10th November 2021

Hoping for a good Cop26

At Addison Lee, sustainability and in particular protecting the environment in our home city is a main priority – on the 21st of September we announced that our passenger car fleet will become fully electric by 2023, we offset all the carbon across our passenger and courier fleet and have funded the installation of green screens in London schools. And so, we are watching the outcomes of discussions at Cop26 with keen interest.

The discussions going on in Glasgow over the next fortnight are important for setting the framework and structure for companies like ours to deliver on sustainability and environmental commitments. The first few days have been dominated by World leaders agreeing on high level targets around methane emissions, halting deforestation and setting out their nation’s net zero targets. These are all part of an individual country’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), which set out how they aim to achieve the 2015 Paris Agreement’s goal of keeping global temperatures well below 2C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to keep it to 1.5C.

Now that the leaders have made their statements, they will leave Glasgow and the gritty work of the negotiating teams from the 190 countries attending Cop26 will begin. There are three main areas of focus for these negotiations:

  • Transparency and verification
  • Creating a mechanism for speeding up carbon reductions over the next 30 years
  • Establishing a global carbon market to underpin offsetting

While these points seem technical and often impenetrable, they are important for businesses like ours. There is currently no standard format for countries to draft and submit their carbon reduction plans to the United Nations. There is also no fixed verification method for the UN to determine whether a country is delivering on its plan. If the delegates at Cop26 can agree on a standard then we will have a much clearer guide for our business when we collect, draft, submit and measure the success of our carbon reduction plans.

Clarity over carbon offsetting would also be a great outcome from the conference. We currently work with a well-respected offsetting company to support the offset of all the carbon across our fleet. However, there remains a healthy scepticism around offsetting – often referred to as greenwashing. A newly planted tree can take up to 20 years to capture the amount of CO2 that a carbon-offset scheme promises. A clearer approach on offsetting that drives investment into technologies that reduce carbon now would also be a positive outcome from Cop26.

If we get standards and clarity from Cop26 then it will help us with our important sustainability decisions over the next 5 years. The work does not end when everyone packs up and leaves Glasgow next week; however, they can set us all on the right path.

Businesses like ours can make a huge difference. Our ambitious decision to electrify our fleet by 2023 and act now shows real leadership – not just in our industry, but across all transport providers.

To find out more about Addison Lee’s pledge to become fully electric by 2023, two years ahead of any other large PHV operator in London, visit: https://www.addisonlee.com/services/about/our-journey-to-electrification/

Kind regards,

Andrew Wescott

Head of Regulatory and External Affairs

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