Green

COP26 Roundup: How Chesterfield businesses are working towards a greener future

Many Chesterfield businesses, organisations and developments are working hard to build a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly future for the town.

The big climate summit which took place in Glasgow recently, COP26 provided a big reminder to everyone of the need to become greener and reduce our carbon emissions.

Chesterfield Champion, Emma Knight-Strong of specialist sustainability coaching firm, Green Arch Consulting attended the summit, and has provided us with a round-up of all the big talking points from the event:


4 areas of interest, 1 big message

  • Governments – the US and China are now collaborating to work on climate change! While there are concerns about the speed with which governments are moving this announcement (plus a lot of others) is an indicator that the political world is taking climate change seriously.
  • Finance – investors with trillions of dollars are announcing more and more commitments to sustainable and green investments. This is driven by a range of factors including:

– Risk: investors are seeing the impacts of climate change in their portfolios and…

– Standards and regulation: for example COP26 has seen the launch of the International Sustainability Standards Board, which will ultimately require the entire accounting profession to develop their skills in this area.

  • Business – is under increasing pressure to report information and to manage their supply chains. In the UK, large corporates will be legally required to report climate information from April 2022. Importantly, this will impact their entire supply chain as suppliers will need to help their customers collect and report data. Equally, some organisations may find themselves struggling to win new customers (or keep existing customers) if they fail to step up.
  • Communication, engagement and public opinion – is changing rapidly, leading to a huge shift in how people see the climate crisis. This, of course, has an impact on politics, finance and business. A couple of examples are:
  1. The UK Broadcasting associations have committed to embedding climate content in their programmes – helping to spread messaging around climate and carbon.
  2. Education is focusing more on climate and sustainability, helping our younger generations to understand more about their options and about the climate crisis – so when your kids start talking about it you should probably listen – the chances are they know more about it than you do!
  3. Activism is now firmly on the agenda – whether it’s marching on the streets or people actively working to ‘green’ their jobs or companies, people are working together to drive change. 100,000 people marched in Glasgow on 6th November to call attention to the huge public interest in creating a positive outcome for the climate.

How big is the challenge?

The fact that almost every aspect of society is paying attention to this now indicates that this is a major challenge but if you need more proof: scientists, nations, indigenous communities and many others have provided overwhelming evidence that our world is warming. The problem with this is that a warming world is leading to increased extreme weather events, sea level rise and loss of biodiversity.

That, in turn, leads to changes in agricultural productivity, threatens towns, cities and businesses, and even influences things like where some diseases are found. Ultimately, it risks lives and livelihoods across the globe. No business sector, country or even town will be immune to this, albeit some will suffer the effects faster, and more severely, than others.

The message COP26 is the 26th annual conference which seeks to address some of these issues. The announcements and noise surrounding this conference can be overwhelming and it is almost impossible to keep track of everything that has happened. Instead, look above it all and see the overarching message: This issue is not going away. We have a feedback loop of investors influencing business who influence government, who are all influenced by communication (you can rearrange those words into almost any combination, and it will still be true).

That means that at some point, if it hasn’t already, your organisation will be impacted by one or more of these areas. In fact, you may already have been indirectly impacted but just haven’t realised the cause.

Where to start

So how can organisations get on top of this? A good place to start is to understand your carbon footprint. It is by no means the only issue related to climate change and sustainability, but it’s a good foundation for understanding how your organisation operates beyond the financials.

The good news is that there is a LOT of help out there – some of it free, some of it not.

Do an internet search for ‘calculate the carbon footprint of my business’ and see what comes up.

If you already know your carbon footprint then the next step is to think seriously about cutting it by at least 50% by 2030. How will you achieve this? What investment will be needed? How can you plan this into your business year to spread the cost? Equally, how might this help your business, for example will you be in a position to win more customers?


Sustainability success stories in Chesterfield

anzacs chesterfield

Here are just a few great examples of how the Chesterfield community is helping to reduce carbon emissions in our town, including businesses, organisations and local developers.

Custom Solar

Custom Solar is a renewable energy company specialising in solar PV. The business works nationally to design, install and maintain high quality solar systems for businesses, homes and the education sector.

Find out more about a huge solar installation carried out by the company at the Port of Southampion, fitting the Horizon Cruise Terminal with 2,000 solar modules!

Superior Wellness

Superior Wellness won the Sustainability Award, sponsored by Chesterfield Borough Council at the town’s annual Love Chesterfield Awards  organised by Destination Chesterfield.

