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Defra-UNFCCC COP26 Technology for Climate Action

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Minister Jo Churchill welcomed those attending the UNFCCC-Defra COP26 Technology for Climate Action conference.

Jo Churchill


I want to thank the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change for our partnership and the Defra e-Sustainability Alliance and partners for organising this conference. As COP26 President, the UK is bringing together parties to prioritise the delivery of the Paris Agreement by:

  • Securing mitigation targets for global net zero by mid-century;
  • Adapting to protect communities and natural habitats from the impacts of climate change;
  • Mobilising finance, both public and private, to achieve the goals;
  • Collaborating across government, business and civil society to deliver the rules needed to implement the Agreement.

Defra‘s vision is to deliver the 25-year environment plan to make our air purer, water cleaner, land greener and food more sustainable. Today’s focus on innovation, technology, data and leadership for climate action highlights a range of areas where the UK has the potential to be an innovator. We can create a platform for dialogue regionally and globally, and set new global standards in sustainability.

Building on from the Prime Minister’s ambitious Ten Point Plan, the Net Zero strategy will drive forward our ambition to reach net zero and level up the UK by supporting up to 190,000 jobs in the middle of the 2020s and up to 440,000 jobs in 2030.

Defra has a vital role to play in delivering the Government’s Net Zero Strategy and ensuring nature-based solutions are a vital part of the climate agenda. Our areas of responsibility are a huge and exciting part of the net zero journey.

That is why, on 18 October 2018, Defra with the United Nations created the Defra e-Sustainability Alliance, a coalition initiative bringing together businesses and NGOs in a joint ambition to make the UK’s information and technology sector more sustainable.

Technological solutions are integral to achieving net-zero. Now is the time for increased collaboration and innovation to tackle the climate challenge and to help a number of sectors decarbonize. As Defra’s Ministerial lead on innovation, I am proud that Defra is leading the technology climate action ambition across government, in the UK and globally with our partners. I look forward to hearing about our activities post COP26.

Thank you once again for your continued commitment and support and enjoy the rest of the conference.

What we achieved during the Technology for Climate Action event

During the event in Glasgow, attended by close to 2000 stakeholders, CEOs and senior leaders from a range of technology companies came together to discuss how they could best help reduce the harmful impact industrialisation is having on the environment. Most of the companies in attendance could agree that the climate challenge could not be solved in isolation. The tech industry decided to collaborate and hold itself to account through transparency and reporting. Many businesses agreed to a 1.5-degree pathway of reducing emissions by 2050 and sooner (e.g. 2040, 2030 and 2025 for many companies there).

Watch this video for key highlights from the event with key messages from Sarah Homer (Defra's Director General) and Chris Howes (Defra's CDIO)

You can read more about the event on Insider News Media.

Another highlight of the event was AXELOS’ introduction of the new ITIL® 4 module, ITIL 4 Specialist: Sustainability in Digital & IT across 150 countries where many companies pledged to adopt the framework. It explores how sustainability can be integrated into a service organisation’s strategy, tactics, and operations using the ITIL 4 framework. The new module has been developed in close collaboration with Defra, the UK ministerial Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. You can read further about the module through WiredGov News Media.

By far, the most significant development was the prospect of a global partnership  to drive nature-based technology solutions not just in the UK, but globally.  We’ll share developments of this work in due course.

For further queries about the Defra e-alliance and partners please contact Mattie Yeta – Ph.D. researcher (specialist natural capital, sustainability and engineering).

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