Sustainability delivery partner for the West Midlands Combined Authority
Sustainability West Midlands
Project Manager: Anna Bright (Chief Executive)
SWM delivered a series of sustainability support programmes for the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) since January 2016, not long after the first devolution deal was signed.
The WMCA’s aim is to work collaboratively on many projects to deliver its vision of a more prosperous West Midlands. It is a complex and evolving organisation with a range of direct and indirect levers of influence that can have a positive impact on sustainability. Its priorities include transport, housing, skills and the economy and SWM was keen to ensure that growth attached to each of these was achieved in a sustainable way. The WMCA was sympathetic with this view.
Therefore, since early 2016, we have been supporting the WMCA to ensure that sustainability has been embedded into all its operations and priorities and we have helped to put the environment at the forefront of its thinking. This was reflected when the environment became one of the WMCA’s seven main priority areas in 2018.
In our role as an independent sustainability commission and advisor for the WMCA, SWM has provided support in a variety of ways over the past four years. This has included the following:
- Stakeholder management and communications, including the first sustainability-focused mayoral hustings in 2016, consultation events and opportunities to speak at our flagship Annual Conference.
- Provision of support to the mayor by helping to create a new Environment Portfolio lead role, Environment Board and Environment Advisory and Delivery Group.
- SWM used its sustainability Roadmap, Futures Toolkit, expert stakeholders and other resources to provide strategy development and monitoring support to ensure environmental outcomes are embedded into the WMCA’s Strategic Economic Plan, Performance Management Framework and Local Industrial Strategy and provided comments on the new #WM2041 sustainability action plan.
- Benchmarking the WMCA’s strategies and sustainability metrics with other combined authorities to determine progress and to achieve ‘best in class’ status.
- Programme development in energy, innovation, green finance and business support, natural capital and air quality.
- Through taking on board our recommendations, the WMCA appointed an interim head of environment in 2018 which has since been turned into a permanent role.
“The input of SWM has been huge in helping set our priorities.” – Andy Street, Mayor, WMCA (2017).
“SWM has used their independence, networks and evidence to help us integrate sustainability within the long-term direction and monitoring of our strategy and programmes. We look forward to continue working with them as our sustainability delivery partner.” – Martin Reeves, ex-Chief Executive of the WMCA (2016).