Author Archive Debbie

How smart meters are helping independent caterers focus on the bigger picture

Running an independent restaurant, coffee shop or bar is a round-the-clock job and for business owners, supplying energy readings is often not a top priority. Smart meters send your gas and electricity readings directly to your energy supplier, saving you time to focus on other jobs.

A smart meter could give businesses additional visibility over energy use and costs to make it easier to identify where changes and savings can be made.

If your firm has 10 employees or less, your business could be eligible. To see whether smart metering can work for your business, contact your energy supplier. To find out more please click here

Embrace a new way of managing your energy bills

Anyone who manages a business knows the importance of embracing changes, both big and small.
While the impact of the pandemic is still being felt, business owners and managers have grasped these changes and adapted to new ways of working to protect their clients, their staff, their business and their bottom line.

A small change like switching to a smart meter could make a big difference to your business.
Now more than ever, it is important for business owners to know how much they are spending to keep track of unnecessary energy waste or additional costs.

A smart meter can give businesses additional visibility over energy use and costs to make it easier to identify where changes and savings can be made.
If your firm has 10 employees or less, your business could be eligible. To see whether smart metering can work for your business, contact your energy supplier. To find out more please click here

How smaller retailers can respond to challenging trading conditions

It’s frequently reported how the high street is under immense pressure, with smaller, independent retailers particularly feeling the impact.

And the light at the end of the tunnel may be some way off for a lot of retailers, as they struggle to reopen amidst complex restrictions.

However there is a simple step they can make to manage their finances.

Smart meters enable accurate billing, helping to take the stress out of budgeting and putting you back in control. Plus, smart meters send your gas and electricity readings directly to your energy supplier so you don’t have to – very handy.

If your firm has 10 employees or less, your business could be eligible. To see whether smart metering can work for your business, contact your energy supplier. To find out more please click here

Smart meters could help businesses take control of their outgoings.

Coffee shops and cafes are welcoming customers inside, hairdressers and beauty salons
are switching on the lights and workers are starting to return to the office.

However, trading is going to be tough for SMEs who need to closely budget and forecast their spending.

Smart meters enable accurate billing, helping to take the stress out of budgeting and putting you back in control. Plus, smart meters send your gas and electricity readings directly to your energy supplier so you don’t have to – very handy.

If your firm has 10 employees or less, your business could be eligible. To see whether smart metering can work for your business, contact your energy supplier. To find out more please click here

Business Net Zero Events

The government has launched ambitious targets for the reduction of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions to Net Zero by 2050. The changes needed mean that all businesses need to phase out all emissions within the next few decades.

For many SMEs, the changes needed to deliver net-zero seem daunting, so working together with the FSB, British Chambers of Commerce and energy networks from across the UK they have developed a Zero Carbon Buiness portal, that gives small and medium sizes businesses objective, clear and easy to follow advice and support on how to get started and get ahead of the targets.

Join these special webinars this April to hear from SME business leaders on the challenges of delivering net-zero.

Friday 16th April 9:30am – 11:00am Register Here

Friday 23rd April 9:30am – 11:00am Register Here

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Chamber Low Carbon

Just before we take a break for the Christmas period, we would like to finish with a good news story.
Celia Glaze from The Wellbeing Farm a member of East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce and a participant on the Green Rose Programme, wanted to share some exciting sustainability news with us…“As you may know, I have three passions which underpin my business model: fun, wellbeing and sustainability…
When you work with llamas and donkeys, every day is fun.
We’ve done loads on wellbeing this year with the creation of a new business: the North West Centre for Business and Team Wellbeing https://northwestwellbeingcentre.co.uk/ and also co-founding Wellbeing Lancashire www.wellbeinglancashire.org.uk which is now a CIC.
But what about sustainability?
I am overjoyed to finish 2020 on a high with the launch of our new green sustainability website created by a sustainability graduate we have worked with – Leah Bennett.”
https://northwestwellbeingcentre.co.uk/carbon-pledge/Encompassing and documenting:

