Taking local action on climate change

October 16, 2018   By Mathew Jellings, Business Development Director, ENGIE

Last week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released their report into the effects of global warming and confirmed what many have suspected for some time – that global warming is accelerating even faster than predicted three years ago in the seminal Paris Agreement. Personally, it seems obtuse how slowly governments are reacting to potential impending catastrophe. Reports, news programmes and documentaries, highlight on an almost daily basis how global behaviours are threatening our very existence, yet nothing is seemingly being done collectively to arrest climate change.

Well not quite nothing. Actually, when you look under the cover the local government sector is already achieving quite a lot. The latest NLGN Innovation Briefing “Local Renewable Energy Generation”, launched today, highlights the different initiatives of three local authorities to tackle climate change. In addition, from discussions ENGIE are having with others, we know there are many more local authorities exploring, implementing and delivering different schemes, to effectively save on costs, improve efficiencies, raise public awareness and where possible address issues such as fuel poverty.

The three projects highlighted in the NLGN Innovation Briefing are different, not only in type, but also in scale, and all three councils are already delivering their projects and making a difference to bring about change.

The publication of the NLGN Innovation Briefing coincides with Green GB Week, a new national initiative launched by Government to showcase the benefits clean growth will bring to all parts of society – from new jobs to cleaner air. The aim is for local communities to embrace this challenge and grow momentum from the ground up. This week will highlight both the urgent need to tackle climate change and to make rapid progress towards building a cleaner economy.

ENGIE is also playing its part in this agenda and recent initiatives include the decommissioning of a profitable coal fired power station at Rugeley, and together with 15 of the UKs largest fleet operators, we have signed up to the Clean Van Commitment (CVC), a pledge that by 2020, 20 per cent of the company’s fleet (around 400 vehicles) will be electric. All with a view to reducing noise pollution and improving air quality, traffic management and transport networks. We have also developed a range of green mobility solutions under ENGIE’s Better Mobility Today programme.

ENGIE is equally serious about raising standards and delivering best practice solutions, so much so the company has established a new Responsible Business Charter and independent Scrutiny Board in the UK. These underline the company’s commitment to operate to the highest economic, social and environmental standards. The Charter supports our company purpose to improve lives through better working and living environments and ensures transparency and accountability on critical issues including, speed of supplier payments, pension obligations, environmental and social responsibility, living wage, diversity and inclusion. Uniquely, ENGIE will be held to account for the effective delivery of its Charter by an independent Scrutiny Board – the Centre for Public Scrutiny – a national charity which supports scrutiny excellence in the public and private sectors. It will report publicly in an annual report.

ENGIE supports the Green GB initiative as it does any other project that raises awareness, benefits communities and leads to behavioural change and collaboration between stakeholders, but time is of the essence and the time for action is NOW – as the NLGN Innovation Briefing shows local authorities are leading by example and playing their part in addressing climate change.

Mathew Jellings is Business Development director at ENGIE. He tweets @MAOJ61.

NLGN Innovation Briefings are available exclusively for NLGN members. For more information about NLGN membership please contact Richard Nelmes, Head of Network on rnelmes@newlocal.org.uk.

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