Introducing Business for Clean Air
Business for Clean Air (B4CA) is the first and only voluntary initiative that companies can join to signal their commitment to addressing air pollution. Join with other businesses to forge a movement of companies committed to improve air quality, cutting emissions and cleaning up the air for communities across the UK.
B4CA has been developed by the Business Clean Air Taskforce (“B-CAT”), a group of businesses convened by environmental charity Global Action Plan – the people behind Clean Air Day - and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to help accelerate the transition to a society with clean, healthy air.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought action on air pollution to the forefront as a sustainability and health issue. Business action on air quality matters now more than ever.
Why Clean Air matters now more than ever
Public demand for action: Employees and customers are concerned about air quality more than ever before and expect businesses to take action. The majority of people in the UK (72%) think that clean air is even more important now because coronavirus can affect people’s lungs. An overwhelming majority (74%) want business to “do more to cut pollution and traffic after the lock down so that neighbourhoods don’t go back to the way they were” with 85% of people listing at least one specific pollution-reduction measure they want businesses to take.
Scientist recommendations: Clean Air has a vital role to play in protecting people with existing health conditions and aiding recovery from respiratory illness; health conditions that are caused or worsened by air pollution - such as asthma, heart disease and COPD - make a person more vulnerable to complications if they contract Covid-19. If any person contracts Covid-19, which is principally a respiratory illness, they can become short of breath. It is therefore imperative that those recovering from and managing respiratory illness.
Air pollution is a health crisis and a social injustice. We are in a collective position to unleash the benefits of a world with clean air now. The steps that will reduce air pollution will not only lead to healthier air but will also improve quality of life for millions of people. Fewer road traffic accidents, lower congestion, increased physical activity, quieter and less stressful cities, and a better balance between work and family life are just some examples of why business should embark on this mission. Quite simply, clean air makes business sense.
Build back cleaner air
We’re helping companies learn how to help tackle air pollution as they get back to business. Explore the 6 themes for building back cleaner air into business recovery plans. By incorporating as many of these opportunities as possible your business can take the first step towards becoming a Business for Clean Air. Click on the graphic below to see what your business can do right now.
Register now for the next webinar aimed at large businesses: Every Breath We Make: Ensuring Healthy Air for Manufacturing.
Why do we need Business for Clean Air ?
Society needs businesses to take immediate steps to get back to business with clean air, it also needs a movement of progressive businesses normalising corporate action on air quality for the long term. This is why Business for Clean Air has been developed.
Since Global Action Plan launched National Clean Air Day in 2017, thousands of businesses have become involved in the campaign, and we know that the business community has many champions of clean air. But speedy action on air pollution requires shared learning so that once a problem is solved, everyone can repeat the trick. We also need more organisations getting stuck in, which they will do if the bold first few evangelise about the benefits of better air quality.
The UK urgently requires reduced road transport, cleaner vehicles, lower industrial, construction and agricultural emissions, and replacing furnishings and products that cause indoor pollution. The business community has a vital role to play in ushering in this transition, through innovation, sustainable business practices, and making it easy for employees and customers to do their bit. The Business for Clean Air initiative aims to inspire this shared learning and increase in action.
What is involved?
1. Company agrees with
Business Clean Air
2. C-suite sponsor
3. Company delivers on
Clean Air Plan
4. Progress is shared
Timeline for a Business for Clean Air
Environment Minister Rebecca Pow MP, says: ““We know the impact that air pollution has on communities across the UK which is why - as set out in the Clean Air Strategy - the government, businesses and individuals all need to come together to tackle this problem. The Business for Clean Air initiative set a strong example for businesses to recognise the role they have to play. As well as congratulating those businesses who have already signed up, I’d also encourage more companies to make the pledge, taking action to make their operations cleaner for the good of their employees, customers and the wider community.”
Deputy London Mayor for Environment and Energy, Shirley Rodrigues, says:“Toxic air contributes to thousands of premature deaths in London every year and there is now emerging evidence linking air pollution with an increased vulnerability to COVID-19. The Mayor has taken bold action with measures such as the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone and Low Emission Bus Zones, and they are already making a difference to the air we breathe.
