“If Glasgow fails, then the whole thing fails.”
Sobering words from Boris on the eve of COP26 earlier this week. And as the world races towards its 1.5°C limit, pressuring our planetary and environmental boundaries to an extent not seen before, some would argue that we’re already too late, regardless of the outcomes of this latest global convention.
But at IFF, we believe that with a collective effort there is a future to fight for, and that this climate crisis can be abated. We have a long history of working with clients to make a difference, to achieve goals that are considered to be highly ambitious. Our insight has contributed to considerable improvements across the public sector; whether this is widening access to higher education, shining a light on racial discrimination, or promoting disabled people’s housing needs. We are passionate about contributing to a brighter, and fairer, future; one that might appear a distant pipedream at times.
And we are now applying this passion to the most seminal issue of our day, the climate crisis. Rarely has there been a more important time for insight to inform energy and environmental policy decisions, and to influence behaviour change. Which is where we come in (or where we can help). Only through robust evidence can governments make policy decisions and investments that we need, in order to transform the way our economy operates, and the way people live their daily lives.
We already see this policy need in the work we do for BEIS in helping to transform the skills of our workforce. From our investigation into the skills needs of the UK’s heat network sector we created a roadmap highlighting how the sector can meet its increasing capacity and capability needs. A current study also explores the opportunities for transitioning the heating and cooling installer workforce into lower carbon technologies such as heat pumps.
Meanwhile, in Scotland, we have recently worked with Skills Development Scotland to explore how to embed green competencies within apprenticeships, with a view to supporting their net zero targets. We were struck by the urgency with which industry demanded this work happens, and the importance of system change in empowering industry to reach their decarbonisation goals.
Alongside skills, we also see it playing out in Housing, a key sector for us at IFF. Our recently published study identified the challenges that social housing providers meet when seeking to decarbonise their stock, and revealed considerable support for the new Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund. The will is there to change; they need support.
While governments can lead change, it is also incumbent on us all to limit our environmental impacts. We live in a society where many are fortunate enough to be able to make choices in our behaviour. Choices in what we buy, how we travel, and what we eat. Now there is an increasing number of products that help us make these changes; products that require market testing. One such market testing study we undertook recently explored individuals’ readiness for a new offsetting tool that will enable people to conveniently offset emissions at the point of sale.
At IFF, we want to provide the reliable and robust insight that is fundamental to confident decision making, thereby allowing the country to progress to its net zero targets. We are therefore delighted to announce the launch of our new Energy and Environment sector. It’s a small step in the grand scheme of things, but rather than watch on passively as COP26 plays out, we’d prefer to be part of the solution. We’re excited to see where this takes us. If you’d like to join with us we’d love to hear from you.