Hundreds of UK businesses demonstrate against government inaction ahead of party conference season
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Hundreds of business professionals walked out of their offices today to demand the Government takes firm and urgent action on climate change.
Critically timed ahead of party-political season, this peaceful queue for climate and nature, ran from St Paul’s through central London. The gathering organised by Business Declares, Business Stand Up & friends, called on the Prime Minister, UK Government and all UK political parties to commit to a clear climate plan that gives long term business security.
The move comes after mounting concerns at the UK Government’s attitude towards climate change and environmental policy, and the worry felt among thousands of business professionals and leading industry stakeholders, that swift action is required.
The business professionals and campaigners joined the queue to sign an open letter to political parties urging for these asks to be included in party manifestos without delay.
Chris Skidmore MP, former Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation and head of the Net Zero Review, said: “This unprecedented call from a vast range of businesses today to step up the ambition and vision on net zero at this vital moment to create the stability and clarity we need is exactly what I called for in the Mission Zero Report. […] I fully support this Queue and its call on all political parties to ensure these policies are in their manifestos. Today demonstrates that above all business recognises that net zero and phasing out fossil fuels is an opportunity, not a cost and will create jobs and wealth, while to delay action will simply cost the UK.”
Dr Bevis Watts, CEO of Triodos Bank UK, said: “We have long acknowledged that on the current trajectory we face a climate and ecological emergency – the time to act is now. COP28 later this year must deliver an acceleration in action at a global level, prioritising the phasing out of fossil fuels and increasing financial support for a fair, low carbon future. The queue for climate and nature is a powerful representation that the business appetite for change is there. Only a truly collective effort can turn current anxiety about the future into something more hopeful.”
Paul Polman, advisor to the UK Government on COP26 and former CEO of Unilever, added: “The days of politicians being able to blame their climate timidity on business are well and truly over. Whether it’s CEOs going into Government Departments to urge them to do more, or companies signing public letters to the Prime Minister, or employees queuing over the Thames, a big part of the private sector is now shouting from the rooftops. We want a Government with courage and ambition, and we want to play our part. Together we can transform our economy and help our planet thrive – but it has to be together.”
Chris Packham, Naturalist and TV Broadcaster concluded “All over the world businesses are being burned, flooded, displaced or bankrupted by climate breakdown- lives and livelihoods are being lost en masse. It’s time for business to be bold and brave, it has the brains, the brawn and the financial backing to make a difference . But business is still people, real people who need to take real action. Smart, professional, peaceful and quintessentially British – please join those at the forefront of business who will queue to send a clear message to our politicians that we need action to address climate breakdown now” –