12 Jul 2022
Returning for its fourth year the Climate Innovation Forum is a flagship event of London’s Climate Action Week, bringing together senior public and private sector decision makers, policy-makers, investors, climate-tech solution providers, and multidisciplinary consultancies such as Delta-Simons all together in one event. It provides an opportunity to accelerate the delivery of net-zero commitments and is described as a critical touchpoint between COP26 and COP27.
This year, the Climate Innovation Forum event focused on core pathways to Net Zero, with a spotlight on the urgency of Innovation. Senior Environmental Planning Consultant Evie Scott provides insight into her experience and key highlights of the 2022 event.
Delivering Net-Zero Across Sectors
To achieve net zero emissions and the Paris Agreement’s goal of keeping global warming below 1.5oC, all industries and sectors play a key role in achieving that net-zero pathway. As a member of the Environment Planning team, I have the opportunity to support Clients achieve their development goals from across a wide range of industries and as such I was keen to hear as much as possible from the day.
Food for Thought on Net-Zero Agriculture
The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board state 10% of the UK’s greenhouse gases are generated by agriculture, and the National Farmers Union are targeting net zero for agriculture across England and Wales by 2040
Having worked on a number of agricultural developments across the UK including Poultry Farms across Lincolnshire, Vertical Farming in Yorkshire and Glasshouses on the Isle of Wight, I was naturally keen to attend the Agricultural Round Table to see what innovative solutions we could expect for a net-zero future.
Hosted by Zitouni Ould-Dada (Deputy Director, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) we first discussed the main challenges/barriers to achieving net-zero within the industry.
Whilst environmental issues such as soil degradation, drought and climate change were apparent, key issues appeared to revolve around consumer behaviour, the issue of food waste, lack of willingness to adapt, and financial issues such as commercial contracts and unsuitable subsidies.
Zitouni reminded us of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), with obesity taking a heavy toll on developed nations, yet 811 million people remaining chronically undernourished it seemed quickly apparent that a solution to tackling net-zero alongside achieving SDG’s would require a cross-border approach. So what solutions did we forecast?
The table kicked off the discussions on consumer behaviour and financial investment, however soon turned to Agritech, with suggestions of in-field solutions such as drones and connected technologies for real-time data collection and sharing. For example by monitoring crops or livestock to enable resources such as water, fertilizer, food to be used when only necessary. Having experience working alongside our Clients P3P, expert engineers in vertical farming sectors in the UK, this was an exciting topic area and I certainly left optimistic for the future.
However, strong opinions were held across the table on the “last mile” emissions, with more focus required on the logistics. It is fair to say, decarbonising agriculture is huge and complex, yet there is increasing pressures to take responsibility and be more transparent in carbon emissions.
Decarbonising Heavy Industries – Panel Talk
During the afternoon I sat to watch an expert panel discussing what promising innovations are set to decarbonise heavy industry such as glass, cement and steel. Our Clients have increasing ambitions in reducing embodied carbon, relying less on off-setting to achieve their sustainable development projects throughout its full life-cycle.
Yet decarbonising construction materials comes with its own barriers. Firstly, the costs associated with a low-carbon technology such as low carbon cement, Dr Jennie Dodson from Mission Innovation spoke about a “green premium”, the additional cost of choosing a clean technology makes this option unviable for some Client projects. Dr Dodson also noted the challenge where European Concrete Standards will be required to be updated due to the changes in feedstock and processes, which has historically been a lengthy process.
Whilst there are now options in low-carbon cement and a future to decarbonise it, will demand-led innovation accelerate the industries technologies or could the removal of carbon-heavy materials altogether be the answer? Modular housing is a solution that MP Chris Skidmore appeared to back. One to keep our eye on closely to see how our Clients can improve their carbon footprint at the design stage.
About the Author
Delta-Simons’ Senior Environmental Planning Consultant Evie Scott focuses on the commercial project management and coordination of development projects from pre-acquisition through design development, planning, permitting and into operation. Over the past five years, Evie has collaborated closely with the Environmental Planning division at Delta-Simons, enabling early identification of discipline cross-overs and provide well-rounded holistic and commercial advise to Clients. Evie has also supported the Environmental Planning team gain their IEMA Environmental Impact Assessment Quality Mark, a independently reviewed scheme that allows organisations that lead the coordination of statutory EIA’s in the UK to make a commitment to excellence in their EIA activities.
In recent years, following increasing awareness of Environmental Social Governance (ESG) and creation of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, Evie has worked closely with Delta-Simons’ Environmental Transaction Services (ETS) and Environmental Health Safety, Sustainability (EHSS) teams, supporting Clients integrate ESG strategies and sustainability initiatives into our Clients development and redevelopment projects from cradle to grave.
Get In Touch
For further information about our Environmental Planning services, contact Evie:
Linkedin: Evie Scott