  • Our pledge to be one of the most sustainable green and carbon-neutral venues in the UK
  • Our work on progressing towards the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals
  • Our Progress in becoming eco-friendly
  • Climate disclosure work
  • Our passion for sustainability
  • Green weddings and events
  • Environmental policy
  • Our role in the Community
  • Recognition for our work
  • What guests, staff and suppliers can do to support our sustainability work
  • Why are we doing this
  • Our intention to WASH your business – our WASH scheme stands for:
    • Wellbeing at our centre
    • Amazing nutritious food
    • Sustainable and safe
    • Happy and fun environment
Its fantastic to see a Local business passionate about sustainability and working towards COP26, if you would like any advice or support on your journey to Net Zero, please get in touch with the Chamber Low Carbon Team on 01254 356487.

Autumn curriculum – and what low carbon did this summer

Term time again … online. The Chamber Low Carbon programme (CLC) is back with a busy Green Rose agenda, free carbon- and cost-saving advice plus financial support, expert webinars … and a 23rd September invitation to join a key Environment Bill conversation.

Carbon made the headlines this summer as the chief suspect behind increasingly destructive climate change, violent wildfires, record Arctic and Antarctic ice melts and a new urgency to curb emissions.

However, our own good news is that the low carbon programme has been expanded and extended to operate until July 2023.

With two successful years behind us, we look forward to helping even more companies become more energy-efficient, adopt circular economy principles and take new technologies to market.

 

Working together

If we haven’t worked with you yet, we hope to soon as part of a green UK Covid-19 recovery and drive to mitigate climate change by cutting emissions to net-zero by 2050.

To join us, please contact Debbie Treadwell (d.treadwell@chamberelancs.co.uk), or call 01254 356 487.

Later, we list some of our early autumn online events and services, plus obvious and strange ways in which carbon affected the way we live this summer.

These include US west coast fires, violent Asian flooding, wilting UK wheat harvests … plus injecting bio-methane made from cow manure into the National Grid and eco-friendly low carbon concrete.

There is also news that renewables could satisfy 66% of UK energy demand by 2030, of a greenhouse gas direct air capture (DAC) technology competition, 5G’s positive role in decarbonisation and plunging wind and solar energy costs. Google and Facebook are also going carbon-zero.

 

Invitations

Autumn’s first diary date – “Targets for Green Growth – setting the targets under the Environment Bill” – is an opportunity for you to join a key public conversation with Defra Secretary of State, George Eustice, Chief Executive of the Committee on Climate Change, Chris Stark, IEMA’s CEO Sarah Mukherjee, and other leaders exploring what is required to: –

  • Define the environmental outcomes we need to guide a green recovery and green growth
    • Engage businesses and civil society in setting targets and delivering solutions
    • Translate national targets into positive actions

The event on Wednesday 23rd September from 9.30am to 11.30am is organised by the Broadway Initiative in partnership with IEMA and the influential Aldersgate Group.

To register, go to https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/6079171612046041355.

Second diary date – Leading the Charge: Electric Vehicle ChargePoints for your community” is a local chance to take part in our opening autumn Chamber Low Carbon LIVE Lunch and Learn online webinar on Thursday, 1 October 2020 from 12.00pm to 13.30pm.

To register, please go to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/chamber-low-carbon-live-lunch-and-learn-electric-vehicle-charge-points-tickets-119116363249.

We will be joined by Daniel Heery and Ady Powell of Charge My Street which installs and maintains publicly accessible EV chargepoints to encourage people to switch to EVs (https://www.chargemystreet.co.uk/host).

Daniel, with 20 years funding and community project experience, wanted a chargepoint on his Lancaster street which led to the idea of using community shares to unite local people in co-operative solutions. Ady, who manages the SOSCI (Scaling On-Street Charging Infrastructure) project for Charge My Street, finds sites, manages delivery partners and sets up site owners.

