Stagecoach has today [23 August] launched a new long-term sustainability strategy with a call for “radical behaviour change and incentives to reward the right choices”, to make national government net-zero targets.
The company, publishing its roadmap to becoming a carbon neutral business by 2050, also warned that national and regional government needed to address the “contradictory policies and mixed messaging being sent to citizens” over climate change action.
Stagecoach’s strategy – Driving Net Zero: Better Places to Live and Work – aims to help create a greener, smarter, safer, healthier and fairer country. It sets out plans to achieve this by leveraging the power of public transport to address climate change, support post-Covid economic recovery and boost prosperity for employees and communities across the UK.
Stagecoach is aiming to decarbonise its business by around 70% by 2035, as well as targeting having a zero emissions UK bus fleet by that date. It follows a 14% reduction in Stagecoach carbon emissions between 2014 and 2019, supported by investments in LED lighting, intelligent building heating control systems and renewables.
The phased plan, to fully decarbonise the company’s operations, will see a switch away from clean diesel power – which already has 95% less pollutants than standard diesel vehicles – to zero-carbon technologies, including electric and hydrogen. Stagecoach has already invested £1bn in 7,000 new greener vehicles in the last decade.
Martin Griffiths, Stagecoach chief executive, said: “Stagecoach is a force for good and our strategy starts with what we can do in our own business to help transform society for the better. But we also need to make changes individually and work together to achieve our goals.
“The country will not deliver on its ambitions by grand strategies or technology change alone. We need radical behaviour change and incentives to reward the right choices to make net zero a reality. We need to be more honest about the scale of the challenge and the changes we will need to make to how we live now.
“Governments need to get real and stop cherry-picking the easy wins. We urgently need practical changes by national and regional government to address contradictory policies and mixed messaging currently being sent to citizens. We need an end to the ludicrous situation where some clean air zone plans effectively tax bus passengers making a sustainable choice but does nothing to address diesel cars contributing to the deaths of tens of thousands of people in our communities every year.”