Laying out a path to net zero

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Nick Baird, group director of corporate affairs at Centrica, outlines the company's role as an enabler for net zero

Reducing carbon emissions is not a choice. We, like all businesses, need to continue to prioritise climate action at the heart of our business strategy and embrace the opportunity to drive innovation, increase competitiveness, enhance risk management and stimulate growth.

In my role as chair of the International Chambers of Commerce UK Energy and Environment Committee, I was delighted to be part of the conversation at the COP25 talks in Madrid on the role Centrica, and all businesses must play in taking action.

The energy sector must lead the way, driving down emissions associated with its operation and, just as importantly, acting as an enabler to our customers, helping them to reduce their carbon footprint. We know there is still a long way to go, we are still reliant on fossil fuels, but the production and use of renewable energy is increasing with nearly 40 per cent of generation coming from wind power, at its peak.

The conversations last week were focused on how we are doing this and shifting the dial to empower our customers to make the transition to lower carbon, through smart grids, demand side response technologies and EV charging, to name a few.

With the energy sector at the forefront of the need to respond, it is an exciting time for our business, but also a challenging one. As a leading energy and services business, we aim to play a meaningful role in tackling climate change, both as an enabler but also by being on the cutting edge of innovation and change.

Our Responsible Business Ambitions lay the foundation of our commitment to meet the expectations of the Paris Agreement and to develop our path to achieve net zero by 2050.

An ongoing conversation

The conversation doesn't end in Madrid and next year, with Glasgow hosting COP26, it will be a pivotal moment where countries must unite to agree upon the vision for the next decade and the plans to deliver it.

Hosting COP26 will provide the UK with a platform to maximise the opportunities of the global shift to clean growth and showcase to the world the best of the UK and our ambitions for a net zero economy. Centrica is very much a part of this and as an enabler from big business to individual consumers, we are very much a part of tackling the issues head on.

Nick Baird is group director of corporate affairs at Centrica

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