City slashes carbon emissions by 31% and launches Climate Action Dashboard

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Climate Action Dashboard

Efficiency improvements at key sites across the Square Mile have helped the City of London Corporation slash carbon emissions by 31 per cent since 2018.

The figure was published in the Square Mile governing body’s first account of progress toward reaching net-zero, an ambition outlined in its Climate Action Strategy.

The report cited energy efficiency advances to its property portfolio, including at its Guildhall headquarters, the Old Bailey, and the Barbican Arts Centre.

The local authority has also cut its overall energy consumption by 21 per cent.

Updates to heating, cooling, ventilation, and lighting systems were funded by the City Corporation, plus £9.5m from the government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme.

The report was published alongside a first-of-its-kind Climate Action Dashboard.

The dashboard includes independently verified data to provide a transparent public account of the City Corporation’s progress in reducing carbon emissions.

The organisation aims to reach net zero in its own operations by 2027, and in its investments and supply chain by 2040.

It is also supporting the achievement of net zero for the whole Square Mile by the same year through £68m of investment.

The City Corporation is also building climate resilience to extreme weather in the Square Mile. Updated planning regulations will ensure new developments include carbon reduction plans in their designs and encourage more sustainable buildings including green roofs and walls.

And the authority is now working with Arcardis, a sustainable design and engineering consultancy, to model a ‘digital twin city’ of the Square Mile. The platform will run different climate change scenarios to help shape climate resilience policy.

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City of London Corporation Policy Chairman, Chris Hayward, said: “These figures show what can be achieved when organisations put real urgency into the fight against climate change.

“But whilst we are pleased to have made good progress, there is more for us to do to reach net zero by 2027.

“Cutting carbon emissions is a moral responsibility but it also makes good business sense.

“Many companies are already playing their part but there is scope to step up to the plate and do even more.

“Firms who are running the race to net zero are attracting more customers, winning more contracts, and benefiting from a happier and more motivated workforce.”

The City Corporation buys only renewable electricity and has taken several other actions to reduce its carbon emissions.

It protects 11,000 acres of green space in London and south east England, including Hampstead Heath and Epping Forest, investing £38m a year.

These sites remove around 16,000 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere annually, equivalent to 44 per cent of the City Corporation’s baseline carbon footprint.

It is also introducing climate-resilient planting in City streets.

This year, it became the first UK governing authority to run a fully zero-emission fleet of refuse vehicles.