The West Midlands Green Leaders have been revealed in a bid to help the region successfully achieve its journey towards a low carbon economy and society by 2020.
Coventry City Council Chief Executive Martin Reeves, Kirstin Kane (Birmingham Airport) and Professors Andreas Hornung and Tony Bridgwater (Aston University) are some of the high profile names amongst the 33-strong list that features representatives from social enterprise and the emergency services.
Local businesses also seem to have embraced the low carbon drive, with a mixture of multi-nationals and SMEs recognised, including Carillion’s Simon Dingle who is spearheading the company’s involvement in the high-profile £193m Library of Birmingham.
Organised by Sustainability West Midlands (SWM), the competition addresses the leadership gap in the area by celebrating and promoting some of the most influential people currently driving the agenda.
The Green Leaders, who received their certificates from Sara Parkin OBE at a special event at Austin Court last night, will now be invited to use this new platform to share and pass on their experiences, skills and knowledge to the next generation of professionals.
They will join last year’s winners to become a growing peer group for change and will be invited to develop new solutions and influence policy by contributing to research and new Government initiatives.
George Marsh, Chair of SWM said: “This year our Green Leaders again feature a diverse group of individuals, who are all having a positive environmental impact in helping the West Midlands achieve our vision for a low carbon economy.
“There are some excellent examples of innovation, community and workforce engagement and, importantly, case studies of how proven techniques can deliver real cost savings whilst reducing the collective carbon footprint.”
He continued: “What I am particularly pleased about is the number of businesses recognised in 2011. We’ve got big names such as Alumet Systems, Amey, Denso and Travel de Courcey, but also smaller firms such as Silent Computing and Architype featured.”
One of the hardest hitting examples of sustainability in action is the £193m construction of the Library of Birmingham, set to be the UK’s 5th most visited tourist attraction when open.
Simon Dingle, Operations Director at Carillion, is playing a fundamental role in helping the project achieve its ‘Excellent’ BREEAM Rating, incorporating low and zero carbon technologies in the process.
His aim is to achieve excellence in both environment and community activities during the construction phase and so far all suppliers are signed up to and achieving waste targets (99.3% diverted from landfill), hitting 100% responsibly sourced timber, taking on local staff and apprentices and minimising impacts of dust, traffic and noise.
The Library of Birmingham will also be pivotal to sharing eco-learning, with 10 schools, college and universities involved and the project recently being awarded ‘National Skills Academy and Skills for Life Provider’.
Simon was delighted at being part of the Green Leaders list:
“Spreading the low carbon message is crucial and we all have a role to play in helping the West Midlands to reduce its carbon footprint and embrace new environmental technologies.
“The lessons we learn on the construction of the Library can be used for new projects and opportunities that the West Midlands can lead on.”
The West Midlands Green Leaders event was part of Sustainability West Midlands’ annual conference, which this year looked at the ‘priorities for a sustainable 2020: where next on our journey?’
More than 150 delegates received an update on the low carbon vision, reviewed progress and good practice and heard from keynote speakers, including Professor Julia King CBE, Sara Parkin OBE and Richard Elsdon, Director of Government Affairs at Caterpillar UK.
Topics covered were low carbon jobs and skills, transport choices, environmental infrastructure and energy efficiency.
George Marsh concluded: “In February 2011, we published the ‘West Midlands roadmap to a low carbon future in 2020’ focusing on seven priorities for action to create job creation, carbon reduction and improved quality of life.
“The strategy is in place and we now need people like our Green Leaders to help make the vision a reality.”
Sustainability West Midlands, the sustainability adviser for the leaders of the West Midlands, shares a vision where business and communities thrive in a region that is environmentally sustainable and socially just.
It is private sector led, cross sector and not-for-profit organisation which acts as a catalyst for change through advice to leaders, developing practical solutions with members and sharing success through its communications and events programme.
Below is a list of West Midlands’ Green Leaders in alphabetical order.
- David Allport – Birmingham City Council
- Gabrielle Rose Back – National Savers
- John Barraclough – JB Enviro
- Katy Boom – University of Worcester
- Professor Tony Bridgwater – Aston University
- Kim Cherry – Black Country Housing Group
- Rosemary Coyne – Sustainable Housing Action Partnership
- Chris Crean – Friends of the Earth
- David Currant – Ludlow21
- Elaine Debenham – West Midlands Fire Service
- Simon Dingle – Carillion plc
- Mark Dixon – Lower Precinct Shopping Centre, Coventry
- Rob Garner – Bulmer Foundation
- Maria Gilling – Walsall Adult & Community College
- Jonathan Hines – Architype
- Professor Andreas Hornung – Aston University
- Cllr Timothy Huxtable – Birmingham City Council
- Mike Kinghan – Whittington and Fisherwick Environment Group (WFEG)
- John Iles – Wyre Community Land Trust
- Ceridwen John – Redditch & Bromsgrove Council
- Peter Jones – Ecolateral Ltd
- Kirstin Kane – Birmingham Airport
- Karen Leach – Localise West Midlands
- Kamal Parekh – Silent Computing
- Martin Reeves – Coventry City Council
- Manel Roura – Denso Manufacturing
- Keith Sexton – Amey
- Peter Shirley – Wildlife Trust
- Sandy Taylor – Birmingham City Council
- Diane Tilley – Worcestershire County Council
- Dean Walton – Alumet Systems (UK) Ltd
- Bob Wildman – Travel de Courcey
- Mike Woollacott – Greenwatt Ltd
For more information, please visit www.sustainabilitywestmidlands.org.uk or contact 0121 237 firstname.lastname@example.org.