Bristol businesses call on all city’s General Election candidates to back ‘vital’ Climate and Nature Bill

June 6, 2024

More than 70 Bristol  firms have issued a joint letter to all prospective Parliamentary candidates standing in the city’s five constituencies, asking them to back the Climate and Nature Bill.

Among those signing the letter are ethical bank Triodos – which coordinated the letter – international civil engineering group Arup, specialist travel publisher Sawday’s, sustainable outdoor clothing firm Finisterre and café chain Boston Tea Party.  

The Climate and Nature (CAN) Bill is new framework legislation designed to tackle the climate and nature crises

Introduced to Parliament in 2020, it has two main goals – to reduce UK emissions in line with the country’s share of the remaining global carbon budget for 1.5°C of global warming and to halt and reverse nature loss by 2030.

Supporters say it offers multiple benefits to businesses, including a regulatory framework to support the transition to net zero with the least emissions possible, the creation of new jobs in green industries, a potential reduction in energy costs as renewable sources continue to expand and, ultimately, a more sustainable local economy.

The Bill was supported by 180 MPs and peers from all main parties. So far it has received the backing of more than 851 prospective parliamentary candidates (PPCs) running for election on 4 July.

The letter, which will be issued to all candidates for the Bristol Central, Bristol East, Bristol North East, Bristol North West and Bristol South constituencies next week, says: “As local businesses, we are increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of climate-related extreme weather events, as their frequency continues to rise throughout the UK. We want this to stop.  

“Climate and ecological breakdown is a governance risk to businesses everywhere. Our supply chains will be even more disrupted by unpredictable and chaotic climate, and the costs to our businesses have the potential to skyrocket due to climate-related weather events or disasters. The CAN Bill can help mitigate this risk to our businesses.

“As we so often hear, there is no business on a dead planet. Our companies and their products and services rely on stable value chains many of which depend on nature inputs.

“The CAN Bill will help reverse the destruction of nature here in the UK, as well as address the damage that the UK causes to nature globally through our ecological footprint overseas.”

Like all cities, Bristol is becoming increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of extreme weather events as their frequency continues to rise in the UK and further afield.

Current risks include high temperatures and flooding – similar to those that destroyed several shops in Avonmeads Retail Park and Cabot Circus last year. 

The threat to Bristol is widely expected to increase, with the city council estimating that tidal flooding will pose a risk to 4,500 existing properties by 2125, while according to the Met Office, the maximum summer temperature in Bristol is projected to be more than 9°C hotter by 2080 compared to a 1981-2000 baseline.

Triodos Bank UK CEO Bevis Watts, pictured above, said Bristol’s business community was joining forces to advocate for people and nature.

“We all stand to benefit from the transition to a low-carbon, nature-positive future, and we are calling on our local candidates to represent our combined voices in Parliament,” he added.

“By backing the Climate and Nature Bill they will be playing a vital part in ensuring a bright future for the businesses of Bristol and a happy, healthy and prosperous future for its people. And that’s something we would all vote for.”

James Sutton, director of strategic partnerships at Zero Hour, the campaign group behind the Bill, said it was very telling that so many Bristol businesses had made such a direct call to the city’s prospective parliamentary candidates to publicly declare their backing for the Bill.

“Business clearly understands that the CAN Bill represents an opportunity for their companies, as well as an instrument to manage governance risk posed by the climate and nature crises.

“The economy and businesses are always central to the plans of government, so we stand with the businesses of Bristol and hope that their voice is heard and that the PPCs make the sensible, obvious choice and commit to the CAN Bill.”

Top image: David Parry, PA Media. Bevis Watts image: Paul Box

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