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SocEnv Supports New ‘Pledge to Net Zero’ Initiative

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The Society for the Environment (SocEnv) is proud to be among the leaders of a new initiative ‘Pledge to Net Zero’. The pledge gives industry organisations and private businesses the platform to lead the way and commit to achieving science-based targets to meet UK’s 2050 net zero greenhouse gas emissions target.

‘Pledge to Net Zero’ is the first industry commitment in the UK requiring science-based targets from its signatories to tackle carbon emissions within their organisations.

The pledge aims to support the UK’s net zero greenhouse gas targets in line with the Paris Climate Agreement 2015, which set a global goal to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

The commitment, aimed at organisations working within the environmental services sector, comes at a time where more than four-fifths of the world’s largest companies are unlikely to meet the targets set out in the Paris Climate Agreement to limit rising temperatures to 1.5⁰C of pre-industrialised levels by the middle of the century.

The initiative is led by SocEnv alongside the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE), the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) and the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC), together with leading environmental consultancies WSP and AECOM, seeks to make the sector a leader for taking action on climate change.

All signatories are committing to the pledge below, which is separated into three different elements:

  1. Set and commit to deliver a greenhouse gas target in line with either a 1.5°C or well below 2°C climate change scenario – covering buildings and travel as a minimum.
  2. Publicly report greenhouse gas emissions and progress against this target each year
  3. Publish one piece of research or thought-leadership piece each year on practical steps to deliver a net zero greenhouse gas economy. Alternatively, signatories may choose to provide mentoring and support for smaller signatory companies in setting targets, reporting and meeting the requirements of the pledge.

 

Giving their reaction to this initiative launch, members of the Society’s Board welcomed the announcement:

 Professor Will Pope HonFSE CEnv, Chair of the Society for the Environment said:

”Harnessing the expertise and leadership credentials of environmental professionals is at the heart of everything the Society stands for – as we know that their knowledge, competence and enthusiasm is crucial to ensuring we are able to respond to the Climate Emergency in front of us. As such, we are delighted to be involved in an initiative which sees the environmental services sector take a strong leadership role and commit to reducing the greenhouse gas emissions within their organisations.

We know that many organisations are keen to reduce their environmental impact but don’t necessarily know how to go about realising the ambition, which is why knowledge and good practice sharing is at the heart of the pledge, with organisations required to publish one research or thought-leadership piece each year or provide mentoring and support to help organisations achieve net zero. Initiatives like this one are needed to set the standard and demonstrate just what we can all achieve.”

 

Kirsten Rottcher CEnv, SocEnv Board member and Consultant at RottcherKonsult:

“Pledge to Net Zero turns a theoretical aim into concrete action, committing signatories from the environmental services sector and beyond to take a leadership role in the transition to a net zero carbon economy. As environmental service professionals we need to walk the talk as we can only ask of others what we are willing to do ourselves. As such we all need to face some hard truths.

Change is possible: we simply have to want to make it happen, act accordingly and inspire others to join the same path.”

 

Martin Baxter CEnv, SocEnv Board member and Chief Policy Advisor at the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA):

“The transition to net zero carbon emissions is the defining challenge of our time.  We are fully supportive of the environmental services sector pledging science-based emissions reductions which align with the urgency of addressing the climate and environmental emergency. The science of climate change is clear and it is vital that all organisations take steps to rapidly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The environmental services sector will be crucial in enabling organisations from all other sectors to make the transition to a net-zero economy – we fully support their leadership in supporting this pledge to demonstrate how it can be done”.

 

Dr Colin Church CEnv, SocEnv Board member and CEO of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3):

“Moving to a low-carbon, resource efficient society is essential for our future, a transition that needs to be made by everyone in big and small ways. As professional scientific and engineering bodies and learned societies working in the environmental services sector, by signing up the Pledge to Net Zero the member organisations of the Society for the Environment can demonstrate the will to act and the benefits of doing so.”

To find out more and/or to make a pledge, please visit www.pledgetonetzero.org.

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