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Climate Leaders Summit: US, Canada, and Japan unveil enhanced 2030 climate plans, as China hints at coal phase down

Climate Leaders Summit: US, Canada, and Japan unveil enhanced 2030 climate plans, as China hints at coal phase down

First day of climate summit hosted by US offers up a number of enhanced climate targets from world leaders as Prime Minister Johnson insists he is not a 'bunny hugger'

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson hymned the need to boost climate finance for developing countries, tackle biodiversity loss, and 'build back better' from the pandemic as he took to the virtual podium of the Climate Leaders Summit this afternoon, offering a characteristically optimistic rallying call to world leaders on a day when a number of leading economies unveil enhanced climate goals.

Forty leaders attended today's White House-hosted summit, including Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Chinese President Xi Jinping, as US President Joe Biden undertook his first major act of climate diplomacy ahead of this year's crucial COP26 UN Climate Summit.

The President opened the two-day meeting by confirming heavily-trailed plans to reduce the US' emissions by between 50 and 52 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030 and called on other countries to step up their ambition ahead of the vital Glasgow Summit this autumn.

"The steps our countries take between now and [COP26 Climate Summit in] Glasgow will set the world up for success," he said, adding that if action is taken now "we will breathe easier literally and figuratively"

While the new US target is weaker the emissions goals embraced by the UK and EU, it marks a significant step up for the nation that is expected to unleash much-needed green policies and clean investments across the US over the coming years. Biden repeatedly stressed how the strategy was part of his wider infrastructure and jobs plans, promising that pursuit of net zero emissions would boost US competitiveness and enhance lives and livelihoods across the country.

As he took to the stage, Johnson highlighted the UK's new target of delivering a 78 per cent emission reduction on 1990 levels by 2035 and impressed the need for nations to meet their Paris Agreement commitment to deliver $100bn a year in climate finance to developing countries.

Echoing earlier comments from the Biden, Johnson emphasised climate action could drive significant economic growth and jobs, as he confounded delegates with an obscure reference to how climate action had nothing to do with "bunny hugging" and could unlock myriad economic opportunities. Espousing his personal philosophy, he highlighted how the UK had slashed its emissions in recent decades, while growing its economy. "Cake have eat, is my message to you," he told world leaders.

"It's vital for all of us to show that this is not all about some expensive politically correct green act of ‘bunny hugging' or however you want to put it," he said of climate action. "Nothing wrong with 'bunny hugging' but you know what I'm driving at. This is about growth and jobs and the President [Biden] was absolutely right to stress that.

"I want to leave you with the thought that we can build back better from this pandemic by building back greener," the Prime Minister added. "Don't forget that the UK has been able to cut our own CO2 emissions by about 42 per cent on 1990 levels and we've seen our economy grow by 73 per cent, you can do both at once."

Chinese President Xi Jinping did not unveil any fresh targets for the world's biggest emitter, but confirmed for the first time that the country would actively phase down coal consumption in the latter half of this decade, a move that was welcomed by commentators as providing an important signal domestically.

"We will strictly control coal fired power generation projects," Xi said. "We will strictly limit the increase in coal consumption over the 14th five-year plan period and phase it down in the 15th five-year plan period [2026-2030]."

Meanwhile, hopes that Japan and Canada might unveil plans to slash their emissions by 50 per cent by the end of the decade were dashed this afternoon, when both countries unveiled targets that fall short of delivering the emissions reductions in line with a 1.5C future.

Just ahead of the conference, Japan announced it would work to cut emissions by 46 to 50 per cent compared to 2013 levels. While a significant step up from its previous goal of 26 per cent, Greenpeace Japan's executive director slammed it as a "paltry move" when compared to the decarbonisation programmes of the EU, UK, and US.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, meanwhile, highlighted the importance of "listening to climate science" as he unveiled plans for the country to slash emissions by 40 to 45 per cent by the end of this decade against 2005 levels.

Again, while the new target marks a significant step up from Canada's previous goal of 30 per cent, campaigners have warned it falls far short of delivering the emissions reductions required to deliver on the goals of the Paris Agreement. Canada is the fourth largest producer of oil in the world and has a long history of missing national climate targets, and as such campaigners have called on the federal government to pass strong legislation to help meet the new targets. Trudeau has also come under fire from campaigners for unveiling no new climate finance commitments.

