The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and Cllr Georgia Gould, Chair of London Councils, have brought together business leaders and Londoners to discuss the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, reduce bills and tackle fuel poverty.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI), London First, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), the Federation of Small Business (FSB) and New London Architecture (NLA) will join the Mayor and London Councils in a ‘call to action’ to London’s businesses to decarbonise existing buildings.

The Summit will “set out the importance and benefits of ambitious retrofit” but there is still work to be done on engaging people with the works.

A recent YouGov poll commissioned by City Hall revealed 71% of Londoners polled did not understand or have heard the term ‘retrofit’.

When those who have heard about retrofit were asked if the following statements were true or false, 78% said they think it will reduce their energy bills, make their homes warmer (80%) and help fight climate change (74%), however, 72% said they think it’s expensive and 61% feel it is difficult or inconvenient.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Our homes are the greatest contributor to London’s greenhouse gas emissions, and the economic impacts of the pandemic and rising energy prices are likely to plunge even more Londoners into fuel poverty.

“That’s why I’m pleased to bring together business leaders and local government to discuss the importance of insulating homes and buildings which can both tackle the climate emergency and cost-of-living crisis.

“Businesses must act now to meet this standard and act on them as soon as possible, and work with us to accelerate decarbonisation of London’s commercial buildings. To help, I’m expanding my Business Climate Challenge to support more businesses on the pathway to net zero.”

Cllr Georgia Gould, Chair of London Councils, said: “London’s buildings are the biggest contributor to carbon emissions in the capital, and without significant upgrading of London’s homes and business premises we will fail to meet one of the defining challenges of our time.

“The push for greener and more energy efficient buildings is set to bring immense benefits to Londoners. This is a vital opportunity to drive a green economic recovery, tackle fuel poverty, and cut carbon emissions.

“Boroughs are committed to working with our partners across the capital on this important agenda, which is integral to London’s ambition to become a net zero city. It also requires sufficient financial support from the government.

“If we get this right, we’ll address the climate emergency, while also reducing energy bills, helping low-income Londoners through the cost-of-living crisis, and instigating an economic recovery and thousands of jobs based on green industries.”

Geeta Nanda OBE, G15 Chair and Chief Executive of MTVH, said: “Housing has a critical role to play in supporting the country to achieve net-zero by 2030, and we know there is a long way to go.

“Housing associations will play a vital role in this journey by retrofitting at scale and communicating with our residents about the benefits of doing so. I’m pleased that the G15 are working with the Mayor and London Councils on this important summit.

“G15 members are already starting works on retrofitting their homes in partnership with local authorities through the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund. This will improve the energy efficiency of thousands of homes, reduce residents’ energy bills in the long term and create green jobs.

“Housing associations are also looking at other aspects of our activity to green our operations through sustainable investment bonds, installing electric charging points near our residents homes, and electrifying our fleets of vehicles.”

Principal at Bloomberg Associates, Adam Freed, said: “Mayor Kahn’s leadership and recently announced net zero target are critical to not only address the climate crisis, but to unlock the tremendous opportunities that investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other climate solutions bring to businesses and residents.

“We’re thrilled to support the expansion of the Mayor’s Business Climate Challenge, which is a concrete example of how government and the private sector can work together to support local businesses and accelerate climate action.”

Judith Everett, Chair, CBI London Council & Executive Director, Purpose, Sustainability and Stakeholder, The Crown Estate said: “London’s business community must play a central role helping the capital reduce its carbon emissions.

“The CBI is delighted to be playing its role in supporting the Mayor of London and London Councils in the delivery of this London Greener and Warmer Buildings Summit. Tackling climate change through decarbonisation is a key pillar of the CBI’s Seize the Moment agenda – and we remain committed to supporting London, and the country as whole, in the race to net-zero.

“Recognising the importance and benefits of retrofit to the capital, we support the call to action for London’s businesses to decarbonise their existing buildings. The CBI looks forward to continuing to work alongside the Mayor and London Councils to ensure sufficient support is provide to make this a reality.”