The department has announced commitments to reach net-zero emissions by 2040 and to cut its business travel emissions by 50 per cent
HMRC is renowned for taking deadlines seriously, and now the UK's national tax and customs office is bringing its exacting standards to the fight against climate change with the unveiling of an ambitious goal to reach net zero emissions by 2040 - 10 years ahead of the government's UK-wide deadline.
Alongside the new target, the department has announced a new two-phase plan to guide its contribution to the net zero transition. Phase one will focus on slashing internal emissions by drawing on data and technology to tackle emissions travel, energy use, and buildings, it said, driving progress towards the 2040 goal.
Phase two will then see the department work to support the net zero transition more broadly, deploying both its environmental tax policy expertise and its corporate sustainability team to support wider efforts to decarbonise the UK economy.
The department also committed to reducing its business travel emissions by 50 per cent, catalysed in part by the coronavirus lockdown, which saw its business mileage decrease by 93 per cent while audio and video calls soared by 400 per cent.
"HMRC is taking a proactive stance, not wanting to be dragged into Net Zero, as we know that it will likely cost more to be a laggard," Alex Hilton, head of sustainability at HMRC, told BusinessGreen. "Around one in every 1,000 of the UK population works for HMRC, and we have many millions are customers, and as such we are committed to being a driving force for good in our communities around the UK as we recover from COVID-19 and build back better."
The new target is the latest in a string of net zero announcements in recent weeks, as companies and public bodies start to unveil new emissions goals and climate strategies that would have been debuted in the run up to the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow had it not been delayed as a result of the coronavirus crisis. This week alone has seen major new climate goals and green investment programmes announced by Unilever, Boston Consulting Group, Timberland, and Velux, to name but a few.
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