Other notable developments today saw a pledge from South Korea to stop financing coal power overseas, a move that will leave China and Japan as the last two major overseas coal funders, and an uncharacteristically subdued speech from Brazilian President Jair Bolsanaro that was been met with scepticism by environmental campaigners. The right-wing, populist president set out an improved 2050 goal for carbon neutrality and pointed to a commitment made last week to eliminate illegal deforestation by 2030. He also pledged to double the funds available for enforcement measures to tackle deforestation in the Amazon, in a surprising turnaround for a leader who has been slammed internationally for defunding the agencies that tackle deforestation and mining.

"I cannot agree more that we must be ambitious on the climate agenda," he said. "I have determined that Brazil's carbon neutrality be achieved by 2050, bringing forward by 10 years our previous commitment."

While it remains to be seen whether the President intends to put in place a policy environment to deliver on these aims the speech does mark a new rhetorical direction for the Brazilian leader, who has long favoured climate denial talking points.

The various updated national climate goals were accompanied by a raft of new corporate net zero strategies, with the UN backed Race to Zero campaign announcing this week that over 2,100 businesses globally, including many of the world's largest and most powerful firms, have now set ambitious net zero targets.

However, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunburg delivered a characteristically acerbic take on the discussions. In a video published to Twitter this morning, she condemned national climate targets being touted by leaders at the summit as "insufficient", arguing they did not align with climate science.

"The gap between our so-called climate targets and the overall, current bet available science should no longer be possible to ignore," she said. "There are several decaeds missing. This gap of awareness, action and time is the biggest elephant that has ever found itself in any room."

From sustainable cocoa to solar-powered beer: 10 of the biggest, best, and quirkiest Earth Day announcements

From sustainable cocoa to solar-powered beer: 10 of the biggest, best, and quirkiest Earth Day announcements

Don't have time to cut through the Earth Day noise? We've rounded up some of our favourite announcements from drinks, fashion, consumer goods and tech brands this year

Earth Day is upon us, and this year it is bigger than ever.

All eyes are currently on the Biden administration's Climate Leaders Summit and the strenghtened emissions goals announced by the US, UK, EU, Japan, Canada, and others. But that has not stopped the now customary wave of corporate announcements, which as ever range from the hugely consequential to the largely performative.

A host of multinationals have this week unveiled sweeping new sustainability strategies that will fundamentally transform the way they and their suppliers do business over the coming decade - witness major announcements over the past few days from Burger King UK, telecommunications giant Verizon, and hospitality giant Whitbread. As such the UN backed Race to Zero campaign, Amazon's corporate climate initiative the Climate Pledge, and the Science-Based Targets Initiative's Business Ambition for 1.5C coalition are heaving with new members as corporates around the world have flocked to the alliances after jumping at the idea to refresh their climate strategies to coincide with Earth Day. Investor and consumer pressure on companies to establish more sustainable business models has never been higher, and as such this year's crop of Earth Day announcements is inevitably bigger and bolder than in years previous.

That does not mean the latest wave of announcements is entirely free of the marketing spin that has at times tarnished the Earth Day brand. It is worth pointing out that, while consumer demand for green products may be skyrocketing, the optics of pushing any form of product to consumers on a day dedicated to celebrating a planet ravaged by over consumption are difficult, no matter how 'green' said item is. 

That said, there are a number of brands clearly thinking hard and carefully about their footprint and supply chain, and as such we've waded through literally hundreds of press releases to bring you 10 of the biggest, best, and quirkiest Earth Day announcements.

Mondelez and Olam Food Ingredients promise sustainable cocoa showcase

Snack food giant Mondelez and cocoa exporter Olam Food Ingredients have announced they are developing the world's "single largest sustainable commercial cocoa farm" on 2,000 hectares of previously-deforested land in Indonesia. Cocoa will be planted alongside shade trees, forest and fruit trees to promote biodiversity and carbon capture, they said, noting that 47 hectares would be "fully protected" as a vital habitat for flora and fauna. The partners said the farm would provide a "blueprint for best practice cocoa farming, optimal land usage and farming community planning" globally.

