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Time to re-energise!

…Literally!

Unlike the 16th of March this year, we now have experience of knowing what will happen; We know that people will overspend on toilet rolls, pasta and flour. We know that half the nations kids will be out of breath in their front room to Joe Wicks every morning. We know that mum and dad will reach for the top shelf of the fridge before 4 pm. We know that HouseParty, Zoom and Quizzes will be the new weekends out and we definitely know Jeff Bezos will add another couple of ‘bill to his already unbelievable wealth!

But this time, we also know that we will be coming out of it on Friday 2nd December 2020.

So this gives us 21 business days to plan, adapt, sell and ensure we come out the other end motivated and ready for the Christmas period and long into 2021.

If you cannot influence sales and income due to closure, one area you can focus on is your expenditure.

Your energy suppliers offer fixed terms for a period of time, but because your output will fluctuate, its a variable cost and is now vital you control the finer details of your contract.

How low can you get your standing charge in case you’re closed for long periods and still being charged daily? Are you on the lowest rate you can be? Are you on the best term you can be?

To find out, all you need to do is send your latest Gas and Electric bills to us, we do everything else.

It’s free, it doesn’t take much effort, so you have no excuse!

Use these 21 business days to re-energise and get on top of your bills.

Just think, you’ll have more money to spend on Black Friday!!!

To reduce your energy costs, Call 01482 764774 or email us on hello@companysavingexpert.co.uk.

News

Sizewell C: UK Government confirms £100m of funding

After a string of delays and mounting questions about how the UK Government plans to address the impending nuclear gap, it has confirmed that £100m of funding from Westminster coffers will be put towards Sizewell C.

Pictured: Kwasi Kwarteng (second from right) at the Hinkley Point C site. Image: EDF

Pictured: Kwasi Kwarteng (second from right) at the Hinkley Point C site. Image: EDF

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) confirmed the funding today (27 January), stating that this level of government support will “ready the project for future investment” from the private sector. The decision comes after months of negotiations between BEIS and Sizewell C’s developer EDF.

BEIS said in a statement: “The £100m option fee will be invested by EDF into the project to help bring it to maturity, attract investors, and advance to the next phase in negotiations.

“In return, the Government will take certain rights over the land of the Sizewell C site and EDF’s shares in the Sizewell C company, providing opportunities to continue to develop nuclear or alternative low-carbon energy infrastructure on the site should the project not ultimately be successful.”

Should the project be successful in reaching a final investment decision, EDF has agreed to reimburse the £100m in the form of either case or an equity stake in the project.

EDF first put forward plans to construct two nuclear reactors at the Sizewell power station site in Suffolk in 2012. A development consent order application was then submitted in 2020, and EDF subsequently applied for planning permission. Planning permission was not granted, with Suffolk County Council asking for more information on how EDF will support the local community and minimise environmental disruption, so an updated planning application is expected in the coming months.

The proposed power plant would have a capacity of 3.2GW and serve around six million homes in the UK. EDF has stated that the project would support up to 10,000 jobs and that the first generator could come online in 2024 if the planning and investment processes run smoothly.

BEIS, meanwhile, has used the announcement as evidence of its plans to address the ongoing energy price crisis and to deliver a fully “clean” electricity system by 2035.

“In light of high global gas prices, we need to ensure Britain’s future energy supply is bolstered by reliable, affordable, low carbon power that is generated in this country,” said BEIS Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.

“New nuclear is not only an important part of our plans to ensure greater energy independence, but to create high-quality jobs and drive economic growth.”

Policy context

The Conservative Party has committed to bringing at least one large-scale nuclear project to a final investment decision in this Parliament, but emphasised that it is not exclusively committed to Sizewell C because of the funding announced today. The only other large project still actively in the pipeline is the proposed 2.9GW array at Wylfa Newydd, also known as Wylfa B. 

The commitment from the Party was made in consideration of the UK’s 2050 net-zero target and the nation’s impending nuclear gap. Almost half of the UK’s existing nuclear capacity is set to be retired by 2025. Hinkley Point B, Heysham I and Hartlepool nuclear power stations are all scheduled to retire by the end of 2024, representing more than 4GW of nominal generating capacity. 1GW Hunterston B came offline earlier this year. Another two large facilities are planning to come offline by 2030.

