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Unilever, Heathrow Execs Urge Decarbonization

Executives of Unilever, Heathrow Airport and other major companies have written to the UK prime minister to urge decarbonization of the power sector, as a survey of almost 3,500 firms reveals businesses are increasingly worried about energy security.

The letter, which was organized by the Prince of Wales’s UK Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change, calls on prime minister David Cameron to adopt the Committee on Climate Change’s carbon emissions recommendations, which call for a 50 percent cut by 2025, and urges secondary legislation to include an “indicative target” for power sector emissions in 2030. It also says the government should look at incentives to support the development of low-carbon technologies.

Executives from Unilever, Doosan Power Systems, Anglian Water, Philips Electronics UK, Kingfisher, EDF Energy, Johnson Matthey and Heathrow Airport all signed the letter.

Microsoft, PepsiCo UK and Ireland, Cisco, M&S and other members of the Aldersgate Group signed a similar letter last month recommending the UK government set a 2030 carbon target for the power sector.

Also in advance of the UK Energy Bill, and in the wake of controversy over rising energy costs, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has released a survey in which 90 percent of businesses say the UK needs a diverse energy mix to avoid future supply problems.

Executives from almost 3,500 firms say energy security issues will become a major concern, with 59 percent of large businesses, 44 percent of medium-sized businesses and 38 percent of small businesses already worried about their future energy supply, according to the survey.

It also found about 40 percent of businesses feel that rising energy costs have adversely hurt growth.

In related news, the UK government today released the first national Energy Efficiency Strategy, which it says could cut energy use by 11 percent by 2020 and grow the economy. The Department of Energy and Climate Change strategy says four barriers — an underdeveloped market, lack of information on energy efficiency, misaligned financial incentives and the hassle of installing efficiency measures — have stalled energy efficiency.

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