Chancellor at COP26

Sunak to order big firms to disclose green plans


Rishi Sunak will outline his plans in Glasgow

Britain’s biggest firms will be forced to set out their green transition plans under an initiative to be outlined at the COP26 summit today by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

The government wants to redirect investment away from carbon-intensive sectors such as coal and oil towards green initiatives, including electric car batteries and hydrogen fuel.

Companies on the stock market will have to set out their goals and will be assessed annually against their published plans.

Those who fail to make enough progress, or whose plans are deemed too weak, could face sanctions including fines or even removal from the stock exchange.

The Treasury said the plan would make the City “the world’s first net zero-aligned financial centre”.

However, Mr Sunak’s plans have already stirred some resistance from those who feel firms could still find ways to sidestep their obligations, such as moving their head offices overseas or leaving the stock exchange. 

If the plans are too draconian there are fears they could harm the City of London’s standing as an investment capital.

BP, Shell and mining giants Rio Tinto and Glencore are among those listed in London.

The CBI cautiously welcomed the plan, saying that business was already ‘upping its game’. But the employers’ group warned it was vital ministers work with colleagues abroad to produce ‘globally consistent’ rules to prevent British-based firms being penalised.

Mr Sunak will unveil his plans today at the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow. A deal with 450 of the world’s biggest banks, pension funds and insurance firms will see almost £100 billion worth of assets begin to ‘transition’ to lower carbon sectors.

At present, firms are under no obligation to go green. A recent assessment found that barely half of all companies on the FTSE 100 have so far made any commitment to move to net zero.

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