Bristol fashion entrepreneur urges firms to take responsibility and work towards net zero

September 17, 2021

Nearly 200 Bristol business leaders and entrepreneurs have been told they will “face uncomfortable truths” on their journey to becoming zero carbon but had an obligation to the planet do it.

Keri Andriana, pictured, founder of Bristol-based handbag brand Amschela, told the gathering, part of the nationwide Zero Carbon Bus Tour, how she had decided to make all her products vegan. 

“I think that we can no longer wait to see what the next business is doing in terms of reaching net zero. We all have to take business responsibility and actively work towards saving our environment,” she told the event at UWE Bristol’s Frenchay campus.

“That may mean looking at your business and facing uncomfortable truths. However, it is an overarching obligation that we must take seriously to save the future of the environment we live in.”

The event attracted a record audience for the #ZeroCarbonTour , which will end at the UN’s Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow in November.

The event also heard from West of England Metro Mayor Dan Norris, UWE vice chancellor Steve West, pictured, and a number of businesses that have started their own journey to net zero.

As well as Keri, these included Neil Douglas from engineering firm Viper Innovations, who spoke about the development of the 31 acres of woodland it is creating to support carbon sequestration. 

The Portishead-headquartered firm develops products that monitor, detect and locate cable insulation and conductor faults on subsea oil well heads.

Mayor Norris said UWE was the perfect place to officially welcome the tour to the region as many of its researchers, scientists and engineers held a key to addressing the global climate emergency.

“The high turnout reflects the enthusiasm and commitment in the West of England to meet our ambitious goal of net zero carbon by 2030,” he said.

“The bus tour was an innovative way to drive home the important message that we can all play our part in beating the global climate emergency.”

The West of England Combined Authority (WECA), which Mayor Norris heads, is already helping businesses on their journey to net zero through its Green Business Grants scheme, funded by the West of England Recovery Fund and the European Regional Development Fund.

More than 50 businesses have already been awarded grants totalling £500,000 to make energy saving improvements – including some of those speaking at the Zero Carbon Tour event.

A free carbon survey offer is currently available to any business wanting to understand their energy use and how to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

UWE Bristol assistant vice-chancellor for environment and sustainability Prof James Longhurst told the audience: “Climate change presents a significant challenge to each and every one of us, one we must not and cannot ignore.

“UWE Bristol has set itself the ambition of becoming at least carbon neutral for all of its emissions by 2030 and is working to support businesses and local authorities such as South Gloucestershire and Bristol to meet their own ambitious carbon goals.

“Through our teaching we are helping our students to become carbon literate and ready to play their part in the green economy of tomorrow whilst our research is addressing key questions of mitigating emissions and adaptation to a changing climate.”

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