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April 2021

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Net-Zero Business podcast: Inside the UK’s low-carbon heat transition

In response to the accelerated pace at which corporates are examining and setting net-zero targets to help alleviate the climate crisis, edie’s monthly Net-Zero Business podcast was created. Up next, we talk low-carbon heat with Centrica Business Solutions and the Heat Pump Federation.

All edie podcast episodes can be listened to via iTunes, Spotify and Soundcloud

All edie podcast episodes can be listened to via iTunes, Spotify and Soundcloud

Following on from the UK Government’s world-leading net-zero carbon commitment, edie’s new spinoff podcast series, Net-Zero Business, will hear from the trendsetters and trailblazers of responsible businesses.

Since the UK Government set it’s 2050 net-zero target into law, more and more businesses are attempting to get ahead of the political curve by strengthening carbon and energy strategies and pledging to become net-zero businesses well before the 2050 deadline.

The Net-Zero Business podcast is a monthly digest of episodes that are 35 minutes or less in length. It usually features one in-depth interview with a sustainability or energy manager at a business with a net-zero or carbon-neutral goal. But, for this month’s special edition, sponsored by Centrica Business Solutions, we are taking a brief but detailed look at one of the sectors that is crucial to the net-zero transition – heat – with two expert guests, 

First up is an interview with the Heat Pump Federation’s director for growth and external affairs, Bean Beanland. He provides an overview of the state of play in the UK’s heat pump manufacturing and installation sectors and outlines what the current policy context means for business. 

Then, episode host Sarah George, edie’s senior reporter, talks with Centrica Business Solutions’ business development manager for heat pump solutions, Michael Firth. Michael provides advice on the practicalities of replacing fossil-based heating with greener alternatives for private and public sector organisations across the UK. 

Want to learn more?

This episode is part of edie and Centrica Business Solutions’ 2021 masters series on low-carbon heat. A free edie-explains guide on the topic is available to download here, answering FAQs and spotlighting case studies. 

The final part of the masters series will be a 45-minute masterclass on low-carbon heat in the net-zero transition, where Michael Firth will be appearing alongside colleague Luke Bannar-Martin. The session is free to attend and is taking place at 1pm BST on Thursday 29 April. For a full agenda and to register, click here. 

The edie podcast is available to listen to on Spotify. You can also subscribe to this podcast on iTunes and bookmark this page to see the full list of podcast episodes as they appear. Have a question about this podcast or a suggestion for future episodes? Email us at

edie staff


Ireland – Storage

RWE Renewables’ first European battery – an 8.5MWh project – has gone live in Dublin, Ireland. The battery is set to provide balancing services to the Irish grid to help it integrate increased renewable energy, with a target of 70% of electricity demand to be met by renewables by 2030. Located in Stephenstown, Balbriggan, in County Dublin, the battery is the first of two storage facilities RWE will bring online in the country this year.

Solar Power Portal 15th April 2021 read more »


Heineken targets carbon-neutral value chain by 2040

Global brewer Heineken has unveiled a new corporate strategy to become carbon-neutral across its operations by 2030 and then across its entire value chain by 2040.

Heineken is also joining the Business Ambition for 1.5C, the Race to Zero and the RE100 programme to accelerate decarbonisation and increase clean energy uptake

Heineken is also joining the Business Ambition for 1.5C, the Race to Zero and the RE100 programme to accelerate decarbonisation and increase clean energy uptake

Heineken has refreshed its Brew a Better World ambitions, which forms part of the company’s new EverGreen balanced growth strategy.

The new strategy commits Heineken to fully decarbonise its own operations by maximising energy efficiency and renewable energy use by 2030. Additionally, the brewer will aim to achieve carbon neutrality for its value chain 10 years later. Targets will be submitted to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

Heineken is also joining the Business Ambition for 1.5C, the Race to Zero and the RE100 programme to accelerate decarbonisation and increase clean energy uptake.

“In this Decade of Action, we are committing to accelerating our actions to address climate change. We aim to be carbon neutral in our production sites by 2030 in order to meet the 1.5°C goal set by the Paris Agreement. We will further reduce our emissions through energy efficiency and speed up the transition towards renewable energy,” Heineken’s chief executive Dolf van den Brink said.

Heineken will work with its suppliers to deliver a 30% cut in emissions across its entire value chain by 2030, against a 2018 baseline.

