On Monday 17 October, the fifth annual Greater Manchester Green Summit was held at The Lowry Theatre in Salford.

Members of the GMLEP were in attendance to join panel sessions and network with business leaders, policymakers and community groups in hopes to accelerate Greater Manchester’s net zero ambitions.

The Greater Manchester Green Summit, which is hosted by Mayor of Greater Manchester and GMLEP Board Member Andy Burnham, focuses on how the city-region can rise to the key environmental challenges facing it from implementing new policy and future innovations to industry adaptation and individual lifestyle changes.

In his opening address, Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said “Obviously we’re living in really turbulent times and in some ways we’re going backwards. In Greater Manchester, we have set out a plan and we’re sticking to it. We know where we’re going and what we’re trying to do but we’re going to need to challenge ourselves to get where we need to be. We want to not only create a greener Greater Manchester but a fairer Greater Manchester.

Greater Manchester did lead the first industrial revolution and we’re ready to lead the second one. It’s about changing people’s lives for the better creating a more prosperous and more equal city region.”

Talks throughout the day covered the five key pillars of the Greater Manchester Environment Plan; Natural Environment, Transport, Low Carbon, Circular Economy & Waste and Sustainable Lifestyles. Experts gathered to discuss where we are now, where we need to be and how we can overcome barriers to change.

GMLEP Green Lead Steve Connor hosted the panel on Low Carbon. The panel included Amy House Director of Green Economy, Helen Boyle, Head of Regional Development Northwest and Midlands at Cadent Gas, Nehal Mehta Project Director at SSE, Will Swan Director of Energy House Laboratories at the University of Salford, Emma Harvey, Director of Green Finance Institute and Lucy Ingham Working Well Lead at B4Box.

The afternoon session included a series of workshops covering topics including how to tackle the energy crisis, green skills, the importance of collaboration between business and other organisations and a session on green finance hosted by MIDAS.

Steve Connor also held a workshop as part of the Bee Net Zero partnership which highlighted the innovations and measures that local businesses are using to accelerate their own net-zero ambitions.

Introducing the session, Steve Connor saidOur overarching objective is to make Greater Manchester the easiest place to become a net zero business. Including, how do I set a target for net-zero? How do I reach suppliers? And all the practical stuff. This session explores what businesses are doing that we can amplify.”

Businesses that presented ideas in the session included NatWest, N Brown, Mott MacDonald, TLT, Silver Ems Ltd, Watercycle Technology, Future Bay and Manchester City Football Club. 

NatWest presented their carbon planner which helps businesses to deliver cost-cutting and carbon-cutting actions, N Brown discussed the use of technology to create a circular production process and reduce waste while Mott MacDonald discussed how businesses can use mobility as a service and reduce business transport and Future Bay discussed reducing energy consumption in cooling technologies.

Later GMLEP Board Member and Leader of Manchester City Council joined the Mayor for a conversation about how we can deliver solutions which make Greater Manchester a greener and fairer, more affordable place.

Topics covered green skills, retrofit and low carbon homes, reforms to public transport, green finance, green spaces and the role of young people with the overarching theme of how these elements can work together to create a greener, fairer city-region for all.

Bev Craig saidThe fact that we remain optimistic while looking at negative statistics around our carbon budget shows how committed Greater Manchester is to achieving those targets. By leading the way, we can do good things for our people, our economy and our planet. It has to be about that ultimate prize, we can’t lose sight of global fairness.

Everything discussed at The Green Summit 2022 will inform a revised Greater Manchester Environment Plan for 2024 to 2029, meaning that businesses, innovators and communities have just as much input as policymakers in deciding our city-region’s future.

In his closing remarks, Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said, “I leave today feeling more clear in my mind that we are on we are on the right path. Sometimes it’s hard to stay on the right path when we have seen talk of fracking and the slowing of solar but having an event like this reaffirms the belief that we are doing something fundamentally important here.

“We will get to net zero by 2038 because the political will is there. We will change this place forever and we will build industry here that will bring prosperity to future generations. I think it’s a really exciting moment for our city region”

Find out more about the Greater Manchester Green Summit 2022 here.