UK Net Zero Targets: Strategies and Challenges for the IR Industry

31st May 2024

In our very first blog of this series, we delved into Net Zero and what it means. To remind you, we defined it as a holistic approach that addresses all greenhouse gas emissions and aims to minimise emissions as much as possible before offsetting any remaining emissions. Net Zero requires you to do the very best that you can and continually work to improve what your best is and offset what you continue to emit throughout this process.


In this Blog we are focusing on Net Zero targets, in the United Kingdom more specifically through the lens of  the Investor Relations industry.

So, what are the UK’s Net Zero targets, what strategies can we use to achieve them and what are going to be some of the challenges along the way?


A quick look on gives us the following overview of the UK’s goals for Net Zero:

The UK government aims to reduce all direct emissions from public sector buildings by 50% and 75% by 2032 and 2037 respectively, against a 2017 baseline. All UK emissions are to reach net zero by 2050. There are also ambitious targets within each of the four nations. Scotland aims to reach net zero from all emissions by 2045, Wales has an ambition to reach net zero emissions in its public sector by 2030, and Northern Ireland aims to reduce its government emissions by 30% by 2030 (from a 2016/17 baseline year). These key targets demonstrate the UK-wide commitment to reaching net zero goals within government and beyond.



The UK government has laid out several strategies to reach this goal, including:

  1. Energy Sector: Transitioning to renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and nuclear power
  2. Transport: Phasing out petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030 and promoting electric vehicles
  3. Buildings: Improving energy efficiency in homes and commercial buildings
  4. Industry: Encouraging industries to adopt low-carbon technologies
  5. Agriculture and Land Use: Promoting sustainable farming practices and reforestation


Our strategies for the decarbonisation of the Investor Relations Industry include:

  1. Get Industry Buy In: The key is to reach a critical mass in each industry and we are determined to build momentum and engagement to achieve that in ours
  2. Calculation: A critical building block to provide the foundation from which to implement a targeted mitigation strategy
  3. Tailored Mitigation Strategies: We have an industry wide benchmark mitigation plan that we then tweak for each individual business. There are different non-negotiables for each client when it comes to Investor Relations (e.g. face to face vs. virtual communication)
  4. Remain at the forefront of offsetting: This is an evolving landscape and it is critical to be up to date with the latest and most effective strategies for offsetting any remaining CO2e from Investor Relations activities (deep dive incoming on this in next month’s blog)
  5. Report, track progress and communicate: Reporting allows us to monitor progress and ensure that emissions are gradually coming down from their starting point and gives a good indication of what needs to happen between now and 2050 to reach the Net Zero goal



Achieving the UK net zero goal by 2050 will require decarbonisation of all sectors and nations. Each one of these will require a unique approach and face bespoke challenges.

For the United Kingdom as a whole these include:

  1. Technological Limitations: The transition to renewable energy requires advancements in energy storage and grid management to handle intermittent energy sources like wind and solar
  2. Economic Costs: Significant investment is needed for infrastructure changes, such as retrofitting buildings and expanding electric vehicle networks
  3. Policy and Regulation: Coordinating policy across different levels of government and ensuring compliance with regulations is complex
  4. Public Acceptance: Gaining public support for lifestyle changes, such as reduced car use and changes in heating systems, can be challenging
  5. Industrial Adaptation: Industries need to adopt new technologies and practices, which can be costly and disruptive


The challenges that are more specific to the Investor Relations Industry that we need to address are:

  1. Getting management teams to commit: This needs to come from the top and industry leaders and company executives need to lead from the front and set an example to their employees and stakeholders
  2. Business travel: Face to face meetings are still regarded as essential to foster and maintain certain investor relationships. With this comes travel and that is a massive contributor to an IR team’s carbon footprint
  3. Complex supplier networks: IR teams need to have a global supplier network and this can make accurate carbon footprint calculations very challenging
  4. Data Collection: To do a thorough calculation, it is important to get a very granular dataset and this can be challenging e.g. gathering data on how attendees travelled to and from a client’s Investor Day



The UK has set a bold target and it needs all industries to work out how they are going to make sure that we reach that goal. For the Investor Relations Industry, it is a long road ahead and there are challenges ahead that we are already aware of and new ones will emerge along the way. The key is to make a start now and commit to steady decarbonisation and that is why we have made GreenerRoadshows an “Opt-out” for all of our clients – it is a part of Mediatree’s mission as we truly believe it is that important. Stay tuned for June’s deep dive on offsetting.