UK heavyweights back climate change campaign

Eight of the UK’s biggest businesses are embarking on a major corporate social responsibility scheme to help cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Tesco, Marks & Spencer (M&S) and BSkyB are among the companies to have signed up to the “We’re in this Together” campaign, which is spearheaded by independent body The Climate Group and aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 25 million tonnes in the next three years.

B&Q, Barclaycard, British Gas, O2 and Royal & SunAlliance (RSA) are also backing the scheme and all eight business unveiled new initiatives to encourage consumers to cut their carbon footprints at the launch of “We’re in this Together” in London this morning (Monday).

The scheme is backed by the Government and aims to encourage everyone in the country to take steps to tackle climate change. Speaking at the launch, Prime Minister Tony Blair said: “This takes what is a huge public concern about the environment and shows how there can be practical solutions in people’s everyday lives. The solution has to be global and comprehensive but individuals want to feel that they can also be a part of it.”

To show its support for the campaign, Barclaycard is launching a new “green” credit called Barclaycard Breathe this summer. The company will donate 50% of its profits from the card to support carbon-reduction projects in the UK and abroad.

RSA has unveiled a new “eco-insurance” policy, while Tesco has set itself a target of selling 10 million energy-saving light bulbs in the coming year – up from 2 million last year. The supermarket giant is doubling the space it gives the light bulbs in its stores and halving their price in a bid to meet the target.

B&Q is also cutting the price of two of its best-selling insulation products and says that if everyone insulated their lofts to the recommended level, it would save 4 million tonnes of CO2 a year.

British Gas is launching a new “green” electricity product which it claims will be the greenest on the market, while M&S is encouraging its customers to lower their washing temperature to 30∞C. O2 will give customers who renew their contracts without changing their handsets £100 credit as part of the scheme, and Sky is introducing a technology that automatically switches off Sky HD and Sky boxes overnight.

Dr Steve Howard, chief executive of The Climate Group, adds: “Today marks an unprecedented commitment from some of the UK’s favourite brands to help their customers tackle climate change.”

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