They will discuss increasing electric vehicle (EV) uptake, EV charging technology, Charge My Street operations, plus practicalities and options for becoming a host site.

 

Green Rose autumn blooming

We should also mention the CLC team’s six-month Green Rose Programme helping businesses to develop bespoke Environmental Management Systems to recognised standards. The aim is to: –

  • Save money on consultancy fees
  • Meet new customers who want environmental credentials
  • Prepare businesses for ISO 14001, BS 8555 or EMAS certification
  • Provide a peer-to-peer learning and support network
  • Earn a Green Rose Certificate of recognition

2020/21’s six diary dates are: –

  • 17th November – Session 1 – 9am-1pm
  • 15th December – Session 2 – 9am -1pm
  • 12th January – Session 3 – 9am – 1pm
  • 9th February – Session 4 – 9am – 1pm
  • 9th March – Session 5 – 9am – 1pm
  • 6th April – Session 6 – 9am – 1pm

Again, please contact Debbie Treadwell at d.treadwell@chamberelancs.co.uk    

 

Global goals week – 18th to 26th September

We mentioned in January 2020 the importance of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) designed to tackle huge challenges facing mankind and change society and life for the better. In September 2019, a huge push was planned by world governments for September 2020.

“2020 Global Week to Act4SDGs”, as part of Global Goals Week (https://globalgoalsweek.org/), is a joint action-call for leaders, citizens, organizations and institutions to make “now” a ‘true turning point for people and planet’ by making SDGs central to their recovery plans in the coming decade.

The UN has made a universal promise to build back better and leave no one behind in achieving a peaceful and prosperous world by 2030. A detailed list of the 17 SDGs covering poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice can be seen at https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/.

That’s the end of the commercials messages!

What low carbon did this summer

However, having local and regional action plans is clearly important given the growing global problems of a warming world.

Scientists at NOAA (the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) say 2020’s northern hemisphere summer was the hottest recorded, with wildfires from the Arctic to the tropics. The San Francisco Chronicle even accused President Trump of “fiddling while California burns”.

With a quarter of June, July and August 1.170C above the 20th-century average, and the second-hottest August recorded globally, 2020 could be one of the world’s five warmest years yet.

Annual snowfall is now too low to replace melting ice flowing to sea from Greenland’s glaciers. Thawing northern hemisphere peatlands will release greenhouse gases this century at a rate 30%-50% higher than estimated previously, say researchers. Heat also reduced US Mid-West and UK grain harvests, exposing the vulnerability of food chains.

And for only the second time ever recorded, five tropical cyclones have been active together in the Atlantic Ocean. However, while Louisiana and Mississippi residents faced hurricane winds, typhoons also brought devastating flooding to China, India and Asia.

 

Environment Bill update

Meanwhile, an August Environment Bill update shows that Defra is developing time-bound, numerical targets to tackle a range of key environmental issues, with at least one “strong and meaningful” target for the four priority areas of biodiversity, air quality, water and waste. There will be mid-to-late 2030s deadlines backed by interim targets.

The UK’s post-Brexit green issues watchdog, the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) will report annually on target progress; recruitment for OEP’s first chairperson in 2021 has also begun.

 

Corporate initiatives

CBI director-general, Carolyn Fairbairn, says Britain must become a global climate action leader creating green jobs and boosting productivity for a post-pandemic economy recover. The CBI has launched a “green recovery roadmap” and called for the Government to reignite global efforts to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The CBI also warns that air pollution is causing 3 million lost UK working days annually.

Lego, meanwhile, will replace plastic packaging with paper bags from 2021 at a cost of £310 million after receiving letters of environmental concern from children. The company is exploring alternatives to replace the plastic from which its bricks are currently made.

