Businesses are being encouraged to mark the New Year by pledging to support the West Midlands’ drive to become a net zero region by 2041. And to help make the move towards a carbon free future, 100 small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) are also being offered sponsored access to Zellar, the UK’s first one-stop sustainability online platform.

The Net Zero Business Pledge was launched by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) in 2021 to provide practical help for businesses and other organisations who want to fight climate change by cutting their carbon emissions and making a faster transition to net zero.

Now, the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), a non-constituent member of the WMCA, is working with Zellar to also fund 100 licenses for the online platform which provides businesses with access to emission insights, support, expert advice and the real-world connections needed to become recognised and certified as a greener business.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said: “I launched the Net Zero Business Pledge because organisations told me they wanted to play their part in helping the West Midlands meet its ambitious #WM2041 target of becoming a net zero region within the next 20 years.

“But we also recognise that businesses need help in making that contribution and while there is advice and support for those who sign the Pledge, I’m extremely pleased to see this new partnership between GBSLEP and Zellar offering SME’s yet another package of practical support on moving to net zero. I’d urge any SME that is serious about cutting its carbon emissions to come forward and make use of this valuable resource and of course also pledge their support for our region’s ambitious net zero plans.” 

The initiative has also been welcomed by Cllr Ian Courts, leader of Solihull Council and the WMCA’s portfolio holder for environment, energy and HS2.

Councillor Courts, who is also the GBSLEP Board’s Net Zero Champion, said: “It’s quite clear that we can only tackle climate change and reduce carbon emissions if we all work together across our public and private sectors.

“It’s great that GBSLEP has taken the lead in developing this partnership with Zellar, it will help support SMEs to take the WMCA’s Net Zero Business Pledge. This will help make sure we reach those organisations who can make the most difference. 

“New Year’s resolutions can be short-lived, but when we’re thinking about the future of our planet we can’t afford for it to be the case for the Net Zero Business Pledge. The Zellar platform will help businesses make the net zero pledge and stick to it.”

Head of partnerships at Zellar, Richard Garner, added: “Companies across the UK are crying out for practical support on becoming more sustainable and it can be overwhelming to know where to begin, especially with so many other business priorities to deal with on a daily basis. Zellar answers this need with its easy-to-use, intuitive online platform that guides and supports businesses every step of the way as they embark on their sustainability journeys.”

Nearly 50 West Midlands companies have already signed the Net Zero Business Pledge, including BT, National Express, Arup and the Manufacturing Technology Centre. 

Other companies to make the Pledge include Birmingham-based Rhino Interiors Group which is committed to taking carbon cutting action across its business – from its transport and travel arrangements to how it manages its waste. It is also leading the way in innovation with workspace designs that help its clients also become more sustainable.

UK law firm, Shoosmiths, through their Birmingham office, has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 and increase its sourcing of renewable electricity from 74% in 2020 to 100% by 2025.

The Pledge is managed by Sustainability West Midlands, a not-for-profit company that works to provide advice and guidance to the region’s organisations on becoming more sustainable.