To help deliver the commitment, the Government is progressing the Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill, which will change the funding model for new nuclear projects from the current Contracts for Difference (CfD) approach to a Regulated Asset Bade (RAB) funding model. Kwarteng is a staunch backer of the Bill, which is awaiting its second reading in the House of Lords.

Additionally, the Treasury announced at last year’s Spending Review that up to £1.7bn of new direct funding will be made available to take a large-scale nuclear project to the point of the final investment decision.

As well as supporting large-scale nuclear, the Government is supporting small modular reactors. It announced £210m of funding for Rolls-Royce’s work in this field in November 2021, stating that this support would also leverage £250m of private sector investment.

Industry reaction

Responding to BEIS’s announcement on Sizewell C, GMB Union’s national officer Charlotte Childs said: “This is much needed and welcome news and a massive huge stride towards a low-carbon UK. 

“We face an unprecedented energy crisis and we need nuclear projects like Sizewell C to protect consumers, workers and our planet. GMB has worked closely with EDF throughout the development of Sizewell C and look forward to the more detail discussions needed to shape industrial relations in the future.”

The Nuclear Industry Association’s (NIA) chief executive Tom Greatrex added: “This is another big step forward for Sizewell C and a big vote of confidence in nuclear. It sends a clear signal from the government to investors that it sees projects like Sizewell C as essential to our clean energy transition.

“Investment in new nuclear capacity is essential to us hitting net-zero to ensure a solid foundation of reliable low-carbon power which will strengthen our energy security. This is not only an investment in the UK’s green energy future but also in jobs and skills right across the country.”

Not all reaction has been positive, however, with some green, industry and community groups arguing that renewables with energy storage would be a better bet than new nuclear.

Greenpeace UK’s policy director Doug Parr said: “This cash injection is a tacit admission by the government that nuclear is not commercially viable, but they are so fixated on getting 20th-century nuclear technology delivered they’ll just keep throwing taxpayers’ money at it.

“The economics of this project are all over the place, with UK taxpayers left to pick up the tab. Instead of pursuing outdated, costly technologies, it’s time the government got a grip on the clean technology race going on globally and went for 100% renewables power as fast as possible.”

Sarah George

News

US – Pumped Storage

Venture capitalists are pouring buckets of cash into novel ways to store clean energy, even though we already have a technology that does this, and does it well. That would be pumped-storage hydropower, which simply lifts water to an elevated reservoir for storage, and then releases it to spin turbines and generate electricity when needed. This mechanism has been in use for more than a century and constitutes some 95 percent of grid-scale storage in the U.S. today, according to the Department of Energy. The problem is, nobody’s built a major new pumped-hydro project in the U.S. since the Clinton presidency (though newer projects have been built elsewhere). Modern environmental laws make it much harder to devastate rivers than it was in the dam-building frenzy of the New Deal era. And while much of the innovation in energy storage targets modular and mass-produced products, pumped hydro is big, old-school infrastructure, with high upfront costs and that pesky need to pour concrete competently. Nonetheless, an extremely patient set of pumped-hydro entrepreneurs asserts that the roar of new wind and solar construction will resuscitate this long-dormant sector.

Canary Media 25th Jan 2022 read more »

News

Compass Group bans air-freighted fruit to cut emissions on road to net-zero

The UK’s largest food services company, Compass Group UK & Ireland, has banned the use of air freight for fresh fruit and veg as part of its plans to reach net-zero emissions by 2030.

Image: Compass Group UK&I

Image: Compass Group UK&I

The move forms part of a string of changes made by the firm’s procurement division, Foodbuy, this week.

Compass Group UK and Ireland first announced its 2030 net-zero target last May. Since then, it has created a dedicated sustainability team within Foodbuy to accelerate emissions baselining work and reduction initiatives, as well as broader environmental work. It has also had its emissions targets -reducing emissions across all scopes by 69% against a 2019 baseline – approved by the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) in line with 1.5C and started working with the Initiative on its new Net Zero targets framework.

“Fruit and vegetable produce is our second biggest buying category, so to have none of these items air freighted is significant,” said Foodbuy’s head of sustainability and compliance Anne Simonnet. “We have worked hard to find suppliers that are closer to home – with no compromise on quality.”

Compass UK & Ireland’s business Levy UK & Ireland made headlines last autumn by banning air-freighted produce from the menu at COP26 and, subsequently, from all of its offer.

