On Tuesday 11th June 2019, The Future Economy Network hosted an event on the business case for carbon neutrality. The business breakfast took place at Clarke Wilmott’s city centre offices who also kindly laid on refreshments for the event.
Attendees were welcomed by Director of The Future Economy Network, Katherine Piper who highlighted the benefits of subscribing to the Network, shared exciting news about The Future Economy Group’s move to their new carbon neutral sustainability hub, advised of their upcoming Festival of Sustainable Business and introduced, Richard Murphy, Director of Recruitment to outline their recruitment offer.
The Future Economy Network then welcomed subscriber, Bridget Appleby, CEO of Sustainabubbles; a not-for-profit ‘Party Plan’ company aiming to help people make their lives more sustainable. Bridget spoke about how the tupperware party format is an effective marketing technique and can be used to sell sustainability. The parties start with a short film clip about climate change and then attendees are encouraged to take action on certain sustainability measures, often at a reduced price if booked via Sustainabubbles.
Vicky Murray, Sustainability Manager for Pukka Herbs then spoke about their commitment to be carbon neutrality from crop to cup and their commitment to setting Science Based Targets (SBTs) at the 1.5 degrees warming target level. She discussed five key recommendations in relation to a business’ carbon neutrality journey; 1) align your SBTs with your mission and build a business case around this, 2) set an intention, publicly if possible, 3) break the task into manageable chunks and use partners to help you, 4) make it real and fun and 5) set the target and act on it!
Next up, we welcomed James Sterling, Communications, Engagement and Partnership Manager for Bristol City Council who gave an update on City Leap. The City Leap programme aims to change the city’s energy system, making it decarbonised, decentralised and democratic. They have done this by inviting expressions of interest (181 received) and by pursuing inward investment of £1 billion into the city over the next 10 years. All those who expressed an interest in the programme have now been interviewed and an options appraisal was approved by cabinet on 2nd April 2019. The next steps are for the council to go through a procurement process to find a joint venture partner who can help deliver the programme. City Leap are then going back to full council in July 2019 with an update on where Bristol City Council are with their 2030 carbon neutrality target.
Finally, we welcomed Angela Terry, Founder of One Home. One Home exists to enable and encourage climate action by providing independent and impartial advice and practical solutions on all things green. Angela advised that in her experience, people are desperate to discuss climate change. Angela cited many reasons for businesses to go green. Financially, in Unilever for example, brands that went green outperformed others by 46%. Also, a 20% cut in energy costs has been found to have the same benefits as a 5% increase in sales! Other reasons relate to politics – the environment is considered the 4th most important topic by UK voters, the planet – carbon dioxide emissions are unprecedented and increasing, profit – clean tech is the fastest growing industry in the UK and finally, protection – by going green, we are protecting those we love. Angela went on to stress that despite this, businesses are not decreasing their emissions sufficiently. Angela finished by citing recent climate change mitigation actions but also by stressing the need for adaptation.
Further networking over pastries, fruit and cake drew the event to a close. The Future Economy Network would like to offer sincere thanks to all of our speakers and to Clarke Wilmott for co-hosting the event. Also, a huge thank you to all attendees – we hope you found it an interesting event and came away with some useful insights/collaborations.