Peter Joyner is Chair of an innovative new taskforce set up to help businesses on the road to Net Zero. Here he explains why he believes this region is something of a trailblazer when it comes to clean growth
I’ve been really lucky to work with some great people and as a marketing consultant I’m constantly learning about new and interesting businesses.
At the start of 2020 I felt confident about the year ahead, with the biggest challenge being negotiating the impact of the exit from Europe.
As a business we managed to adapt to each lockdown quickly, most thanks to a very flexible team and the technology to support different ways of working. It would have been a very different story had the pandemic happened 10 years earlier I suspect. As time has gone on, we’ve all become more used to this way of life, although being locked down in the summer is certainly easier than the winter.
As a Local Enterprise Partnership Board, we commissioned a piece of work carried out by the UEA looking at climate change reduction and a carbon reduction action plan. The finds were very clear, and it was evident we needed to make this a priority for our region. Our job is to help business understand the impact they can have in reducing their carbon emissions and provide them with the tools and skills to act. We truly are trailblazers in clean growth – our region’s fantastic businesses, scientists and technologies mean we’re well placed to power, feed and connect and growing global and UK population for a cleaner and more sustainable future.
We’ve been aware of the need to help businesses reduce their carbon footprint for a number of years – and planned to create the task force before the Covid outbreak. We always knew we needed to return to the issue though as soon as was possible – and are firmly committed to getting this up and running quickly now. With COP 26 coming to the UK in the autumn, and the Government’s SME Net Zero campaign now under way, it’s the right time to be building on this momentum.
One of the main areas of focus for the New Anglia Clean Growth Taskforce will be business support, ensuring that grants and advice are in place to help businesses make the changes they need. Alongside this we are supporting a sustainable transport strategy and upskilling the regional workforce by establishing a pilot Decarbonisation Academy to create the skilled workforce that is required to support a zero-carbon economy. We know that many businesses have already started on this journey, but for many there are lots of steps still to be taken. We need to make sure they have the education and support needed to start their own drive to net zero.
I am delighted to be chairing the board and looking forward to working with the members of the taskforce to help achieve the objectives we’ve set ourselves. Thankfully we have some very strong business leaders joining the board, who I know will bring a wealth of expertise and passion.
Like most organisations the LEP has had to adjust its plans and the nature of the support we provide over the last 18 months. Despite this, and as a result of having a clear focus on supporting business, the team has been able to offer a wide range of initiatives and help implement the packages provided by the Government. While the recovery is only just beginning I am confident the region is going to be well placed for future growth.
Peter Joyner is Managing Director of marketing communications agency Shorthose Russell and board member of New Anglia LEP. Visit New Anglia Clean Growth Taskforce to sign up for free events and use the online resource to learn more about the changes your business can make. The first event is a Net Zero Carbon Essentials Workshop on August 19.