Britain’s corporates the sick men of Europe on low carbon spending


British companies ‘last in Europe’ in spending on low carbon business processes, survey by Carbon Disclosure Project finds

UK corporations contributed only three per cent of Europe’s investment in carbon-cutting technologies last year, a survey among members of the Carbon Disclosure Project reveals.

Its ‘Doubling Down’ report analyses carbon-cutting budgets declared for 2019 by CDP members operating in high-emitting sectors such as energy, transport and construction materials.

Across the continent, corporate spending committed by the sample’s 882 members to carbon mitigation amounted to £102 billion (€124bn).

Those commitments need to double if Europe’s goals of net zero carbon emissions are to be reached by mid-century, said Steven Tebbe, CDP Europe’s managing director. To get back on track, Europe’s economies must decarbonise by eight per cent every year this decade.

The study found that 69 German-domiciled CDP members declared green investments totalling £37 Bn (€44bn). But Britain’s 194 member firms surveyed between them managed only £4bn.

No British concern features in Europe’s top ten carbon cutting companies. Manufacturers and utilities committed to innovating renewable energy and electric vehicles performed best; Volkswagen, for example, accounted on its own for one third of the German total.

The report suggests that the UK’s sale of its much of utility sector to overseas investors may contribute to a domestic corporate culture which fails to prioritise carbon-cutting.

Difficulties in evaluating low carbon investments, fear of disrupting established business models, untested technologies, and the absence of trusted carbon prices, are among other important barriers to companies investing in decarbonisation measures, states the CDP report.

Related stories:

Delivering Net Zero: Heat | Power | Transport – register for  your free ticket

BP pledges net zero by 2050

Mitie commits to net zero by 2025

Sainsbury’s sets aside £1bn for net zero

Getting to net zero: the missing element

Microsoft ‘will be carbon negative’ by 2030

National Trust commits to net zero by 2020

Birmingham Airport commits to net zero by 2033

National Grid: To hit net zero, stop picking winners

Click here to see if you qualify for a free subscription to the print magazine, or to renew.

Follow us at @EnergystMedia. For regular bulletins, sign up for the free newsletter.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here