1. Manchester’s accelerated Carbon Neutral Target  

Pre-pandemic, Greater Manchester set an ambitious target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2038 – 12 years ahead of UK national targets. 

As we take fundamental steps towards our city region’s own target, green innovation is playing a significant role within the UK’s business community and our specialist skillset is also supporting carbon reduction globally. 

One way we’re making this happen is through The Energy Innovation Agency, officially launching May 2022. The agency will bring together world-leading academic, private sector and public sector expertise to help bridge the energy innovation gap and find solutions to make sure Greater Manchester can reach its carbon-neutral targets. 

By leveraging the potential of the region’s world-class growth and innovation assets, the Agency aims to lead the way, opening opportunities in all parts of the Manchester city-region, to accelerate energy innovation across the conurbation and beyond. 

  1. Real investment into green projects  

Greater Manchester recently declared a “biodiversity emergency” with Leaders setting out a series of projects and initiatives across the city-region which seek to recover and restore biodiversity, reverse habitat loss and explore what more can be done. 

Work is underway to protect and improve the

natural environment across Greater Manchester, with exciting developments including the City of Trees initiative and Local Nature Recovery Strategy. 

To protect and improve the natural environment effectively, Greater Manchester is launching the Green Spaces Fund, with an initial value of £2.6m, to enhance or create new community green spaces. Through this new fund, small grants will be available for community groups wanting to create new spaces or improve existing ones in their local area. 

The Fund will be open for applications in May and will be run under the existing Greater Manchester Environment Fund, which is already channelling £2m of funding into environmental projects in the city-region. 

You can find out about the Green Spaces Fund at www.gmenvfund.org

  1. Innovation in Advanced Materials  

Our history in harnessing the power of Graphene places us ahead on the journey to a low carbon future, as we accelerate research and global commercialisation of Graphene based products.

Greater Manchester is also recognised by the Department of International Trade (DIT) as the ideal UK location to capitalise on lightweighting opportunities - our strengths put us in a unique position to help companies commercialise lightweight structures that create less emissions.

Over the last 18 months, Innovation Greater Manchester has been the main driver of an ecosystem to support and generate innovation-led business growth. This exciting work taking place in the urban centres is being translated to the wider region, to help level up communities and to create high value industries for the future globally and is included in a £100m Innovation Accelerator fund provided by the government.

  1. Sustainable buildings 

One of the world's greatest issues and the single biggest source of carbon emissions in Greater Manchester is heating.  

To tackle this problem, in 2021, a Retrofitting Task Force made up of the best minds in energy, education and infrastructure was established with the goal of upgrading around 60,000 homes across Greater Manchester every year. Measures including renewable energy and heating will reduce fuel poverty and creates a market of skills and jobs worth around £5bn. 

Energy House 2.0 laboratory in Salford is the largest test and research facility of its type that will play a leading role in development of new low carbon homes and retrofit technologies. Within Energy House 2.0 there will be two environmental chambers each able to accommodate two detached houses and under controlled conditions, recreate a wide variety of weather conditions with temperatures ranging between -20˚C to +40˚C and simulated wind, rain, snow and solar radiation. 

  1. Green Finance 

Manchester is home to the largest regional financial, professional and business services (FPBS) industry outside of London, employing more than 280,000 people. 

A competitive place to do business with a strong reputation as a world-leading fintech hub, a number of investment banks have global operation centres, head offices or regional offices in Manchester with a focus on ethical investment. One example is Interactive Investor, the UK’s second largest director-to consumer investment platform which has created an ethical investment long list, the UK’s first rated list with each fund sorted by asset class. 

Within the city-region itself, The Greater Manchester Environment Fund (GMEF), the UK’s first regional environmental impact fund, aims to generate over £100m of funding and investment to align with projects that benefit the environment around the city-region. 

Manchester City Council has set out its full financial commitment for green investments that will help the city reach its aim to become zero carbon by 2038.For the first time, spending commitments for green infrastructure have been laid out as the local government authority prepares to set out its budget for 2022/23. 

£192m has been set aside as part of the Climate Change Action Plan, which aims to halve the direct emissions of carbon by 2025. 

  1. Inner-city transport

Greater Manchester Transport Strategy 2040 sets out Greater Manchester’s long-term ambition for transport. 

By 2040 the aim is for 50% of all journeys in Greater Manchester to be made by walking, cycling and public transport. This will mean one million more sustainable journeys every day enabling us to deliver a healthier, greener and more productive city-region. 

From investment in cycling and walking infrastructure to public transport reform and research into more sustainable forms of travel utilising advanced materials, Greater Manchester is serious about discovering greener ways to manage transport and travel. 

Launched in November 2021, GM’s new cycle hire scheme has seen over 100,000km collectively ridden since it launched to the public in November 2021 – the equivalent of a quarter of the distance to the moon or two-and-a-half times ridden around the world! 

  1. Making business green  

The Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership (GM LEP), alongside an alliance of businesses and partner organisations, has launched Bee Net Zero – an ambitious commitment to making the city-region the easiest place in the UK to become a green business. Greater Manchester’s thousands of businesses are urged to start their own green journey through the platform which signposts the advice and support available as they take steps towards reducing their carbon emissions. The initiative was launched at the 2021 Greater Manchester Green Summit, which highlights the people, organisations and communities across Greater Manchester who are taking positive action to tackle climate change, while looking ahead to what still needs to be done 

Manchester offers access to world-leading research facilities, state-of-the-art science parks and dedicated “living labs” which provide businesses with controlled and real-world environments to test and trial new low carbon innovations.  

To find out how Manchester can help you innovate and invest in a greener future, talk to our sector specialist David Hilton: 

Head of Business Development – Manufacturing and Advanced Materials david.hilton@midas.org.uk