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UK Companies: Consumers Essential Driver For Cutting Emissions

Eighteen top British companies – including BP, Tesco and BT Group – have published a report (summary, full report today promising to develop new products and services that would allow customers to cut their carbon footprints, The International Herald Tribune reports.

The Confederation of British Industry also said they would develop a standard for all companies involved in the initiative to regularly report their carbon emission levels, invest in technology and emission-saving projects, and promote “greener” behavior among their own employees.

Interestingly, the report said that responsibility to cut climate-changing emissions lies first with consumers, who through their purchases influence about 60 percent of British emissions.

Purchasing decisions and political pressure will then drive change within companies, which can enable customers to act by offering greener products; and the government, which should use tax cuts as an incentive for consumers.

The UK’s carbon reduction targets for 2020 are likely to be missed but that 2050 goals can be achieved at a manageable cost – provided a greater sense of urgency is now adopted, according to the CBI. It identifies priority areas for action that would put the UK back on track to meet its targets by 2030. Today’s report explains how business will play its part, and commits the CBI to continue to play a leading role, both nationally and internationally.
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The report says that firms will have to fundamentally change their business models to meet consumers’ and society’s needs in an era of climate change. The Task Force says the longer the UK waits the higher the cost will be – but that early action can limit the cost for each household to around £100 a year by 2030.

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