13 Jan 2023

The UK Net Zero Review

The Government’s Net Zero Review published on 13 January 2023 explains the economic benefits of reaching net zero and recommends key policies that would help the UK meet this goal. This summary outlines these opportunities and recommendations, and how they are relevant to non-executive directors.

Key questions for NEDs

  • Is our board only seeing the net zero transition as a risk, or are we also looking at it as an opportunity?
  • Are key decision makers aware of key climate policy roadmaps and plans, and how this might affect our business?
  • What changes can we make now so that we are ready to capitalise on climate incentives and opportunities that become available over the coming years?
  • How can we leverage the UK’s comparative advantages throughout the net zero transition to remain competitive against international businesses?
  • Can we do more to engage the Government, either as a business or through an industry group, to ensure that our concerns are reflected in reports like this?

What is the Net Zero Review?

The ‘Mission Zero’ Review, published on 13 January 2023, produced by the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Chris Skidmore, examines economic benefits of decarbonisation in the UK and sets out key steps that could help the country reach net zero. The Review comes only 15 months after the Government published its Net Zero Strategy, which had numerous business implications summarised in our summary of what it means for non-executive directors. The Review builds upon the Strategy, aiming to inform Government plans with robust evidence in light of new social and economic challenges including the energy and cost of living crises.

To inform the Review, BEIS opened a consultation to hear from industry and civil society. Many businesses and industry groups, including Chapter Zero's Board, took this opportunity to submit a response.

After assessing the economic implications of reaching net zero, the Mission Zero Review offers 25 policy recommendations (highlighted in bold below) for the Government to implement by 2025. The Review was independently conducted by BEIS, so the ‘25 by 2025’ recommendations may not necessarily reflect actual policy choices going forward. It nonetheless indicates potential future policies, and its independent nature means that policy recommendations may be resilient to political changes. For non-executive directors, the Review’s strong economic case for reaching net zero may be compelling in boardrooms, and its recommendations could help business leaders understand transition risks and opportunities.

Net zero opportunities

The Review begins by outlining how the UK can benefit from the net zero transition. Seizing net zero opportunities will have clear benefits for business and can help the UK stay competitive on the global stage, but will require transformative action across the entire economy.

Net zero policies and what they mean for business

The Review lists 25 policies that the Government could implement by 2025 in order to capture the benefits outlined above. The recommendations may not all be implemented, but business leaders should see them as indicators of potential changes to the UK’s policy landscape, and consider how they might guide their businesses to take advantage of relevant opportunities.

The Government will consider the Net Zero Review’s recommendations when updating its Net Zero Strategy and delivering on its climate ambitions. Chapter Zero will continue to provide tailored summaries of key climate policy developments for its network of non-executive directors.

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