SOME of the region’s top companies have come together to discuss how to harness the power and influence of business in helping the West Midlands achieve its ambitious target of being net zero carbon by 2041.
Severn Trent, Eon, BT, Birmingham Airport and National Express were among more than a dozen companies to take part in the WM2041 Five Year Plan roundtable organised by Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street.
The talks were staged to help shape a roadmap to 2041 identifying the priorities, challenges and opportunities of a green economic recovery post Covid-19.
The virtual event centred around the region’s plans for a sustainable recovery that not only secures economic growth but also makes the West Midlands a greener and healthier place to live and work.
The event heard how many of the companies are already taking action to help achieve net zero carbon including:
Severn Trent’s ambition to be net zero by 2030 and its aim to plant 1.3 million trees by 2030
A pledge by National Express to only buy zero emission buses going forward – the company bought its last diesel bus in 2019
Eon ditching all fossil fuel generated electricity in 2015 with customers now receiving renewables as standard
Cadent switching all its pipes to plastic to transport hydrogen while looking at hydrogen-ready boilers
BT has already switched to 100 per cent renewable electricity and is looking to reduce supply chain emissions by 87 per cent by 2030.
Companies attending the round table heard how the first Five Year Plan will build on the existing #WM2041 commitment to make the West Midlands carbon neutral by 2041 and the region’s strategy for a green recovery, WM2041: A Programme for Implementing an Environmental Recovery released in June.
The Plan, which will run from 2021 – 2026, will provide a regional carbon budget and delivery roadmap to net zero.
The roundtable will now help shape the work being carried out by the WMCA and WSP to produce the first WM2041 Five Year Plan which will be released in early 2021 and will set out the priorities and opportunities for the region including:
Retrofitting old and cold homes to make them more energy efficient and help tackle fuel poverty
Accelerating the transition of the region’s automotive industry to electric vehicles
Rolling out charging infrastructure for electric vehicles at scale
Transitioning the region’s energy infrastructure to renewables
Supporting the growth of green neighbourhoods and natural capital
The Five Year Plan will also focus on working with the region’s businesses and education and training institutions to ensure the West Midlands has a workforce with the skills needed to exploit the opportunities of a green economy.