National Trust commits to net zero by 2030


National Trust has committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions across its estate by 2030 – without relying on offsets.

The trust will also push its supply chain, including tenants, to decarbonise and said it would “significantly enhance” carbon sequestration on its land, with 20 million trees to be planted over the next 10 years.

The charity has defined its carbon pathway with Carbon Intelligence, a consultancy that is also working on carbon reduction plans with Tesco, John Lewis, Aviva, BT, Vodafone, PWC, Britvic, Pukka and Yorkshire Water.

“The National Trust protects and cares for places so people and nature can thrive. But these places are under threat from climate change and responding to this threat is a top priority for the Trust,” said head of environmental practices, Lizzy Carlyle.

“Our carbon target, which underlies our climate change programme, is ambitious, taking into account emissions across the entire value chain. With the support of Carbon Intelligence, we’re now working towards our ambition to be net zero by 2030 in a transparent and collaborative way. Our programme includes setting and achieving 1.5°C aligned science-based targets, and plans to unlock investment, drive innovation and implement best practice across our operations.”

She added: “We want to use our experience in moving to net zero to inspire others to follow suit.”

Carbon Intelligence marketing director, Jane Lucken, said 2019 presented a “significant shift” in attitude, with carbon reduction rising up the boardroom agenda. “2020 will be the biggest year yet for tackling climate change and we believe business is the solution,” she added.

“It’s no longer enough for companies to just be compliant though. They must show they’re taking conscious, proactive steps to reduce carbon emissions long term – and that means intelligently connecting sustainability with business value.”

All businesses considering how to decarbonise their operations should attend The Energyst’s free conference and exhibition: Delivering Net Zero: Heat | Power | Transport, held 22-23 April, Silverstone. Details here.

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  1. Looking at the National Trust’s own version of the Press Release (and I presume Energyst worked from Carbon Intelligence’s) is both positive and negative. Positive, as the ambition is there, but negative, as it is only made possible by the planting of 20 million trees mentioned in the first paragraph here. This will take tree cover on NT land from 10% to 17%.

    That’s great, but cannot be indefinitely repeated – there’s only so much land that NT has that would be appropriate for tree planting, and as an example, most of us have little or no such land for such carbon “insetting”. What will it be able to do to maintain net zero in 2050 and beyond?

    The NT release also fails to mention the scope of its carbon neutrality. Will it, for example, include Scope 3 emissions attributable to visitors driving to NT properties? The Trust has made a good start in terms of installing EV charging points in its car parks, but these represent only a tiny fraction of visitor numbers.


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