Also announced this week by Foodbuy are a transition to only free-range eggs this year, exceeding the previous target for Compass UK & Ireland to stop using eggs from caged hens by 2025, and a phase-out of all seafood reviewed by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and given one of its two lowest grades (four, ‘needs improvement’, and five, ‘avoid’).

Foodbuy has already launched a pilot scheme with milk farmers to help measure and reduce emissions across the dairy supply chain. To date, around 500 farmers have signed up. Dairy notably represents 10% of Compass Group UK & Ireland’s emissions footprint.

Aside from decarbonising supply chains, Compass UK & Ireland has been transitioning to 100% renewable electricity at managed sites and a 100% electric fleet of company cars. It hopes to complete the former transition by the end of 2022 and the latter transition by 2024. It has also rolled out new training to chefs to help them reduce food waste. Additionally, it has been working with the University of Oxford to introduce eco-labels to all meals served through its business and industry offering.

Investigo

In other net-zero news from the UK’s private sector, recruitment agency Investigo has this week set a 2025 net-zero target for its operational emissions and a 2030 net-zero target for its indirect (Scope 3) emissions.

To address operational emissions, Investigo has pledged to shift all of its offices to 100% renewable energy sources. This has already been done for its head office, in London, and learnings from that project will now be applied to regional offices in the UK and international offices in the US.

It will also begin rolling out a company car scheme to encourage staff to switch to electric vehicles (EVs), and launch updated employee engagement schemes on topics including commuting, business travelling, reducing waste and increasing recycling.

Further plans for reducing value chain emissions will be drawn up going forward. The firm has pledged to address residual emissions from operations and the value chain using nature-based offsets, in a manner compliant with the Oxford Principles for Net-Zero Aligned Offsetting.

The SME Climate Hub will be supporting Investigo on its transition to net-zero.

Investigo’s chief executive Nick Baxter said:” To achieve net-zero 20 years before the government target date will take a monumental effort from every one of us. But with the commitment of our passionate, dedicated and incredibly engaged people, I’m confident we’ll get there.”

Sarah George

News

Hydrogen vs Heat Pumps

Deploying heat pumps and boosting energy efficiency should be the priority for home heating in the next decade, rather than hydrogen, a report has suggested. Ministers have set out plans to roll out 600,000 heat pumps, a low carbon alternative to gas boilers, per year by 2028, and develop hydrogen supplies, which are also being touted as an option for cutting climate emissions from home heating systems currently run on natural gas. But a report from Imperial College London’s Energy Futures Lab said it was likely that using hydrogen as an energy source in the gas grid would only be feasible from the early to mid-2030s, at the very earliest. With tough climate goals to cut emissions within the decade, the research calls for a focus on making UK homes more efficient, electrifying domestic heating through heat pumps, and deploying heat networks in the next 10 years.

Independent 26th Jan 2022 read more »

News

McKinsey: $9trn needed annually to deliver global net-zero transition

A new report looking at the potential disruption caused by the ongoing net-zero transition has claimed that delivering climate-aligned decarbonisation across countries could deliver a net gain in jobs, if corporates, investors and governments can raise efforts over a decade that will “decide the nature of the transition”.

The research claims that the transition could deliver a net gain in job growth

The research claims that the transition could deliver a net gain in job growth

The research from McKinsey was published today (25 January) and examined the sectors that are accountable for 85% of all emissions across 69 nations. The report examines how demand, spending and jobs would change in order to reach net-zero.

Research from the consultancy found that the world will face unparalleled changes as countries forge ahead with timebound commitments to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest, in line with climate science.

The report claims that, between 2021 and 2050, capital expenditure on assets for energy and land-use systems tailored towards net-zero would reach $275trn and around $9.2trn annually, almost three times greater than the current annual spend. An additional 1trn on today’s annual spending would also need to be relocated from high-emitting sectors to new low-carbon assets. McKinsey starts that this increase is equivalent to half of the recorded profits from corporates globally in 2020.

This spending, the report claims, would need to be front-loaded to deliver drastic levels of decarbonisation. It would need to rise from 6.8% of GDP today to 8.8% between 2026 and 2030, as which point it starts to fall. While these spending requirements are large, McKinsey believes they will have “favourable return profiles”.

“The rewards of the net-zero transition would far exceed the mere avoidance of the substantial, and possibly catastrophic, dislocations that would result from unabated climate change, or the considerable benefits they entail in natural capital conservation. Besides the immediate economic opportunities they create, they open up clear possibilities to solve global challenges in both physical and governance-related terms. These include the potential for a long-term decline in energy costs that would help solve many other resource issues and lead to a palpably more prosperous global economy,” the report states.

