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Big businesses give a boost to climate action

Date published: 07 November 2018


Some of Greater Manchester’s largest companies have vowed to tackle climate change together in support of the Mayor’s ambition to make Greater Manchester one of the leading green city regions.

Aldi, the Co-op, United Utilities and Manchester Airport Group are among a number of big businesses to ramp up their climate commitments following discussions with the Greater Manchester Mayor as part of Green GB week.

The Mayor has used Green GB Week as a springboard to making our environmental vision a reality by gaining commitment from the businesses to work together. He said “We need a whole society approach to achieve our aims and the value of business collaboration cannot be emphasised enough. I’m calling on all businesses to take action and be part of Greater Manchester’s plans as well as marking the first ever Green GB Week. Whether it’s reducing single-use plastics or installing solar panels every business can play their part.”

One of the largest pledges came from Aldi, which has agreed to become carbon neutral by January 2019. Fritz Walleczek, Managing Director of Corporate Responsibility, said: “We will be carbon neutral in 2019 and are continually working to reduce emissions and be kinder to the environment across our business. With more than 20 Aldi stores in Greater Manchester we are supportive of the new sustainability plans announced for the region.”

United Utilities also has ambitious targets for reducing its carbon emissions including a 10 year green fleet plan that will migrate all of its fleet away from diesel to home-produced energy within the next ten years. That’s a reduction of diesel from 4 million litres per year to zero.

Chris Matthews, Head of Sustainability said: “We’re committed to reducing our carbon emissions, by designing out waste from our operations, and generating our own energy. We’re really excited about our innovative electric wagon project which will be an industry first. But it’s also important to adapt to climate change too. Through our sustainable catchment management programme, we are working in partnership with many organisations to invest in the natural environment and reduce the risk of flooding, lock up carbon by restoring peat and ensure wildlife thrives.”

The commitments underline the confidence in our plans and strength of support decarbonisation now commands with businesses. During discussions businesses leaders set out their organisation’s sustainability plans and discussed potential innovation for carbon neutrality. They also agreed to work with us and each other to engage other businesses within Greater Manchester. 

The Mayor added: “It’s clear from discussions during Green GB week that businesses are committed to playing their part in our ambition to achieve a carbon neutral future, ensuring that Greater Manchester is a world-leading greener, cleaner city region, improving the health and quality of life for millions of people and protecting our green spaces and environment for future generations.”

In March 2018, Greater Manchester held its inaugural green summit – a landmark event that brought together businesses, academics, and local people together to put their ideas forward for making Greater Manchester one of Europe’s leading green city regions. The impact was overwhelming and resulted in GMCA’s Springboard Action Plan.

A follow-up event is taking place on 25 March 2019, which will mark the progress made so far towards Greater Manchester’s ambition of achieving carbon neutrality ten years earlier than originally planned (by 2038). It will also set out next steps for radically reducing Greater Manchester’s use of single-use plastics and carbon emissions. Tickets are being released soon, so watch this space: www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk/greencity

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