Harrogate businesses come together to target net-zero emissions


Last updated Oct 15, 2021
Organisers and some of the speakers at today's event in Harrogate.

Harrogate’s business community met today to discuss how to meet the challenges of climate change and net-zero emissions.

The Business Net Zero Conference is being held all day at the Harrogate Convention Centre and has been organised by Harrogate District Climate Change Coalition.

It’s part of the Climate Action Festival that is taking place all month in the district in the run up to the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.

Today’s speakers included representatives from Techbuyer, Transdev, Yorkshire Water and Bettys & Taylors of Harrogate.

‘A sign of hope’

The Bishop of Ripon, the Rt Revd Dr Helen-Ann Hartley, opened the day by challenging business people in the room whether their goal was profit “at all costs” or developing a social and environmental mission.

She said:

“Today’s conference is a sign of hope but we shouldn’t underestimate the challenges.”

Harrogate-resident Professor Piers Forster, from the University of Leeds, offered a scientific grounding to the debate during his speech.

Prof Forster sits on the UK government’s climate change committee and will be heading to the COP26 summit to help negotiate ambitious climate targets with other governments.

He showed a video of frightening wildfires in Canada caused by greenhouse gas emissions. However, he emphasised that he is optimistic that change can happen if businesses get on board.

“It’s within our power to change where we end up together.”

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Decentralisation of energy

Jennifer Woodhall, marketing director of Harrogate firm Chameleon Technology also spoke. The company is a Harrogate success story as its smart meters are in seven million homes across the UK.

Ms Woodhall said decentralisation of energy was essential to avoid the volatility that is currently engulfing the market.

“We can’t rely on a few, large sources of power.”

Paul Haslam, a Conservative councillor on Harrogate Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council, as well as a Harrogate District Climate Change Coalition member, told the Stray Ferret he hoped the conference would become an annual event.

“It’s great we’ve got to this point. I’m delighted and we’ve got some fantastic speakers. It will be bigger and better next year.”

Pictured are: (from left) Jemima Parker, Cllr Paul Haslam, Prof Neil Coles, the Bishop of Ripon, Jennifer Woodhall, Cllr Phil Ireland, Jade Boggost, Kirsty Hallett, Prof Piers Forster

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