SWM Annual Conference: Vision 2030 – 03/12/19

Date of Conference

03 December 2019


  • Peter Woodward, SWM Associate
  • Tim Haywood, SWM
  • Anna Bright, SWM
  • Chris Mills, WRAP
  • Keith Budden, Cenex
  • William Bloss, WM-Air
  • Simon Atkinson, Birmingham & Black Country Wildlife Trust
  • Claire Spencer, WMCA
  • Paul Fisher, Sandwell Council
  • Cheryl Hiles, Energy Capital
  • Gemma Holmes, CCC


  • Anna Bright, SWM
  • Andrew Thompson, Groundwork West Midlands
  • Daljit Kalirai, National Express
  • Alex Pearson, Midlands Energy Hub & Worcestershire LEP
  • Cllr. Ian Courts, WMCA

Purpose of the conference

This year’s Annual Conference marked the launch of our new regional sustainability Roadmap to 2030. SWM’s Chief Executive Anna Bright and Chair Tim Haywood started by providing a review of the past year and highlights for SWM. Anna continued her presentation to discuss the main focus of the day, the West Midlands Sustainability Roadmap to 2030. The presentation went into detail of the consultation and literature review process to set the scene for the unveiling. We then saw the 8 key areas that the Roadmap focuses on and with them, their mission statements and the targets that have been created to make these missions a reality. To provide a wider context and set the scene for why these areas are priority and need to be addressed, we invited 8 speakers to address the topics and provide us with a high level overview of why we should be interested and involved in these areas. Chris Mills from the Waste Resource Action Programme (WRAP) spoke first about the importance of resource efficiency, talking about the Resources and Waste Strategy, Keith Budden from Cenex followed and gave us an enthusiastic albeit shocking glimpse of reality when he took a standing poll of the room to see who had traveled to the conference in either a clean or active way. William Bloss from the University of Birmingham and the WM-Air team delivered a presentation looking at air quality. We then heard from Simon Atkinson at the Birmingham & Black Country Wildlife Trust, who spoke about the Natural Environment and the importance of developing Nature Recovery Networks. We again got a stark look at what the future could hold from Claire Spencer from the WMCA when discussing Sustainable Growth. Paul Fisher from Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council spoke to us about Social Equity and Health. Cheryl Hiles from Energy Capital delivered her presentation on Sustainable Energy Use. We finally heard from Gemma Holmes from the Committee on Climate Change, talking to us about the importance of Climate Adaptation. Having these speakers gave the delegates more of an idea of the importance of each of these areas and greater understanding as to why they should be tackled as part of the Sustainability Roadmap to 2030. Beyond looking at the new Roadmap, we also wanted the day to give an opportunity to our delegates to meet new people and create new contacts. Having this opportunity to network is something our delegates always want more of and we’re happy to provide that, as with each new conversation could stem a project that changes the West Midlands for the better.


100% of delegates providing feedback rated our Annual Conference as excellent or good in terms of organisation and further did so on content. Feedback included: “Excellent annual meeting, gathering of concerned and forward thinking experienced individuals.” “It was a very interesting event, with some great ideas and people – a great showcase for all your hard work.” “Great event yesterday – big thanks to the team for putting on a really interesting, interactive and informative event!” What a great event! I know from experience that the more an event seems effortless and flowing, the more work has gone on behind the scenes, and this was obviously a team effort to get it running that well! Congratulations on another great informative and interactive conference.” “I wanted to say how well structured, delivered and useful the conference was – I’ve been to many conferences and this is a very rare thing.” “Thank you for having me, it was an enjoyable morning!” “I found yesterday’s vigorous and inspiring.  I was struck by how few people I knew, but it was good meeting new ones.” “Just wanted to say ‘well done’ for another great annual conference. Personally, great for me to see and hear about the wider sustainability concerns and opportunities beyond an energy focused project.” “Well polished event, excellent opportunity to hear approaches and thoughts of others striving for sustainability in the West Midlands, which would not happen unless SWM existed” Twitter highlights included: We would like to thank @SWMtweet Sustainability West Midlands for allowing us to become a member, and inviting us to attend the SWM 2019 annual conference – looking forward to working with everyone and we will be doing everything we can to contribute to #SWMVision2030 roadmap Great to be at @SWMtweet annual conference today – lots of opportunities and challenges in their route map to 2030 – looking forward to embedding circular economy in here and working together to make it happen! Thanks to @QSAPartners for enabling me to go 🙂 Here we are @wtbbc  all set up at @SWMtweet  2019 Annual Conference #SWMVision2030 Launching new regional sustainability Roadmap. Brilliant to hear indoor air quality included in a wider talk on air and water quality at #swmvision2030 Delighted to be at SWM 2019 conference at Edgbaston Hall Hotel. #SWMVision2030 Hearing from SWM SWM Chair Tom Hayward With climate change emergency in place across many West Midlands areas, it’s good to hear from sector specialists and see how we can contribute #SWMVision2030 Pleased to be sponsoring Sustainability West Midlands 2019 Conference today #SWMVision2030 @SWMtweet

Next Steps

SWM will continue to monitor and report on our current roadmap to 2020, and begin the process of doing the same for the roadmap to 2030. As we said as the conference, this is an on-going piece of work that is ever changing and updating as more data becomes available. We want this to be as ambitious and influential for change as it possibly can be!

Contact Information

For more information contact enquiries@swm.org.uk or call 0121 237 5890.


Main Presentation – Final


SWM is very grateful for the support of all delegates and exhibitors…

Furthermore, we would like to extend a special thank you to Willmott Dixon who were the headline sponsors for the conference.

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