In their award-winning submission Superior Wellness demonstrated that they measure and report their progress, as well as demonstrating that that have committed to sustainability during the past five years.

Mark Needham, Head of Operations said: “Within the last few months, we have reviewed our waste strategy, purchased electric forklift trucks, installed solar panels and have electric charging points.

“This is just the start as we seek to become more sustainable as a business.  Our ten-year vision is to become carbon neutral.”

Don’t Do a Dodo

Don’t Do A Dodo Ltd is a Chesterfield business that aims to help local people ‘go green’ easily and at low cost. It does this by enabling the community to club together to buy green products like solar panels and smart thermostats, securing valuable discounts for householders, whilst reducing their energy bills and their carbon emissions.

Director Nigel Timperley said: “Don’t Do A Dodo is a community business. As well as helping local people group-buy low carbon products like solar panels and renewable energy, we use local suppliers to install things, creating jobs and opportunity in the town’s emerging green
economy. So the town gets greener and local businesses prosper.”

The Gateway @Peak

The exciting Gateway @PEAK development on the northern edge of Chesterfield has been showcasing its sustainability credentials at the East Midlands COP26 Regional Roadshow, as part of its strategic partnership with the University of Derby.

Milligan and landowner Birchall Properties have formed a working group with the University of Derby to bring the latest applied thinking in sustainable tourism, circular economies, data collection and monitoring, geosciences and biodiversity planning to the project.

At the heart of the development is a Zero Carbon transport hub. Hydrogen powered vehicles will connect to a travel network that has the potential to remove over 500,000 car journeys from the park each year, drastically reducing carbon emissions and improving the visitor experience for everyone.

Robinson Plc

Chesterfield manufacturer Robinson, which specialises in packaging launched its ambitious sustainability pledge earlier this year.

The pledge by Robinson outlines a range of commitments underpinned by their strategic priorities focused on putting the customer first, sustainable growth and thriving people.

CEO Dr Helene Roberts says this the blueprint for Robinson’s future-fit business. She says: “We have a role to contribute to sustainability and regenerative growth, which we view as key drivers with great opportunities for our business and the industry.

Chesterfield FC’s Planet Super League success

Chesterfield Football Club may be flying high on the pitch in the National League at the moment, but the club also topped the table earlier this year in a sustainability league table which involved supporters and the local community.

The unique football tournament ‘Planet Super League’ saw fans score goals for their club by completing planet-protecting activities like having a meat-free meal, using the car less and even taking cold showers.

Chesterfield FC fans put in an incredible effort over the 11-week tournament, racking up 33 points and beating 23 other clubs to the title. Fans have a perfect record for the season, winning all 11 matches including victories against West Bromwich Albion, Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa and MK Dons.

Chesterfield Property & Construction Group

The annual Celebrate Chesterfield campaign provided plenty of cause for celebration once again this year, with the announcement of the town’s Property & Construction Group being launched.

The new group brings together leaders from the area’s property and construction sectors to shape and drive forward collaboration, investment, sustainability and skills within Chesterfield.

Delegates attending the Chesterfield Investment Summit 2021 will be updated on the progress of the group over the last few months.

SDE Group

Chesterfield-based SDE Group is pushing forward with ambitions to be greener and reduce the carbon footprint of the UK, with the installation of multiple rapid charging points for electronic vehicles.

The company has set out a long-term goal of having a better impact on the environment, with the growth of electric charging stations being something the firm is very passionate about.

Ian Buckton, Contracts Director at SDE Group said: “SDE have been looking at the carbon footprint of the business for the last few years, so when we were approached by our clients to work alongside Gridserve on the renewable energy scheme, it is something that excited us as this falls into our business plan.”

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University of Derby and East Midlands Chamber pledge support for the UN Race to Zero

The University of Derby and East Midlands Chamber have become signatories of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Race to Zero campaign.

Professor Kamil Omoteso, pro vice-chancellor dean of the College of Business, Law and Social Sciences at the University, and Scott Knowles, chief executive at East Midlands Chamber, made the announcement at last week’s annual Midlands Sustainability Summit, co-hosted by the University and Chamber, and supported by the Midlands Engine, last Thursday (23 September).

Race to Zero is a global campaign to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions, and investors for a healthy, resilient, zero-carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs, and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth.

The objective is to build momentum around the shift to a decarbonised economy ahead of COP26 in November, where governments must strengthen their contributions to the Paris Agreement. By joining the Race to Zero, the University and Chamber have demonstrated their commitment to the net zero agenda to global leaders at COP26.

Prof Omoteso, said: “I am delighted to announce that the University has become a signatory to the UN Race to Zero, cementing its existing pro-environmental commitments.

