Green GB Week: pressure is mounting on supply chains

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The excruciating negotiations over a Brexit deal seem to have eclipsed the fact that this is “Green GB Week” – a government led celebration of clean growth (according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy).

The department describes it as: “A diverse range of businesses, civil society groups and government will join forces to tell the story of clean growth and how acting to tackle climate change is a shared endeavour.”

Malory Davies FCILT, Editor.

Malory Davies FCILT, Editor.

And there have been initiatives in support of this.

Lidl has committed to sourcing soy from sustainable, deforestation-free sources, and to working with all its UK suppliers to achieve physically traceable, sustainable, zero-deforestation soy in the long term.

And in another initiative, John Lewis has decided to switch all its heavy delivery trucks to bio-methane by 2028, which it says will cut carbon emissions by 80 per cent.

The move means rolling out more than 500 new trucks across the John Lewis and Waitrose fleets – they already have 61 bio-methane trucks.

Claire Perry, minister for energy and clean growth, said: “I’m delighted to see how many more businesses and organisations such as John Lewis and Lidl are seizing this multi-billion pound opportunity to energise their communities to tackle the very serious threat of climate change.”

Clearly, these are both praiseworthy initiatives, but problems remain.

For example, London is planning to introduce an ultra low emission zone from next April, but, according to a study by CitySprint, half of small and medium sized businesses have done nothing to prepare for it, and 45 per cent of them don’t think the government is doing enough to support them.

And, following last week’s warning from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that global warming targets are going to be missed, the UK government is seeking advice on whether it should raise its 2050 target for cutting emissions by at least 80 per cent.

If, as seems likely, the answer is “yes”, it could significantly increase the pressure on companies to green their supply chains much faster than they are currently planning.

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