UK’s Net Zero Champion hears from NI business leaders

9th Mar 2021

Andrew Griffith MP, the recently appointed UK Net Zero Business Champion, addressed a group of senior business leaders at this week’s NI Chamber and SONI Energy Forum.

Mr Griffith was appointed by the Prime Minister as the UK’s Net Zero Business Champion, to support the business community to make credible plans to meet net zero targets by 2050 and showcase the UK’s place as a global leader in tackling climate change.

As part of an established series designed to help local businesses through the energy transition, he was invited by NI Chamber to hear about the work businesses and organisations in Northern Ireland are doing in this area ahead of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) later this year.

The group, which included CEOs and Directors from transport, construction, finance, utilities, education and the manufacturing sectors, also heard from SONI Managing Director Alan Campbell, who provided an introduction to SONI’s new report and public consultation ‘Shaping Our Electricity Future,’ which considers different approaches to delivering a clean energy system in 2030 and beyond to 2050.

Following the event, UK Net Zero Business Champion Andrew Griffith MP said:

“It is vital that UK Government and businesses work together to achieve lasting change across the economy and society, which is why it was great to meet business leaders in Northern Ireland and to welcome their ambitious work to transition to a clean, green economy.

“There is still more work to be done, and I look forward to further engaging with businesses and sectors across Northern Ireland to identify the best ways to build back greener and reduce the UK’s contribution to climate change.”

NI Chamber Chief Executive Ann McGregor said it was a very positive engagement:

“Energy and suitability are at the top of the business agenda right now and NI Chamber is advocating for greater support to enable businesses to meet net zero targets. As the UK prepares to host COP26 in November, the time is right to further ramp up our interactions with policy makers on the issue.

“We had a very useful session with Andrew Griffith MP, who will have taken much away from his conversations with our business leaders. They are leading the way in helping Northern Ireland to reach its clean energy ambitions and as a region, we have made excellent progress on electricity generated from renewable sources. However, there is much more to do and infrastructure strategy, planning, the rating system, enhanced capital allowances and enterprise supports are key.

“We thank Mr Griffith for his time today and look forward to continued engagement with him on the issues.”

SONI Managing Director Alan Campbell concluded:

“It was valuable for us all to hear Andrew Griffith’s commitment to supporting businesses on their net zero journeys and he was left in no doubt as to the commitment and innovation by NI business when it comes to energy and sustainability.

“The Northern Ireland electricity system is world leading in terms of green energy; with half of all electricity used here last year coming from clean sources, but we have much to do.  We were pleased to be able to share our vision for the very real changes needed to strengthen the grid, these changes will impact every one of us, including business so it was a good opportunity for us to share our ‘Shaping Our Electricity Future’ report and to encourage NI Chamber members to take part in the public consultation.”