Google, Facebook ITV say they are now committed to zero-carbon; Google says it has wiped out its historic carbon footprint, although some of its “high-quality carbon offsets” have been questioned. It became carbon-neutral in 2007.

 

Fightback

By one measure, the fightback is not impossible. A new report from the Energy Transitions Commission (ETC) backed by industry majors, says that by scaling up energy efficiency and increasing renewable energy generation capacity more rapidly the world could “technically and economically” transition to net-zero by 2050 for less than 1% of global GDP annually (https://www.energy-transitions.org/publications/making-mission-possible/).

Wind and solar “levelised cost” electricity is 30-50% cheaper than previously thought new Government figures show, giving it a dramatic 50% edge over gas-fired power by 2025.

O2 has also published a new analysis – ‘A Greener Connected Future’ – of how ultrafast 5G could help to decarbonise the UK economy by 269 megatonnes of CO2e emissions from transport, utilities, manufacturing and healthcare sectors by 2035 (https://news.o2.co.uk/press-release/o2-reveals-vision-for-a-greener-connected-future-5g-to-play-key-role-in-building-a-greener-economy/) with smart heating cutting domestic energy use by 20% and support for the EV transition.

 

Fossil-fuels and flight

Diesel and petrol engines do not get away scot-free. To cut high emission and air pollution, speed limits on parts of the M1, M5 and M6 will be cut to 60mph for a trial 15 months linked to £100 fines and three penalty points.

In the higher atmosphere, British Airways, Qantas and American Airlines are among 13 flight operators signing a new joint commitment to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.

Airlines will invest in more fuel-efficient aircraft, sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) and carbon offsetting. Emissions from waste will be included, forcing some groups to hand out fewer single-use items while improving recycling and reuse processes. Electric aircraft are not mentioned specifically.

 

Concrete proposals

Concrete accounts for 8% of global carbon emissions and if it were a country would rank third in emissions behind China and the US. Carbon dioxide is part of the manufacturing process. Its ingredients are also carbon-unfriendly, including cement as 15% of the mix which is particularly unsustainable. Experiments are underway to reduce both or use alternative materials.

At the cutting-edge of technical innovation, the Government is launching a new programme to develop and demonstrate the direct air capture (DAC) of CO2 and other greenhouse gas (GHG) removal technologies (GGR) to “suck” existing GHGs out of the atmosphere. A competition should be announced before the end of 2020, with projects starting in April 2021 (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/direct-air-capture-and-other-greenhouse-gas-removal-technologies-competition?utm_source=27a154d2-b23a-4187-b309-f1e0abc69aa7&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate).

 

Looser proposals

Biogas (mainly methane) from straw and cow manure produced in an oxygen-free environment with naturally-occurring micro-organisms by a Cambridgeshire Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plant has been injected directly into the gas grid in what the National Grid describes as a UK first.

The plant operated by BioCow Ltd feeds a pipeline which will supply ten local homes with gas for heating and cooking on a trial basis for a year at a claimed rate of up to 15,000 m3 per hour.

Of less interest to cows is the “wonder plant” Seagrass which absorbs carbon from the atmosphere up to 35 times faster than tropical rainforests and can store 10% of annual global ocean carbon which may be locked up in sediments for millennia.

But Seagrass has been in sharp decline, almost disappearing from Britain’s coast. Now a Pembrokeshire University of Swansea, WWF and the Sky Ocean Rescue charity restoration project aims to create a 20,000 square-metre meadow to reinstate the plant around Britain and the world.

 

Good green cheer

On a more spirited note, the Chancellor announced £10 million of new R&D funding in his 2020 budget to help distilleries go green. Competition applications are now open.

Phase 1 will provide up to £500,000 for feasibility studies to develop low carbon fuel technologies. Phase 2 considers applications to pilot key components and new fuel switching solutions – including electrification, hydrogen, biomass and waste.

Sláinte!

