Sustainability

Race to Zero

As COP26 picks up pace, Great British Brands ZERO is a call to arms to the luxury industry to join the all-important Race to Zero. Through 26 CEO/Founder interviews of brands including Walpole members Burberry, Bentley, Harrods and Mulberry, ZERO highlights the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead as we all shift gear to make the transition we know needs to happen. Here we share the first in a series of articles from GBB ZERO, 'Race to Zero' a message from Lord Grimstone of Boscobel, Minister for Investment jointly at the Department for International Trade and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
5th Nov 2021
Share this article
Sustainability Race to Zero
With the UK perceived as an attractive place to invest, government ministers urge British luxury brands to harness their power and lead the world in the race to net carbon zero. Minister Grimstone urges the luxury industry to support Britain’s efforts to ensure nations unite in their public commitment and pledge to cut emissions and help save our planet.

‘My message to the luxury industry is to use the fact people trust you and aspire to your values to speak out and commit publicly and visibly to cutting emissions,’ says Minister Grimstone. ‘GIS is likely to be the largest gathering of money that the UK has ever had under one roof and is a great opportunity to showcase what the luxury industry can – and is – doing to address climate change.’ He cites British fashion brands like Stella McCartney and Burberry, which are already globally recognised for helping to lead the march towards net zero.

‘The recent 2021 UK Attractiveness Survey from EY [formerly Ernst & Young] showed that investors think Britain is the most attractive place in which to invest in Europe,’ Minister Grimstone continues. ‘Take recent stories like Nissan choosing Britain as its site for a major new electric vehicle factory and the vaccine programme. Our brands stand for innovation, creativity, reliability and increasingly sustainability, and it’s those qualities that create such a positive perception and will continue to attract investment.’ When it comes to Race to Zero, many luxury brands can be daunted by its challenges, particularly as there are so many different initiatives to sign up to. To make it easier for smaller brands to take the first step, earlier this year the government launched the Together for our Planet campaign, so SMEs (small and mediumsized enterprises) can now sign up online to an SME Climate Commitment (smeclimatehub.org). ‘There is so much talk about greenwashing nowadays, so brands that just go on talking about sustainability initiatives without making a positive, public, transparent pledge to cut emissions, risk being accused of it,’ he continues. ‘A public commitment is a daunting step, but we all have to do it or we won’t have a planet to save any more. A public commitment should be aspirational and brands should wear it as a badge of honour – and watch new customers come running.

‘COP21 in Paris achieved some great things and we need to continue to build on that. Only if we all unite after COP26 can we create a massive, everlasting legacy. But the one thing that could stand in the way is selfishness. Businesses must realise that customers will eventually turn away from them if they don’t commit to cutting emissions. A brand that doesn’t associate with these values will end up being left behind, at great cost to their own businesses as well as to the planet. The most important – and advantageous – thing all CEOs reading this can do right this minute is to make a public commitment by signing up their brand to Race to Zero or the SME Climate Commitment.’

This article first appeared in 'Country & Town House Great British Brands Zero 2021/22'. 

Click here to see the full issue online. 
Click here to order your copy now.
Share this article

Related Articles

Walpole x Great British Brands: Join the Race to Zero
Sustainability
27th Oct 2021
Walpole x Great British Brands: Join the Race to Zero
Ahead of COP26, Walpole has partnered with Great British Brands ZERO to talk to 26 luxury leaders - from Walpole member brands - about how they are changing their businesses to help fight climate change and save our planet
Cadogan pledges to become net-zero by 2030 amid ambitious ESG targets for Chelsea
Sustainability Stories
7th Jul 2021
Cadogan pledges to become net-zero by 2030 amid ambitious ESG targets for Chelsea
Walpole member Cadogan has launched an ambitious ten-year plan to drive a positive and sustainable future across the 90 acre estate in Chelsea, including a roadmap to become net-zero.
Walpole x Great British Brands ZERO: An interview with Joanna Dai, founder of women's tailoring label Dai
Sustainability
26th Jan 2022
Walpole x Great British Brands ZERO: An interview with Joanna Dai, founder of women's tailoring label Dai
Dai gained B Corp certification in 2020 and is a signatory to the UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action (UNFCC). Last year the company offset 25 per cent of its total carbon emissions by contributing carbon credits on 100 per cent of its shipments through DHL’s GoGreen Climate Neutral service, which invests in internationally-recognised climate protection projects. Since its launch in 2017, Dai has been a pioneer in sustainable materials innovation and tech-enabled fit.