COP26 outcomes for businesses

Author - Marianne O'Sullivan

Date published:

Final agreement

The Glasgow Climate Pact agreed to phase down coal, how each country applies this in their approach to fossil fuels will be critical. The final agreement also requests countries to deliver updated national plans- known as nationally determined contributions- with more ambitious pledges by the end of next year.

This is the first time an agreement has explicitly planned to reduce coal, however there are still issues around how these agreements will be taken forwards by different countries and how countries such as the UK provide finance to help developing countries most impacted by global warming adapt and mitigate changes.

This has implications for the how the UK generates energy in the future and how quick to move away from investment in fossil fuels.

Finance

It was agreed at COP26 that UK financial institutions and companies with shares listed on the London Stock Exchange must come up with net-zero transition plans, which will be published from 2023.

The strategies will need to include targets to emissions, and steps which firms intend to take to get there.

A taskforce made up of industry leaders, academics, regulators and civil society groups will set standards and assess the plans.

Whilst this is currently only for larger firms in the future we may see this requires for other businesses as well. Making sure businesses are able to act now on creating their plans will mean that they are ahead of potential future legislation.

Cars

Twenty-four countries  including the UK and a group of leading car manufacturers have committed to ending the era of fossil-fuel powered vehicles by 2040 “or earlier”, the UK, which has already agreed to phase out new petrol and diesel car sales by 2030.

The North East with key companies such as Nissan and Britishvolt has the potential to play a crucial role in creating electric vehicles. With other countries also looking a move away from fossil-fuel powered cars this presents future export opportunities for North East based firms

Energy

At COP26 the UK launched the Glasgow breakthrough agenda which is an international plan to deliver clean and affordable technology everywhere by 2030.

Over 40 world leaders have backed and signed up to the new Breakthrough Agenda, including the US, India, EU, China, developing economies and some of the countries most vulnerable to climate change – representing more than 70% of the world’s economy and every region.

The agreement covers areas such as power, hydrogen, zero emission vehicles and sustainable agriculture.

With the North East leading innovation in areas such as hydrogen, clean energy and zero emission vehicles this presents opportunities for businesses to further develop and export new technologies.

Deforestation

The Governments of 28 countries including the UK also committed to remove deforestation from the global trade of food and other agricultural products such as palm oil, soya and cocoa. Large financial companies also promised to end investment in  activities linked to deforestation. This will have implications for businesses in the food sector 

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