Chamber’s net-zero task force proves popular with businesses | April 2022

How do businesses reduce their carbon footprint, finance renewable energy projects, or deal with planning and regulatory issues on the road to becoming carbon neutral?

Date: Wednesday 06 April 2022

These and many more questions were discussed at the first meeting of a new Chamber of Commerce task force which aims to help local organisations achieve net-zero carbon emissions targets. The inaugural gathering of the IoM Business Sustainability Group, which attracted representatives from more than 20 organisations, was held at Chamber’s HQ at Barclays Eagle Lab.

Members already include representatives from 3VRM, Cains, Capital International, Celton Manx, Comis Spa, Conister Bank, Grant Thornton, Hansard, HSBC, IEG, Marbral Advisory, Nicola Bowker & Co Ltd, PDMS, PwC, Utmost Wealth, Strix and Swagelok. Three third sector organisations – the Energy and Sustainability Centre IOM, Manx Wildlife Trust and The Children’s Centre – are represented. University College Isle of Man is also part of the group.  

Members at the first meeting of the IoM Business Sustainability Group, held at the Chamber of Commerce HQ, Eagle Lab, Douglas. 

Commenting on the first meeting, Chamber CEO Rebecca George said: “The numbers taking part, plus the enthusiasm from all the members, illustrates just how important the issue of sustainability is to local organisations. We launched the new group earlier this month [MARCH] to build on the success of Chamber’s Climate Change Group which was set up in 2019 to allow businesses the opportunity to exchange ideas on environmental initiatives and best practices. The evolution of the new group was also aided by Conister Bank’s initial engagement with the Energy & Sustainability Centre Isle of Man, which both recognise that local businesses have a shared goal to tackle the transition to net zero and can achieve better results through collaboration.”

While international corporations with businesses here on the Island have advanced sustainability strategies, many SMEs and independent local businesses struggle to find the time and resources to take practical steps to reduce their carbon footprints. The new group, says Chamber’s CEO, is perfectly placed to provide a forum to bring businesses in those sectors together and share ideas. She added: “The Business Sustainability Group provides a space to share practical knowledge and to promote action towards achieving net-zero emissions, no matter what size of business or what sector. Of course, all of that will help to support the Island’s Government-led plans to become net-zero by 2050.”

Nicola Bowker, Managing Director of Nicola Bowker & Co Ltd Chartered Accountants, was inspired to join the Business Sustainability Group after taking part in a Manx Radio programme. She said: “During an interview about this year’s Isle of Man Budget I was asked for my opinion about the Government’s net-zero ambitions. It occurred to me then that neither I, nor probably most small businesses on the Island, have a clue what their current carbon emissions are or how to measure them. We all need guidance on how to do this, and how we can then go about reducing the emissions of our business. If every business does a little it will add up to a lot.”

Andy Bass, Head of Sales at Conister Bank, commented: “Conister recognise that although we may be a small island, we can make a big difference and if like-minded companies worked together to exchange ideas on environmental initiatives and best practices, we can help make the transition to net-zero easier. We approached the Chamber of Commerce to form a collaboration to enable our customers old and new make decisions that contribute towards a more sustainable future not only for them, but for the benefit of the entire Manx community.”

More organisations are welcome to join the Business Sustainability Group, and Chamber is organising an official launch on April 7th which will provide an ideal opportunity for anyone who is interested to find out more about its mission and vision. The launch will be at a business breakfast event held at the iMuseum, Kingswood Grove, Douglas, and sponsored by Conister Bank. Go to www.iomchamber.org.im to find out more, and for a link to register (it is open to Chamber members and non-members). The event, which runs from 9am to 11am, will include discussions on topics relevant to sustainability including sharing best practice, knowledge, ideas and challenges, followed by an update from the Isle of Man Government’s Climate Change Transformation Team.

On the April 28th Manx Utilities will be delivering a presentation on their Climate Change Transition Programme (go to the events section of www.iomchamber.org.im for details). More events will be announced shortly – when confirmed, details will be posted on Chamber’s website.

www.iomchamber.org.im