As the Committee on Climate Change prepares to make its recommendations to Government on the UK's long-term climate targets, Centrica's Group Head of Environment, James Rushen, explains the steps that the company is taking to progress sustainability across its operations and with its customers
As a leading energy and services company, we want to continue to play a meaningful role in tackling climate change and supporting national and international carbon reduction targets.
This week we have published our Responsible Business Ambitions, outlining a series of long-term goals that will accelerate our efforts to drive forward sustainability across the Centrica Group and for our customers.
Our Ambitions support the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals and aim to tackle some of the most challenging issues facing the environment and wider society, focussing on the role we can play in shaping the energy transition, helping our customers to use energy more sustainably, decarbonising the energy system and reducing our own emissions.
In an atmosphere of increasing environmental awareness and urgency, it is only right that some of our most challenging goals focus on climate change.
What that means in practice is clear goals for tackling climate change up to 2030, aligned to the Paris Agreement, which aims to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2C and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5C.
We've already come a long way in this space and now produce over 80 per cent less carbon than we did a decade ago through shifting our focus away from being a traditional utility with centralised power stations and oil and gas production to become an energy and services company that is placing the customer at its core.
We have now committed to reduce Centrica's internal emissions by a further 35 per cent in the 10 years to 2025 and, by 2030, demonstrate that we remain on track with Paris and develop a path to net zero by 2050.
But our ambitions extend beyond our own emissions. To help decarbonise the wider energy system, we aim to deliver 7GW of flexible and low carbon technologies globally - equivalent to over 10 per cent of the UK's current peak electricity requirements. Solar power and battery storage are just two of the technologies we expect to roll out to our customers as part of this, quite literally giving them the power to generate and store their own energy while supporting the wider transition to a low carbon future.
We're entering a new phase in Centrica where we must innovate to facilitate and harness our customers' ability to change, so we have also committed to helping customers reduce their emissions by 25 per cent, directly contributing three per cent via new products and services, which is equivalent to the annual emissions of 2.5 million UK homes. In addition, Centrica's actions will further reduce customer emissions indirectly through decarbonising the wider energy system and using our expertise to influence policy and establish the conditions required for decarbonisation.
For more details about Centrica's Responsible Business Ambitions and how we're working to find ways to help our customers use energy more sustainably, decarbonise the energy system and reduce our own emissions, go to www.centrica.com/Ambition2030.
James Rushen is group head of environment at Centrica.