Whilst living through the horrors of the coronavirus pandemic, there were many reasons to be cheerful, with businesses and individuals pausing to reflect on making our world a safer, greener place to live. In September we launched Now or Never, our sustainability strategy with the sector’s most challenging targets to 2030, and the number of businesses joining us in committing to setting science-based net zero targets rose to nearly 400.
There was an increase in the urgency and action across governments and the business community too. The restrictions in response to the coronavirus pandemic saw carbon emissions drop by 7% worldwide and by 13% in the UK alone. Over 30 nations, including the UK, vowed to protect 30% of the earth’s land and ocean by 2030 to halt devastating biodiversity loss. And we appreciated the concept of community and access to green space more than ever, whilst at the same time, lamenting the additional challenges that COVID-19 has burdened our young people with.
Despite these positives, 2020’s temperatures were the hottest that we've seen globally since records began. It’s astounding to think that the earth is unlikely to be this cool for centuries to come.
We are at the start of a decisive decade which presents us with an unprecedented opportunity to rewrite our new normal, with sustainability and social value as key drivers. We must embed the carbon reductions we've already achieved and go even further to drive behaviour change, to compensate for when the constraints of the pandemic have been removed. Most importantly, we must do this without disproportionally impacting those least able to adapt.
With Now or Never, I believe that we have a bold strategy, underpinned by a comprehensive delivery plan. Our people are energised and enthusiastic to play their part in helping our customers and supply chain partners join our journey. But early action is essential - the time is now! Are you with us?