“It’s clear the public want action from the business sector, so it’s great to see businesses stepping up to the challenge to tackle our air pollution crisis. We encourage all of London’s biggest firms to come forward with ambitious clean air plans that could improve the quality of life not only of their workers and customers, but also everybody who lives in our capital.”
Mark Leftwich, Managing Director for Philips UKI Consumer Business says:
“Many people think of air pollution as causing or exacerbating respiratory illnesses like asthma. This is correct, but it is also not the complete picture. Air pollution touches every part of the body from our brains to our hearts and it can even impact the health of unborn children. I speak with many companies that want to take action on air pollution to help avert climate breakdown and avoid triggering further health issues but are unclear on what actions they can and should be taking. Philips has a long and proven track-record in implementing sustainability initiatives that improve, for the better, our relationship with the environment, our business strategy and operational structures. The Business for Clean Air Initiative is a vital forum for large organisations across the UK to take effective action swiftly, openly learn from each other and encourage each other to go further.”
Professor Stephen Holgate, UK government appointed Clean Air Champion and Medical Research Council Clinical Professor of Immunopharmacology at the University of Southampton, says: “Air pollution is cutting lives short and exacerbating existing health conditions for millions of people. I welcome the B4CA initiative and call on any employer committed to health and wellbeing to sign up, cut pollution and protect its workforce and customers.”
Jamie Heywood, Regional General Manager for Northern and Eastern Europe, Uber says:
“Climate change and urban air quality are the biggest environmental challenges we face, and bold action needs to be taken. Uber’s vision is for every one of our cars to be shared and electric, with all 45,000 drivers using the app in London to use zero-emission vehicles by 2025. Since the launch of our Clean Air Plan a year ago, more than one million journeys on the Uber app have been taken in electric vehicles, but this is just the beginning. We're proud to be one of the businesses behind the Business for Clean Air Initiative, collaborating with partners from a range of sectors to take action on air quality.”
Nicola Lovett, CEO of ENGIE UK & Ireland says:
“As an organisation dedicated to helping businesses and local authorities on their journey towards zero carbon, ENGIE is proud to one of the partners behind B4CA. As part of this cross-sector coalition, we will be offering our in-depth knowledge of reducing emissions, expertise in the greening of energy supply and provision of sustainable mobility solutions to help others to analyse, plan and act on air pollution. Every company large and small has a role to play to solve the issue and the free business-led approach from B4CA will help organisations across the UK to accelerate their own efforts and enable them take effective action swiftly.”
Alfonso Martinez, LeasePlan UK Managing Director said: “We are delighted to be a founding partner of the B4CA initiative. At LeasePlan, we understand that climate change is the biggest challenge we face as humanity, and we’re determined to play our part. EVs are crucial to tackling the climate emergency and improving air quality in towns and cities, and that is why we are committed to transitioning our entire funded fleet of 1.9 million vehicles to zero emissions by 2030.”
Camille Waxer, Managing Director of Retail and Chief Administrative Officer, Canary Wharf Group says:
“Working together to improve air quality is not only a moral responsibility but makes good business sense too. Cleaner air is increasingly a differentiator for where people choose to live and spend their leisure time. Canary Wharf Group are proud to back the Business for Clean Air initiative and we are working to improve air quality across our business, and support our tenants and partners to do the same”
Councillor Tom Hayes, Cabinet Member for Zero Carbon Oxford, said: “In Oxford we are taking major steps towards a zero emission transport system across Oxford in order to tackle toxic air pollution. With the UK’s first city centre zero emission zone - Oxford Zero Emission Zone - proposed to begin in December this year, we want more businesses - big and small – to think about the effects of air pollution and become a “Business For Clean Air”. As we get closer to our Zero Emission Zone, we are ramping up our work with businesses here in Oxford about their delivery vehicles and zero emission alternatives. We are also engaging national associations such as the Road Haulage Association to make the Zero Emission Zone a practical reality, so everyone can play their part, but one which truly stretches the ambition of our transport providers. We need to all work together and share how we can all play our part to tackle air pollution.”