Stagecoach, who run over 70 percent of the UK’s bus routes, have just launched their new long-term sustainability strategy called Driving Net Zero: Better Places to Live and Work. It aims to help create a greener, smarter, safer, healthier and fairer country.
The strategy 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.
The plan will see investment in new zero-emissions fleets and other green technologies over the next 15 years. This is to reduce the impact of the company’s operations on the planet, as well as initiatives to cut waste, boost recycling and conserve water.
Stagecoach is aiming to decarbonise its business by around 70 percent by 2035 as well as targeting having a zero-emissions UK bus fleet by that date. This follows a 14 percent reduction in Stagecoach carbon emissions between 2014 and 2019, supported by investments in LED lighting, intelligent building heating control systems and renewables.
The company’s ambition is to go further and faster, as the UK looks ahead to hosting the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in November 2021. In addition, Stagecoach has confirmed plans to sign up to the global Race to Zero campaign.
Stagecoach has also started working towards setting science-based targets for ratification by the Science-Based Targets initiative, consistent with the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5°C by 2050.
The phased plan to fully decarbonise the company’s operations will see a switch away from clean diesel power, which already has 95 percent fewer pollutants than standard diesel vehicles, to zero-carbon technologies, including electric and hydrogen.
Stagecoach has already invested £1 billion in 7,000 new greener vehicles in the last decade, including one of the biggest orders of electric buses in Europe.
Martin Griffiths, Stagecoach chief executive, said: “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.
“The biggest opportunity to address climate change and protect our communities from extreme weather, poor air quality and the road traffic gridlock strangling our economy is not from electrifying Britain’s transport system. It is from incentivising the country to switch from cars to greener and healthier public transport and active travel.”