November 01, 2023


Legally binding targets have come into place to ultimately protect our environment, clean up our air and rivers and boost nature. These targets have been introduced following an extensive consultation as part of the Government’s commitment to leave the environment in the best possible state for the future generations in years to come. These targets will hopefully drive further action to tackle climate change, protect our landscapes, and green spaces and work on restoring natural capital.

Sitting amongst the Government’s Environment Act, are the following targets:

  • Halt the decline in species populations by 2030 and then increase the populations by 10% by 2042.
  • Restore water bodies by reducing pollution from contributing factors like sewers and mines.
  • Restore 70% of designated features in Marine protected areas. Having a favourable deadline of 2042.
  • Halve household waste by 2050.
  • Increase woodland areas to 16.5% of total land area by 2050.
  • Cut air pollution of PM2.5 – Cutting emissions by 68% by 2030 and 77% by 2035.

How could these changes affect your organisation?

The impact of the on organisations is currently subjective, however, what is clear is that change will be required to the ways in which businesses currently operate if the government is going to comply.

A couple of potential implications that are worth considering in your business’ strategic long-term planning are:

  • Compliance – How might your organisation hit these targets? The above rules could involve mandatory reductions in pollution for businesses or a phasing in of such reductions. This could mean a change to the operations of your business if you operate in a carbon-intensive industry or an industry which has a material negative impact on the environment and biodiversity at present. There may also be further pushes for the reduction of commuting transport increasing the working from home movement which may impact productivity for some businesses.
  • Reporting and Transparency – How might an organisation be required to show it is meeting the legislation? Many environmental regulations require reporting, disclosure or audit of some form. This will require organisations to record their environmental performance against the legislation and to do so consistently, accurately and frequently. This may result in tracking things such as how much pollution you produce or how you use resources. An example of how you may be able to address this from a carbon perspective would be the tracking of your organisational carbon footprint - Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (
  • Risk Management – How might your organisation protect itself from environmental and regulatory risks? Failing to adapt and align your organisation alongside the new environmental targets could introduce new risks to your organisation. These risks could lead to reputational damage, legal issues, or disruptions in your business if you are not able to mitigate them and comply.

The above is an overview of the potential impacts of new sustainability regulations on organisations but without the detail of what the government will legislate the future is still unknown. We would advocate following your industry carefully for changes and trends regarding sustainability and ensure you are considering how you can align your organisational behaviours accordingly. If you would like to discuss the impact of the changes in sustainability regulation for your business, get in touch with your usual Albert Goodman contact or Sophie Parkhouse directly.


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