New UK Net Zero Carbon Taskforce launched as Government commits to achieving net zero carbon by 2050

Coinciding with today’s commitment from the Government to achieve net zero carbon by 2050, Business in the Community has launched a Net Zero Carbon Taskforce, chaired by the CEO of Drax Group’s B2B energy supply businesses, to ensure companies across the UK can play a greater role in combatting the climate crisis.
Business in the Community is the oldest and largest business-led membership organisation dedicated to responsible business, created nearly 40 years ago by HRH The Prince of Wales to champion responsible business and mobilise the collective strength of its members as a force for good in society. 
Its new Net Zero Carbon Taskforce’s mission is to inspire and mobilise businesses to reverse the impacts of the climate crisis – the greatest threat to communities and economies globally. The taskforce’s members also include major organisations such as including Sky, Aston Martin, EDF Energy, Lloyds Banking Group, UPS, BEIS, the Environment Agency and Eco-Act, as well as Drax Group.
Jonathan Kini, CEO of Drax’s B2B energy supply businesses, Opus Energy and Haven Power, which collectively make Drax the largest supplier of renewable energy to businesses in the UK, was selected as chair of the taskforce.   
Gudrun Cartwright, Environment Director at Business in the Community, said:
“Achieving net zero carbon is a critical task if we are to avoid leaving a legacy of broken planetary life support systems. While Business in the Community endorses this target, 2050 may be too late according to current science-based predictions. UK cities are committing to earlier targets such as Glasgow’s target to achieve net zero carbon by 2045, Manchester by 2038, Edinburgh and Bristol by 2030 and Nottingham by 2028.  
“Business is also stepping up to the plate, with companies including Drax and National Grid Ventures developing what may be the world’s first net zero carbon cluster in the Humber and the Water Industry collectively setting a target for net zero by 2030.  
“As one of more than 120 organisations that wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister urging the government to legislate for a 2050 net zero economy, we fully support the UK adopting an ambitious stance to tackle climate breakdown and ask the government to act quickly.
“Business must be at the forefront of the transformation we need, bringing the innovation and entrepreneurial flair to accelerate change. Drax and the other members of our new taskforce are leading the charge and I am excited about what we can achieve together.”
Jonathan Kini, CEO of Drax Group’s B2B energy supply businesses and chair of Business in the Community’s Net Zero Carbon Taskforce said: 
“Business in the Community’s Net Zero Carbon Taskforce aims to identify the simplest, most effective actions businesses can take, to collectively have a serious impact on climate breakdown and ensure a just transition that benefits all. 
“The barriers to sustainability vary from business to business – I know from conversations with our customers that making improvements often appears unnecessarily complicated. We want to break down those barriers and make the solutions simpler to implement, so UK businesses can quickly and easily take effective steps to address the climate crisis.”  
The taskforce’s initial focus will be on developing a toolkit for business action in operations and across value chains and creating a roadmap for the business contribution to a transition to net zero. 
Notes to editors
  • Drax Group aims to enable a zero carbon, lower cost energy future and recently announced a partnership with Equinor and National Grid Ventures to explore the feasibility of developing a zero carbon hydrogen economy in the Humber region in the 2020s. Drax Power Station could be the ‘anchor’ for this, if it can scale up its innovative bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BECCS) pilot to become the world’s first negative emissions power station.   
  • Drax has also announced a new service to make it easier for businesses to switch to electric vehicles (EVs), with SES Water as its first customer. 
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About Business in the Community 
Business in the Community, part of the Prince’s Responsible Business Network, is a business-led membership organisation made up of progressive businesses of all sizes who understand that the prosperity of business and society are mutually dependent. We exist to build healthy communities with successful businesses at their heart. 
We use our Responsible Business Map to guide members on a journey of continuous improvement, working across the whole responsible business agenda. From community engagement to employment, diversity and the circular economy, we offer expert advice and specialist resources, driving best practice by convening, sharing learning and recognising great performance across our influential network.
About Drax
Drax Group’s ambition is to enable a zero carbon, lower cost energy future. Its 2,600-strong staff operate across three principal areas of activity – electricity generation, electricity sales to business customers and compressed wood pellet production.
Power generation:
Drax owns and operates a portfolio of flexible, low carbon and renewable electricity generation assets across Britain. The assets include the UK’s largest power station, based at Selby, North Yorkshire, which supplies five percent of the country’s electricity needs. 
Having converted two thirds of Drax Power Station to use sustainable biomass instead of coal it has become the UK’s biggest renewable power generator and the largest decarbonisation project in Europe. Its pumped storage, hydro and energy from waste assets in Scotland include Cruachan Power Station – a flexible pumped storage facility within the hollowed-out mountain Ben Cruachan. It also owns and operates four gas power stations in England.
B2B supply:  
Drax owns two B2B energy supply businesses:
  • Haven Power, based in Ipswich, supplies electricity and energy services to large Industrial and Commercial sector businesses.
  • Opus Energy, based in Oxford, Northampton and Cardiff, provides electricity, energy services and gas to small- and medium-sized (SME) businesses. 
Pellet production:
Drax owns and operates three pellet mills in the US South which manufacture compressed wood pellets (biomass) produced from sustainably managed working forests. These pellet mills supply around 20% of the biomass used by Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire to generate flexible, renewable power for the UK’s homes and businesses.
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