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Big firms plan joint action to tackle climate change

Robin Watson

Robin Watson: ‘we need unprecedented levels of collaboration’ (pic: Terry Murden)

Some of the biggest employers in Scotland have joined forces to accelerate the transition to a net zero future.

Nine firms across a range of sectors – with combined revenues of £92 billion – aim to leverage their collective scale to generate a “meaningful business legacy” from the COP26 climate summit next month.

Energy firms Aggreko and ScottishPower are joined by drinks giant Diageo, the accountancy big four practice EY, transport company FirstGroup, Lloyds Banking Group, fund manager M&G, Scottish Water, and the oil and gas services company Wood. 

They have created the Scottish Business Climate Collaboration (SBCC) to explore best practice at corporate and employee level.

It will culminate in an SBCC “Pledge”, to be announced during COP26, when other businesses will be invited to adopt the recommended measures.

Following COP26, the group will meet on a bi-annual basis to share best practice, ensure the spirit of the SBCC Pledge is being observed and consider further ways to collaborate to work towards net zero.

The nine businesses have about 25,000 employees in Scotland and 570,000 globally. 

Ewan Andrew, chief sustainability officer at Diageo, said: “It is encouraging to see companies across Scotland taking responsibility and leadership in the race to Net Zero, but if we are to truly accelerate progress in tackling climate change we need to work together.

Robin Watson, chief executive, Wood, said: “Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing our generation. Achieving a net-zero future will require unprecedented levels of collaboration and alignment between government, investors, society and the business community.

“The SBCC offers an ideal platform for businesses in Scotland to engage in this important dialogue and to help shape some of the solutions we need.”

David Martin, interim executive chairman at FirstGroup, added: “Getting people out of cars and planes and onto buses and trains is essential to decarbonising transport and achieving net zero.”

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