Major businesses from across the South West convene for “Big Green Conversation” at the University of Bath

Collaborations are evolving from an inaugural round table event - hosted by the University of Bath in partnership with Action Net Zero and Transform ESG to create employer-led initiatives to drive behaviour change and innovation in the pursuit of achieving Net Zero targets.

The event was hosted by the Vice Chancellor Professor Ian White and attended by the Metro Mayor for the West of England Combined Authority, Dan Norris, large regional organisations such as Wessex Water, Bupo Happold, Edwards and BMT, as well as academics and influencers from across the region. 

The main goal of the “big green conversation” was to bring together industry experts with influential individuals and organisations to find a collaborative way of accelerating change towards net-zero targets. 

By harnessing the expertise and knowledge of the University of Bath, the aim was to develop initiatives to drive sustainable change, especially in the areas of transport, rural connectivity, decarbonising the built environment, and the challenges that many employers face in the region. 

Pam Barbato, founder of Action Net Zero, says she is delighted with how the event played out on the day and in the following weeks. 

“It really was wonderful to see just how much progress can be made on such an important issue when you bring the right people together with a clear goal in mind,” she said. “It’s vital for our region to address these issues and make more progress as quickly as we can. Bringing expertise and knowledgeable players together under one roof to work collaboratively for positive change was the move

forward we needed. I’m delighted with the outcomes and excited about the real possibilities it has opened up.” 

One of the opportunities discussed by the roundtable was the value of a closer alignment and more collaboration between the University of Bath, industry and government. 

Stephen Rangecroft, Director of External Engagement for the University of Bath, commented on how this type of interaction is invaluable: 

“We were very pleased to be able to help facilitate this conversation and exchange of ideas. Engaging with our regional employers, local authorities and other stakeholders to discuss societal challenges is of huge importance to the University.” 

The key outcome from the day was the development of a set of pilot projects which focus on impact and community engagement in these areas: 

? The development of Green Employability Networks (GEN). 

? Accelerating regional sustainable change by aligning University expertise and programmes with large employers across Bath and North East Somerset. 

The goal of the Green Employability Networks is to encourage collaboration between the University of Bath, the West of England Combined Authority and Bath & North East Somerset Council to promote productive relationships between academia, business and local authorities. 

Dan Norris, West of England Metro Mayor, said: “Our desire in the West of England to end this region’s contribution to the climate crisis by reaching net zero by 2030 requires far reaching change in every area. Everyone will need to do their bit, and we will need more investment and powers from government. 

“This was a useful event which laid the foundations for collaboration on tackling these most vital and pressing of issues to drive real change. None of this is easy, and there will be tough choices to make, compromises and trade-offs, but it is so

important we meet the challenge before us head on to safeguard our region, and our precious planet.” 

For more information about Action Net Zero and Transform ESG or the developing partnership activity with The University of Bath, contact Pamela Barbato at