Confederation of British Industry (CBI)

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London, United Kingdom

Climate Lobbying Overview: The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) is broadly positive in its position on climate policy, with high engagement. CBI’s top-line support for climate action is mostly in line with its lobbying of specific climate policy, however it continues to advocate some mixed positions on carbon taxes and emissions trading.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: CBI appears to be highly supportive of top-line climate ambition in its public messaging. In a 2019 open letter it called on the UK Government to legislate for a net-zero emissions target by 2050. In a 2020 report CBI then advocated for increased ambition from Government regulation as part of its recovery from Covid-19 to set the UK on a strong decarbonization pathway to net zero. The CBI also appears to be supportive of climate action in the EU, expressing support in a 2020 report for a net-zero target by 2050. CBI appears to strongly support increasing global ambition on climate, for example in a 2020 briefing it advocated for the UK to use its role as host of COP26 to lead the international response to climate change.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: CBI appears to support increasing 2030 emissions reduction targets, welcoming the UK’s new target on Twitter in 2020. Earlier in 2020 the CBI also Tweeted support for the EU’s proposed 2030 target. CBI appears to support most specific climate policies, for example, in a 2020 briefing CBI described how it had consistently supported onshore wind in the UK, attributing the reversal of the Government’s “onshore wind ban” to its lobbying efforts.

However, some of its positions on carbon taxation are not fully supportive of progressive legislation. In a 2021 report CBI supported the ‘polluter pays’ principle of carbon taxation but emphasized the potential negative impacts of “taxing ‘bad’ too much”. On carbon border taxation, a 2019 report appeared to recognize the potential benefits of a carbon border tax but highlighted challenges relating to the policy, suggesting that other deliverables should be prioritized first. This marks a slight improvement on the CBI’s positions on carbon taxation from 2015 to 2017, when it advocated for a freeze of the UK carbon price support.

CBI is broadly supportive of emissions trading, and advocated in a 2021 report for the UK to link its proposed Emissions Trading System to the EU Emissions Trading System. However, in a 2020 briefing CBI appeared not to support a reform of emissions permitting in the EU ETS, advocating for the continuation of measures such as free allowances for energy intensive industries.

Positioning on energy mix: CBI is generally positive on the transition to a low carbon energy mix, however has not fully clarified its continued support for gas and appeared to emphasize the challenges in delivering new transport regulations. CBI has been particularly active in support of measures to transition to low carbon heat, advocating for the UK Government to mandate a phased switch from natural gas boilers in a 2020 report. However, CBI has taken a less clear approach to the role of gas in the energy mix, in a 2018 media release it supported a role for gas in the energy mix without clear conditions on the use of carbon capture. It also did not clarify which types of gas should classify as "low-carbon" in a 2020 report. The 2020 CBI statement on the new 2030/35 UK phase out dates for petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles described the targets as “undoubtedly challenging”, without declaring clear support or opposition.

Main Web Site Social Media CDP Responses Legislative Consultations Media Reports CEO Messaging Financial Disclosures EU Register
Communication of Climate Science
Alignment with IPCC on Climate Action
2 1 NA 2 2 1 NA NA
Supporting the Need for Regulations
1 1 NA NS 1 1 NA NA
Support of UN Climate Process
1 1 NA 0 1 1 NA NA
Transparency on Legislation
Carbon Tax
0 0 NA 0 0 0 NA NA
Emissions Trading
0 1 NA 0 1 0 NA NA
Energy and Resource Efficiency
1 1 NA 0 1 1 NA NA
Renewable Energy
0 1 NA -2 -1 2 NA NA
Energy Transition & Zero Carbon Technologies
0 0 NA 1 1 0 NA NA
GHG Emission Regulation
2 1 NA 0 1 NS NA NA
Disclosure on Relationships