Local solutions are key to global action

By Colin Macpherson | 16 September 2020

The climate emergency is real. It is a threat that cannot be ignored, and the COVID-19 pandemic has served as a pertinent reminder that individual contributions play a wider role in future outcomes; and that every small act – good or bad – plays it part.

Our transition to a zero-carbon future has started; with many individuals and organisations contributing to the journey – even more so through lockdown. Many are, however, still to play their part in addressing the ‘emergency’; so how do we get others to buy into and retain new behaviours? Ultimately, we need targets that are clearly aligned with local authority climate emergency action plans, with national policy supporting regional commitments.

Our own research concluded that around 70% of local authorities have declared a climate emergency, but only 31% of them have detailed climate emergency action plans (or similar) in place. Sadly, almost half of local authorities in England don’t know their carbon footprint; and 43% do not measure all energy use in relation to their built assets. This suggests that while a state of emergency has been headlined, many local authorities have yet to implement the changes and behaviours needed.

ENGIE is proactively seeking out and supporting local authority clients – particularly those who have a clear climate change commitment, assertive leadership and adequate resources to deliver their plans. Our work covers the full spectrum of advisory services through to project delivery and guaranteed carbon outcomes. We are uniquely positioned in a variety of sectors to help our local authority partners: building homes, schools and communities; supplying sustainable renewable energy across the country and delivering key facilities management services to many public sector organisations.

We are continuing to develop innovative products and solutions that will deliver tangible value – social, economic and environmental. Our ambition to make zero-carbon happen is built upon four key objectives and the need for clean growth:

• Reduce client consumption of carbon through innovative energy and services solutions;

• Produce green energy through investment in decarbonised and decentralised infrastructure;

• Enable progress through technology, data and innovative partnerships; and

• Continue to shape the future of responsible business.

ENGIE is supporting several local authorities in accessing central government funding routes to address interventions on climate change. These include the £2bn Green Homes Grant and the anticipated Public Sector Decarbonisation Fund.

The recovery will look different by region and only a locally coordinated response will be effective. Success will depend on the collaboration of all community stakeholders and external partners and, above all, the continued civic leadership of local authorities.

The drive at a local level will spearhead national results so it’s imperative that we support our local authorities to navigate the path to zero carbon.

Colin Macpherson is divisional CEO at ENGIE UK

For further information on ENGIE, visit the website www.engie.co.uk/places

Twitter: @ENGIE_Places_UK

LinkedIn: ENGIE UK Places and Communities

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