North east businesses combating climate change share their successes at seminar hosted by North Tyneside’s climate emergency board

Cllr Graham with business delegates

Local businesses gathered to discuss energy management and carbon reduction with some of the North East’s leading businesses at a seminar hosted by North Tyneside’s Climate Emergency Board this week.

The borough-wide Climate Emergency Board was set up by North Tyneside Council earlier this year, to address the urgent need for action in the fight against climate change. The Board is made up of public sector organisations and commercial and industrial businesses, collectively working to combat the climate crisis. North Tyneside Council has pledged to help other local businesses achieve efficient energy management; the recent seminar is the first of several planned events hoping to support businesses to adopt more sustainable practices.

The seminar, that took place on the 24 November at the Village Hotel, Cobalt Business Park, was attended by 40 individuals from 37 local businesses, each varying in size and sector but sharing the same goal: to learn about the actions they as businesses can take to combat the climate crisis. As is timely given the recent rise of fuel prices and current global energy issues faced in the region, businesses in attendance explored topics such as sustainable sources of power and the role of renewable energy. They discussed how businesses can manage their environmental impacts, and reflected on the responsibility that businesses have to do this.

The seminar was host to a variety of big businesses in the area, such as Greggs, Proctor and Gamble, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust, Sterling Pharma Solutions and North Tyneside Council. The represented businesses are all existing members of the Climate Emergency Board and thus have embarked on a pathway to reduce carbon emissions and work collectively to support development projects which contribute to North Tyneside Council’s ambitious plan to become Carbon Net Zero by 2030.

Each business shared their own sustainability efforts with delegates and divulged the ways in which they are saving energy. The North Tyneside Climate Emergency Board hosts spoke on the role of energy and emissions in the climate emergency and promoted the support offered by North Tyneside Council to businesses.

Energy support, including access to specialist one-to-one advice, and assistance through the Green New Deal Fund from the North of Tyne Combined Authority, is available for businesses to access as part of an effort to reduce carbon emissions in North Tyneside and work towards combatting the global climate crisis. At the seminar, businesses were provided with a toolkit which included window stickers and posters for them to display to express their pledges and commitment to tackling climate change. Businesses not in attendance at the event who would like to show their participation in the cause can download pledge posters and access support toolkits from the North Tyneside Council website, or contact North Tyneside Council to have a sticker posted to their address.

At the event, delegates from businesses shared their motivations for attending the seminar. Daniel Lister from local charity, LD North East explained why he signed up: “We’re just getting started – we’ve made a few changes already but I came today to get a better idea of how we can make a difference.”

George Foster, from print advertising company, THF Publications said: “I came to find out what’s available for businesses like mine, and I did!”

Josh Smith, from Age UK North Tyneside said: “We’re actively trying to reduce our carbon emissions so we thought this seminar would be a great way to pick up some new ideas.

“We weren’t disappointed! It was great to be able to hear what household names are doing at a local level.”

Ruth Simpson, from SAJ Transport Consultants shared how they are already making plans to improve sustainable travel: “We’re launching a brand-new travel planning service, ‘Get me 2’, to influence how people travel to work, education and around the community.”

Speaking after the event, Councillor Sandra Graham, cabinet member for Environment and Joint Chair of the Authority’s Net Zero 2030 Board, said “The seminar was a huge success, I believe we achieved something special by uniting so many local businesses with a common cause.

“The climate emergency affects us all and we are best placed to combat it if we work together and share our successes with one another. I was delighted to see the wealth of energy management support and information shared at the seminar, and I am hopeful that this will go a long way in encouraging local businesses to take action and get involved with sustainability efforts.

“The businesses that attended the seminar leave with a deeper understanding of their corporate responsibility to monitor their impact on the environment, as well as a renewed passion to fulfil this duty. I encourage all local businesses to access the support on offer to them, the climate emergency is a burden we must share together if we are to prevent it from becoming any more critical.”