Businesses in Milton Keynes and surrounding areas will be eligible for free support to improve their green credentials from experts at Cranfield University.
Milton Keynes Council is funding 50 places on the University’s Ready For Net Zero Growth Programme, which will help small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) to understand their carbon footprint and why it matters, as well as make a plan to reduce emissions and reap the rewards of doing so as part of their growth strategy.
Dr Stephanie Hussels, director of the Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship, said: “There has been much talk by Government and in the media of the drive for net zero, but do businesses really understand what that means for them in practice, and what they need to do about it?
“Our Ready For Net Zero Growth Programme aims to show organisations the value of understanding their carbon footprint and the practical steps they can take to de-carbonise their operations, products and services while also growing their business.
“As consumers, we are all becoming more conscious of our impact on the world around us. This leaves businesses with nowhere to hide. To be successful in the future, it is crucial that organisations begin changing their behaviours and practices now to ensure they are ready for a net-zero economy. We’re here to help them make that change.”
Professor Phil Hart, Director of Energy and Power, said: “This is a great example of the unique offerings Cranfield can make to industry. It’s not necessarily obvious that a net zero transition, if done correctly, can be an opportunity for business growth. This programme teams the business expertise from Cranfield School of Management with the technical prowess of our sustainable engineering leaders within the School of Water, Energy and the Environment, to provide the practical tools and techniques needed for companies to reduce their climate impact and gain real commercial advantage by doing so.”
Cranfield’s Ready For Net Zero Growth Programme aims to equip participants with:
> Awareness of the relationship between climate change and emissions, and an understanding of how their organisation contributes to global warming through scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions
> Methods, tools, technologies and techniques to measure current emissions, set future science-based targets to reduce those emissions, and track progress over time
> Practical steps they can take to make their operations, products and services less carbon intensive, and therefore more attractive to customers
> Knowledge of how they can derive commercial benefits from their decarbonisation through reporting, reduced operational costs, and via marketing to drive sales growth
> A growth plan for the future that embeds their business’s net zero ambitions.
The programme concludes with participants making a pledge to the UN’s Race to Net Zero Initiative as a visible commitment to their net zero ambitions.
Cranfield University is one of the leading centres helping the UK to progress towards its target of achieving net zero carbon and zero avoidable waste by 2030, with its cutting edge and specialist facilities working towards developments in areas including renewable energy systems, climate and environmental protection, and clean aviation.
Milton Keynes Council’s Sustainability Strategy includes a commitment for the city to become carbon neutral by 2030 and carbon negative by 2050.
Funding for places on Cranfield’s courses will come from the council’s Green Recovery Fund, part of its Covid-19 Economic Recovery Plan.
Cllr Jennifer Wilson-Marklew, Milton Keynes Council Cabinet Member for Climate Action and Sustainability, said: “This investment shows just how serious we are in finding creative ways to tackle the climate emergency. I’m looking forward to hearing the pledges from business and learning more about how we can come together to make a difference on global warming.”
Milton Keynes Council is also funding eight places on Cranfield’s Business Growth Programme for owner-managers, and 40 places on the University’s Ready for Scale programme for Milton Keynes-based businesses looking to take the next step in their growth.
For more information on free courses available at Cranfield for Milton Keynes businesses, or to apply for a place on one of the programmes, visit the university website