There was a presentation from the Local Economy Manager. The slides of the presentation are attached to these minutes.
It was noted that Guildford was home to a large number of big companies some of which had their own climate change policies and some were operational in the field of climate change especially globally. There could be an opportunity to work with those companies to share expertise and ideas.
The results of the Business Survey were set out. Most respondents were SMEs. The majority of business activity had been to reduce plastic and improve energy efficiency of premises and operations where possible. Very few were undertaking monitoring or setting targets. Barriers to activity were funding, restrictions on what might be achieved in theirpremisesdue to building type or landlord permissions and finally a lack of knowledge on whattypes of projects could be undertaken. There was a strong interest in gaining more knowledge and advice and over 50% of those surveyed would be interested in becoming a part of a green business network. It was possible the Council might look to develop such a network based on the Cambridge Clean Tech Network (CCTN) model. The CCTN, was a membership organisationoffering access to events (national and international), information seminars and networking opportunities to businesses and academics.
The presentation concluded with a number of proposed areas the Board might explore such as:
· Supporting the Council’s procurement Strategy to ensure our suppliers have suitable environmental practices in place
· The formation of an innovation and sustainability forum in partnership with UNIS based upon the model of the CCTN model.
· Establish a Guildford Climate Change Charter
· Run a Local Climate Change Business Summit
· Invite graduates and academics from the UNIS Centre for Environment and Sustainability to do industry placements with local businesses and organisations.
· Research and identify funding for businesses and organisations.
Prof. Miller (UNIS) was supportive of the proposals and suggested that there was also knowledge and expertise around behaviour change and environmental law and taxation that could be shared by UNIS which was welcomed. The Busines School and Psychology Faculty could be incorporated as well. There would be a conversation outside of the meeting to take the discussion forward.
With regard to community engagement it was noted that some parish councils and residents were enthusiastic in getting involved. The meeting heard that there was a new Climate Emergency Centre to be launched in Guildford that was not instigated by the Council but the Council was involved in discussions. The intention of the new Centre was to draw together the various groups and individuals under one umbrella in order to share knowledge, ideas, and activity. Community engagement was on the agenda for that group. The Chairman would bring more information to the Board at a future meeting.
It was suggested the bi-annual Parish Clerks meeting with the Council could be a forum for engagement and that certain parish councils were already organising themselves in terms of networking and sharing information. Notably, Effingham Parish Council had undertaken much work in engaging residents. The GEF was organising meetings for parish councils in March and April. A list would be circulated covering those parishes involved. It was suggested there was an opportunity for a ‘living lab’ project. A number of residents could be involved to research how individuals can get engaged in lifestyle changes with involvement from a strong parish council and UNIS.