Governance for Net Zero

Front cover for the report depicting BedZed, the UK's largest eco-village
The British Academy
Number of pages


Across 2022-2023, the British Academy commissioned nine research projects, five discussion papers and conducted a series of stakeholder engagement events under the Net Zero Governance programme. This report brings together insights and analysis from this first phase of the programme.

The Governance for Net Zero report cautions that achieving net zero will require a focus on governance to facilitate the urgent and decisive action needed for the UK to reach its target. In doing so, it highlights how the transition will require socio- and economic transformation, not just technological change, and the range of challenges faced by leadership to govern and sufficiently engage people in net zero. The report emphasizes two crucial elements to enable and accelerate the transition to net zero by 2050:

  • Clear and committed leadership through localised, multi-level governance that connects a broad range of stakeholders, sets a clear strategic vision, adapts to place, organisations and people and establishes responsibility and accountability.
  • A people-centred approach with a detailed engagement strategy, innovative community representation, the right methods, taps into co-benefits, and ensures sustained public support over the long term.

Graphic from the British Academy Governance for Net Zero report showing leadership and people-centred enablers
Enablers for net zero governance identified in the Governance for Net Zero report

This is the first British Academy report of the programme. We welcome responses and interest from others working in this space: please email the team on [email protected] with comments, suggestions or inquiries.

The next phase of the programme will build on this report, examining more closely the functioning of the governance system around net zero, and exploring in more depth the oversight and accountability mechanisms that support good decision making in this area.

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