“This pledge provides a springboard for our ongoing efforts to support the shift to a sustainable economy across the region and beyond, and forms part of the University’s wider environmental ambitions and commitment to sustainability on our own net-zero pathway.”

East Midlands Chamber launched the Sustainable East Midlands campaign last year to encourage more businesses to engage with the low-carbon agenda by demonstrating its commercial benefits, as well as highlighting successful case studies.

A newly-appointed Sustainable East Midlands policy officer will aim to create a net zero plan over the coming months, with ideas including setting a baseline carbon footprint to measure against, installing energy-efficient lighting and heating systems, and developing an employee engagement strategy to support behavioural changes in terms of workspaces, travel and waste.

Scott Knowles added: “As the business community looks to rebuild after a turbulent 18 months, the focus now shifts towards the future and the role we must all take in addressing the ever-pressing climate change challenge.

“As our commitment to this urgent challenge, where we feel it is important to lead by example, we are pleased to announce that the Chamber is setting our own net zero goal to cut our carbon emissions in half by 2030, with an aim to reach net zero before 2050.”

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Spireites supporters beat other clubs to the top of the table in sustainability initiative

Chesterfield FC fans have lifted the Planet Super League Spring Season Trophy, with a clean sweep of wins across all 11 matches this season.

The unique football tournament sees fans score goals for their club by completing planet-protecting activities like having a meat-free meal, using the car less and even taking cold showers.

Chesterfield FC fans put in an incredible effort over the 11-week tournament, racking up 33 points and beating 23 other clubs to the title. Fans have a perfect record for the season, winning all 11 matches including victories against West Bromwich Albion, Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa and MK Dons.

Chesterfield fans completed 1,793 activities over the season, saving 1,761 kg CO2. The Planet Super League trophy will be placed in their trophy cabinet at the stadium.

Keith Jackson, Chesterfield FC Community Trust’s head of sports and activities, commented: “We have always known we have the best fans in Britain, and now we have seen it in action. The commitment from fans to make positive environmental efforts in the name of the club is incredible. We will proudly display the trophy at the Technique Stadium, but this really belongs to our fans.’

Emma Tooley-Browns, one of the Chesterfield FC supporting families who helped them win the title – commented: “We have had a brilliant time taking part in Planet Super League. It’s provided loads of fun for the family and helped make the planet greener.

“We now use environmentally-friendly washing capsules, take more notice of the nature around us and we will continue to enjoy our screen-free evenings. We can’t wait to participate next year.”

A total of 24 clubs and 8,000 people took part in Planet Super League’s spring season, completing over 17,900 activities, saving 56,057 kg CO2, the equivalent to planting 3,203 trees.

Planet Super League made taking climate action fun and rewarding through 60 covid-safe, planet-protecting activities, which were available for fans to complete. These ranged from practical measures like having a meat-free meal, a screen-free evening or switching to green energy to creative tasks like making a bug stadium or writing a short Jamie Johnson story.

Planet Super League co-founder Tom Gribbin commented: “We are proud to see how our spring season, with a host of new activities and a larger format, has resonated with fan families.

“We are continuing to grow, innovate and evolve our model to make it more and more impactful, with big things to come. Huge thanks to our participants who are literally making the world a better place through their efforts.”

Planet Super League’s summer season kicks off on June 14 with 60 summer activities for fans and 33 clubs taking part. Newcomers include Arsenal, Leeds, Ipswich and Chelsea FC. Recruitment is taking place already across the UK. You can represent your club and play for the planet by signing up and playing for free at planetsuperleague.com.

You’ll be able to hear more about the Spireites’ Planet Super League win on the next episode of The Chesterfield Show podcast, set to be launched on Spotify on Friday, 25th June.

Chesterfield FC supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 180 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Promising response to Green Entrepreneurs Scheme from Derbyshire businesses

More than 130 people from businesses and community groups across Derbyshire joined the virtual launch of Derbyshire County Council’s Green Entrepreneurs Fund – a £2 million grant fund for organisations interested in developing and investing in green energy and carbon reduction schemes.

Businesses and organisations heard details about how they can apply for funding through the scheme being run in partnership with the University of Derby to help support green economic recovery across Derbyshire.

There are 3 separate funds:

Green Entrepreneurs Demonstrator Fund
£1.2 million set aside for a small number of high-quality projects from entrepreneurs wanting to establish green, alternative energy or low carbon initiatives in Derbyshire to provide community heat and power schemes. The minimum grant available through this fund would be £100,000. Applications for expressions of interest will open 1 April 2021.

