20 Feb 2024

UK Climate Policy Briefing - February 2024

Our UK policy briefings aim to highlight the latest developments in UK climate policy directly relevant to NEDs.

Our quarterly UK policy briefing aims to highlight the latest developments in UK climate policy relevant to NEDs. The period since our last briefing has seen a number of key events on the international climate policy stage, with the UN Climate Conference, COP28, held in December 2023, and both the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting and the 60th session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC-60) held in January 2024. These discussions have put a spotlight on the UK’s domestic climate policies and also raised questions about its ongoing commitment to climate leadership.

Against this backdrop, there have been a number of policy developments within the UK that NEDs need to be aware of. These are outlined below.

Key takeaways for non-executive directors (NEDs)

Key developments in the UK policy landscape that NEDs need to know about

UK 2024 Election-watch 

The Labour Party’s Green Investment Plan 

  • In our last issue, we looked at the rollbacks to climate policy made under Rishi Sunak’s Conservative government. This issue we focus on Labour’s Green Investment Plan. 
  • The Green Investment Plan was announced in 2021. It outlines an ambition to provide £28 billion per year of investment into transitioning to a greener economy, with plans such as insulating homes and building low-carbon infrastructure.  
  • The spending plan has been attacked by the Conservative party, and subject to revisions since it was launched – including caveats that the level of investment would be ramped up over time, and that any spending would need to meet Labour’s fiscal rules. 
  • As of Feb 8, it was announced that Labour was ditching the £28bn spending commitment, although the party insists that the Green Prosperity Plan, which includes creating a publicly-owned green power company, is not being ditched altogether. 
  • Business leaders have been among those urging the Labour leader to stick by the policy, with Jürgen Maier, the former UK head of Siemens, stating that: The £28bn is not a cost, it’s an investment. If you make this investment, business will return to the UK. 
  • The questions this raises for NEDs in the run-up to the election are strategic ones. In addition to considering how political uncertainty will be reflected in corporate risk management activities, NEDs might want to consider how the business community can positively engage with policymakers to encourage them to stand by, or enhance, progressive environmental policy.  

Looking ahead

  • We will continue to monitor UK party policy positions as the general election gets closer. 
  • We hope to report on the Government’s finalised Green Taxonomy, expected to be released early in 2024. The taxonomy will provide clarity on activities eligible for labelling as ‘green’ or ‘transition’ finance.  
  • We will report on the Chancellor’s Spring Budget and what it means for the UK’s green economy. 

This content has been created by the Centre for Climate Engagement in collaboration with Chapter Zero.

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