BT Group and Birmingham County FA are among the organisations calling on others to sign the West Midlands Net Zero Business Pledge to help the region achieve net zero carbon.
The pledge has been created by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) working in partnership with Sustainability West Midlands, to encourage local organisations to play their part in becoming a net zero carbon region by 2041.
Already leading organisations such as BT, National Express and Arup have signed up.
The Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street
The Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, launched the West Midlands Net Zero Business Pledge in March to encourage companies to commit to reducing their carbon emissions, whilst providing them with practical support and guidance on how to achieve those targets.
Businesses that commit to the pledge will be helped to reduce their environmental impact and save costs, position their business as a leader in the net zero carbon economy and prepare their business for climate change impacts.
The call to sign up to the Business Pledge comes in the run up to the International Net Zero Leadership conference which is being jointly hosted by the WMCA and UK100 on 13 July. Bringing together leaders from across the UK and worldwide, from government, industry and research, to discuss the climate challenge and how best to achieve net zero, the Conference is a milestone event in the build-up to COP26, with speakers including COP26 President, Alok Sharma and Business Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng.
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said: “The West Midlands is striving to lead the race to net zero and become the home of the Green Industrial Revolution – and businesses and other organisations have a critical role to play in helping us do that.
“This pledge gives our businesses the opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to net zero and to play their role in supporting not just our regional targets, but also the UK’s ambitions during its COP26 presidency. The pledge is also particularly timely, as we host our global change summit next month in Birmingham with Mayors and leaders from all across the world coming together to discuss the climate change emergency.
“Every step an organisation takes towards net zero counts, not just by protecting the environment but by creating new opportunities for investment and greener jobs – helping to safeguard and grow the region’s economy. By signing the pledge organisations will receive the support and advice needed to achieve a greener, healthier West Midlands for everyone.”
Jane Wood is UK nations and regions director of BT Group which has taken actions such as having 250 Openreach electric vehicles on the roads and harvesting rainwater or grey water to use on-site. She said: “BT has led the way on climate action for over 28 years. As one of the largest employers in the region, we’re pleased to be supporting the WMCA’s low carbon business pledge and encourage others to sign up. Together we can make a difference.”
By reducing emissions businesses can lower their running costs, save them money and attract new customers – providing a competitive advantage locally, nationally and globally.
Birmingham County FA, the not-for-profit governing body for football in Birmingham, the Black Country, Coventry and Warwickshire is also calling on others to follow in their footsteps. Richard Lindsay, business insights manager at Birmingham County FA, said: “We have an over-arching strategy for the next four years to create and support lower-carbon football in the West Midlands
“We have signed the West Midlands Business Pledge because it ties in with a number of commitments and changes we’ve made. These include zero to landfill since April 2019, switching to a green energy supplier, more efficient lighting, a plastic free office and electric vehicle chargers on site.
“We think it is imperative for businesses to recognise the need to make these changes – both big and small – and we encourage other organisations to follow our example and sign the Pledge to help protect the future of our region and our planet.”
Cllr Ian Courts, WMCA portfolio holder for environment and leader of Solihull Council, said: “Businesses transitioning to a greener way of working is vital if we are to meet our Net Zero ambition by 2041.
“The Pledge is one way businesses can show they are committed to adopting practices that will help us have a net zero region in 2041. Changing and becoming greener will open up new opportunities for companies to grow their business and ensure they are fit for the future: attracting new customers and investment and helping to create new jobs.”
To find out more about the Business Pledge visit https://www.wmca.org.uk/what-we-do/environment/west-midlands-net-zero-business-pledge/
To register for the International Net Zero Local Leadership Conference visit https://uk.virtualeventhosts.com/UK100-Netzero/register