PwC UK and Business in the Community: driving climate action

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PwC UK reflect on a climate action roundtable held to discuss how companies can be part of a fair and inclusive transition to a resilient, net-zero economy.

As a member of Business in the Community (BITC), PwC UK works collaboratively to share experience, skills, and resources to support responsible business action across the UK. Just before COP26, leaders from PwC’s London and South East offices hosted a climate action roundtable with BITC.

The roundtable was designed to stimulate thinking and forge new collaborations that can drive a fair and inclusive transition to a resilient, net-zero economy. The event was attended by Chris Reeve, London Chairman at PwC and Chair of BITC’s London Leadership Board, and Keith Harrington, Regional Chair, South East at PwC who sits on BITC’s South East Leadership Board. Bringing together 58 business leaders, the roundtable outlined ideas for the future of collaborative climate action in each region. It also reflected on emerging themes that will be particularly pertinent for businesses seeking to be part of the solution.

  • While businesses are increasingly defining science-based targets for Scope 1 and 2 emissions, Scope 3 emissions, those encompassing a range of operational, supply chain and investment activities and beyond direct energy and electricity use, will be the biggest issue for most companies. Without incorporating these there will be huge gaps.
  • Influencing individual and collective behaviours is another key theme, recognising there are many stakeholders involved in delivering a fair and inclusive transition to a resilient, net-zero future. Business and community leaders can empower, educate and offer support to drive tangible benefits in places. Working in partnership to help smaller businesses build and set net-zero targets and identify opportunities for new products and services are important roles for big companies.
  • The rising importance of environmental social and governance (ESG) measurement and accreditation, particularly for investors, will increasingly drive action to tackle the climate crisis in ways that create positive outcomes for society. Getting ahead of this curve will be an important differentiator of future business success.

Chris Reeve, London Regional Chair at PwC UK shared his reflections:

“The climate action event was a great example of the opportunity for peer learning around the key themes of engaging supply chains, empowering employees, innovation and climate resilience. We should continue to work together to move as a network from sharing to delivering.”

Keith Harrington, South East Regional Leader at PwC UK said:

“The climate action roundtable was a fantastic event that brought together a number of different business leaders to discuss the opportunities and challenges of netzero targets and ensuring a just and inclusive transition. The discussions really highlighted the importance for businesses to collaborate going forward, ensuring we share lessons and opportunities with each other and understand the wider influence that we can have on our clients, suppliers and customers.”

The time for climate action is now

The overwhelming message from COP26 is that the time for words is over. Actions must come thick and fast. BITC’s research with YouGov shows that this applies to business as much as governments. So, our mission is to help companies be part of a fair and inclusive transition to a resilient, net-zero economy where people and nature can thrive.

Collaborative action in places will be critical, driven by leadership, from PwC UK and others through our UK-wide Leadership Boards. We must rapidly turn promises into demonstrable impact in months and years. Not decades. Or we risk losing public trust forever.

Following COP26, BITC is bringing together leaders from across sectors in all areas of the UK to start work on delivering a just transition to a resilient, net-zero future where people and nature can thrive.

Join us at our free online event, What next after COP26? Time to Deliver a Just Transition, on Tuesday 25 January, 09:00 – 12:00 to learn more about public perceptions and concerns, and consider how your business can be part of delivering a just transition through products, services, operations, and within the communities you serve.