The Manchester Low Carbon Business Alliance was launched on Wednesday July 1st in the Grand Hall of Manchester Town Hall. This group is number three of the ‘catalytic actions’ that have enthused us so much here at MCFly Towers. About 150 attendees from the private sector were treated to a glass of plonk, although tranquilizers weren’t exactly needed. Sat behind the de rigeur barrier- [Ed: shurely “Speakers Table”?]- we found Council Leader Sir Richard Leese; Lead Member for the Environment, Cllr Richard Cowell; MD of Co-operative Estates Linda Shillaw; local Arup head honcho, Roger Milburn, and Bruntwood lead chap on sustainability Iain Grant. Mssr’s Shilaw and Milburn are also members of the G Mcr Environment Commission.
Ms Shillaw was the obvious hit with the audience simply because she gave them the Co-op low carbon story in numbers – e.g. two years to pay back on a low carbon shop re-furb – and policies that embedded good practice across the whole company. Compelling and surely making her a contender to chair that Commission. Milburn exuded some authority but isn’t going to win prizes for oratory and Grant said that Bruntwood are doing their bit to get smart meters in their office blocks. As for our elected members – Cowell is obviously sincere in his mission but sorely needs to develop more confidence on stage and Leese again surprises with the fact that he ‘gets it’ as far as what needs to be done and why. He has no need to say that the stated target of lopping a million tonnes off the city’s carbon footprint is ‘a minimum’ and that we may need to further, but he persists in doing so. This correspondent wonders if many listening to him ‘got it’ as to the change that will require of their businesses.
So, a start, but to what? The Council has set something in motion which could make a real difference but unless this fledgling group is properly supported and generates real action then it add to the growing pile of well meaning talking shops that litter this field. Little clue to this future was given at the event. Watch this space.