Net zero at risk if government fails to ensure access to global supply chains
Published January 20, 2023
The government needs to do more to ensure access to global supply chains, or risk derailing efforts to reach net zero, a senior consultant at Alfa Energy has said in the wake of the publication of the Chris Skidmore’s Net Zero Review.
Last week, former Energy Minister, Chris Skidmore, published his Net Zero Review. Skidmore’s central message was that while net zero offers an “historic opportunity”, more should be done to reap the economic benefits that it presents. The review made 129 recommendations about how the UK could benefit from the opportunities presented by the drive to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.
Skidmore’s recommendations include reviewing incentives for investment in decarbonisation, including via the tax system; advice to small businesses so they can plan ahead; reforming the planning system to put net zero at its heart; and developing a cross-sectoral infrastructure strategy by 2025 to support adaptation for new green energy sources such as hydrogen.
While Alfa Energy has welcomed the recommendations, Dr Seyed Ebrahimi, Principal Consultant, Sustainability Operations at Alfa Energy, commented:
“The transition to net zero is only possible with resilient and flexible supply chains. More needs to be done to counter the threat of regions, or a handful of countries, accessing critical materials – dictating how, where and when raw material acquisition, production and processing occurs. As such, it is important that the government, businesses and customers appreciate the upstream and downstream supply chain requirements of individual sectors that are crucial to reaching our net zero goals.”
To do so, Dr Ebrahimi said the UK should take steps to ensure access to diverse, global and flexible supply chains, and effectively promote its growing, local circular economy. Dr Ebrahimi points out that this initiative is already being pursued under the government’s ‘Critical Minerals Strategy’. However, he said,
“more action is required to ensure all direct and indirect supply chains crucial for delivering net zero are targeted and considered. As such, a greater use of technological and infrastructural supply chain assessment could be beneficial to observe short-, mid-, and long-term sustainable strategies. Without a systematic view of the issue at hand, high-tier supply chain risks or lower end customer risks, could be disregarded and derail our efforts in reaching net zero by 2050.”