East businesses to tackle climate change

EAST of England firms will join companies from across the country at the launch of a business-led campaign for increased action on climate change.A thousand of the country's businesses, including 150 from the region, will come together to create a single action plan at HRH The Prince of Wales' May Day Business Summit on Climate Change, which takes place next Tuesday as nine English regions and the UK's three devolved nations link in to a national debate linking by satellite from St James Palace.

EAST of England firms will join companies from across the country at the launch of a business-led campaign for increased action on climate change.

A thousand of the country's businesses, including 150 from the region, will come together to create a single action plan at HRH The Prince of Wales' May Day Business Summit on Climate Change, which takes place next Tuesday as nine English regions and the UK's three devolved nations link in to a national debate linking by satellite from St James Palace.

Locally, the East of England Development Agency, Norwich Union and Anglian Water Group will sponsor the east of England event, which takes place at Ford's Dunton technical centre at Basildon in Essex.

East of England companies attending will be asked to make firm commitments on what they will do to tackle their contributions to climate change. Those already working on and developing carbon reduction strategies will be encouraged to do more and share their knowledge with other businesses. Companies will be offered ongoing support to achieve their aims by Business in the Community, the Carbon Trust and other specialist support organisations.


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Mike Brophy, regional director for Business in the Community East of England, said businesses needed to act together on the issue.

“In many ways, business has been at the forefront of the efforts to tackle climate change,” he said.

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“But the issue is so serious that we need more than the efforts of individual companies and the personal commitment of individual business leaders. The summit will provide a focus for collective business action on climate change - harnessing the power of business to change their operating practices and use their positive influence with their suppliers and customers.”

Anglian Water chief executive Jonson Cox said: “As a water company in the driest and lowest-lying part of the country, Anglian Water is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. That is why we are treating this issue very seriously and putting climate change at the centre of our long-term planning.”

Tom Delay, chief executive of the Carbon Trust, said the event was “major step” in driving action.

“If the UK is to become a global leader on climate change and set a tangible example for others to follow, we need to work closely with and support businesses of all sizes,” he said.

“We need to communicate to them that the cost of inaction will vastly outweigh that of action, but that from action and developing appropriate solutions, new markets and commercial opportunities will emerge.

“The May Day Summit will be a major step in engaging leaders from across all business sectors and companies of all sizes, to build commitments to action and really drive the move to a low carbon economy.”

EEDA chair Richard Ellis argued that if the east of England is to continue to be a leading, globally-competitive region, “we need to be an exemplar regionally, and a leader internationally, in addressing the challenges and realising the opportunities of climate change”.

The East of England Development Agency strongly believes that addressing climate change as a long term strategy does not restrict the aspirations for growth in our regions, but is part of underpinning economic growth - both as a driver of performance and as an opportunity for market development,” he said.

Norwich Union Insurance chief executive Simon Machell said it was “reassuring” the issue was indelibly on the agenda for so many companies, and hoped the summit would bring about direct, positive and practical actions.

Jonathon Porritt, co-director of the Prince of Wales' Business and the Environment Programme said it was a win: win agenda.

“A number of progressive companies here in the UK have taken a lead on managing their carbon footprint, but we urgently need to spread that good practice across the business community as a whole,” he said.

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