Since 2008, the brewer has reduced carbon emissions per hectolitre in its breweries by 51%. On clean energy, Heineken has introduced more than 130 renewable energy projects, five of which are in the top ten largest onsite solar installations for breweries worldwide. For example, Heineken’s Sol brand is being brewed using 100% renewable energy, following the installation of more than 9,000 solar panels at a facility in the Netherlands.

Efforts to reduce value chain emissions has seen the company pilot 500 low-carbon farming projects across eight countries. Heineken has also introduced zero-emission breweries in Spain and Austria. Last year, Heineken’s Spanish arm signed a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) that saw it switch to 100% renewable electricity from solar.

“A large part of our overall carbon footprint beyond production comes from agriculture, packaging, distribution and cooling. This means we will work in close partnership with our suppliers and partners to reach our ambitious goal of a carbon-neutral value chain by 2040,” van den Brink said.

“We know that Heineken can only thrive if our planet and our communities thrive. I want to thank our deeply committed employees for their passion for this topic. Together, we will do our part to brew a better world.”

Matt Mace


New coalition to help UK SMEs align with net-zero amid Covid-19 recovery

After research revealing that most UK SMEs face challenges relating to jargon and finance in the low-carbon transition, a new initiative has been launched to offer support.

Research has shown that SMEs would like more practical support from trade bodies and the Government on the road to net-zero

Research has shown that SMEs would like more practical support from trade bodies and the Government on the road to net-zero

Members of the new Zero Carbon Business Partnership include the Federation of Small Businesses, British Chambers of Commerce, British Retail Consortium and Make UK. The Partnership will help SMEs access the education, expertise and opportunities for collaboration needed to meet or better the UK’s 2050 net-zero target.

In the first instance, the new Partnership polled 254 SMEs across all of the UK’s main regions and sectors, to gauge their appetite for net-zero and their key opportunities and challenges. The results of this survey were published today (14 April).

Of the respondents, more than half said that reducing the environmental impact of their business is a top priority. A cited respondent is notably the winner of edie’s 2021 Sustainability Leaders Award for SME of the Year, Crystal Doors.

However, results show that many are having trouble deciphering jargon, accessing relevant resources or finding the funding needed to reduce emissions. While two-thirds of respondents claim to understand net-zero, seven in ten said that could not find an online source of help for SME decarbonisation that was accessible and high-quality.

Costs were expected to be raised as another major battier, especially in light of Covid-19. 40% of respondents said a lack of funding was a blocker to accelerating sustainability action.

The report on the results of the survey takes these trends into account and provides recommendations as to what UK SMEs need to align with net-zero. These include clear and accessible information; financial and digital literacy support for new skills and peer-to-peer relationships for sharing case studies and challenges.

The authors of the report also urge the Government and local authorities to provide more support to help SMEs financially recover from Covid-19 in an environmentally sustainable manner and better help them see the true opportunities of a green recovery. Trade bodies and business groups, meanwhile, could help bridge the trust gap between SMEs and Whitehall Departments, and can best do so by collaborating to deliver a joined-up narrative and easy contact pathway.

 “The UK Government’s ambition for net-zero cannot be realised without an empowered and supportive small business community,” Defra representative Allen Creedy said.

“Evidence suggests that while small businesses support net-zero objectives, they do not yet understand their pathways to achieve this. That’s why this platform is fundamental. It’s an exciting project which will light a clear and consistent path to net zero, enabling the UK to become a powerhouse for low-carbon infrastructure, technology, goods and services.” 

Past research

A similar survey of 500 SMEs, previously and separately conducted by Opinium on behalf of think tank the Entrepreneurs Network and the Enterprise Trust, found that 61% of British SMEs believe that the move to a greener economy post-Covid-19 presents positive opportunities.

In that survey, respondents cited poor policy support as the biggest barrier to action.

Another piece of research, from the national standards body BSI, found that just one in five UK SMEs have a public and time-bound net-zero target, as opposed to half of large businesses. This suggests that SMEs face either perceived or real challenges more greatly, including policy support, in-house expertise and financial difficulties.