 

 

 

Targets for Green Growth – setting the targets under the Environment Bill

The Broadway Initiative in partnership with IEMA and the Aldersgate Group invites you to join the public conversation on Targets for Green Growth – setting the targets under the Environment Bill

Wednesday 23rd SEPT 9:30AM – 11:30AM

Join the Defra Secretary of State George Eustice, Chief Executive of the Committee on Climate Change Chris Stark, IEMA’s CEO Sarah Mukherjee and other leaders to explore how we can:

• Define the environmental outcomes we need to guide a green recovery and green growth.
• Engage businesses and civil society in setting the targets and delivering the solutions.
• Translate national targets into positive actions.

Register here for this FREE event.

Energy & Environment Advisor – Junior Role

The Chamber Low Carbon Business Support programme, developed by East Lancashire Chamber, in partnership with North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, BOOST and Businesswise Solutions Ltd, is a £6m Part Funded European Union project from the European Structural & Investment Funds via the Department for Communities and Local Government to provide a free suiter of services to the SME community of Lancashire to:

  • Stimulate the take up of energy efficiency measures and reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Provide grant funding for Low Carbon Technology Installation
  • Work with Lancashire technology developers who have low carbon technology products that are now “close to market” and need support to move their products to full commercialisation.

The project was launched in June 2018 and has engaged with just over 800 businesses to date. To deliver the next phase of the programme, (funding secured until June 2023), working alongside the Chamber Low Carbon Staff and a team of specialist consultants we are looking to recruit the following post:

Energy & Environment Advisor (Junior): Salary from: £ 18,000 per annum

This entry level post is ideal for someone with a passion and interest in environmental and sustainability issues but has yet to gain experience or formal qualifications.

The role will receive full support and on the job training from the existing team.

The Job Description and Person Specification are available by clicking here.

Please apply by sending in your CV and a covering letter to:

Louise Gaskell, Director: Finance and Policy
East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Red Rose Court
Clayton Business Park,
Accrington,
BB5 5JR

Email: l.gaskell@chamberelancs.co.uk

Closing date for applications is Wednesday 30th September 2020

Earth Overshoot Day 2020

Each year, the Global Footprint Network calculates ‘Earth Overshoot Day’, the day when humanity’s consumption of natural resources exceeds what the earth can regenerate within that year.

The changing date of Earth Overshoot Day provides a marker of our increasingly unsustainable ecological footprint (our demand for natural resources). When the Earth Overshoot campaign was  first launched in 2006, Earth Overshoot Day fell in October. This year, we will have overshot the earth’s capacity by 22nd August.

Humanity’s ecological footprint encompasses our demand for food and fibre, livestock and fish, forest and other forestry products, space for building, and forest capacity to absorb carbon dioxide. Our ecological footprint in 2020 has in fact been reduced by around 9.3% compared to 2019, due to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic driving down production and consumption. However, as the Global Footprint Network highlights, this is short-term and not sustainable.

To close the ever-widening ecological deficit and enable future generations to thrive, we must adapt to more efficient ways of meeting humanity’s demand for energy, materials, and services. The circular economy concept presents a solution to this. The principals of the circular economy include designing out waste, keeping materials in circulation, and regenerating natural capital, enabling the transition to an economy that operates within the boundaries of the planet.

Already there are numerous examples out there of businesses around the globe who have adopted more ‘circular’ business models, cutting their ecological footprint: https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/case-studies

More locally, the Chamber Low Carbon Circular Economy Club was launched last year to kickstart the expansion of a circular economy in Lancashire. The group aims to bring together businesses and local actors, to enable the sharing of ideas and services. If you’re a business looking to adopt a more circular business model, have already achieved a circular business model, or are simply interested in learning from or bringing new ideas to the group, then join our Chamber Low Carbon Circular Economy Club Linked In group: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8804475/ Furthermore, head over there to read the article we’ve posted on the circular economy concept, and businesses in Lancashire who have already embraced circular business models.