“Learn from Sweden – they’ve already made a commitment to be a net zero economy”. This was the main feedback we gave to the Committee on Climate Change as they gathered evidence on whether the UK should set a net zero greenhouse gas target.
As a global business, we find sharing good practice, regulation and project experience between markets is hugely valuable. And it cuts both ways. Sweden drew on the UK’s 2008 Climate Change Act as the role model for its national framework. Setting a legally binding target and an independent body to oversee progress.
Sweden's economy is smaller than the UK's. It has fewer people. And it has a lot more trees – so timber is a big part of their net zero ambition. But there are still some great things that the UK can learn from.
Most importantly, Sweden went early with its net zero target to drive innovation and competitive advantage. Yes, there’s a cost but the upside is huge.
And their government have made it everyone’s challenge to deliver zero carbon. Rather than the government having to have all the answers, Sweden challenged its main sectors – from construction to food – to come up with their approach. How will we do it, and how can our government help? It’s a refreshing approach and one the UK can learn from.
With the recent announcement that the UK Government will commit to net zero emissions by 2050 , these lessons will become even more vital. Together we’ll look forward to sharing experiences between markets, and being at the centre of delivering a clean, carbon free global economy.
By David Symons, UK Director of Sustainability, WSP