At COP26 in Glasgow, UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, announced new requirements for stock market listed businesses and financial firms to publish net zero plans. In these, businesses must set out how they plan to adapt and decarbonise for a net zero economy. However, since this announcement, government has made little progress on the regulatory framework and has yet to put this commitment into legislation.

The government has appointed two advisory groups that are developing the details of proposals. The first - the Green Technical Advisory Group - is tasked with advising on developing a taxonomy that helps investors distinguish between ‘green’ and ‘non-green’ activities.

More pertinent to this paper is the Transition Plan Taskforce – which has set out its gold standard for what net zero plans should look like. Currently, transition plans are envisaged as a financial risk-related disclosure. However, their content is not just important to businesses and investors but will be a vital source of information for government and regulators.

In this paper, the authors set out how the state and private firms can work together to ensure transition plans are a tool for reducing emissions in the real economy - using the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) as a gold-standard practice.

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