‘Bristol’s 2030 Carbon Neutrality Goal’ Business Breakfast event co-hosted by The Future Economy Network and Triodos.
On Tuesday 28th May 2019, The Future Economy Network held a Business Breakfast discussing Bristol’s declaration of a climate emergency and associated carbon neutrality targets. The event was sponsored by Triodos Bank and took place at The Foundation. It drew a huge amount of interest, with over 80 people booked to attend.
Welcomed by Director of The Future Economy Network, Katherine Piper, attendees learnt about the benefits of subscribing to the Future Economy Network, the Network’s plans for a new carbon neutral sustainability hub, the activities and sponsorship opportunities available at the Festival of Sustainable Business and the wider benefits available via the Future Economy Group’s Recruitment service. Attendees then heard from four keynote speakers; Philip Bazin, Head of Environment Team at Triodos Bank UK Limited, Alex Minshull, Sustainable City and Climate Change Manager at Bristol City Council, Jim Longhurst, Professor of Environmental Science and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Environment and Sustainability at the University of the West of England and Rose Bailey, Principal Technical Consultant, Ricardo Energy & Environment.
Philip Bazin from Triodos gave an overview of the bank’s remit and the need for a re-calibration of a bank’s purpose. He spoke about the work Triodos Bank are doing internally to address their own impact and gave some examples of projects which have been supported by Triodos to progress their sustainability initiatives.
The Future Economy Network then welcomed Alex Minshull from Bristol City Council who spoke about the need to accelerate carbon neutrality efforts given the recent climate emergency declaration. He stressed that Bristol City Council cannot do this alone; there is a need to collaborate locally, to learn from best practice and to ask government to do everything it can to help enable the delivery of the 2030 neutrality goal.
Although challenging, carbon neutrality also presents huge opportunities with respect to investment and jobs. Alex advised that an estimated 12,000 jobs could become available, making it the largest sector within the city! He highlighted the work in progress with the Environmental Sustainability Board which will help bring the right people together to develop a strategy, as well as the plans for City Leap which will bring £1 billion of investment into the city in the next decade. It is estimated that this will be only a fifth of the investment needed however and so Alex is calling on the business community to feed back to him what they need to help progress their sustainability aspirations.
“What do you want the City Council to be asking Government for to help you become a carbon neutral organisation and Bristol a carbon neutral city?” Please send your answers to: Alex.firstname.lastname@example.org or Anna.jones@bristol .gov.uk
Next up, we welcomed Prof. Jim Longhurst from UWE to speak about Urban ID; a pilot project identifying the methods to address several key urban challenges; one of which is the carbon neutral city. Jim explained the importance of deciding upon the scopes (scope 1, 2 and 3) and boundary-setting for the area under investigation. He discussed the pathways to neutrality, the carbon management hierarchy, the importance of behaviour change considerations and the need for more stringent sequestration and mitigation stipulations for any major land use decisions. Jim finished by highlighting the ways in which the University of the West of England can support progress, for example through offering research, consultancy, placements, internships and knowledge transfer partnerships.
And finally, The Future Economy Network welcomed Rose Bailey from Ricardo Energy and Environment. Rose spoke about how the Paris Agreement and the subsequent IPCC’s 1.5C Report were real turning points within the climate change debate, despite the submitted Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) not being ambitious enough for a 2C target, let along a 1.5C target. She advised that by February 2020, countries need to re-submit their NDCs and are under increasing pressure to increase their commitment. If the UK leaves the EU, there will be a requirement for the country to submit their own NDCs whereas at present, the UK is a part of the EU’s combined NDCs. Rose highlighted the UN’s Emissions Gap report which stresses the role of non-state and subnational action and urged all businesses present to get a handle on their data. She stressed that globally, city emissions will increase by 500% if we do nothing. The importance of ensuring developing countries can leap-frog the mistakes the developed world made was also highlighted. Rose ended by running through some case studies of innovative action on carbon.
A lively question and answer session then followed - apologies if you did not get a chance to ask your question! Given the interest in the topic and the level of engagement from the audience, The Future Economy Network has invited all speakers back to give an update in 6 months’ time during Green Great Britain Week! The event will run in a PechaKucha format which will allow plenty of time for questions and answers at the end. We hope you will be able to attend. Further details can be found here.
Other events in our carbon neutrality series are as follows and culminate in our Festival of Sustainable Business on 17th Sept 2019:
Afternoon Event: Carbon Offsetting 20.06.19
Nikki Jones’ Series
1: Where are we with Climate Change? 25.07.19
2: The UK's Energy Transition 01.08.19
3: Is Nuclear the Answer? 08.08.19
The Festival of Sustainable Business 17.09.19
The Future Economy Network would like to offer sincere thanks to all of our speakers and to Triodos for sponsoring 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.