Sarah George



Octopus Energy has announced a white-label partnership with Ebico, providing renewable electricity for its customers. Ebico – which claims to be the UK’s first not-for-profit energy company – will retain its brand and responsibility for acquiring new customers, with Octopus’ role to be in supplying energy to Ebico’s customers and providing customer service. Two new energy plans offering 100% renewable electricity are being launched, the Ebico Prime 12 Saver, which is designed for credit meter customers, and Ebico Prepay, which is for customers supplied via a prepayment meter. In September 2020, Ebico’s customers were moved to British Gas following its acquisition of Robin Hood Energy’s customers, Ebico’s former energy supplier. The company explained how this new partnership with Octopus will enable it to continue with its aim of making sustainable home warmth affordable for low-income households, with this being a core focus of the company since it was founded 23 years ago.

Current 13th April 2021 read more »


Time-of-use Tariffs

Good Energy becomes latest energy supplier to introduce innovative time of use tariff that promises to slash EV recharging costs. Good Energy has today announced the launch of a new tariff that offers electric vehicle (EV) drivers the opportunity to power their home, or charge their car, for free. The tariff includes ‘flash’ windows based on periods when Britain is generating an abundance of solar and wind power. During these periods the utility will alert drivers to a four-hour window when charging their vehicle through Good Energy’s 100 per cent renewables tariff will come at no extra cost. The company said the “Zap Flash” tariff – which has been developed in partnership with EV mapping service Zap-Map – would provide customers with a cheaper and greener way to use electricity, while also helping to shift power demand to periods when renewables output is high so as to reduce overall grid balancing costs.

Business Green 13th April 2021 read more »


Report: Net-zero targets from corporates becoming more ‘genuine’

An analysis of the climate commitments of 401 companies has found that the uptake of “genuine” net-zero targets – those regarded as ambitious and not greenwashing – has more than doubled in the past year.

While progress accelerated this year, the TPI is warning that high emitting companies are still, by and large, jeopardising Paris Agreement progress 

While progress accelerated this year, the TPI is warning that high emitting companies are still, by and large, jeopardising Paris Agreement progress 

The analysis was undertaken by the Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI) – a coalition of more than 100 asset managers and owners – with results published in the organisations latest annual ‘State of Transition’ report.

It covers 401 large businesses in the energy, transport, consumer goods and industrials and materials sectors, collectively representing 16% of the global market, assessing the state of their climate commitments and progress to date.

In the 2020 edition of the report, just 14 businesses were classed as having ‘genuine’ net-zero targets. This edition shows that this number has more than doubled to 35, with net target-setters including Enel and Volkswagen, which have both faced climate campaigners in the recent past.

The TPI classes net-zero commitments as ‘genuine’ when they include all of the most material emissions from a company, including Scope 3 (indirect) sources; when they are backed up with ambitious intermediate targets and when they have deadlines of 2040 or sooner. On this latter point, the TPI emphasises the fact that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) cites 2050 as the latest acceptable net-zero deadline to have the best chance of delivering the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C pathway.

Firms named as ‘leaders’ include ArcelorMittal, National Grid, Orsted, Rio Tinto and Cemex. Saudi Aramco is named as the worst laggard. Other firms falling short of the Paris Agreement include SAIC Motor, Phillips 66 and EasyJet.

Beyond net-zero targets themselves, the report assesses the extent to which businesses are measuring and managing the risks and opportunities of the low-carbon transition. It asks whether they are disclosing risk in line with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and whether the low-carbon transition is embedded in governance and business strategies.

With these factors in mind, the report concludes that the average corporation has begun “building capacity on climate change” in terms on things like internal skills and developing long-term targets. However, it is yet to truly integrate climate risks and low-carbon opportunities into decision-making at the operational level.

TPI chair Adam Matthews, also the Church of England Pensions Board’s chief responsible investment officer, said that improvements are “significant” but that the proportion of firms leading on climate action “needs to expand rapidly”.

He said: “As we enter the ‘decade of transition’, having only 17% of companies with credible net-zero commitments is not enough.  As investors, we need to work with companies to ensure that they are aligned with a pathway to keep global warming at 1.5C.

“Equity and debt investors can now clearly identify those companies who are serious about taking action on climate change and those that are not.”

Jargon or genuine?

The publication of the report comes after separate research from sustainability consultancy South Pole, covering 120 businesses, found that just one in ten with net-zero targets have set science-based emissions targets in the interim.

Similarly, a 2020 survey of energy managers at 104 organisations by Inspired Energy found that two-thirds are concerned about climate jargon. Almost nine in ten respondents said that ‘net zero’ is in danger of becoming a meaningless statement unless there’s consistency in approach and measurement among businesses.

