BBGL partners make bold commitments to a Great Future

Global Britain relaunches flagship GREAT Campaign while the UK Embassy and British Business Group Lao drive towards a greener future.

With Britain taking centre stage at the G7 and COP26 summits, the refreshed GREAT Britain & Northern Ireland Campaign showcases the best of the UK while encouraging unconventional thinking to global challenges such as the COVID pandemic and climate change.

In Laos, the UK Ambassador to Laos, John Pearson, is spearheading a drive to a cleaner future in partnership with iconic British automotive company and British Business Group Lao partner, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR).  JLR have manufactured a cutting-edge Jaguar I-Pace Electric Vehicle for UK Embassy use that is ready to be shipped as soon as COVID-19 regulations allow.

Ambassador John Pearson also sat on the panel and spoke at the seminar on “The Future of Electric Vehicles in Laos” hosted at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Thursday 8th July and sponsored by Jaguar Land Rover.

He said: “Decarbonising transport is vital to achieving net-zero emissions in any country, including Laos. The UK takes green growth very seriously – I was therefore very pleased to participate alongside government representatives and development partners at the first high-level seminar on electric vehicles in Laos. Some excellent developments were shared at this morning’s event – it is clear that the shift towards a greener economy in Laos has begun.”

Looking further into the future, JLR is developing a prototype hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) initially for the New Land Rover Defender, with testing scheduled to begin this year.  General Manager of JLR Lao, Mr Biju Narayanan, told us: “The FCEV concept is part of Jaguar Land Rover’s wider hydrogen strategy and builds towards its aim to achieve a zero-tailpipe emissions target by 2036 and net zero carbon emissions across its supply chain, products and operations by 2039”

Meanwhile, stable mate of RMA, and fellow iconic British company, JCB has recently developed the construction industry’s first ever hydrogen powered excavator as it continues to lead the sector on zero and low carbon technologies.

This development means JCB is the first construction equipment company in the world to unveil a working prototype of an excavator powered by hydrogen.  This exciting new technology is set for a future rollout in Southeast Asia as part of JCB’s global zero carbon strategy.

During a recent visit to the JCB Research and Development site in Derbyshire, the UK’s Trade Envoy to Laos, the Rt Hon. Heather Wheeler, MP, enthused: “The research they have been undertaking shows astonishing results and could help speed up our aim to cut emissions and create greener technology. Tackling climate change is a key priority and the new Hydrogen-fuelled combustion engine will help do just that.”

The Rt Hon. Heather Wheeler, MP with Ambassador John Pearson in the UK Embassy in Laos tuk-tuk, which is in line for its own EV upgrade

Ms. Wheeler, who will visit Laos once COVID-19 restrictions are eased, also attended the opening of Rolls-Royce’s new £90 million giant Testbed 80 facility. The largest testing facility of its kind in the world, Rolls-Royce will use it to develop engines believed to be 25% more efficient, as well as hybrid and all-electric flight systems, which will cut emissions and help pave the way to sustainable travel.

She said: “I welcome the work companies like JCB and Rolls Royce are doing, investing both in future technology and in highly skilled local jobs. As we build back from the pandemic, I have no doubt that facilities like this will play a crucial part in our plans to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.” 

JLR, JCB and Rolls-Royce are involved in the Race to Zero, a global campaign to mobilise a coalition of net zero initiatives, build momentum around the shift to a decarbonized economy and put pressure on governments to strengthen their contributions to the Paris Agreement ahead of COP26.

In Laos, the fight against climate change has also taken an organic approach with the UK Embassy involved in The Queen’s Green Canopy.  Nicknamed Tree-bilee in the UK, the Queen’s Green Canopy is a tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022.

Ambassador John Pearson planting and endangered Siamese Rosewood earlier this year

While the UK Embassy in Laos has some way to go to match the 1,500 trees planted by HM Queen Elizabeth II on her Royal Visits around the world, Ambassador John has taken various opportunities to mark significant days or visits with tree-planting. Earlier this month, he joined the Lao government to mark Arbor Day by planting a ‘mai khedsana’ sapling to show support for the restoration of endangered native tree species.The fragrant agarwood has since joined a family of 14 other tree species in the Ambassador’s garden.  One of the four endangered Siamese Rosewood trees was planted by HRH Princess Beatrice of York, the granddaughter of HM Queen Elizabeth II during a Royal Visit to Vientiane in 2018.

Read the UK Embassy joint Op-ed with UNDP Lao on how we can plant a sustainable future for Laos:

The UK has a rich history of discovery and progress exemplified by the cutting-edge electric and hydrogen technology being brought to the automotive industry.  Fusing this approach with tree planting, plastic-free events and small-scale local initiatives brings an important local perspective.

In our fight against climate change both approaches will be necessary to usher in a new era of seeing things differently and driving all of us towards a greener more sustainable future.

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