United Kingdom: A Climate Look Past and Forward

Looking Back 2022:  Climate Action Summit

Looking Forward 2023: Proposed Local Government and Regional Council Summit

The Climate Action Summit 2022 organized by the UN Global Compact Network UK was one of the most important climate events in the United Kingdom in 2022. The summit, with the main theme of “Delivering a Net Zero Future,” took place on October 12-13, 2022. This two-day hybrid event brought together business, government, and civil society leaders to demonstrate effective solutions for achieving net zero. The Summit focused on two interlinked themes – Nature-based  (NbS) and Circularity – that contribute to company mitigation strategies and the achievement of science-based emissions targets while building overall business resilience, and broader environmental and societal resilience.

The event was significant because it focused on two critical topics: Nature-based Solutions and Circular Economy, both of which are mitigative and adaptive climate change measures. Nature-based Solutions and a circular economy model provide comprehensive and practical principles that can reduce climate and environmental risks, foster business resiliency, and accelerate companies’ progress toward net zero emissions across their value chain. While these ideas are not new, they are emerging in the business world as critical drivers for restoring and protecting biodiversity, ensuring climate justice, and developing a truly sustainable economy.

The Summit sessions were aimed at answering the following questions:

  1. How can Nature-based Solutions and the Circular Economy facilitate the transition to net zero, and how can businesses implement them?
  2. How does circularity promote the conservation and regeneration of nature?
  3. How can these concepts be used to mitigate climate-related risks and ensure business resilience?
  4. How can businesses go beyond requirements to foster greater societal benefits?
  5. How can finance be mobilized to scale and support these solutions?

The UK government’s ‘Ten Points Plan’ to lead a “Green Industrial Revolution” aims to mobilize £42 billion in private investment by 2030, with the goal of reducing UK emissions by 180 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent between 2023 and 2032. In my opinion, this summit, particularly the discussion about the circular economy, could have been a boost and a way to achieve the ambitious “green revolution” mentioned in the country’s Ten Point Plan. However, due to political turmoil in the United Kingdom in 2022, climate change and the discussion surrounding it suffered a setback. This summit’s output is also skeptical, as there are no detailed reports or news about the event’s outcome. Some of the speakers and organizations involved in this event are,

Name Designation Organisation
Sanda Ojiambo Assistant Secretary-General and Chief Executive Officer United Nations Global Compact
Dr. Márcia Balisciano Chief Sustainability Officer, Global Head of ESG and Corporate Responsibility RELX
Neliswa Hare Race to Resilience Business Engagement Lead COP27 UNFCCC Climate Champions Team
Sean Lockie Climate and Sustainability Services Director UKIMEA Arup
John Atkinson

David Saddington

Associate Director: Environmental Protection

Head of International Nature Campaign COP26


Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

Jessica Smith Nature Lead UNEP Finance Initiative

More organizations involved were London Wildlife Trust, Federated Hermes, NatWest Group, WRAP, Chatham House, Nature-Based Solutions Initiatives, Aviva Investors etc.

In my opinion, a climate event that should take place in the United Kingdom in 2023 is a summit of all the local governments-Tier two/county councils along with representatives of the central government. The agenda of this event should be the practically achievable net-zero goals, with the central government providing a pathway or at the very least, a structural guide on how to achieve their net-zero goals so that the entire country eventually reaches net-zero. The summit should also provide a forum for all local governments to discuss with central government representatives their regional emission-related issues, their ability or inability to overcome them, and inquire about and propose resource availability. This event will motivate local governments while also providing them with suggestions and directions based on discussions with other local governments and the central government about their challenges in achieving net-zero goals. The forum will also provide an opportunity to discuss funding possibilities.

Besides, the Tier Two authorities and central government representatives, the event should be open to relevant national organizations like the National Farmers Union, service providers (such as water and energy providers), and potential investors of renewable energy or services to get their perspective as well.

This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard United Kingdom Country Manager Prastuti Saikia


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