Open dialogue is required for businesses to reach net zero

An increasing number of businesses are looking to reduce their emissions and become sustainable to align with the government’s net zero strategy. Setting targets is crucial for companies with complexity across sectors, technologies and business structures. However, this is often the easy part, according to the latest insight paper from Cornwall Insight and UK law firm Shoosmiths – Unlocking net zero strategies for businesses.

The report explores the potential routes to decarbonisation that businesses have at their disposal to meet their targets and help countries meet their net zero targets.

Key findings of the report:

  • Pressure for businesses to adopt net zero is both bottom-up and top-down
  • Successful approaches will be shaped by location, scale, and exposure to different vectors.
  • Best practice sharing and cooperation may unlock faster progress.
  • Green supply is attractive but beware of greenwashing
  • On-site generation works for businesses with physical space and access to up-front capital.
  • Corporate PPAs are for creditworthy businesses, but the market is ripe for innovative partnerships
  • Businesses need to be assertive and proactive

Achieving net zero is a collective journey

A coordinated whole system approach is key to reaching net zero. Governments should provide a stable and specific regulatory environment, providing the private sector with the certainty needed to make long-term investment decisions. 

However, all businesses have essential responsibilities. Large corporates can lead by example, showing concrete decarbonisation paths to their suppliers to drive change. An open dialogue is fundamental so that companies can properly support each other in their net zero journeys.

James Wood-Robertson, Partner and Head of the Energy and Infrastructure Practice at Shoosmiths, said:

“Companies have a duty – both legally and morally – to take measures in relation to limiting global warming. Moreover, there is an increasing commercial imperative – with potentially serious consequences from a commercial perspective if they do not act.

“While the rising consumer demand for cleaner and more eco-friendly products and services is a factor, it is the rapidly growing number of public bodies and companies setting out their own net zero commitments – and consequently looking to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions through their supply chains – that will truly accelerate change.

“If companies don’t get on board with reducing emissions, they are likely to find their customers are soon demanding that they do so.”

Kate Hill, Lead Research Analyst at Cornwall Insight, said:

“Businesses are facing pressure from all angles to ensure they embark on their net zero journeys and incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations into their strategies. The transition process will be different for each business, and as such, the options available vary according to size, location and business operation.

“However, every business will need to conduct an honest appraisal of where it is on its net zero journey, explore the multiple available solutions and then make appropriate decisions.

“Overall, there is an urgent need for collaboration among businesses, as net zero cannot be achieved in isolation. The involvement of stakeholders by actively engaging with investors, customers, and suppliers, is essential.”


Notes to Editors

The full insight paper can be downloaded for free here:

For more information, please contact: Charlotte Nelson at

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About the Cornwall Insight Group

Cornwall Insight is the pre-eminent provider of research, analysis, consulting and training to businesses and stakeholders engaged in the Great British, Irish and Australian energy markets. To support our customers, we leverage a powerful combination of analytical capability, a detailed appreciation of regulation codes and policy frameworks, and a practical understanding of how markets function.

About Shoosmiths

Shoosmiths LLP is a major UK law firm with 1000+ lawyers operating from 13 locations across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The firm advises UK and international organisations on achieving their strategic goals and prides itself on delivering highly complex, high-profile transactions for clients. Clients include entrepreneurs and high net worth individuals; fast-growth companies and SMEs through to FTSE 250 businesses as well as financial advisers and institutional sponsors.

Clients are offered strength and depth in all the core disciplines, together with key specialisms and deep sector expertise. Energy & Infrastructure is a focus sector for the firm with a strong team of dedicated advisers ideally placed to support clients on projects in these fields. In particular the team has extensive experience of advising developers, investors, funders and other stakeholders on a wide range of renewable and clean energy projects, including solar PV, onshore wind, hydrogen, waste-to-energy, biofuel and hydro projects.

Clients say Shoosmiths get the ‘people bit’ right, never take a client for granted, and invest in the relationships which are at the heart of great service.