Glasgow business community takes centre stage in push for Net-Zero transition

Alison McRae, Senior Director at Glasgow Chamber of Commerce and member of the BCC Green Innovation Challenge Group

THE GLASGOW business community took centre stage in driving the UK’s transition to a net-zero future while launching a groundbreaking report from the British Chambers of Commerce.  

The ‘Green Innovation Challenge’ advocates for a holistic approach to the country’s net-zero journey, leveraging the insights and expertise of businesses, academia, and think tanks nationwide. 

Unveiled on 31 January at the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) during an event hosted by Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, the report puts forth a set of comprehensive proposals for policymakers. These include establishing a new public body dedicated to overseeing the implementation of core climate policies and a reinforcement of resources for the independent Climate Change Committee. 

Additionally, the report calls for a robust Green Industrial Strategy from the Government, a sustained cross-sector commitment to green jobs by policymakers and expedited governmental actions on financing the transition to net-zero through the tax system. 

Martha Lane Fox, President of the British Chambers of Commerce and Chair of the Business Council, said: “One of the most pressing challenges for all business is the transition to a green and sustainable future. We will have no habitable planet if we don’t encourage rapid and effective actions.  

“Our report outlines clear and realistic recommendations to accelerate the UK’s transition to net-zero. A robust strategy focused on delivery across the economy must be underpinned by clear and consistent messaging from Government.   

“This is just the start of our Business Council work. We look forward to publishing our other key challenge reports in the coming weeks. In the busy political year ahead, our recommendations will provide a crucial blueprint to help build the future of the economy.”  

Alison McRae, Senior Director at Glasgow Chamber of Commerce and member of the BCC Green Innovation Challenge Group, emphasised the significance of launching the report in Glasgow, stating: “Innovation will continue to be at the core of the city region’s ambitions, both through the work of our network of Innovation Districts, our UKGOVT Innovation Accelerator Status and of course the ongoing work our businesses – and particularly our SME community – are doing to unlock the innovative solutions we need to see to realise our climate targets. 

“As the host of COP26, this city has consistently been championing green innovation and circular economy, and we, at Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, have been at the forefront of advocating for the right economic and policy conditions to empower businesses to accelerate and scale action supporting the move to net-zero.” 

The Green Innovation report provides a comprehensive overview of the challenges and opportunities faced by businesses, as well as the necessary support required to attain net-zero objectives. It has been launched ahead of Congress of Business  (COB) on the 14th May, which will be part of Glasgow Climate Week alongside All Energy the UK’s largest renewable energy conference. 

Led by Glasgow Chamber of Commerce in partnership with British Chambers of Commerce and the University of Glasgow, COB aims to bring meaningful, real terms change by converting sustainability strategies into actionable results for businesses and cities building on the Glasgow Climate Pacts.  

Alison McRae said: “As we approach COB, this report provides a perfect overview of the challenges and opportunities business face – both in Glasgow and across the UK – and what support is still needed to achieve our ultimate objectives. 

“Glasgow Chamber of Commerce has a long running commitment to supporting and enabling actions to tackle climate change through its Climate Chamber initiatives.  

“This includes Circular Glasgow, which offers support with designing and adopting circular business models, and My Climate Path, a COP 26 legacy programme that enables young people to develop the skills required to enter the green and circular jobs of the future.” 

Glasgow Chamber of Commerce also delivers Step Up to Net Zero, a Glasgow City Council and UK SPF funded programme, that supports SMEs in their efforts to reach net zero through six-month work placements who will help organisations take action towards net zero and circular goals.  

It additionally led a trade delegation from Glasgow to Dubai’s Expo site for COP28 at the end of 2023, supporting the Glasgow business community to have their voices heard on sustainability challenges at a global level and supporting the case for city investments. 

Access the full report here.  

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