Bondholder

06 May 2022

The Humber accounts for 37% of CO2 emissions out of the six largest industrial clusters in the UK

Oh Yes! Net Zero looks to unite Hull and the surrounding region as it works together to lead the UK to a cleaner, greener and more prosperous future.

It will demonstrate how we as a society can make Net Zero happen in Hull, sharing learnings with the Humber and beyond.

Blair Jacobs caught up with Peter Edwards, Global Public Policy & Stakeholder Management Director at Reckitt, the company which leads the campaign, to ask the big questions.

This article is an excerpt of Marketing Humber’s Business Voice podcast. Listen in full here:

 

 

How did Oh Yes! Net Zero start?

The idea was a mixture of factors, we were rebranding the business from RB to Reckitt, we were looking at how our purpose could be more effective in and around some of our plants and facilities.

Add into the mix that we were the Hygiene Partner at COP26, layered in with the fact that our CEO Laxman has been part of the Levelling Up Agenda advising the UK Government, all of those things coming together created the idea. We then discussed this with potential coalition or founding partners, such as Hull City Council, Marketing Humber and the University of Hull.

There seemed to be a willingness to come together and share ideas. I don’t think that getting to net zero is the sort of thing you can do on your own.

It’s a bit like group therapy, coming together and saying it’s not just you that have challenged by it, we are too. It creates a sense of community, and it’s the sort of thing you can be perplexed in isolation on. It’s only when you start sharing ideas and insights that it starts coming together.

How will the campaign track progress along the way?

All the companies involved have their own carbon neutrality targets, as do Reckitt, and they will be tracking and reporting on that as we go along. Encouraging companies to form their targets and go public with them helps, because that brings a commitment and a plan that they need to bring forward, not just for their employees but also to talk to their customers about and to attract talent to those businesses.

How will the campaign ensure longevity and a lasting impact?

We have an ‘engine room’ with four work streams on green skills and jobs, energy use and reduction, a third on green supply chains, and a fourth on transport and travel.

The companies involved are allocating themselves to at least one of these work streams and sharing ideas. So yes, you have the branding and the campaign, but there are ongoing discussions and collaborations between those businesses. We are trying to put people together to share best practice, challenges and even mistakes.

How will this expand nationally, or even globally?

The branding is deliberately generic, so if other cities want to use it, they could do. Any other cities around the world can take the ideas and the learnings, which is why we previewed it at COP26. We’re not precious about it and we are quite happy to share challenges and learn from other cities, and it may even create a little healthy competition.

How confident are you that it will make a difference?

When I first came to a kick-off meeting with partners who had shown an initial interest back in August, we now have 56 companies signed up at the time of recording. The energy and the atmosphere at the launch was significant.

We’re also working on a project with Hull City Council called Protecting Our Future. A majority of schoolchildren want to do something about climate change, but less than a quarter believe they have the skills to do it. Protecting Our Future is about teaching secondary school children to understand these topics more to give them the skills and the confidence so when they get back home to influence their families to do more. This will have a significant impact on the campaign’s success, and is in a very exciting place.

 

Businesses and individuals can still pledge to be part of Oh Yes! Net Zero by lowering their carbon output. Visit ohyesnetzero.co.uk to find out more.

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