We all need to roll up our sleeves and construct a greener future

We all need to roll up our sleeves and construct a greener future
credit Unsplash

In the City of London, English Baroque-style churches sit alongside ‘60s housing estates, and ultra-modern office buildings pierce the sky. It’s a diversity we all cherish, which highlights the City’s storied past.

This summer, the Square Mile sweltered in temperatures unlike any seen before. Across the UK, the heatwave caused fires, travel chaos and put more pressure on the NHS. Meanwhile, in Pakistan, floods killed over 1,700 people and displaced over 33 million.

It is crystal clear that we need to act now to combat climate change. And everyone in society – government, the public, and business – must play their part.

While the task might seem overwhelming, even small steps make a difference. You can do your bit by shopping locally, using public transport, walking or cycling, or cutting back on food waste. And from decarbonising their own operations to providing green finance for others, Square Mile businesses must also take action.

At the City of London Corporation, we are working hard to build a more climate resilient City which will improve the comfort and liveability of the environment for our residents.

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Our Climate Action Strategy sets out how we will reduce emissions and champion sustainable growth. We have set ourselves an ambitious target of reaching net zero carbon emissions from our own operations by 2027.

We also aim to become net zero across our investment and supply chain by 2040 – and support the achievement of net zero for the whole Square Mile by the same year.

It is important that City residents and other people we serve can track the progress we are making. So, we have published a first-of-its-kind climate action dashboard – which is easily accessible online – to show how we are doing. I am pleased to say we have cut our annual carbon emissions by 31 per cent since 2018/2019, and have made changes such as rolling out the UK’s first fleet of electric bin lorries.

We are also making our buildings – including Guildhall and the Barbican Centre – even more energy efficient.

We all know what is at risk if we fail to act on climate change, but I think fewer people are aware of the benefits of doing so. Manufacturing green tech will give our industrial heartlands a boost, create new jobs, and open up export opportunities.

All these things are essential to stimulate the economy and increase competitiveness as we recover from COVID and combat the cost of living crisis. I know rising energy bills are a huge concern for City residents. As well as being better for the planet, renewables are generally considered to be cheaper and more reliable than oil and gas.

Another reason to prioritise net zero. With its roots as an ancient Roman settlement, it is safe to say the City of London wasn’t built in a day. Similarly, we cannot end climate change overnight.

We all need to roll up our sleeves, build on the solid foundation already in place, and construct a greener future.

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