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.
Photo by Karsten Würth on Unsplash
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:
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 Mayor said: “It was brilliant to hear the commitment from businesses to tackling the climate emergency, and their plans for doing so both quickly and effectively.
“Whilst the WMCA has its WM2041 strategy and a commitment to reach carbon neutrality no later than 2041, this cannot be achieved without the whole region – from local authorities to individuals, small businesses to large – playing their part.
“We have to work together to achieve a cleaner, greener, West Midlands, and I want to thank all the businesses who attended the roundtable and pledged their support.”
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:
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.
Companies attending the roundtable said that while there were significant financial costs involved in moving to net zero carbon there were also major paybacks for local businesses and people and that it should be seen as an investment in a better future for the region.
Economic and business opportunities discussed included the 250,000 new jobs by 2030 outlined in the Government’s 10 Point Plan as well as £60bn in business opportunities for the UK by 2035.
Other opportunities for the region are expected to be generated by a rapid growth in electric vehicles. The West Midlands is already seen as a UK leader in the development of electric and autonomous vehicle research and development.
Coventry-based LEVC aims to produce up to 20,000 electric vehicles per year ahead of the ban on petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030.