Guest blog: Paul Nowak, Deputy General Secretary, Trades Union Congress

Workers overwhelmingly support the transition to a greener economy - and they want to be part of designing it. This is why worker engagement, social dialogue, and commitment to good quality jobs must be part of a principles-based approach to sustainability.

Guest blog: Rt Revd Dr John Thomson, Bishop of Selby 

The arrival of Spring is always a welcome moment in the year. I expect any of us have our spirits lifted by the longer days, the flowering of spring bulbs and blossom, and warmth returning to the air. This year, many of us may be breathing a sigh of relief that we can now manage with the heating turned off and anxiety over the rising cost of energy bills can subside a little over the summer months. But the high cost of oil and gas has also made us think again about how to wean ourselves from fossil fuels. 

This blog is based on a speech by Sharon Darcy to the CMA on 27th April 2022 as part of the CMA’s first ever sustainability week. 

The CMA’s March 2022 advice to government on how consumer protection and competition law can help meet the UK’s environmental goals is to be welcomed. How the CMA interprets and implements subsequent decisions and puts these into practice will be crucial for success.

A transformational shift is taking place towards sustainability across the economy. In public utilities this is driven by a need to prepare for net zero, address the biodiversity crisis and develop resilient systems. And, as utilities provide essential services, they are in the front line of the cost-of-living crisis.

Clearly choices must be made. How can decision makers in firms, regulators and government balance these different outcomes, identify common interest and deal with unavoidable trade-offs?

With the challenge of achieving net zero looming ahead, energy operators are under pressure - and scrutiny - to explain how in practice they will achieve this.  These operators - vital players in addressing the climate crisis  - submitted their Environmental Action Plans to Ofgem last year. Sustainability First,1 in partnership with Citizens Advice, teamed-up to assess the plans' effectiveness.

2021 has gone past in a blur. Working from home and lock downs have sometimes made it difficult to remember which year is which. And the frantic pace of change is unlikely to change. We face the challenge of the energy crisis and the associated surge in the cost of living. We must turn net zero into action and build resilience against current and future climate impacts. Pressures on biodiversity are growing; technology augurs excitement and trepidation. All await us in 2022.

Maxine Frerk returns from the COP26 Climate Conference in Glasgow and shares her reflections on the inter-generational challenge presented by climate change and on the importance of Sustainability First’s work in this space. 

It was clear from the time I have just spent on the fringes of COP26 how far climate change and how we tackle it is an inter-generational issue.