Demands are mounting for policymakers in nations with net-zero targets to outline what is entailed for businesses and how the private sector will be supported. Here in the UK, the Government is expected to publish a full net-zero plan covering all key emitting sectors ahead of COP26. Work on roadmaps for certain sectors, including transport, heat and buildings, was delayed last year amid Covid-19.

Sarah George


Speedcast Selected to Expand Connectivity Solution to Future-Proof Stena Drilling Fleet

Investment in digital transformation driving communications design enhancements for global drilling assets Aberdeen, United Kingdom — April 13, 2021 — Speedcast, the world’s most trusted communications and IT services provider, has announced it has secured a five-year contract with Stena Drilling to expand its existing communications service with a newly designed solution to maximize operational effectiveness and support digital transformation efforts for Stena’s global fleet. Aberdeen-based Stena Drilling Ltd. is a leading independent drilling contractor… Source: RealWire


Registration open: edie’s next online masterclass to focus on low-carbon heat

edie’s next online masterclass has been confirmed for Thursday 29 April and will explore how businesses can decarbonise heating on the road to net-zero.

The session will be made available to stream on-demand for registrants after the event

The session will be made available to stream on-demand for registrants after the event

The online 45-minute masterclass forms part of a new masters series sponsored by Centrica Business Solutions and takes place at 1pm (BST) on Thursday 29 April. 


As the UK’s biggest source of emissions, heating accounts for about 37% of total emissions when including industrial processes. But – while we’ve made great strides in decarbonising electricity and transport – the shift to net-zero carbon heating is still at an early stage.

The decarbonisation of heat over the next few years is therefore vital for businesses to reach achieve net-zero commitments; whether that be through the deployment of low-carbon technologies such as electric heat pumps, district heating and low-carbon gases, or by reducing demand through improved energy efficiency.

This 45-minute masterclass will break down how businesses can identify and deploy the most viable technologies to achieve net-zero carbon heat, along with other operational ‘quick-wins which can support those heat decarbonisation goals. The session will include two expert presenters and a live audience Q&A.

Registration is free and full information on the expert speakers and key discussion points can be found below. Please note that the session will be made available to stream on-demand for registrants after the event. 

Discussion points:

  • Setting your heat decarbonisation strategy
  • Heat pumps: key considerations for deployment
  • Other pathways and solutions to decarbonise your heat

Masterclass chair:


Sarah George, Senior Reporter, edie

Masterclass presenters:

Michael Firth, Business Development Manager – Heat Pump Solutions, Centrica Business Solutions

Michael has worked at Centrica for the past 18 years and has a wealth of experience in both domestic and commercial energy markets. For the past five years, he has worked with clients to achieve their energy strategy through the utilisation of renewable and decentralised solutions. In his current role, Michael is now focused on assisting commercial organisations towards decarbonising their heat profile through a range of intuitive heat pump solutions. 

Luke Bannar-Martin, Product Manager – Heat Solutions, Centrica Business Solutions

Luke has a background in energy engineering, energy system design and the development of low-carbon energy strategies for large public and private organisations, covering electricity and gas commodity supply. In his current role, Luke manages the development of products and solutions related to low carbon heat for a range of industrial and commercial customers in the UK and Europe.


Masters series: Low-carbon heat

This free masterclass forms part of an ongoing Masters series on low-carbon heat for businesses, sponsored by Centrica Business Solutions. 

A free-to-download edie Explains guide on net-zero heat has already been published. This seven-page guide outlines how fossil heating systems – both domestic and business – can be transformed, outlining key considerations for businesses. Access the guide by clicking here.

The series will also include a special episode of the Net-Zero Business podcast, featuring the Heat Pump Federation’s Bean Beanland. This episode will be published on Friday 16 April on the edie SoundCloud, Spotify, Apple and website. 

edie Staff


Diageo’s low-carbon bottles and Michelin’s carbon-neutral goal: The sustainability success stories of the week

As part of our Mission Possible campaign, edie brings you this weekly round-up of five of the best sustainability success stories of the week from across the globe.

Published every week, this series charts how businesses and sustainability professionals are working to achieve their ‘Mission Possible’ across the campaign’s five key pillars – energy, resources, infrastructure, mobility and business leadership.

