In a bit of a departure from our normal market place the EBN’s Founder Roger McKerlie was invited to represent the private sector at the launch of the UK Climate Emergency organisation’s local authority scorecard launch and conference. Held at the offices of the National Council of Voluntary Organisations offices in north London, Roger did admit to being a little uneasy about how the, overwhelmingly local authority and NGO, audience would react to his direct words about the EBN’s member mistrust of the public sector and what it can contribute to helping the business community change behaviour.

He needn’t have worried judging by the amount of follow up conversations he has had about how the public and private sectors can collaborate effectively. None more so than with his fellow panellist Rob Robinson, Sustainable Business Manager and circular economy lead, at Kent County Council. Rob and Roger had a wonderful meeting of minds and the audience seemed to agree.

The biggest learning point for the EBN was that there is a huge need for, and massive opportunity in, the public and private sector collaborating more. Roger left the event realising that the challenge for the private sector, in engaging with local authorities, is to ask the right questions! Too often we hear our members bemoan the fact that their local authority doesn’t have any easy access grant funding to help them change their behaviours.

That is not their fault!

Instead, we should be asking what the local authority can do in terms of knowledge provision, access to markets and how to connect with like minded businesses and benefit from others’ experience. The EBN will certainly be doing this in the future.

The report itself, albeit a snapshot in time, makes fascinating reading and you can access here – read the REPORT

In the meantime, some of the key highlights of the report include:

  • Political leadership, good climate governance and external funding have the biggest impact on enabling climate action within local authorities.
  • Having a dedicated portfolio councillor for climate was found to improve a council’s Scorecards result by 11%, and access to external funding for climate action improved a council’s score by 9%
  • Other factors, such as having a published climate strategy with SMART targets and embedding area-wide climate targets in key documents also improved a council’s score by 9%

The report also includes recommendations for the UK and devolved governments, local authorities and communities, including residents and local businesses.

The report makes a clear call for area-wide climate action to be a statutory duty for all UK local authorities, as well as for national governments to provide more funding and simplify funding pots for net-zero. The report recommends to UK local authorities to embed climate action within governance structures, including having a dedicated portfolio holder for climate action, reporting their own emissions and producing annual reports on action, and placing climate as one of the key priorities within decision making processes. Finally, the report recommends that communities use the Scorecards and the report to encourage councils to take stronger climate action and be ready to support and play a partnership role to help councils create the future zero-emission communities we need to thrive.