Morrisons debuts plastic-saving shampoo bars

Morrisons has launched its own-brand range of vegan shampoo and conditioner bars in a bid to help consumers cut down on the plastic in their haircare regime. The lightweight bars, which are packaged in fully recyclable cardboard cartons, also use less water to manufacture are have smaller carbon footprint than traditional shampoo and conditioner plastic bottles, the supermarket said.

Greener mayonnaise

Mayonnaise behemoth Hellman's has squeezed one step closer to a sustainable future, announcing this week that it has begun switching bottles to 100 per cent post-consumer recycled plastic. The Unilever-owned brand said that once complete, the transition of its 'squeezy' range of fridge staples away from virgin plastic would save nearly 1,500 tonnes of plastic annually.

Klarna's carbon calculator

Millions of online shoppers around the world now have the ability to view the carbon footprint of their purchases, after popular e-commerce app Klarna, which allows consumers to 'buy now pay later', announced the launch of a carbon impact calculator. The fintech firm claimed the move amounted to "one of the largest-ever awareness raising efforts on carbon footprints", stressing that 18 million customers make transactions using Klarna each month.

Vans sets sustainable sneakers goal

US footwear giant Vans has unveiled a major green materials sourcing and production drive, vowing that all the rubber, cotton, leather, nylon, and polyester it uses in its trainers will be renewable, recycled, responsibly sourced or regenerative by the end of the decade. the pivot towards more circular materials will propel the company towards its goal of achieving a 30 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions across its operations and supply chain by 2030, it said.

Green Hush Puppies

Those itching to buy a 'sustainable' shoe in the short term, meanwhile, might be interested in a shoe made from recycled water bottles and recycled green algae launched by casual footwear brand Hush Puppies this week. The brand claims the shoe, which is made from 100 per cent recycled materials, is its most sustainable to date.

Beam Suntory toasts $1bn climate push

Spirits giant Beam Suntory has unveiled a $1bn climate programme designed to help the firm reach a new goal of reducing its operational greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent by 2030 and delivering net zero emissions across its entire value chain 10 years later. The firm, which is set to open its first distillery powered by renewable energy next year in Kentucky, has also announced plans to halve its water usage by the end of the decade and replenish more water than it uses by 2040.

Solar-powered beer

Elsewhere in the alcohol sector, brewing giant AB InBev has announced its organic beer brand, Michelob Ultra Pure Gold, is now brewed entirely with solar power.

A flawsome Mango IPA

British sustainable beer brand Toast Ale has launched a new 'Mango IPA'  made from surplus bread and surplus "wonky" mangoes, in partnership with veg box company Oddbox and fruit juice brand Flawsome.

Visa sets sights on net zero credit cards

Visa has become the latest financial giant to to vow to reach net zero emissions by 2040, pledging to work with the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership to explore ways to harness its service to "support sustainable commerce". The brand said it would explore how its products, services, network, data, and brand could be leveraged to deliver a low-carbon future, for instance by supporting initiatives that drive greener travel and mobility habits, or investigating where the barriers to sustainable living lie.

Earth Day: US and Japan confirm ambitious new climate targets

Earth Day: US and Japan confirm ambitious new climate targets

Biden administration confirms new national climate action will commit US to cutting emissions by 50 to 52 per cent against 2005 levels by 2030

President Biden will today announce a new target for the US to deliver a 50 to 52 per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions against 2005 levels by 2030, in a move that should trigger billions of dollars of investment in new low carbon infrastructure.

The announcement is set to form the centre piece of day one of the White House's Climate Leaders Summit, which will today see around 40 leaders from the world's biggest economies come together to discuss how to accelerate global climate action.

The confirmation of the new US target came as reports confirmed Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is to also use the Summit to announce a new 2030 target to cut Japan's carbon emissions by 46 per cent from 2013 levels - a significant strengthening of the previous goal, which aimed for a 26 per cent cut in emissions.

The virtual meeting will also see the EU showcase its new target to cut emissions by 55 per cent against 1990 levels by 2030, while UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will showcase the UK's newly adopted carbon budget, which aims to cut emissions 78 per cent against 1990 levels by 2035. Further announcements from other world leaders are also expected over the next two days, while Biden is hoping to ramp up pressure on those governments that are yet to strengthen their national climate action plans to come forward with new goals ahead of the COP26 Climate Summit that is scheduled for Glasgow in November.

The White House confirmed its new emissions target for 2030 will be heart of an updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), which will be submitted to the UN following the return of the US to the Paris Agreement.

