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How is Cornwall going to achieve its Net Zero targets?

Following Cornwall Council being one of the first local authorities in the UK to declare a climate emergency, Cornwall is continuing to lead the way in the charge towards becoming the first net zero region in the UK and – thanks to G7 legacy funding aimed at helping reduce carbon emissions – efforts have been further accelerated towards reaching the Council’s 2030 target.

The Government funding will focus on a major land restoration and regeneration project as well as improving the green credentials of Cornwall’s major towns. Alongside this, following the release of the IPCC’s Climate Change 2021 report, Cornwall Council have recognised how vital it is that all businesses, communities and the local government work together to find a way that we can all reduce consumption and lower our carbon emissions.

Cornwall is home to some of the country’s leading trailblazers in sustainability. A base for community organisations and not-for-profits, like Surfers Against Sewage and Cool Earth Action, intent on protecting the environment and a hub for innovative businesses wanting to make a difference – inspired by the landscape and preserving and protecting future generations.

In order to drive real change, many companies are redefining old methods and processes – breaking the norm to build a better future. Bennaman is on a mission to unlock the power of fugitive biomethane to deliver a local clean energy revolution, and using their technologies, Construction firm – Cormac, is trialling new equipment powered by biogas derived from bovine manure to carry out road-surfacing works. Although testing is still ongoing, initial data suggests each converted unit could potentially reduce CO2 emissions by five tonnes per year, as well as improving fuel efficiency. As on-road transport makes up 22% of Cornwall’s carbon emissions, changes like this pave the way towards net-zero targets.

With at least 37% of the region’s electricity demand already fulfilled by renewables, Cornwall is a leading force in the clean energy revolution. Thanks to projects like Eden Geothermal and WaveHub, innovative renewables such as floating offshore wind and deep geothermal are likely to be in the mix by 2030. The access to these greener solutions is both helping Cornwall achieve its targets and drawing businesses from across the UK and international investment.  

With the fastest growing community of B Corporations outside of London – there are only 4500 globally and Cornwall is home to 21 – the region is not only producing innovation, it’s attracting it.

Plastic Freedom, a plastic free online store has expanded its operations from Merseyside – opening a second office in Cornwall, thanks to the founder Beth Noy, who said of the move:

“When it comes to plastic pollution, I needed to be connected to the ocean and surrounded by people fighting for the same thing”, wanting to be surrounded by like-minded businesses and organisations”

Recently brand activism agency Don’t Cry Wolf followed suit, opening up a second office in Truro. With their first office based in London, CEO and Founder John Brown has looked to Cornwall to expand – seeing the region as a hub for sustainable innovation.

For Don’t Cry Wolf Cornwall’s collective knowledge on how you can change an economy to become more sustainable was a big draw. From design and development, through to clothing and tourist attractions, they see an emphasis within the region towards creating products, work and spaces that have a focus on championing environmental change. This is also backed up by a transparency and openness about progress, and a desire to learn from mistakes that you may not necessarily find elsewhere.

As a result of this willingness to improve, organisations like sustainability consultancy Consciam are able to support businesses in the region make real change. The company moved to Cornwall to help create further positive influence by helping businesses and organisations of all sizes to better understand, manage and report on their environmental and social impacts.

Though Cornwall’s net-zero ambitions could be seen as ambitious in comparison to the rest of the UK, there is real passion to make the change. That, coupled with the natural assets – such as rich lithium deposits and geothermal pockets – the region has to offer means that Cornwall’s businesses are in the best position to demonstrate what can be achieved when organisations, communities, and governments collaborate to create a positive impact on the planet.

If you want to learn more about how you could maximise the opportunities this growing hub for sustainable innovation has to offer, Cornwall Trade and Investment are able to support any business looking to expand into the region. Contact us to discuss.

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