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Industry reacts to new green rules

Last week, measures were introduced that will ensure companies have NetZero targets and strategies in place for them to be eligible to bid for major government contracts worth over £5m.

The government formally introduced the industry to the new legalisation, stating that not only is the UK is the first country in the world to put such a measure in place, but the implementation of these rules will help deliver the manifesto promises made by this government to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, in a bid to tackle climate change.

We asked idverde, Cultura Group, and Mitie for their opinion on the new green rules, and what this could mean for the future.

Andy Collins, head of compliance at Cultura Group, explained: “For the larger companies, this change in requirements to bid for government contracts won’t actually require them to change the way they are currently working. Already, companies with above 250 employees, or £44m in turnover, will be either nearly or fully meeting measures. They will be committed to energy saving schemes, they’re already pretty geared up to do this.”

It may not be too surprising to hear that all three of these organisations are already meeting the majority, if not all, of the new requirements.

Simon, risk and compliance director at idverde, said: “As all businesses will, we’ll have to adapt our practices. But we are in a good starting point with this; idverde has already taken action with respect to carbon and emissions reporting as part of the requirements of Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) requirements and we already have a significant understanding of the new requirements as a result of this change.”

Andy explained that Cultura Group are already on a path that will allow them to naturally meet these targets and requirements. He believes the new rules are greatly positive, and that ultimately, “this is all part of the evolution of working in this industry. The rules mean we are able to properly demonstrate how we are growing and developing to achieve the requirements and NetZero.”

Andy does believe however, that for smaller companies the new rules will require more preparation and planning to ensure they can provide the data that ensures they are meeting the measures and demonstrating their contribution in reaching NetZero.

Simon Foley, added: “If organisations cannot adapt or accommodate these new challenges (that the whole planet is facing) then ultimately this could result in a loss of opportunity. Whilst many may see this notice only applying to ’bigger’ contracts. the reality is that this will filter through to procurement exercises at a smaller level so may well affect more organisations than first thought. The business community, as with all parts of society, must adapt and evolve to a changing world. The climate crisis is not going away, and we all have a duty to respond in the best way we can.”

Tim Howell, managing director at Mitie Landscapes, said: “It is important that businesses don’t just set a target, but follow this up with  tangible action plans too. We’ve been using our broad expertise in facilities management – not just landscaping, but also waste management and our electric vehicle transition experience – to develop innovative new services that minimise our impact on the planet.”

It seems that Mitie, Cultura Group, and idverde, are welcoming of the new legislation, as not only are they already meeting requirements (before they were even introduced), but the implication of the new rules are essential in the creation of a brighter future for everyone.

“Fighting climate change requires everybody to do their part to cut carbon emissions, and the introduction of these new services is hugely important as we approach the UK’s target of net zero by 2050” stated Tim.

“We believe that not only is this approach the sustainable and right thing to do by our planet, it makes business sense too. As businesses working directly with the environment, the landscapes industry has an opportunity to lead the way on this and show our clients, government, and also other industries, how we can redesign our services with sustainability front and centre.”

Andy, in agreement, told us of how the introduction of significant changes like these are essential to improvement, “the future is proved to be a bleak picture if we don’t act now. NetZero is so incredibly important and in my opinion, all of our lives depend on reaching it.”

To many, the overall target of reaching NetZero not ambitious enough given the circumstances we are in, Simon explained. “The Paris Climate Change Agreement, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and imminent COP26 show the united front that national governments are taking in addressing climate change and carbon emissions, and it is only right and proper that the business community follows suit.”

It’s certainly clear, there are no major concerns for these businesses. It’s hugely positive to see that the rules being implemented aren’t changing how these companies are already working, highlighting their commitment to meeting NetZero and core values.

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