Leading green trade bodies, think tanks, sustainability execs, and corporates throw weight behind inaugural Net Zero Festival
On the same day as the huge implications of the Paris Agreement and the net zero transition were catapulted onto the front pages, the world's first Net Zero Festival has unveiled a fresh wave of high profile partners.
Scheduled for September 30th at The Brewery in central London, the inaugural Net Zero Festival will bring together politicians, academics, campaigners, and business leaders to explore how to accelerate and optimise the global net zero transition.
In support of the event, BusinessGreen is today announcing a host of top partners that have pledged to support and promote the event, including sustainable business bodies We Mean Business, Aldersgate Group, the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), and CDP; trade associations such as RenewableUK, the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association, and the Carbon Capture and Storage Association; leading media and events brands Fully Charged and Carbon Forward; and top environmental charities and think tanks such as Hubbub and Green Alliance.
The first wave of sponsors has also been confirmed with Net Zero Leadership Partner BT signed up in support of the Festival, along with ENGIE, Verco, Heathrow, and carbon offset partner Ecosphere+. Further partners and sponsors will be announced in the coming weeks, alongside the full agenda, first tranche of A-list speakers, and ticket details.
"Few, if any, business issues are more important than the net zero transition," said Gabrielle Ginér, head of environmental sustainability at BT and Chair of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Momentum for Change Advisory Committee. "That is why BT was one of the very first corporates to set a net zero target and why in this crucial year of climate action we are delighted to support the Net Zero Festival as Net Zero Leadership Partner. To accelerate the net zero transition it is vital that businesses, industries, investors, policymakers, civil society, and the public at large come together to share best practices and advance the development of a greener economy, and that is precisely what the Net Zero Festival aims to achieve."
Her comments were echoed by Eliot Whittington, director of policy at CISL, who said the "Net Zero Festival promises to showcase some of the most interesting and inspiring pinch points of this urgent transformation, and we look forward to the energy for collaboration that it will create".
"The world remains threatened by potentially catastrophic climate change, and the only viable response to this is to rewire our economy to be net zero emissions," he added. "If we act with clarity, resolve and coordination there is a pathway that can deliver new economic opportunities and create new industries, whilst doing the most to safeguard prosperity, society and our natural world. But to do this we need collaborative and cross-sectoral and -disciplinary thinking. At CISL we have discovered the progress that can only be made by bringing together different actors from business, finance and policy to support this change, and we welcome all those who widen the conversation further so that the moving parts of this process can be interrogated and understood, and their space in the solution ensured."
Barnaby Wharton, director of future energy systems at RenewableUK, said the Festival would also act as "an essential staging post" ahead of the crucial COP26 UN Climate Summit in Glasgow this November. "Cutting emissions to net zero is vital to safeguard society and the planet from catastrophic climate change," he said. "To get there as fast and as cheaply as possible we're going to need every tool in the box - a whole range of technologies including onshore wind as well as offshore, green hydrogen, marine power, battery storage and a grid that's fit for the 21st century. Before world leaders come together in Glasgow in November, the Net Zero Festival will be an essential staging post to seize the moment, exchange ideas and push ahead with the most crucial task facing all of us."
The Festival agenda will centre on four Festival Streams, which will explore Net Zero Leadership, Net Zero Innovation, Net Zero Culture, and Net Zero Action. Consequently the day will provide a raft of invaluable insights for business leaders, covering everything from policy developments and investment trends to technology disruption and how to engage with the new wave of climate activism.
Following the initial launch of the Net Zero Festival late last year, BusinessGreen has been inundated with green economy stakeholders registering their interest and offering to support the development of what would be the world's first business festival for the net zero transition.
Consequently, today also sees the unveiling of the Advisory Board for the Festival, featuring a host of leading sustainability executives and green business experts, such as BT's Ginér, head of sustainable business at M&S Carmel McQuaid, corporate affairs and sustainability director at Landsec Caroline Hill, Carbon Tracker's Mark Campanale, director of Cambridge Zero and leading climate scientist Dr Emily Shuckburgh, and many others.
The Advisory Board and Partners will help the Festival develop its agenda and speaker line-up, so as to best ensure the event delivers on its ambitious goals.
In addition, BusinessGreen is continuing to work on plans for a series of Net Zero Festival Fringe events, which will take place during the week of September 28th. As such, has today announced that Carbon Forward, the leading provider of events and information for the fast-expanding European carbon market, will be the Carbon Market Partner for the Net Zero Festival and will host its annual conference in London from September 30th to October 2nd. More details on the partnership will be announced in the coming weeks.
"As a large and fast-expanding battalion of businesses has realised, the net zero transition and escalating climate crisis are the defining economic issue of the age," said BusinessGreen editor-in-chief James Murray. "In the past week alone we've seen a host of household names, from oil majors and mining giants to transport providers and consumer goods firms, either announce net zero goals or beef up their decarbonisation plans. But the scale and complexity of the transition remains unprecedented and it is characterised by huge risks and opportunities. As such, it has never been important to bring together business leaders, policymakers, investors, and civil society to take on this shared challenge - and that is precisely what the Net Zero Festival will do."
Those interested in attending, sponsoring, or partnering with the Net Zero Festival can register their interest through the Festival website.