[11 January 2021]

Humber businesses hold the key to the UK Green Recovery

Major Green survey is launched to understand business readiness for race to net zero.

Today sees the launch of a major business-to-business survey to discover how the Humber’s 30,000 small businesses are gearing up for the UK’s Green Recovery.

Funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), designed by Aura and the University of Hull,– The Future Net Zero Survey  seeks to understand how the region’s businesses are preparing to ‘build back better’ after the twin challenges of Covid-19 and Brexit and how they are innovating and working towards meeting the 2050 Net Zero targets set by the UK Government on all carbon emissions.

The results will feed into a significant study which will provide the region – through the Aura Innovation Centre and its partners in the survey (including KCOM, East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Hull City Council, business and experts from the University) – with a unique insight into how SMEs in the region are addressing the barriers and issues to meet Net Zero targets.  It will highlight how companies are seizing opportunities to tackle and transform the way we do business and help ensure that the UK stays at the forefront of the green industrial revolution.

Peter Drucker, one of the world’s most influential business thinkers, said: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it”. As the country grapples with the issue of implementing Clean Growth, the Humber is seeking to meet this challenge head-on as 2021 begins.  Obtaining primary research data directly from companies will help to show the way businesses need to be supported to lower carbon emissions and build a sustainable future.

The region’s SMEs are the backbone of the supply chain and this survey will help to understand how business is building green innovation into its products, services and processes; where the strengths lie and where additional support and help is needed.  The survey is being delivered in partnership with Lampada Digital Solutions.

Dr David Richards, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research & Enterprise at the University of Hull, said: “I am delighted with the launch of the Future Net Zero Survey today – we launched Aura some four years ago to help build and strengthen the green credential of our region – through research and innovation – and it is working.  The advent the world’s largest wind farm just off our coast, the prospect of our ports growing and contributing to the country’s manufacturing infrastructure in renewable energy, the potential of using our long history and expertise in the power, chemical and petrochemical industries and putting that knowledge to new uses such as Carbon Capture to become one of the ‘Super Places’ anticipated by the Government in their Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution launched in November last year, is an exciting prospect.  This survey is a key part of setting out the Humber’s leading role in this vital transformation.”

Louise Smith, Director of Aura, said: “The findings from this study will help guide the region to deliver a better future for the next generation in a Net Zero world.  The ERDF and Green Port legacy funding we received to build the Innovation Centre for the Humber is about bringing together businesses of all sizes to connect with the research power at the University of Hull and its partners to develop carbon-reducing ideas across all sectors through smart collaborations. This survey is an important step towards ensuring that we do that well and support the growth and prosperity of businesses in our region.

“Aura and our new Aura Innovation Centre are driving innovation and growth for organisations of all sizes, from start-ups to larger enterprises to strengthen the region’s proposition to the country and to the world.  Along with our sister organisations, the Spark Fund and the Flood Innovation Centre, we are part of the vital patchwork of resources and support for businesses in the region – and SMEs in particular.”

Bill Walker, Chair of Marketing Humber, welcomed news of the survey and encouraged local businesses to respond. He said: “I am a strong advocate for the Humber and the huge impact it can have nationally and internationally in the Clean Growth space. The Future Net Zero Survey is a welcome step forward to help the region act in concert and showcase what our brilliant SMEs are doing in delivering on the Net Zero targets.  This survey can help underpin the region’s economic place marketing credentials by helping us to gain real insight into what we are already doing, what we still need to do and how we can continue to work collaboratively to attract more investment and more inclusive growth into the Humber region.”

“Beckie Hart, Yorkshire and Humber Director for the CBI, said: “We are delighted to see that Aura and the University are launching the Future Net Zero Survey today. The region has a unique role to play in helping the country’s progress to Net Zero emissions, and improving our understanding of how small businesses can help drive the transition will be key to this effort.”

“This survey will help us understand where we are and what needs to be done further to succeed.”