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Innovative Zero Carbon Working Group

A cross-sector network to instill innovation in the development of the zero carbon sector.
Innovative Zero Carbon Working Group


The Innovative Zero Carbon Working Group (IZCWG, previously the ILCWG) is run by SWM in partnership with the Innovation Alliance for the West Midlands (IAWM). It is a cross-sector network aiming to build and connect the innovative zero carbon ecosystem of the West Midlands focusing especially on the WM Local Industrial Strategy sector strengths of low carbon technology, energy and clean growth, future mobility and sustainable construction.

The IZCWG also responds to three of the four identified market strengths given in the publication of the 2017 West Midlands Science and Innovation Audit: energy storage and systems, next generation transport and sustainable construction – all of which are underpinned by low carbon activity.

IZCWG meetings, run quarterly, aim to share information and good practice and catalyse new partnerships and collaborative activities that help to further develop innovation within and between the sectors outlined above. There are also weekly mailouts to members convened by SWM that summarise the latest in related funding, events, resources and policy. The IZCWG also aligns its activities with national policy and strategy, for example the UK’s net zero 2050 carbon target, the Clean Growth Strategy and Industrial Strategy.

The current membership of the Group can be found here (last updated 19 October 2020).

Why run this network?

SWM supports the IAWM with the coordination and running of the IZCWG and has done so since 20 January 2014.

The IZCWG is the only regular platform whereby a cross-sector range of organisations can come together to identify ways where they can work together to identify innovative ways of achieving our net zero goals. Like our other networks, the IZCWG provides regular information and good practice, but nurturing the opportunity for organisations to collaborate is a hugely important aspect of this Group and is something that must happen for the West Midlands to become a leader in low carbon innovation.

This ambition contributes to SWM’s vision for the region, as well as addressing the majority of the themes related to our 2030 Roadmap, especially Sustainable Growth, Sustainable Energy Use, Resource Efficiency and Clean & Active Travel.


Anyone from any sector with a role related to low carbon innovation, in particular around energy, transport and sustainable construction, is welcome to join the IZCWG.  However, we ask that each member prior to joining can answer yes to each of the following:

  • Your work and your organisation’s aims and vision contribute to a thriving innovation ecosystem within the low carbon space.
  • You see the benefits of working with fellow members of the IZCWG and other partners to stimulate growth in the West Midlands low carbon economy sector.
  • Your role or your organisation focuses on the development of low carbon projects not limited to energy, transport and/or sustainable construction.
  • You are based, or have representatives based in the West Midlands and/or are wishing to contribute to work in this area.
  • You wish to contribute to IZCWG meetings by offering opportunities for collaboration on projects, sharing good practice either via verbal updates or more formal presentations or providing updates on funding calls, events or policy.


Clare Ollerenshaw joined the IZCWG as Chair in May 2021. Clare is an Associate Director at local SME Accelar, who support organisations to achieve their clean growth ambition. Accelar is a SWM member and an extremely collaborative company, looking to work with others to further regional and national Net Zero ambitions. Clare is a strong supporter of SWM and IAWM and has been a member of the IZCWG for a number of years.


“The IZCWG is the best place to find out what’s happening in the low carbon world in the West Midlands and also the best place to meet others to collaborate with if you want to make something happen. I’ve made a number of great contacts that have moved projects on and connected me to others. I was delighted when the IAWM team asked me to chair the IZCWG group – like minded people with great networks and enthusiasm that are part of the wider IAWM network that we can reach out to for contacts in different industries and sectors. In these critical years when we need to do so much so quickly to address the climate emergency this network is invaluable. ” 

Clare Ollerenshaw, Associate Director, Accelar

“Being part of and attending the IZCWG provides not only good insight into the current trends, thinking and innovation within the sector but also affords the to opportunity to network with likeminded individuals. The discussions are very focussed on the West Midlands and the presentations always spark interesting and useful debate. I find being part of the group fundamental to my understanding of the policies that are driving the Zero Carbon agenda in the region.”

Eric Roberts, Business Development Manager, IES

“I originally joined the IZCWG because Pro Enviro are a partner in the Repowering the Black Country project; the project is designed to help the decarbonisation of the industrial sector in the Black Country. The IZCWG has provided the opportunity to network with other people and organisations in the region that have similar interests and a similar mindset and who, when working together, can make an impact on the zero carbon objectives of the region. The content of the working group meetings has been very interesting and relevant and I look forward to continuing with the group in the future”

Steve Stones, Senior Consultant, Pro Enviro Ltd.

“Greenwatt Technology’s participation in the Innovative Low Carbon Working Group ensures that we make the right connections across a range of public and private sector organisations operating in or influencing the low carbon sector. Apart from keynote speakers, the main benefit for me is access to what is often ‘inside track’ information and updates in terms of low carbon policies, funding and projects both in the West Midlands and at national level. ILCWG provides a unique and independent source of information and networking between businesses large and small, universities, local authorities and sector organisations. As an SME, I was delighted to be invited to become Chair of this Group [in 2016] – and I really encourage other businesses to join us and share the benefits!”

Mike Woollacott, MD, Greenwatt Technology

“The ILCWG is the only forum I can think of that combines innovation, future thinking, emerging themes and technologies, regular funding opportunities, interesting speakers and that stimulates discussion and debate in an open and constructive environment. You always come away with a new contact.”

Mark Smith, Low Carbon Adviser, Groundwork West Midlands

“Attending ILCWG has given me the opportunity to network with like-minded individuals who have the commitment to making an impact on the low carbon economy in an area I’m passionate about. I’ve made some very good connections that have resulted in exciting business discussions and are evolving into commercial opportunities for my company. I see this group as very important to the work I am doing within this sector.”

Richard Tandy, Business Development Manager, Orsted