Weekly Events Blog: October 25th-27th | IPT

In the last week we have held several events, continuing our COP26 event series. Topics included hydrogen in transport, net zero logistics, green finance, and green jobs. We were joined by several high-profile panellists including Valerie Bouillon-Delporte, Hydrogen Ecosystem Director, Michelin, Doug Bannister, Chief Executive Officer of Port of Dover, Alderman William Russell, Lord Mayor of the City of London and Emma Pinchbeck, Chief Executive Officer, Energy UK.

COP26: What Role for Hydrogen in Transport?

On Monday 25 October, the Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) hosted a virtual event between parliamentarians and industry representatives as part of the IPT COP26 programme, entitled ‘COP26: What Role for Hydrogen in Transport?’ The discussion was chaired by Alexander Stafford MP, Select Committee on Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and welcomed guest speakers Valerie Bouillon-Delporte, Hydrogen Ecosystem Director at Michelin and Dr Oliver Curnick, Associate Professor, Institute for Future Transport and Cities, Coventry University. The discussion focused on opportunities that hydrogen offers to decarbonise transport in the UK and the infrastructure needed to make it a viable energy source.

Key discussion points:

  • Hydrogen has a huge number of possibilities to support UK decarbonisation goals. The transport sector is responsible for nearly 24% of emissions; there needs to be more commitments to action against this. Although hydrogen will be significant in helping reduce emissions, the use of both hydrogen and battery power will be essential to reach net zero targets.
  • Hydrogen energy can be used as a bridging fuel to help decarbonise whilst continuing to innovate and pursue low carbon technologies and strategies.
  • Current developments are being explored to blend hydrogen into the existing network. Transporting hydrogen in its liquid state rather than gas form would be more economical as it has a higher density. Public transport such as buses are integral to opening up the possibilities and advantages of using hydrogen, but a shared network is needed to allow for more vehicles to benefit from a cleaner energy network.

COP26: Driving Net Zero Logistics

On Tuesday 26 October, the Industry and Parliament Trust hosted a virtual event between parliamentarians and industry representatives as part of the IPT COP26 programme, entitled ‘COP26: Driving Net Zero Logistics.’ The discussion was chaired by John McNally MP, SNP Spokesperson for Environment and welcomed guest speakers Philip Roe, Chief Customer Officer & Strategy Director at DHL Supply Chain and Doug Bannister, Chief Executive Officer of Port of Dover. The discussion focused on how the UK can build a net zero logistics sector whilst demand for deliveries increases and the challenges of Brexit still loom over the industry.  

Key discussion points:

  • The role of consumers in driving corporate environmental change in supply chains.  
  • Discussed the emphasis on ‘burn less’ rather than ‘burn clean’ in the logistics sector. Many opportunities are available with the right investment such as the complete electrification of fleet and possible use of hydrogen in fuelling HGVs.
  • Acknowledged the reliance on HGVs and considered how organisations could take more advantage of freight including rail and smaller ships to move goods around the UK to ensure a more resilient system.

COP26: The Future of Green Finance

On Tuesday 26 October, the Industry and Parliament Trust hosted a Virtual Event between parliamentarians and industry representatives entitled, ‘COP26: The Future of Green Finance.’ The discussion was chaired by Rt Hon Baroness Kramer, Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson for Treasury and we welcomed guest Alderman William Russell, Lord Mayor of the City of London and Arne Staal, Group Head of Benchmarks & Indices, LSEG & CEO, FTSE Russell. The discussion focused creating a market for green finance to thrive.

Key discussion points:

  • Retail businesses are trying to be more transparent with their products by detailing the “carbon output” that items have so consumers can make more sustainable choices. Businesses will be driven by consumer choices and are concerned at how their choices will affective the planet, but this must be closely regulated to prevent greenwashing.
  • Shareholders play a significant role in influencing companies with businesses who are not driving climate friendly change seeing their share value reduce. For example, some shareholders groups continue to own BP but not Exxon because they feel they haven’t taken transition seriously enough.
  • Numerous landowners are locking their natural capital into carbon markets. As a result, vast areas of the UK and Scotland will be tied up in long-term agreements that are damaging to the environment, presenting a key argument for a global carbon tax.

COP26: Creating a Green Jobs Revolution

On Wednesday 27 October, the Industry and Parliament Trust hosted a breakfast event between parliamentarians and industry representatives entitled, ‘COP26: Creating a Green Jobs Revolution.’ The discussion was chaired by Mark Pawsey MP, Select Committee on Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy and we welcomed guest speakers Emma Pinchbeck, Chief Executive Officer, Energy UK and Professor Robin Clark, Dean of Warwick Manufacturing Group, Warwick University. The discussion focused on the challenges of generating the right skills for the future workforce.

Key discussion points:

  • The need for a skilled workforce to enact the transition from fossil fuels to low carbon sources. This will need to come from both academia and apprenticeships- a range of skills will be needed from people to create and implement policy, to the engineers of the future.
  • The fact it’s important that we localise skills, for example a costal constituency may require a significant number of offshore wind and nuclear specialists, whereas in a midland’s constituency more solar specialists will be required. The best way to achieve this would be through apprenticeships, investing in young people in the area they grew up.
  • The framework for retraining and reskilling need to be less stringent and find a balance where people can train on part of their job- e.g., go from a deep-sea diver specialising in oil rigs to one working on wind turbines without having to spend a fortune on retraining for deep-sea diving.