The target represents a significant strengthening of the emissions goals submitted by the Obama administration when the Paris Agreement was brokered in 2015, which required a 26 to 28 per cent reduction in emissions against 2005 levels by 2025.

US emissions have fallen in recent years, as coal plants have been retired and renewables deployment has surged. However, meeting the new target will still require a significant acceleration in decarbonisation across the world's largest economy.

In a fact sheet published alongside the announcement of the new target, the Biden administration said that meeting the decarbonisation targets would be central to the President's high profile jobs and infrastructure plans.

"The United States is not waiting, the costs of delay are too great, and our nation is resolved to act now," the fact sheet states. "Climate change poses an existential threat, but responding to this threat offers an opportunity to support good-paying, union jobs, strengthen America's working communities, protect public health, and advance environmental justice. Creating jobs and tackling climate change go hand in hand - empowering the US to build more resilient infrastructure, expand access to clean air and drinking water, spur American technological innovations, and create good-paying, union jobs along the way."

The plan contains few new policy proposals, with the White House stressing that there are "multiple pathways" available to meet the targets.

However, it does underscore Biden's commitment to the various climate policies and goals that he backed on the campaign trail and sought to advance through a series of executive orders signed within days of taking office.

Specifically, the White House today highlighted plans to develop a zero emission power grid by 2035, support building retrofit programmes, slash tailpipe emissions, enhance carbon sinks, and deploy new technologies to curb industrial emissions.

Manish Bapna, interim president and CEO of the World Resources Institute, hailed the target as "a bold emissions reduction target that should make the world sit up and take note".

"This target will serve as the North Star for President Biden's domestic agenda," he said. "It will create a more equitable and prosperous society. At a time when the country is looking to bounce back from the pandemic, this goal will help unleash millions of good jobs, boost business and drive innovation."

However, he also stressed that "strong policies and investments from the public and private sectors will be essential for the US to reach this goal", adding that "to fully re-establish itself as a global leader, the United States needs to complement its emissions reduction target with a significant increase in financial support for developing countries".

Analysts have warned Biden's climate agenda will continue to be hampered by unrelenting opposition from Congressional Republicans. But the White House is increasingly optimistic that it can still deploy a raft of policies that can accelerate decarbonisation efforts across the US and globally.

With around 40 world leaders set to attend today's Summit attention will now turn to whether or not Biden and his allies can secure further climate commitments from other countries and help lay the ground work for the COP26 Summit, despite on-going concerns the UN negotiations could yet face further postponements.

'Crucial': EU unveils green finance rules as decision delayed on gas and nuclear

'Crucial': EU unveils green finance rules as decision delayed on gas and nuclear

Leading finance and investment figures hail EU Commission's latest sustainable finance rules as crucial to net zero and fighting greenwashing

The European Commission's latest package of classifications for sustainable finance activity published today have been labelled a "crucial" step in the EU's ongoing efforts to tackle greenwashing and meet its 2050 net zero goals by leading investment figures.

However, experts have warned that "time is of the essence" and EU legislators must move quickly to develop its Technical Screening Criteria (TSC) - which would clarify what counts as a 'green' investment -  for the bloc's remaining environmental objectives.

It comes in response to what the European Commission described as an "ambitious and comprehensive" package of three broad measures released today, which it said would be "instrumental" in encouraging capital flows towards sustainable activities across the EU.

The taxonomy rule book, which has long been in development and is regarded as a core pillar of the EU's aim to build a net zero economy by 2050, is designed as a labelling system for sustainable investments which the Commission hopes can divert hundreds of billions of Euros towards the green economy. It covers 13 sectors, including renewable energy, transport, forestry, manufacturing, buildings, insurance, and more, which together account for almost 80 per cent of EU emissions, according to the Commission. 

The first measure - the EU Taxonomy Climate Delegated Act - aims to support sustainable investment by making it clearer which economic activities most contribute to meeting the EU's environmental objectives.

Secondly, the related Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) aims to improve the flow of sustainability information in the corporate world.

And finally, the Commission has amended six Delegated Acts covering fiduciary duties, investment guidance, and insurance advice that aims to ensure financial firms and asset managers "include sustainability in their procedures and their investment advice to clients".

