Our panel of expert guests reveal the how the Government and the law can tackle the climate crisis with business. Sahil gives his insights on why Good Law Project won a landmark victory against the Government’s unlawfully inadequate Net Zero strategy. Becky and Mhairi explain how changes to business law and contracts would provide a level playing field for companies to operate in a greener way. Zack explains the fundamental role Government needs to play in society to facilitate our climate goals.
Sahil Kher, Good Law Project
Sahil is a Senior Associate at the Good Law Practice, a law firm established to run litigation brought by the Good Law Project, community groups, and partner organisations. Sahil leads on the Practice’s portfolio of environmental cases, and was closely involved with the landmark challenge to the Government’s Net Zero Strategy.
Zack Polanski, Deputy Leader of the Green Party
Zack Polanski was elected Deputy Leader of the Green Party in 2022. He is also a member of the London Assembly and has chaired London’s Environment Committee since May 2021.
Becky Annison, Chancery Lane Project
Becky Annison trained in a city law firm before working as an in-house at a large international corporation for many years. She is currently Director of Engagement for the Chancery Lane Project and a co-host on Thomson Reuters’ legal podcast – The Hearing.
Mhairi Littlewood, Better Business Act
Campaign Manager at the Better Business Act since 2021.
- Becky: Every country has the power to be a decarbonising force through the use of contract law to enforce.
- Mhairi: Better Business Act advocates for a change to Companies Act – including a move away from shareholder primacy and a focus on longer term decisions by directors.
- Zack: The Green Party focuses on environmental justice and social justice because it’s not possible to have one without the other.
- Zack: The role of government is to protect people and planet.
- Sahil: In the 2022 law suit victory against the Government’s Net Zero strategy found:
- A lack of policies and strategies for sectors.
- The plans only delivered 95% of the reduction in emissions required.
- Regulatory bodies and government were unclear on responsibilities.
- Business taking advantage of this ambiguity and fines having minimal impact.
- Becky: Government has the responsibility to level the playing field so businesses don’t feel like they are reducing their carbon footprint whilst others are not. The Government can help with advice and information.
- Zack: Construction and the running of buildings is 39% of GHG. As the Government is the biggest consumer of construction, there are opportunities to instil changes to the supply chain.
- Zack: Investment should be in green energy and in ways to reduce amount and cost of energy through insultation.
- Climate crisis is only going to be exacerbate the cost of living crisis.
- Becky: Part of the increase of business costs is due to climate change and this will increase dramatically without intervention.
- Sahil: Legal changes that would help social and environmental priorities: the precautionary principle to become a standard of English law; Rights of Nature movement; local government to be further responsible for their impact on the environment.
- The inappropriate nature of fossil fuel companies having a seat at the table with Government due to donations.
- Zack: The power of the law in action e.g. the Clean Air Act came info force to tackle London Smog.
- Since Ella’s Law air pollution is recognised as causing death.