Bristol’s journey to becoming climate neutral and climate resilient by 2030 stepped up a notch three years ago this February, when the ambitious One City Climate Strategy was launched by Bristol’s Environment Board. In this time, we’ve taken huge strides towards achieving this goal.
Our council has invested nearly £100 million into sustainable projects including building Castle Park Energy Centre, that houses England’s largest water source heat pump and supplies zero carbon heating to homes and offices nearby. And Bristol City Leap, a partnership with the private sector, will invest over £1 billion to accelerate our progress in reducing carbon emissions and improving the energy efficiency of council owned homes. This UK-first will create 1,000 new jobs and cut 140,000 tonnes of emissions over the next five years.
We have also reduced our own carbon emissions by making our buildings more efficient and generating renewable energy and are making the switch to electric vehicles, LED streetlighting, and away from gas boilers. All this work is outlined in our recently published Bristol City Council Climate Emergency Action Plan.
Since the council is responsible for just 0.5% of direct emissions in Bristol, to reach the city-wide climate goal, it’s essential that businesses and organisations across our city play their part too, so we also took on the role of coordinating city-wide efforts, with The Bristol One City Climate Ask.
The Climate Ask encourages others to declare their net zero ambitions and offers support to help write their plans.
It’s been encouraging speaking with some of these organisations in recent months and hearing about their plans, and what’s even more positive is to hear so many saying how making sustainable choices has been good for business.
I’ve especially enjoyed listening to the innovative ways that our brilliant Bristol businesses are stepping up to the challenge and making changes that are unique to their industries including a local pizza shop, Bristol Cathedral, lawyers and accountants, Avon Fire and Rescue, coffee roasters and brewers, lighting engineers, banks and schools and even a funeral home! Here’s what some of them have to say:
Dee Ryding, Founder and Owner of Divine Ceremony:
“Divine Ceremony is the first electric funeral cortege in the South West, we’ve recently invested in a second electric vehicle, and are building a solar panel carport from which to run them. Offering our clients sustainable choices and raising awareness of the environmental impact of a funeral is an intrinsic part of the service we provide and our clients are quickly engaged – it’s a collaborative process. We are all learning how to make better choices for our loved ones and for our planet.”
Rory Ireland, Director of Bristol Twenty Coffee:
“When we started Bristol Twenty Coffee Company, we knew that we wanted quality and responsibility to define us and when we took the leap to roast our own coffee in 2014, that responsibility became paramount. We are passionate about being a fully sustainable company and each year we revisit how we can improve. In 2023 we aim to expand our electric fleet, we are scoping a heat recovery system for the roaster, we continue to strive to be plastic free, and where we can’t reduce, we our offset (through our partnership with Ecologi).”
Anna Perry, Chief Executive of Great Western Air Ambulance Charity:
“One of Great Western Air Ambulance Charity’s values is to reduce our impact on the environment, and we set ourselves the target to be carbon neutral by 2030. This is really ambitious for a charity that flies a helicopter, and operates three critical care cars! However, we are enthused by the passion and practical actions taking place in Bristol. Being specific about our net zero plans helps us engage our teams, attract and reassure new recruits and means that our supporters can be sure they are donating to an organisation that takes climate change seriously”.
John Wright, Head of Bristol Office at Stride Treglown:
“To become Net Zero you have to start by measuring your carbon emissions and at Stride Treglown we’ve done this for many years. Our latest report includes Scope 3 emissions – those created by our purchases and suppliers. We are updating our Carbon Reduction Plan to target reduced emissions from business travel and commuting, by incentivising car sharing, public transport and active travel. And in our offices, by reducing electricity used by computers & servers, and our purchases, by seeking carbon neutral partners”.
Jess Jones, Community Programmes Officer at Gloucestershire Cricket Club:
“At Gloucestershire County Cricket club we have committed to achieving net zero and introduced a number of measures towards reducing our emissions. We’ve made important changes to our venue and installed 13 electric vehicle charge points, 125 bike racks, 31 solar panels and make continual investment in electrical ground staff equipment. We have a number of corporate partners who help us achieve our sustainability goals. These are all small steps in the right direction but we understand we have a lot to learn and more to change before we can achieve net zero. We believe even the smallest change can help make a difference and would encourage any organisation to start their journey to net zero.”
It’s inspiring to hear how these diverse Bristol organisations are making changes and leaning on their suppliers to do the same. As of 1 February 2023, 80 Bristol organisations have signed the Climate Ask.
We know many more are taking climate action and working towards net zero, so I would urge you to sign up and let Bristol know you doing your bit. Meet with others in your industry, share best practice, share your plans, tell your story, help the momentum.
Working in partnership is the only way we can get Bristol to net zero. We’re stronger together.
For more Business Climate Stories, visit Bristol One City’s website.