The EU Commission said the package of measures would enable investors "to re-orient investments towards more sustainable technologies and businesses", which is "instrumental in making Europe climate neutral by 2050". "They will make the EU a global leader in setting standards for sustainable finance," it added.

Commenting on the package of measures, government relations manager at law firm Norton Rose Fulbright Daniel Nevzat explained they mark the "finalisation of a unified classification system of sustainable economic activities concerning climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation", which is "a vital step towards helping investors identify what is and is not green, and in turn tackle so-called greenwashing".

"The classifications given to the underlying investments of investment products will be crucial in ensuring that they are achieving their sustainability goals while delivering high levels of transparency in the market," he added.

Gas, nuclear, and biomass debates

However, ESG funds lawyer at Linklaters, Julia Vergauwen, noted that the European Commission has delayed its decision with regard to classifying its TSC for more controversial industries - such as fossil fuel gas and nuclear - and their role in the climate transition.

Debates over whether fossil fuel gas power and nuclear could be classified as 'green' in the taxonomy have long been raging, with some arguing they are crucial transition fuels in the shift towards a net zero economy, and others arguing renewables technologies alone should be acceptably labelled as 'sustainable' energy investments under the new rulebook. A decision on whether both should be included has now been pushed back to a later date, while the Commission has also promised to review its inclusion of biomass as a sustainable energy technology in the taxonomy when it finalises its wider biodiversity legislation. 

"The new draft Delegated Act does not include natural gas and nuclear technology as transitional activities contributing to decarbonisation," said Vergauwen. "This change comes as a response to the heavy lobbying from the Platform on Sustainable Finance, the European Parliament and Member States to the European Commission over the last weeks. We will have to wait until Q4 2021 for the Commission to present a new legislative proposal for rules to establish TSC for gas, nuclear and other technologies in the energy sector outside of the limits imposed by the procedures set in the Taxonomy Regulation. "

Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive

Responding to the package of measures, the European Fund and Asset Management Association (EFAMA) urged European legislators to move quickly and ensure the "swift adoption" of the CSRD standards.

The European trade body's director general Tanguy van de Werve described the CSRD proposal as "essential in reducing the ESG data gaps faced by asset managers and supporting the development of green investment products".

"We call on the co-legislators to maintain the high level of ambition of the Commission's proposal and to ensure its swift adoption," he said. "Time is of the essence." 

Regulatory policy adviser at EFMA Dominik Hatiar added: "In the context of the EU Green Deal and Recovery Plan, we see the proposed CSR Directive as a key enabler for taxonomy-aligned sustainable investments and look forward to the first disclosures becoming available on 1 January 2024."

Once formally adopted, the EU Taxonomy Climate Delegated Act will then be scrutinised by the European Parliament and the Council over the following months.

Even so, the suite of green investment rules unveiled today mark the EU as a world leader on sustainable finance, and look set to play a critical role in funelling much needed funding into accelerating the bloc's net zero transition. But with the key controversial questions surrounding natural gas and nuclear yet to be resolved, the debate over the rules looks likely to run for some time yet. 

A version of this article originally appeared at Investment Week.

'The cost of inaction is just too high': IKEA to ramp up €4bn clean tech push

'The cost of inaction is just too high': IKEA to ramp up €4bn clean tech push

Ingka Group, which owns most IKEA stores worldwide, accelerates efforts to power entire value chain with its own renewables capacity

IKEA's largest global franchise owner has announced plans to inject an additional €4bn into scaling up the deployment of renewable power projects by the end of the decade, with a particular focus on expanding its wind and solar power capacity into new countries in order to power its retail stores and value chain.

Ingka Group, which operates 389 IKEA stores across 32 countries, has already invested €2.5bn in onsite renewables over the past decade. It this week announced it is to ramp up its green investment plan, assigning an additional €4bn to the programme through to 2030 in a move that would edge it closer towards powering its entire value chain with 100 per cent renewable power.

In total, the company now owns almost 550 wind turbines, 10 solar parks, and 935,000 solar panels, amounting to a total 1.7GW of renewable power capacity, having earlier this month announced the acquisition of a 48 per cent stake in eight solar parks totalling 160MW in Russia.

As well as wind and solar power, the additional €4bn announced on Wednesday is to be invested in energy storage projects, energy efficiency efforts, electric vehicle charging points, and hydrogen powered delivery vans, according to Ingka Group.

