Laying and adhering to environmental commitments will become a fundamentality in the next decades in the UK. But how does the government plan to trigger a ‘green’ revolution? 

The Development of ‘Green’ Legislation

The UK’s legislative response to the ongoing climate change discussions follows a record of gradual amendments. Provisions of the Energy Act 2004 were modified by the Climate Change Act 2008, whose long tile ‘set a target for the year 2050 for the reduction of targeted greenhouse gas emissions’. This Act itself was drawn into modification under the Climate Change Act 2008 (2050 Target Amendment) Order 2019. After more than three years of prolonged law making, the Environment Bill became the most up-to-date legislation on the topic in its new form as the Environment Act 2021.

The Government Calls for Action

There are several documents that direct the UK and its business sector’s response to environmental issues.

  • The Environment Act 2021, a statutory instrument composed of 149 sections and 21 schedules, addresses the recuperation of air quality, water and waste efficiency, alongside preserving the multitude of biodiversity. The Act also founded a new Office for Environmental Protection in charge with producing and enforcing strategies concerning ‘environmental protection’ and ‘the improvement of natural environment’ under sections 23(1)(a) and 23(1)(b) of the Act.
  • The Sustainability Disclosure Requirements (SDRs) set by the UK’s Finance Minister will necessitate the largest UK businesses to release their net-zero action plans by 2023. This move is aimed at helping to realise the country’s 25-year statutory Environmental Improvement Plan and is inspired by the TCFD.
  • Founded in 2015, the Task-Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) is an industry-led group assisting businesses with disclosing information and assessing climate risks. From 6 April 2022, north of 1,300 UK companies with more than 500 employees and profits exceeding £500 million will be legally mandated to disclose climate-related financial information. Britain became the first major economy to enshrine such steps in its laws, with Tesco and Aviva being some of the inaugural companies to embrace the change.

The ‘Green’ Future: a Distant Possibility or a Reality Indeed?

The statistical aim is unanimously defined: slash emissions down by 78% by 2035 in comparison to 1990 rates. Further on the positive side, 70% of the UK public is supportive of directing tax-originating finances for improved environmental conditions as suggested by a government’s news story.

Nevertheless, the ‘green’ industrial revolution will flow from top to bottom, i.e. ‘leading by example’ from the largest economic ventures to the most miniature ones. As indicated by an EcoAct report, 65% of the FTSE100 companies are only now beginning net zero preparations, less than a fifth have long-term net zero programmes and just a staggering 2% align their emissions reduction longevity with COP26’s target of global warming depletion to 1.5°C.

Hopefully, the adopted measures will be compelling enough so that more promising data-based results will be submitted during the next United Nations Climate Change summit.