Skip to content

The CBI on ‘net zero’, green technologies and biodiversity

  • by JW

“Delivering net zero in the right way can open up new global markets, deliver new job opportunities, and spur increased investment, innovation, and regional growth.” [CBI responds to the Review of Net Zero]

“Unleash green markets and energy resilience” [CBI submission to Treasury]

“Businesses will be called on to protect the planet in ways that go beyond climate change.” [The Nature of Business – joint CBI/University of Exeter report]


It’s not easy for firms at the moment of course – and for many going ‘net zero’ is not a priority, as yesterday’s posting showed, looking at the latest report from the South West Manufacturing Advisory Service: Companies struggling to get to ‘net zero’ – Vision Group for Sidmouth

And yet as another posting yesterday from the Awards site showed, the Federation of Small Businesses is keen to praise companies in the South West which are making efforts to ‘go green’: FSB South West Small Business Awards winners – Sustainable Sidmouth Champion Awards

What does the business big-hitter the Confederation of British Industry think of ‘net zero’ and ‘going green’?


Late last year, the government called for evidence on its net zero policies – and the CBI responded saying it “welcomed the opportunity to highlight business commitment and the need for strong government leadership in the government’s approach to delivery of its net zero target” cbi-response-to-the-call-for-evidence-on-net-zero-review-october-2022.pdf

Its messaging couldn’t have been clearer, that despite the current struggles for business, it sees the transition to net zero as a prioirity:

The CBI used the review to reiterate the strength of business commitment to the net zero transition, and the readiness of the business community to deliver on addressing the challenges and meeting the opportunities of decarbonisation. Delivering net zero in the right way can open up new global markets, deliver new job opportunities, and spur increased investment, innovation, and regional growth. The new context that business finds itself in, post covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine giving rise to a global energy crisis, has by no means shaken business commitment to the net zero transition. Instead, the message we put forth that we consistently hear from business is that this only affirms the imperative of decarbonising, and the need to move faster than ever before. CBI responds to the Review of Net Zero | CBI

It recently commissioned a report on the ‘net zero economic hotspots’ – and the South West is not one of them: Insight for business on the UK’s net zero transition | CBI

Nevertheless, the CBI’s website hosts several guides on how to help firms ‘transition’ to ‘net zero’: Climate transition plans: how do they matter to your business? | CBI and Financing the transition to a sustainable future | CBI and Net zero: why firms must act now | CBI


The CBI is very keen on ‘green growth’, motored by ‘green technology’ – which was a major theme in the director’s big speech a month ago: SPEECH: Is the UK in a rut on growth? | CBI

It’s calling on the Chancellor to act: Big decisions needed on green growth as UK lags behind rivals – CBI chief | The Independent

Including: Unleash green markets and energy resilience, supporting firms to be more energy efficient as they prepare for next winter, and ensuring the UK can grow its energy security and compete in the race for new green markets and technologies. Spring Budget 2023: what the CBI is asking the government for and why | CBI

Nevertheless, in response to the CBI, the Chancellor says he has a plan: Jeremy Hunt: Green economy ‘absolutely strategic’ for the UK | BusinessGreen News (paywall)

And in an interview with the University this week, the former PM is also pushing for ‘green technologies’: University of Exeter News on Twitter: “It’s not often a @UniofExeter researcher interviews a former UK prime minster, but here’s Prof Gail Whiteman (@GenerationCO2) grilling @BorisJohnson for the #ArcticWarning @ReutersIMPACT series. He says the answer to the #ClimateCrisis is to ‘double down on the new technologies’.” / Twitter


But the CBI seems to want to go ‘beyond net zero’: a couple of weeks ago, “CBI Economics asked business leaders about managing environmental impact – find out what other firms are doing, and why this conversation matters:”

Businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the role they play in helping to protect the planet. The focus so far has primarily been on reducing carbon emissions, motivated by national and international targets around ‘net zero’ and supported by the relative ease of measuring these emissions. However, businesses will be called on to protect the planet in ways that go beyond climate change. Not only is our world getting warmer, it’s also suffering from unprecedented loss of natural habitats and living species. Is your company ready to save the planet? | CBI

This press release followed on from a collaboration with the University of Exeter: How to be nature positive: the only route to net zero | CBI

RENEW | The Nature of Business – Report Download

The majority of UK businesses have plans to address their impact on biodiversity and nature loss, but a lack of guidance and sharing of best practice are barriers to progress, a new report reveals. The Nature of Business report, published by CBI Economics in collaboration with the University of Exeter, presents the findings of a survey of 345 UK businesses with the aim of exploring their level of understanding and action on biodiversity and nature loss. Articles | Business School | University of Exeter

And interestingly, business leaders themselves feel that achieving net zero is not enough: 

A majority of business leaders (51%) believed achieving Net Zero would play a large role in reversing or slowing biodiversity and nature loss Only 10%, however, believed achieving Net Zero would be sufficient action for reversing or slowing down biodiversity and nature loss. RENEW | The Nature of Business – Report Download