Observations on COP26 and The Future of Renewable by a UGP Account Manager

Whenever there’s a global summit, pledging to tackle the real issues of the world, I always take it with a pinch of salt. I don’t think I’m alone in my scepticism, given past government pledges and global agreements which have often fallen by the wayside, mere months down the road. This year’s COP26 seems to feel different. For the first time, climate is on the lips of people everywhere. From children to activists and, importantly, businesses.

As an Account Manager who had been talking to businesses about their energy and environmental impact for years, I have been following the news closely. Slowly, but surely, the tone of the conversations is beginning to shift. Cost savings are paramount, as always, but if not number 1, then the number 2 criteria for businesses now, is their impact on the environment. Be this from an altruistic origin, or whether, being seen as green and having those credentials will improve their business takings, either way is it a huge step forward. One which, I personally, am very happy to see.

One of the reasons I get satisfaction from my role here, is the real and evident action we’ve taken to do our bit. Not just pledges. We do not buy ANY electricity generated from fossil fuels. Each business we supply can be sure their electricity use is 100% renewable and that they have cut their carbon emissions significantly. We plant a tree for every new customer to further our positive impact and genuinely make a difference to businesses and their emissions every day.

Whilst this is very rewarding, it’s not everything we would hope a group of nation leaders to be able to achieve. Tree planting, by individuals or business, is simply not enough. The pledge to stop deforestation is incredibly positive, but there’s my scepticism again – who will be policing this?

A stop to logging is great if it does happen, but is there then a plan in place to re-wild the amazon and other depleted natural environments? We share this planet with miraculous creatures who are losing their home and food sources, purely because of human activities. Ignoring re-wilding is as bad as turning off the tap in a flood and not siphoning away any water.

There is hope though, a real glimmer of light, which might, this time, not be an illusion. Business and industrial energy use is the largest contributor to carbon emissions and climate change in the UK. One by one, businesses are choosing renewable and green energy sources for more reasons than price. The message is getting through, perhaps we have figures like Sir David Attenborough to thank? Either way at last it feels like real change is now taking place.

I believe that with further growth in renewable generation, more affordable green options and government incentives, there will be nothing in the way of a change to carbon free energy. The price of supply is no different, if not more competitive than brown energy. Green suppliers tend to have a good staff ethos, like UGP. Our staff clamour to go on our tree planting days to make their own difference in the landscape. This leads to an excellent, people-focussed service from a team with morals, not always easy to find in the energy market en mass.

Overall, cautious optimism is my current standing. The pledges made would create real change, not just in slowing the global temperature, but even the possibility of reversing that trend. Let’s hold onto hope of integrity and genuine commitment from these countries, to deliver what they have said. It may seem a long shot, but I’m hopeful. This is a beautiful and wondrous planet which we inhabit. Let’s work together to get it back to it’s former glory. Please?

Sally Rusbatch, UGP Account Manager.