Over 75 rural Northumberland and North of Tyne based businesses came together to take part in a full day event focusing on progress towards Net Zero across the North East, delivered by the Rural Design Centre Innovation Project.

The aim of the day was to bring businesses together to showcase what is already being done, what is possible and to share tips on how to achieve net-zero goals. The event gave comfort to attendees, whether business owners or community leaders, that their plans for a sustainable future were achievable by sharing best practice and practical examples of success and new innovations from across the region, all underpinned by a wider strategy being driven through local authorities.

Man talking to a room full of people

Rural Design Centre Innovation Project

Nick Johnston, one of the speakers at the event and manager of the Northumberland County Council Climate Change Team, shared the details of the plan that his team are delivering. He said “it is so important that businesses know what we as a local authority are doing to help them deliver their own sustainability aims. This obviously applies to rurally based organisations as we are acutely aware that a high percentage of businesses here in Northumberland are rural by nature and perhaps not able to access the same sustainable options as their urban counterparts.”

Andy Dean, Chief Executive of Community Action Northumberland also spoke at the event. “It has been great to see so many like-minded individuals working together and sharing their knowledge on an extremely important topic. We work primarily with rural communities and local organisations and one thing they are so aware of is how they need to become more sustainable, resilient and save money! It’s really important for them to hear what has worked for businesses or organisations in other parts of the county and apply that learning to their own area and their own organisation.”

The RDCIP which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and part-funded by The North of Tyne Combined Authority, deliver a wide range of workshops and topics to an even wider range of businesses and organisations with sustainability at the forefront of their minds.

Liz Gray, Senior Innovation Manager for RDCIP said “Having a sustainability plan in place for your business is perhaps not something you have thought about before now, however, there are a large number of northeast SME’s and organisations we work with who have this important topic at the forefront of their minds and we have been able to help them take their plan forward, as well as apply proven methods to those who are in early planning stages too.”

Net-Zero and sustainability is not always about changing everything all at once, goals can be achieved incrementally, therefore it is essential for business communities to create a plan that is realistic. Lots of smaller changes add up to bigger change overall and by sharing proven methods it makes the journey more easily accessible for many. The team have developed further workshops on this topic which assist North of Tyne based SME’s and community leadership organisations to create their own bespoke plan of action and more information can be found at: https://www.rural-innovation.co.uk/events/plan-your-eco-friendly-future