“More importantly, they presage decisive solutions to age-old global economic and political challenges as the result of the unprecedented pace and scale of global collaboration that such a transition would have required. And while the immediate tasks ahead may seem daunting, human ingenuity can ultimately solve the net-zero equation, just as it has solved other seemingly intractable problems over the past 10,000 years. The key issue is whether the world can muster the requisite boldness and resolve to broaden its response during the upcoming decade that will in all likelihood decide the nature of the transition.”

On the road to net-zero, McKinsey states that electricity production costs would increase in the near-term, but as new renewables capacity and transition mechanisms come online it would eventually fall. Indeed, when accounting for operating and capital costs, and depreciation, the cost of electricity could increase by 25% up to 2040 and still be about 20% higher than current levels in 2050.

Just transition

Key to reducing these costs is reallocating spending and job opportunities from high-emitting sectors to low-carbon markets.

The report states that high-emission products and operations currently generate around 20% of global GDP and this would need to be realigned with net-zero. The transition, the report states, could result “in a gain of about 200 million and a loss of about 185 million direct and indirect jobs globally by 2050”.

Renewables will create demand for around eight million direct jobs by 2050, but trends like automation will also open up more job opportunities. The report does state that “displaced” workers will need support through training and reskilling.

There will also be some imbalances based on geographical location. McKinsey states that sub-Saharan Africa and India would need to invest 1.5 times or more than advanced economies as a share of GDP today to support economic development and build low-carbon infrastructure. Even developed countries that rely on fossil fuel extraction would face uneven disruption.

Additionally, consumers may face additional up-front capital costs in the near-term which could disproportionately impact lower-income households.

Earlier in the year, McKinsey, which is one of the world’s largest consultancies, proclaimed that global fossil fuel demand could peak by 2027.

According to the report, global energy demand is not likely to reach pre-Covid-19 levels for at least another year – four years at most. The demand for electricity and gas will rebound more rapidly than oil, a sector which was already reckoning with the prospect of degrowth due to tightening climate legislation.

Moreover, aggregate fossil fuel demand is likely to peak in 2027. McKinsey’s previous iterations of the report had flagged dates in the 2030s, but this version is the first since Covid-19 was declared a pandemic by the WHO.

In the latest report, McKinsey argues that oil and gas production volumes will be around 55% and 70% lower than today’s levels.

Matt Mace

News

Bradford city centre to pilot ‘green street’ initiative for SMEs

Bradford city centre has been chosen to pilot a new Government-backed Green Street initiative that aims to help small and independent businesses improve sustainability practices.

Ursula Sutcliffe at Plant One on Me, one of the organisations involved in the initiative   

Ursula Sutcliffe at Plant One on Me, one of the organisations involved in the initiative   

The Green Street initiative was originally launched last year, with a website offering advice to UK SMEs in the retail and hospitality sector. The initiative has now evolved to launch a pilot “Green Street” that will be located in Bradford city centre.

Retail and hospitality businesses in the area are invited to access support as to how they can improve sustainability across their organisation. The pilot street has been backed with initial funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and is supported by the Retail Sector Council (RSC), Bradford Council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority, with support from the European Regional Development Fund.

Local businesswomen Victoria Robertshaw is leading the pilot’s rollout. “Green Street is a truly innovative sustainability scheme that focuses on retail and hospitality businesses. It’s all about supporting those businesses and enabling them to work together to achieve more by becoming  greener. This not only helps the environment but can also positively influence shopping behaviour and impact their bottom line,” Robertshaw said.

“More and more consumers want to become greener and embrace lifestyle changes, and they’re looking for businesses that will help them make the transition. We also believe that by being more sustainable, it will help Green Street businesses cut costs, reduce waste, increase sales, as well as help the planet.”

The RSC acts as a strategic liaison between BEIS and the retail sector. It is urging businesses in Bradford to sign up to Green Street with 30 retail and hospitality businesses selected to take part in the pilot so far. Plans for a wider Green Street rollout across the UK will be discussed based on the success of the pilot.

Businesses that take part in the initiative will gain access to reviews from a range of experts who will uncover quick wins and cost savings based on sustainable actions. Financial benefits will also be measured across the trial in a bid to incentivise more businesses to take part in any expansions.

