My Comment: What it means to join the Sustainability West Midlands team

My name is Nathaniel Weaver and I have recently joined SWM as a Project Officer. I’ll be supporting the team to achieve the 2030 Sustainability Roadmap targets and working with all our stakeholders in doing so.

I personally believe that sustainability is the critical to the future of the West Midlands because of its holistic approach. I am therefore ecstatic to work in such a vibrant and experienced team that delivers solutions that are economically viable, improve the environment, add social value and enhance competitiveness. To me this really captivates the potential of sustainability across private, public and the third sector.

Some background on me. I have a BSc in Geography and Natural Hazards with a placement year at the world leading research institute the Centre of Ecology and Hydrology. My responsibilities at the Centre included monitoring and forecasting water resources in West Africa and Northeast India. This experience opened my eyes to the importance of sustainably managing natural resources in the community, but also gave me the skills to effectively manage large data sets to produce practical solutions and drive sustainable change. Data analysis is crucial for benchmarking and then providing accurate and tailored support to stakeholders.

More recently I graduated with a Distinction in Sustainability and Environmental Management MSc from the University of Coventry. This MSc confirmed for me that sustainability can benefit all and therefore must be taken advantage of.

Finally, for a brief period I worked for an online business that focused on positive behaviour change to encourage a sustainable lifestyle. My role involved creating marketing campaigns, data analysis, finance and policy compliance: all skills that will be critical to my role at SWM

I am particularly excited to join SWM now because of the recent global push in Net Zero and what this means for businesses in the UK. The UK government recently stated that it will ‘set in law the world’s most ambitious climate change target, cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels, bringing the UK more than three-quarters of the way to net zero by 2050’. Government is setting the goal to establish the UK as a home for green innovation, pioneering business and new technology. This is further supported by America re-joining the Paris agreement to tackle climate change and go Net Zero by 2050, increasing the global demand for low carbon services and products.

What does this mean for businesses with regards to opportunity? This bold ambition puts the UK as leaders in a competitive global climate, with the goal to ‘springboard’ the UK into a position that will expand low carbon technology exports and fully take advantage of this first mover opportunity.

Decarbonising industry is a global challenge and by setting these ambitious world leading targets, UK businesses will have the opportunity to be world leading in the global low carbon economy and to develop and implement solutions that create multidirectional value and can be applied globally. Our recent work with kMatrix analyses the Low Carbon Goods and Environmental Services Sector across the Midlands and highlights the current value of the sector at £26.6 billion and the key sectors where our growth is stronger than that nationally including alternative fuel vehicles, energy management, air pollution, contaminated land, and hydropower.

I’m excited to be leading on delivery of the  Net Zero Business Pledge being run by the West Midlands Combined Authority and managed by SWM. I’ll also be helping to deliver webinars for businesses in Leicestershire on Net Zero, transport, housing and business energy efficiency, behaviour change and renewables throughout May and June.

I look forward to meeting and engaging with you in person when possible! Feel free to contact me as I’d be delighted to discuss your sustainability and environmental progress, or just have a friendly chat.