Looking Back At Green GB Week


Aimed at promoting opportunities for ‘green growth’, the Government launched its first Green GB Week in October, ten years on from the passing of the UK’s Climate Change Act.

Green GB Week (15-19 October) was launched by Energy Minister Claire Perry, tasked with raising awareness of how both individuals and organisations can contribute to mitigating dangerous climate change

By combining enhanced media coverage, a packed programme of events and a series of announcements, the Government aimed to reach new audiences and inspire existing advocates across business, universities, communities and individuals.

Measuring progress

It kicked off with enthusiasm, setting out targets for achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions across the economy by 2050. With the Government’s support, there is a feeling of optimism that Green GB Week’s success will be seen in due course.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has heightened its commitment to the ‘Green Finance Strategy’, agreeing to set out long-term plans for this scheme by March 2019. Specific advancements during the week include the ‘Green Growth Fund’ which will see £20 million of government investment combined with £20 million private funding for clean tech startups. Additionally, British standards for green finance have been strengthened and will continue to develop.

Business leads the way?

The week saw a total of 69 new pledges from businesses and organisations across multiple sectors, including retail, construction, manufacturing and financial services. With support from Edie.net, businesses were able to showcase their sustainable business commitments on the Mission Possible Pledge Wall. Here are a selection of pledges:

Quorn Foods, which has committed to ensuring 100% of its packaging will be recyclable or compostable by 2025

The John Lewis Partnership, which will ensure all delivery trucks and lorries will be converted to bio-methane, moving away from diesel fuel

Proctor & Gamble, which vowed both to purchase enough renewable electricity to power its manufacturing plants, and to cut the emissions from these sites in half by 2030

Looking forwards

Green GB Week was a reassuring step forward in helping to educate and involve people and businesses in building a cleaner and greener future. Actions must now be taken in order to see a much greater and more rapid innovation happen over the coming years if we are to achieve that objective.

If we can build on this initial platform, then we have a greater chance of achieving the targets which have been set.

The Ends Report (2018), provided a summary of the key announcements from Green GB Week:

Net-zero emissions target: Claire Perry formally requested advice from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) on setting the UK’s greenhouse gas emission targets to a net-zero by 2050. But does the restart of fracking contradict this objective?

Investment in heat: BEIS announced a £320m low-carbon heating fund for cities and an £18 million heat recovery support programme – both initiatives that have already been mooted in previous years.

Green heat tariff for biomass in urban areas: A new consultation was launched to consider stopping the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) being used to support new biomass installations in urban areas on the gas grid. It’s all part of DEFRA’s Clean Air Strategy, in a bid to address air quality issues.

Overseas funding: BEIS also announced £106m of funding as part of its aid budget to be used to encourage greener construction practices in developing countries.

Green Finance: A new £40m venture capital fund was announced, backed by the Government and private investment, to support the growth of cleantech companies.

Reducing plastic waste: The government awarded £4million to 11 projects focused on reducing plastic waste as part of the Plastics Research and Innovation Fund.

Smart appliances and the smart grid: An update was also published on the Government’s smart systems and flexibility plan, first published last year, which identified barriers to the roll-out of distributed renewable technologies and storage technologies.

Climate change and air quality funding: £60million in new funding for research projects aimed at tackling air quality and climate change.

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