Bristol’s environmental vision set to go global as it prepares to become ‘world green capital’ in 2015

November 8, 2013

Ambitious plans are being drawn up to make Bristol the world’s green capital – not just Europe’s – in 2015 with a year-long celebration that showcases its environmental technology, sustainability and innovation on a global scale.

Having won the title of European Green Capital 2015, far-reaching efforts will be made to put the city on the world map with international conferences, a global prize for green innovation and a Bristol Green Expo.

Among the ideas being discussed is the Bristol Prize – an international award for green innovation that would be regarded as the Nobel prize for in its field. This could be hosted on alternative years with Bristol's Chinese sister city of Guangzhou.

Sir David Attenborough, whose pioneering natural history programmes have been produced in Bristol for decades, has been approached to give a lecture during the year and there will also be a tie-in with Bristol-based animation firm Aardman’s Shaun the Sheep character – which has a global audience and will star in his own movie to be released in 2015. This would link with Bristol's tourism industry and with schools.

The city could be ‘lightening rod’ during 2015 for all things green, said Kris Donaldson, who worked on the Sydney Olympics and in Liverpool when it was UK City of Culture, and is now working as a consultant to Bristol European Green Capital 2015.

“This is our moment in time," he told a meeting yesterday of the Green Capital Momentum Group. “What we do will set the bar for other cities.

“It’s an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to celebrate our achievements and build our profile for inward investment and to create jobs.

“There’s something in the water in this city. We are city of pioneers.”

He described the 2015 Expo as the 'mothership of the year' – an event staged in the city's Enterprise Zone that would champion the best of green thinking – from major international projects to neighbourhood schemes in Bristol.

The city council has allocated £1m to support the efforts, including a catalyst fund that will finance small, neighbourhood projects from street parties to local food schemes.

Nicola Yates, city director of Bristol City Council, told the meeting that 2015 would not just be a celebration but would also create a legacy for the city.

Business sponsorship will also have a role as a way of championing Bristol’s existing environmental industries.

Mayor George Ferguson has already declared that the city should be a ‘laboratory for change’ during 2015.

That theme will be picked up during the year with a range of events.



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