50 reasons to be positive about reaching Net Zero in the UK

Mattie Yeta, CGI

Written by Lucy Wakeford, Director, Digital Leaders

On Wednesday this week I was at the House of Lords to meet the UK’s first NetZero 50 list for a business breakfast. The guests of honour, hosted by Rt. Hon. Lord Knight of Weymouth, were 50 examples of best practice when it comes to reducing carbon across all sectors. These individuals, organisations and initiatives make up our inaugural Net Zero 50 List.

Reaching net zero will be enormously challenging, and at the same time, it is everyone’s responsibility. The reception was about highlighting the best practice on delivering Net Zero initiatives already happening in the UK.

Some of those attending, including Dr. Mattie Yeta from CGI (pictured above), had just arrived back from COP27 in Egypt and they told us how inspiring it was to return to meet a UK-wide group of Net Zero leaders. It did feel like the room was full of the vanguard of those delivering the important mission of reaching Net Zero, and there was a real buzz.

If you take a look at the makeup of the list, it is made up of 60% SMEs and public sector initiatives, with charities and individuals making up the rest. It was great to see that all the UK’s countries and regions are represented in this first year’s list.

Talking to those in attendance it was clear that the list is seen as showcasing the work already underway, the individuals, initiatives, products and services cross-sector and across the UK helping to drive forward the net-zero transition. Most importantly the list offers others with  tangible solutions and inspiration for their own net zero strategies in order to transform our world into a sustainable one.

If I was to pick out some highlights from the list I would definitely include some of the SMEs. They include a company placing solar panels on the roof of car parks to deliver electricity to car charging ports, making electric cars even more sustainable; a company that reduces the carbon dioxide content of cement by 85%; a business that is using an innovative new way to recycle high value metals from discarded computer circuit boards; and a new satellite technology that allows the measurement of the thermal emissions of any structure on the planet from space. 

The public sector list members include: a project helping local and central government reduce carbon emissions through greener public procurement; a local authority tackling bad landlords by using digital tools to identify and improve the worst energy efficient private rented homes; an arms length government agency set up to provide funding to the public sector to improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and lower energy bills; and a UK wide schools initiative that brings together networks of students to connect and collaborate that represented schools from across the UK at COP26 in Glasgow.

To add an element of competition, we held a vote across the Digital Leaders community ahead of the reception to choose a ‘People’s Choice’ from the list. With over 5,600 votes overall, the ultimate winners were the UK Schools Sustainability Network. 


I do urge you to take a look to find your own inspiration. The whole Net Zero 50 list can be seen here.

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