Retail success

An analysis of the climate footprint of dozens of the UK’s best-known retailers has revealed that the sector’s carbon emissions are down 49% on 2005 levels.

Published by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), the figures cover more than 25% of the UK’s retail sector by turnover, accounting for all consortium members disclosing their carbon emissions. Sources of emissions covered include store operations and deliveries to and from stores.

The BRC had set its retailer members a target to deliver a 25% absolute reduction in emissions between 2005 and 2020. Overall, this target was far exceeded.

Despite this strong progress, the BRC said in a statement that there is “still much more” to be done to deliver the sector’s collaborative transition to net-zero by 2040 – ten years ahead of the UK Government’s legally binding deadline.

Report: Can the retail sector deliver a green recovery?

edie readers interested in the topics covered in this news story are encouraged to access the free Mission Possible: Green Recovery report on retail. 

Published in late 2020 with the support of Reconomy, the report outlines the challenges that retailers face in relation to the coronavirus pandemic, and the opportunities that the green recovery will bring, using first-person opinions from a steering group of experts in the sector, alongside the results of edie’s own survey of 240+ sustainability and energy professionals.  

Access the free report here. 

Matt Mace

News

Six wind farms for Poland and a fleet of e-buses for London: 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 sustainable business 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.

With the dust now settled on COP26, businesses are keen to show that they can turn environmental ambitions into actions – potentially moving further and faster than national governments. Here, we round up five positive sustainability stories from this week.

ENERGY: €66m EIB investment for wind power in Poland

Poland is one of Europe’s most coal-reliant nations, with hard coal and lignite accounting for more than 65% of national installed energy generation capacity and a coal phase-out date of 2049.

It is welcome news, then, that the European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a loan for €66m with EDP Renewables, a developer that operates more than 476MW of renewable energy generation capacity in Poland. The loan will finance six onshore wind farms, with a combined capacity of 150MW.

All six wind farms have already been awarded 15-year contracts through the Polish Government’s Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme.

EIB vice-president, Professor Teresa Czerwinska said: “Energy transformation is one of the major tasks for the future. The EIB, being EU Climate Bank, is delighted to co-finance EDPR’s wind farms’ project. We strongly believe that by investing in the diversification of the energy sector in Poland, we are supporting the climate action and improving the quality of life of the society.”

RESOURCES: Multi-mullion-dollar investment for scheme to prevent ocean plastic in Indonesia

Plastics are back at the top of the news this week, with businesses and NGOs putting pressure on the UN to implement a global pact that includes reductions in plastic production as well as increased recycling at the forthcoming U Environment Assembly Conference in February.

In related news, impact investment firm Circulate Capital has announced a multi-million dollar investment that will fund the creation of 12 plastics collection centres and three new plastics aggregation centres in Indonesia, in a bid to prevent ocean plastic. According to the UN, around 8% of the plastics entering the world’s oceans annually originates in Indonesia, making it one of the top contributing nations.

Circulate Capital’s investment will fund a partnership between recycled plastics manufacturers Bantam Materials and Polindo Utama. There will be a focus on improving collection and recycling on the Kalimantan and Sulawesi islands. The collaboration will last for at least 10 years.

“The reality of trying to collect plastic waste across 17,000 islands has compounded the plastic pollution crisis in Indonesia — there are just too many logistical gaps and complexities within the recycling value chain,” Circulate Capital’s founder and chief executive Rob Kaplan said.

“This project has the potential to be a blueprint for best-in-class recycling and circular economy infrastructure across the region.”

MOBILITY: Electric shuttle buses launched at Here East, London

Earlier this week, London City Hall published its plans for reaching net-zero operations by 2030. There are new proposals to expand the Ultra-Low Emission Zone, and to accelerate targets for increasing the proportion of journeys made by book, bike and public transport.

It is timely, then, that technology and innovation campus Here East has launched a new fleet of four all-electric shuttle buses. The BYD-built buses will run between Stratford Station and the campus and be operated by Go-Ahead London. The broader Go-Ahead Group has notably set a 2045 net-zero target and will phase out all petrol and diesel buses by 2035. Hackney Council, which is the constituency for Here East, has a 2040 net-zero target.

“Our shuttle service has always served a vital function for our campus, creating a quick and easy way for tenants and visitors to get to the campus and we are now proud that our service will now also be zero-emissions,” said Here East’s chief executive Gavin Poole.

THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT: Wates launches callout for green innovations

Back in 2020, construction and property development major Wates Group pledged to reach net-zero carbon operations and zero-waste operations by 2025.

Building on this ambition, the firm has launched a new campaign this week to help reduce the embodied carbon of its properties and to reduce waste across the value chain. The campaign is also calling for processes and products that can help it to deliver biodiversity net-gain and make homes more energy and water-efficient.

Businesses and innovators looking to put their solutions forward will need to register their interest online. Successful applicants will see their innovations piloted on Wates’ projects and listed in the firm’s online supplier hub, thus attracting other firms.

“This campaign is a continuation of our search for new suppliers with a particular focus on the design and construction of low to high-rise residential developments,” said Wates Group’s head of sustainable technology Dr Zainab Dangana. “There must be many businesses out there who would like to work with Wates, and we are keen to find them too.” 

BUSINESS LEADERSHIP: MasterCard teams with Spanish government to announce new tourism innovation hub

Thursday (20 January) saw MasterCard announcing a new partnership with the Spanish Government on the development of a new Tourism Innovation Hub, to be based in Spain. The facility is due to open in the second quarter of 2022 and will play host to academics, businesses and NGOs working to develop solutions for a green and just recovery for the sector. Solutions will include policy recommendations, digital data platforms and new products and services.

UN’s World Tourism Organisation recorded that travel and tourism accounted for 10.4% of global GDP in 2019 but just 5.5% in 2020. There is an acknowledgement that this issue must be rectified to better the livelihoods of those dependent on this industry, but in a manner that promotes environmental and social sustainability. MasterCard has stated that there will be a strong link between the new Hub and the firm’s existing Sustainability Innovation Lab in Stockholm.

“The Tourism Innovation Hub will foster programs and build partnerships which will help the industry recover and drive more inclusive and sustainable tourism growth,” said Mastercard Europe’s president Mark Barnett. “Being located in Spain will allow us to leverage the expertise of a country intrinsically linked to tourism and the second most visited destination in the world.”

Sarah George

News

US – Sea Level Rise

The tsunami advisory that woke up the West Coast Jan. 15 should serve as a wake-up call on flooding dangers at the nuclear waste storage facility in San Onofre. The facility is 100 feet from the beach. During high tides, waves crash into an aging bulkhead that separates the sea from the storage vault — a kind of crypt that holds 73 thin-walled, metal canisters jam-packed with 3.6 million pounds of deadly, radioactive waste. According to Southern California Edison, the sprawling, concrete vault will flood from a storm at high tide. If the ocean were to swamp the so-called Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation, we could have an unsurpassed disaster on our hands, an uncontrolled criticality, one that has never occurred in the U.S. commercial power industry. The undersea volcanic eruption this month near Tonga sent waves across the Pacific. Officials in Hawaii reported tsunami wave heights of nearly 3 feet. At San Diego Harbor, officials measured more than a half-foot of sea level rise. Meanwhile, officials from shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station remained conspicuously silent.

Times of San Diego 20th Jan 2022 read more »

News

Net-Zero Business podcast: Kingfisher on collaboration and credible target-setting

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 retail with B&Q owner Kingfisher.

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

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

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

Since the UK Government set its 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. But questions continue to arise about how they are developed, and their credibility.

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 working towards net-zero or carbon-neutrality.

This time around, the edie team interviews Kingfisher’s group director of responsible business and sustainability, Caroline Laurie, to learn a little more about the retailer’s work on climate.

As was the case for many businesses, 2021 was a busy year for Laurie and her team. Kingfisher announced updated science-based targets, verified in line with a 1.5C trajectory by the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi). The targets are to reduce direct and power-related emissions (Scope 1 and 2) from property and transport  by 38% by 2025, against a 2016 baseline. There is also an indirect (Scope 3) emissions target for the supply chain and customer use of products. This is an intensity-based target of a 40% emissions reductions by 2025, with a 2017 baseline.

2021 also saw Kingfisher announced as one of the businesses spearheading the Race to Zero Breakthroughs: Retail initiative, along with Walmart, H&M Group and Ikea’s parent company Ingka Group. The aim of that initiative is to encourage other retailers to set and deliver against 1.5C climate targets; at the time of the initiative’s launch, only 5% of retailers globally had taken this step.

