Councils are taking the lead on climate change: This is how businesses should respond
Businesses need to adapt to increased council regulation and growing pressure from local communities and develop a suitable sustainability programme for strategic advantage. Over the past year, more than half of all councils in the UK have declared a climate emergency and this trend is likely to continue.
Councils declare a ‘climate emergency’
Last year, Bristol and Manchester became the first local authorities to declare a climate emergency. Since then over 200 councils have followed their stead and on May 1st the government announced to commit to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
In July 2019, the Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn called on councils to take the lead in cutting carbon and warned that climate change will not be dealt with “from above by people sitting in offices in Whitehall and Westminster alone”. Local government and local communities are vital.
Councils are vital in the fight against climate change, as they have the local knowledge and relationships with local communities to facilitate quick climate action. This is crucial as cities, responsible for 80% of UK’s carbon emissions, need to respond much faster. The pressure to act is coming from more than just the science, people are demanding action from their local councils across areas such as transport, energy, waste, and housing.
Figure 1. Timeline of council climate action from October 2018 to August 2019