Article 24 November 2021

Mike Sewell explains the impact COP26 will have on UK businesses and shares three approaches to succeed

What’s your name and role at Mitie?

I’m Mike Sewell, Plan Zero Director, Lead Development of Net Zero Solutions for Mitie customers. 

COP26 has come to a close, making this our final Q&A in the series. What were the key themes and outcomes of the summit?  

COP26 set out to keep ‘1.5C within reach’ driving ambition and action. Covering a wide range of critical issues, the conference has shown how governments, organisations and individuals must collectively work together to protect our planet. 

The Glasgow Climate Pact was the primary outcome of the conference and has been welcomed by many. During COP26, it was widely agreed that countries’ commitments to achieving 1.5C are not ambitious enough. The Pact asks Governments to revisit their targets annually (previously, it was every five years). The Pact also addresses global issues such as the ‘phased-down’ use of coal and climate finance to support developing countries. 

What specific impact will COP26 have on organisations in the UK?  

There were two very important announcements for organisations in the UK that will impact their business in the near term.  

The first announced by the Chancellor on Finance Day requires all listed companies to publish net zero transition plans from 2023. In our COP26 Q&A with Nicola Binks she explained what this means to customers and how we are helping them with our finance solutions and partnerships.   

The second, announced on Transport Day, the UK was one of 15 countries to commit to all new heavy goods vehicles sales zero emissions by 2040. This announcement is in addition to the UK’s existing ban on new sales of diesel and petrol cars from 2035. Alex Avila’s COP26 Q&A explains how Mitie is supporting customers make the transition to electric fleets.  

Prior to COP26, the UK Autumn Budget launched two important initiatives for UK businesses. The first is an investment of £3.9bn to decarbonise buildings and transition to net zero. And the second is a business rate holiday for 12 months on improvements to business premises.  

What is Mitie’s Net Zero ambition?   

At Mitie, we are committed to being Net Zero in our operational emissions by 2025 and across our supply chain by 2035. We are achieving this through the electrification of our fleet, decarbonising our buildings and powering our operations with renewable energy. We have already reduced our emissions by 32.3% compared to our 2018/19 baseline.  

We now share our expertise with our customers to decarbonise their built environments, and to date we have eradicated over 353,000 tonnes of carbon for our customers.  

How does Mitie support customers to decarbonise their built environments?    

Plan Zero is our one-stop shop for net zero resulting in Zero Carbon, Zero Waste and Biodiversity Net Gain.  Using our in-house consulting, design, project delivery and maintenance capabilities, we deliver comprehensive decarbonisation solutions.  Within Plan Zero we have experts on all matters related to net zero and throughout our COP26 Q&A series they detailed how we help customers tackle a range of issues.  

In addition to the commercial and fleet transition services mentioned above we also advise on how to transition to renewable energy sources. In the Q&A with Alex Payne he explained how volatile energy prices are impacting business and how we help organisations buy from renewable sources. We also help our customers to reduce the consumption and transition from fossil fuels, Paul Taylor explained how we are using technology to achieve this. It is also important to address waste and biodiversity and in the Q&As with Lucinda Lay and Isobel McGlashon they explained how we are helping our customers to reduce their impact on the planet.

What would you advise organisations to do now?

In the coming year, I anticipate regulatory changes will start to drive further decarbonisation activities. In preparation for that, organisations should strive to:  

Plan for net zero.Organisations must now plan out the itemised actions they need to take to achieve net zero. For example our Plan Zero Pathways use our expertise from across our business to help our customers set their strategy and evaluate tangible project potions to define the best course to net zero.

Select a trusted partner Successful decarbonisation requires several specialists to work together for the long term. The right partners will be able to present the options you have and they will make it simple. We are always technology agnostic, and we focus on finding the right combination of solutions for your business.  

Build your business case. By working with Mitie; you can build the investment case to deploy your decarbonisation solutions. Our partnership with SDCL and BoltON modules mean making net zero happen is easier than ever before.  Carbon and cost savings can be provided at a portfolio level, to improve the environment and the bottom line.

Please contact me to discuss how we can make net zero happen for your organisation. 

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