The edie podcast is available to listen to on Spotify, SoundCloud, Apple and Google. 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 podcast@fav-house.com. Please bear in mind that all our speaker slots are now filled until late March.


Register now for edie’s Sustainability Leaders Forum 2022

At the end of this episode, Sarah mentions that edie’s biggest event of the year is returning as a live, in-person event for 2022. The dates have been moved from early February to March, to ensure collaboration and celebration can take place in person. 

The Sustainability Leaders Forum will now take place on 8 and 9 March 2022, and will unite hundreds of professionals for inspiring keynotes, dynamic panel discussions, interactive workshops and facilitated networking. There will also be digital tickets.

Taking place at London’s Business Design Centre, the event will feature more than 60 speakers, including experts from Natural England, the Green Finance Institute, the World Economic Forum and the Centre for Climate Repair. We’re planning our most diverse and inspirational programme yet.

Click here for full information and to book your pass.


edie staff

News

Equinor submits plans for landmark hydrogen facility in Hull

Equinor has submitted plans for its 600MW hydrogen production facility in Hull to the Government, which will sit at the heart of Humber’s Zero Carbon Cluster project.

Image credit: px Group

Image credit: px Group

Equinor has formally submitted plans for its Hydrogen to Humber (H2H) Saltend project through phase two of the Government’s Cluster Sequencing Process.

H2H Saltend is Equinor’s largest UK hydrogen project. It will be located within the Zero Carbon Humber Project, which is among the projects striving to develop the UK’s first net-zero industrial cluster. There, it is leading the production of a 600MW gas reformer that will produce ‘blue’ hydrogen – hydrogen made using natural gas, with most emissions from the process captured using man-made technologies.

Hydrogen produced by that facility will enable businesses at the Saltend Chemicals Park and the onsite Saltend Cogeneration Power Station to switch to a hydrogen blend, representing a 30% reduction in the Saltend Chemicals Park’s total current emissions. A demonstration is due to come online by 2026. An Equinor spokesperson told edie that around 95% of the emissions generated through hydrogen production at this facility will be captured. 

Equinor’s executive vice president for marketing, midstream and processing Irene Rummelhoff said: “We are delighted to submit our formal plans to Government for our flagship H2H Saltend project, as well as three other low carbon projects across the UK. This shows the strength of ambition from Equinor in the UK, building on its considerable experience of similar projects internationally.

“H2H Saltend is an exciting ground-breaking project which will provide low carbon hydrogen to multiple industries in the Humber by 2026, and the demand for this is clear from the industrial operators’ agreements we already have in place. Importantly, it is also a major step to a wider hydrogen economy which can reduce emissions across several sectors, act as a catalyst for greater inward investment and economic growth, and working with our partners, also ultimately result in a Zero Carbon Humber.”

The plan is backed by six prospective industrial operators who have signed varying agreements for the development and commercialisation of the project. These are Centrica Storage, INEOS Acetyls, Pensana, Triton Power, Vital Energi and Vivergo Fuels.

Equinor has also submitted three other projects into the process. These include two new carbon capture power stations at Keadby and Peterhead, that will be developed in partnership with SSE Thermal. Additionally, Equinor submitted the Net-Zero Teesside Power project which is developed in partnership with bp.

The submissions have been supported by 23 letters from organisations across the region, as well as MPs, local authorities and trade groups.

Wider plans

Equinor has outlined plans to deliver 1.8GW of low-carbon hydrogen production capacity in the UK by 2030, primarily through its work on the Zero Carbon Humber industrial cluster.

Elsewhere, Equinor is developing a further 1,200MW of low-carbon production capacity to fuel the Keadby Hydrogen power station, in partnership with SSE Thermal. It is hoped that the power station will come online this decade.

Late last year it was revealed that gas grid operator Cadent and energy giant Equinor are exploring the feasibility of creating hydrogen towns within the Humber region, to assist with the UK’s Ten Point Plan for a green industrial revolution.

Cadent and Equinor have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to develop the technical assessments and concepts for hydrogen production, storage, demand and distribution for heat. The two firms have outlined Lincolnshire as the area to develop hydrogen towns due to the number of hydrogen pilots being trialled in the Humber region. These include Equinor’s H2H Saltend for the wider Zero Carbon Humber scheme.

Equinor and Cadent believe the switch could reduce emissions from an average UK town by around a quarter. However, fossil-based hydrogen currently represents more than 95% of global annual production.

Matt Mace

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