Energy Saving Trust is led by its mission to address the climate emergency and we are very much aware that we need to maximise our impact if we are to make a difference. The time to make an impact is now. We must keep global heating below the limits set by the Paris Agreement. Not only because this is a legally binding treaty – if we don’t meet these targets, we won’t be able to adapt to the changes in the global climate. If the world is not on the pathway to net zero within the next few years, it will be too late.
As the climate emergency deepens, the need for change has reached the mass market. Today we have a date by which electric vehicles will be the sole option for buyers of new cars. Gas boilers will not be far behind, to be replaced by zero carbon solutions, including heat pumps.
In this mass market for change, there’s a huge opportunity to be heard and to support those changing. Energy Saving Trust is ready to take this opportunity. Our experience and expertise date back to 1990. That gives us pedigree and perspective. And people trust us – they know we are impartial and our support will be in their best interest.
We are very proud of what we achieved in 2020-21. We showed our flexibility and resilience in moving seamlessly to home working and still delivering our targets for funders and customers. And we built on this by developing new programmes for the changing times of Covid-19, such as the large-scale Fix Your Bike scheme and the Ofgem Redress fund providing fuel vouchers for those finding it difficult to pay their fuel bills. That success was a tribute to our team – at Energy Saving Trust we literally have no assets other than our incredible people.
However, we know we need to do even more in the next year as the climate emergency continues and worsens. As the pace of change picks up, we’re expanding our team of policy experts across all four UK nations. This will allow us to keep extending our influence. In 2020-21, we gave evidence to UK government committees on energy efficiency and decarbonisation of domestic heating – using our expertise to help shape policy conversations. Decisions being taken by UK governments today are ones we’ll have to live and work with for a decade and informing and influencing these decisions is a vital element of our mission.
We will also be stepping up our work with consumers and householders. We already support more than a million people every year, but we need to go further. In the next stage of the journey to net zero, people will need to choose electric cars and embrace heat pumps. So they have a veto – without them it can’t happen. Our role is therefore clear. We must use our expertise and the trust that people have in our impartiality to inform, to support and engage and to make everyone feel a valued part of positive change. Together we can and will get the job done.
Mike Thornton, chief executive officer