setting the direction, and also introducing its own transition planning process, aligning public spending and policy with net zero.

WWF’s CEO, Tanya Steele, said: “WWF and Aviva share the same view – that the world still has time to avoid the worst impacts of a climate catastrophe, but only if all of us, especially governments and businesses, take immediate action.

“Shaping our net-zero future will create jobs and protect and restore the environment but for that to happen the forthcoming Green Finance Strategy must include a coherent transition plan for the whole of the UK economy.”

The paper argues transition plans must include measures to protect and restore nature for net-zero goals to be achieved.

The report’s recommendations include putting net-zero transition planning as a focus of government policymaking, not only a task for the private sector, ensuring that the private sector’s net-zero transition plans must be “consistent, credible, and ambitious”, and integrating nature into corporate, finance sector and Government net zero transition planning.

The WWF and Aviva say that these changes will help the Chancellor achieve his ambition to make the UK the world’s first net-zero financial centre which he announced at the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow. With the imminent update of the Green Finance Strategy, the 2 organisations argue this presents an opportunity for the Government to develop and establish a whole economy approach to transition planning.

Aviva Group CEO, Amanda Blanc, said: “Everyone in the UK will be touched by the climate crisis, so all of us depend on shifting the economy to net zero as soon as possible. Preventing the worst impacts of climate change will take all businesses developing ambitious, consistent transition plans to get us to a low carbon future.

“But that can’t happen in isolation – a whole of economy approach to transition is needed, with the Government setting the direction. Our joint report with WWF sets out some concrete steps for how to achieve this.”

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