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Bristol Climate Hub launches

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Cllr Afzal Shah is Cabinet Member for Climate, Ecology and Sustainable Growth at Bristol City Council, and has taken on the role of co-chair of the One City Environment Board. In the blog below, he reflects on some of the progress made since Bristol’s Climate Emergency declaration, including the launch of the Bristol Climate Hub

Bristol is recognised as a city leading on climate change. Bristol’s businesses and organisations play a crucial role here. As do the subsequent consumer choices. Perhaps your organisation is already acting responsibly? You’ve adapted your business model and reduced your carbon footprint alongside playing a part in our city’s growing economy.

We’re taking bold steps whilst sensing that others are watching, hoping they will be encouraged to follow our example. Becoming the first ever Cabinet Member for Climate, Ecology and Sustainable Growth at Bristol City Council back in September was a big step for this local political administration. I look forward to building on the progress we have made in 2021 with my new role as co-chair of the One City Environment Board and sharing what the city has come up with to help inspire others to act.

As an organisation the council has reduced our carbon emissions by nearly 80% since 2005. We achieved this largely by making our buildings more energy efficient, investing in renewable energy infrastructure, such as wind turbines and solar panels, buying cleaner energy for our buildings and upgrading street lighting. This puts us on track to become a carbon neutral organisation by 2025 for direct emissions from buildings and transport.

Bristol is also leading city for recycling. We’re currently ranked number one out of the English core cities in terms of recycling and recycling rates are continuing to rise. Award winning initiatives such as the ‘Slim my Waste’ campaign have captured the public’s imagination, and helped us engage with people across the city – leading to a direct increase in food waste being recycled.

Some of that progress in 2020, as we marked two years since Bristol declared a climate emergency, included the new Bristol Climate Hub from Bristol One City. It launched on Friday 13 November to coincide with the anniversary of the declaration. This new online resource focuses on what individuals and companies can do to look after the world, whilst also setting out the action needed at the national level that would make it easier for us all to play our part. There are stories to guide and inspire people, including a look at some of the Bristol’s own climate heroes.

Just as Bristol led the way in being the first UK city to declare a climate emergency, Bristol has the potential to lead the way in sustainable business. I would invite all Partnership members to explore the Climate Hub – particularly the area ‘What companies can do’ – and share it with your networks, customers and communities.

It’s an advance on other sites in that it’s Bristol-specific, focuses on the highest impact actions and is built on the latest research and best practice. Plus, by taking the quiz, you can get advice tailored to you.

As it grows, the hub will be enhanced with business case studies collected during the development of the One City Climate Strategy. So do check back regularly to see what new content has been added. You can also add your own case studies and stories to the hub to showcase your ambitious work and inspire others.

The hub isn’t the only good news. It follows Bristol City Council’s Cabinet approval of a multi-million pound programme to reduce the carbon and ecological footprint in Bristol. The Climate and Ecological Emergency Programme will enable the council to hit its climate targets, secure investment in climate projects and support citizens, businesses and organisations to join in the city-wide effort to become a carbon neutral and resilient city by 2030. Some of the projects involve coordinating the actions of our partners across the city, to ensuring the schemes we’re implementing are inclusive and engage with a wide range of communities, while also offering small grants for community led climate action.

There’s plenty for Bristol to be proud of to date. And there is certainly the opportunity and need for us all to go further now if we are to meet the city’s 2030 goals. Have a look at the Bristol Climate Hub for inspiration. Then take another bold step.

Finally, for further details about Bristol’s One City Climate Strategy, please take time to review this presentation and feel free to share with your own networks.

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