Green Entrepreneurs Small Grant Fund
Grants of £10,000 – £20,000 for new and existing businesses with game changing proposals in alternative energy, clean fuel and carbon reduction. £500,000 will be made available through this fund. There will be 3 separate rounds in which to apply for funding – the first will launch on 1 April 2021 followed by further rounds opening on 4 October 2021 and then 3 January 2022.

Green Entrepreneurs Scholarship Fund
A training fund to support individuals to retrain with skills to enable them to enter the field of alternative energy. £100,000 will be made available through this fund. Grants will be awarded monthly from July 2021 onwards.

Leader of Derbyshire County Council Councillor Barry Lewis added:

“We’re championing business innovation and want Derbyshire to become a leader in the field in the development of green energy as part of our bold ambition to cut the council’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2032 and that of the Derbyshire economy by 2050.

“We believe there is a unique opportunity to bring greater benefits to local communities and the local economic conditions to create high quality jobs driven by utilising the local skills base in engineering and manufacturing.

“We’re excited to be able to offer businesses the financial support needed to help turn their ideas into reality, through game changing proposals that help to tackle climate change and impact positively on the way we all live in the future both in Derbyshire and further afield.”

Councillor Tony King, Cabinet member for Clean Growth and Regeneration, said:

“We’ve had an unbelievable response to the scheme so far from businesses and community organisations across Derbyshire.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing the applications start to come in with proposals for projects to kick-start the county’s carbon reduction and alternative energy agenda and boost the local economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I would urge anyone who was unable to join the virtual launch to visit www.derbyshire.gov.uk/gef to find out more.”

Professor Kathryn Mitchell DL, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Derby, said:

“I am delighted that the Green Entrepreneur launch was such a success. It is really encouraging to see so much interest and enthusiasm from local businesses in taking up opportunities like this to operate more sustainably and to make a real contribution towards reducing their carbon footprint.

“We look forward now to working with the county council to deliver the scheme to our entrepreneur community, and to make Derbyshire synonymous with sustainable business.”

Find more information about the programme including application forms, timetable for grant funding and eligibility criteria.

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£2m Green Entrepreneurs Fund to be launched in Derbyshire

Companies in Chesterfield and Derbyshire with green aspirations can apply for a slice of a new £2m funding pot – which is set to be launched at an event delivered by East Midlands Chamber.

Derbyshire County Council will introduce its £2m Green Entrepreneurs Fund at an information session hosted by the Chamber on Thursday 17 March from 9am to 10am.

The fund, which was created in collaboration with the University of Derby as part of its Covid-19 economic strategy and climate change commitments, is intended to help SMEs to develop and invest in low-carbon energy and carbon reduction schemes alongside training.

East Midlands Chamber policy and representation manager Ian Bates said: “Since we launched our Sustainable East Midlands campaign at the tail end of last year, we’ve noticed a strong uplift in the number of businesses that are recognising the importance of joining the low-carbon agenda.

“But many of these ambitious companies will require the necessary funding to give them both the incentive and confidence to invest in green technologies.

“The Green Entrepreneurs Fund is a fantastic initiative from Derbyshire County Council in collaboration with our strategic partner, the University of Derby, and we’re very eager to help promote it to the wider business community with this launch event.”

Who is eligible for the Green Entrepreneurs Fund?

Derbyshire-based SMEs employing up to 250 staff and micro-businesses with up to 10 staff are eligible to apply for grants, which are designed to kickstart the county’s carbon reduction and alternative energy agenda, as well as boost the financial health of local businesses in the wake of the pandemic.

The capital and revenue support will help businesses reduce their carbon footprint, retrain in low-carbon skills and develop innovative solutions in low-carbon schemes.

A small number of high-quality demonstrator projects that provide community heat and power solutions will be prioritised.

The £2m scheme is funded by Derbyshire County Council’s Covid Recovery Fund and overseen by a Green Entrepreneurs Fund Programme Board featuring representatives from the council and University of Derby.

Green Entrepreneurs Fund launch event

Businesses can find out who can apply for the funding, the levels of grants available and timescales for delivery at the Chamber-run event on 17 March.

It will also include talks from Derbyshire County Council leader Councillor Barry Lewis, and Professor Kathryn Mitchell, vice-chancellor and chief executive at the University of Derby, about the work they are doing to contribute towards carbon reduction in Derbyshire. Find out more about the event here: https://www.chesterfield.co.uk/events/green-entrepreneurs-fund-launch-event/

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