As society reflects on the sobering messages of the Seaspiracy documentary, projects and initiatives which empower businesses to play their part in achieving a sustainable future, today, continued to launch and scale-up. 

Here, we round up five of the top announcements. 

ENERGY: Buffalo University to host new energy storage system

The University of Buffalo has been selected as the location for the planned development of Vancouver-based Zinc8 Energy Solutions award-winning Zinc-air Energy Storage System.

The University will play host to a 100kW/1MWh Zinc-Air Battery Energy Storage System demonstrator project, which will improve grid flexibility and enable improved access to renewable energy. Zinc8 won a contract to rollout its technology in an Innovation Challenge, a partnership between the New York Power Authority (NYPA) and the Urban Future Lab at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering.

Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president said: “NYPA recognizes the potential for this first-of-its-kind clean energy solution, and it is rewarding to see the project begin to take shape. The collaboration with Zinc8 and the University at Buffalo bodes well for a successful demonstration project that addresses the need for reliability of renewable energy resources and will help achieve New York State’s targets for energy storage.”

RESOURCES: Diageo unveils low-carbon glass bottles

Last month, Molson Coors, which owns brands such as Carling and Coors Light, unveiled that a partnership with bottling company Encirc had led to the creation of glass bottles with a 90% reduction in carbon emissions. Now, Diageo has worked with Encirc to deliver similar carbon reductions for glass whiskey bottles.

The process used waste-based biofuel-powered furnaces to reduce the carbon footprint of the bottle-making process by up to 90%. In total, 173,000 bottles were made using 100% recycled glass. Work is underway to explore how the volume of bottles produced can be increased.

Diageo’s senior packaging technologist John Aird said: “This trial is just a first step in the journey to decarbonise this aspect of our supply chain and we still have a long way to go, but we are delighted with the results of the collaboration and the platform it creates for future innovation.”

MOBILITY: MFG progresses on £400m electric forecourt vision

Efforts are underway to ensure that forecourts across the country are equipped with the correct infrastructure to support low-carbon mobility. This week, those efforts took another step forward as independent forecourt operator MFG appointed Energy Assets Networks (EAN) to support the rollout of a nationwide ultra-fast electric vehicle (EV) charging network.

The company recently confirmed that it would invest £400m to install 3,000 ultra-rapid 150kW and 350kW EV charge points installed at 500 sites across the UK by 2030. By appointing EAN, MFG anticipates that up to 30 sites could be worked on this year.

 MFG’s director of EV and strategic projects Ed Chadwick said: “We are at the beginning of an incredibly exciting journey for MFG – and for the country – and EAN will play an important commercial and technical role as we kick-start the massive upscaling of our EV charging network.”

THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT: ‘Greenest’ industrial hub set for London

Construction has begun on a new industrial park in Tottenham which is set to become the greenest development of its kind in London. SEGRO will deliver the 190,000 sq ft development, which will boast photovoltaic cells, green walls and external amenity areas for businesses.

The buildings are designed to be carbon neutral with A+ Energy Performance and BREEAM Excellent ratings. Up to eight new speculative units are scheduled for creation, creating more than 250 jobs as the green industrial park is built.

SEGRO’s managing director Alan Holland said: “The start of construction is a key milestone for what we believe is a game-changing industrial development at SEGRO Park Tottenham. In addition to raising the bar for environmental standards, we’re looking forward to making a positive impact on the local employment market and economy through job creation and skills and training opportunities for young people in the community.”

BUSINESS LEADERSHIP: Michelin’s ‘all sustainability’ strategy

This week, tire manufacturer company Michelin unveiled a new company strategy aimed at delivering profitability through a holistic approach to sustainability. The new strategy commits the company to reducing Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2050 compared to 2010 levels and achieving carbon neutrality across all three scopes by 2050.

Additional targets include increasing “sustainable” raw material content used in products to 40% by 2030 and then 100% by 2050. The company is also aiming to become a world leader in hydrogen fuel cell systems through Symbio, its joint venture with Faurecia.

Yves Chapot, general manager and chief financial officer said: “Despite the current crisis and the still uncertain economic environment, Michelin has demonstrated the resilience of its fundamentals and the validity of its business model. This new Michelin In Motion strategic plan will give the Group the means to drive new growth and reduce the impact of its main negative externalities. Michelin will continue to develop its tire operations while integrating new businesses, with a constant focus on maintaining a robust balance sheet and firm margins.”

Matt Mace

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