Responding to changes to net zero policies

Comment from Nick Potter, Acting CEO of Simplyhealth said:

Since 2019, Simplyhealth has taken a proactive approach to reducing the negative effects of climate change.  

Not just because we care about protecting our planet, but because we understand the intrinsic link between health and the environment. Recent research, published in Lancet Planetary Health journal, suggests implementing net zero policies in England and Wales, which will reduce environmental factors such as air pollution and encourage healthy behaviours, will lead to at least an extra 2million years lived across the population by 2050.  

The UK’s net zero targets have also been crucial in building business confidence and mobilising investment, and any move to weaken the targets risks leaving the UK behind compared to other world leaders. 

Like many other UK businesses, we have already made substantial investments to support the net zero transition aligned to the 2015 Paris agreement and the UK Government’s 2050 Net Zero Strategy. 

In the last 12 months this has included: 

  • Transitioning our sales company fleet to 100% hybrid/electric vehicles 
  • Investing in EV charging points at our head office, bringing the total to 8 
  • Procuring solar panels for our head office (to be installed later this year) 
  • Year on year reduction of paper and totalling 99.17 tonnes of CO2e (since 2019) 
  • As a business, alongside our stakeholders, we have already felt the benefits of our early adoption, for example: 
    • Improved digital customer experiences; 
    • Greater colleague engagement and accountability; and 
    • Efficiency and cost savings. 

It’s our belief that the watering down of the Government’s key green policies will damage the positive momentum already achieved within the business community. But only if we let it. 

Today, we have the biggest economic opportunity of the 21st century for Britain to lead the world towards a green economy. We hope those businesses already committed to, and investing in, the net zero transition do not allow today’s announcements to undermine their progress or ambition for the future. 

It is our view that the economic benefits of rapid action now significantly outweigh the risk of increased fiscal and debt associated with a delay. 

Like the Prime Minister, we recognise a ‘pragmatic and proportionate’ response is needed, especially when considering the cost for British households and families. But that shouldn’t mean weakening targets, as stopping or slowing investment now and deprioritising green policies means a delay in the UK public being able to benefit from sustainable and lower cost green energy, household bills and travel solutions for the longer term. 

As a 150-year-old purpose-led business, we think in generations, not just quarters or annual cycles. 

We remain absolutely committed to our own net zero targets and investments and maintaining this sense of urgency on behalf of our customers, colleagues and communities. 

You can find out more about our progress and commitments towards net zero here