The holding company's CEO Jesper Brodin said the need to tackle climate change made the 2020s "the most important decade in the history of mankind", and that the "costs of inaction is just too high and brings substantial risks to our business and humanity".

"We know that with the right actions and investments we can be part of the solution and reduce the impact on the home we share - our planet - while future proofing our business," he said. "For us, it is good business to be a good business."

The announcement forms part of IKEA's broader goal to become a 'climate positive' business by reducing more greenhouse gas emissions than are emitted across the furniture retail giant's entire value chain by 2030, while delivering science-based CO2 reductions and investing in natural carbon storage projects.

"Using renewable energy across our operations and value chain is a significant part of delivering on our science-based targets and commitment to the Paris Agreement," said Pia Heidenmark Cook, Ingka Group's chief sustainability officer. "We have already come a long way, and in this critical decade we need to come together to accelerate a just transition to a society powered by renewable energy." 

Meanwhile, the IKEA Foundation - which is funded by the Ingka Foundation that in turn owns the Ingka Group - has this week separately pledged to invest an additional €1bn on climate programmes over the next five years in a bid to drive down greenhouse gas emissions.

The funding is being funnelled towards renewable energy initiatives, such as replacing polluting sources of energy with clean alternatives and providing access to energy for communities, as part of an approach IKEA Foundation said would unlock further funding to help accelerate the energy transition.

The new commitment comes in addition to the €500m the IKEA Foundation had already pledged to spend on climate mitigation and adaptation programmes over the next five years, following its €368m funding for climate programmes between 2014 and 2020.

Per Heggenes, CEO of the IKEA Foundation, said the aim was to support programmes that could deliver decarbonisation fast and efficiently, and that he hoped the renewed commitment would "inspire others to step up their ambition to safeguard our environment, while improving livelihoods at the same time".

"We need everyone to play their part if we are to change course towards bright futures on a liveable planet," he added.

Hotel giant Whitbread fast-tracks its net zero timeline by 10 years

Hotel giant Whitbread fast-tracks its net zero timeline by 10 years

Owner of Premier Inn hotels accelerates its timeline for decarbonising its operations, vowing to achieve net zero by 2040

Hospitality giant Whitbread has announced it now plans to reach net zero emissions across its operations and its extensive estate of hotels, restaurants, and pubs by 2040, bringing forward a previous commitment by 10 years.

The owner of Premier Inn, Beefeater, and Brewers Fayre said it would achieve its accelerated aim by curbing its use of fossil gas, transitioning to clean energy, installing on-site solar panels, and purchasing a zero emission vehicle fleet, conceding that a "small remainder" of emissions might have to be offset through tree planting or carbon capture and storage projects.

Chief executive Alison Brittain said the company was "scrutinising all aspects of its operation" as it worked to deliver its fast-tracked decarbonisation programme.

"We're delighted to announce our new net zero target, which improves on our previous commitment, by bringing forward the date to achieve net zero from 2050 to 2040," she said. "This builds on a long-line of environmental firsts for Whitbread, such as our drive to eliminate unnecessary single-use plastics.

"We're scrutinising all aspects of our operation from business fleet to boilers to achieve our goal and achieving a net zero position a decade earlier than originally planned is the right thing to do for our business, our guests and the environment."

Whitbread, which claims to be the only UK hotel chain publicly committed to delivering net zero emissions, said the decarbonisation targets would cover emissions from energy use in buildings its owns and operates in the UK and Germany, as well as its UK-owned logistics fleet.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng commended the company for its new target and urged other businesses to follow suit. "We are leading the world through bold commitments to end our contribution to climate change and I'm delighted to see Whitbread showing their support for those ambitions by pledging to accelerate their own plans to go green," he said. "All businesses have a responsibility to drive forward environmental commitments and only by working hand-in-hand with industry can we make sure we continue building back greener towards a cleaner future."

The new target comes just a few months after the hotel owner launched two green bonds totalling £550m to finance a range of sustainability initiatives, including energy efficiency upgrades, renewables deployment, green building designs, waste reduction efforts, and clean transport infrastructure.

The financing push came just a week after the hospitality firm announced a partnership with Engie that will see the energy company install 1,000 electric vehicle (EV) charge points at Premier Inn hotels across the country.

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