We all know that reducing carbon emissions is crucial to mitigating the effects of climate change and setting us on a path to a more sustainable future.
However, the task sometimes feels overwhelming so I wanted to share some reasons why I was reenergised after recently attending the Net Zero North East England Summit 2023, a year since its launch.
Inspiration came from some of our region’s anchor organisations who are making great strides towards a greener tomorrow.
For example, Karbon Homes are achieving decarbonisation through a major retrofit of their social housing and by engaging residents in energy efficiency. Meanwhile, The Port of Tyne are adopting a port-wide renewable energy strategy for solar, wind and hydroelectric power.
An interesting perspective was offered by Ross Lowrie, Principal Manager for Net Zero at North of Tyne Combined Authority, who described the advantage afforded to us in the North East to drive a successful green economy and identified the area as a ‘net zero economy hotspot’.
The region, he said, has plenty of the resources required for Net Zero activities including water, land, coastline and minerals. He described our water supply as the Goldilocks of water – not too much, not too little, just right.
The words of one of the speakers at the event really stayed with me: “The scale of what we need to do is enormous, but the opportunity is enormous too.”
But what can you do to make a difference?
Individual small businesses may feel that they have relatively small carbon footprints so wonder what positive difference can they make. But collectively smaller businesses account for half of industrial emissions in the UK and therefore could make a significant impact towards Net Zero.
Knowing the ‘why’ can provide the motivation and purpose to drive action. Net Zero actions can make financial sense and be good for your reputation as a responsible and sustainable company.
What we’re doing at the BIC
Earlier in the year, we launched our own Net Zero Plan and we are now doing our best to back up our words with actions.
Initially, we’ve focused on what we can do to reduce energy use in our operations. For example, we have made lighting in our workspaces as energy efficient as possible by replacing with LED lighting that will lower our lighting energy consumption by up to 75%.
And this month we’ve invested in additional solar panels and battery storage. So, now we’re storing our unused solar power for use when we need it – saving us money as well as reducing our carbon footprint. Sustainability is always front and centre of our decision-making when it comes to buying smaller items too, such as exhibition pull up banners and stationery.
Through the partnership collaboration which is the Net Zero North East England, great progress has been made in bringing like-minded organisations together to learn from each other and to share resources. No matter where you are on your net zero journey these resources will help you and your company https://www.northeastgrowthhub.co.uk/toolkits/net-zero-toolkit