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How the EM3 region is leading the way in delivering the transition to a net zero economy

Last updated 02 July 2021
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Chris Fry

"The existential risk to our planet could be the greatest commercial opportunity of all time"

More than 200 delegates who attended the EM3 AGM and Conference heard that their region is considered among the top seven in the UK in delivering the transition to a net zero economy.

Keynote speaker Chris Fry, Managing Director, Accelar, praised the work the EM3 LEP had done to support its green industries to date, explaining how businesses could seize the opportunities which would come from the net zero agenda.

Speaking at the event on June 24th, he quoted Mark Carney (the former Governor of the Bank of England) who said “achieving net zero emissions will require a whole economy transition, every company, investor, will have to adjust their business models ultimately. But this, in turn, could turn what is an existential risk for the planet, for all businesses and economies, into the greatest commercial opportunity of our time.”

Chris highlighted that on a per capita basis EM3 is one of a group of seven areas in the UK which are head and shoulders above the others in delivering the products and services that are powering the green transition. And he highlighted the region’s hidden strengths in the supply chain which are delivering collaborative growth in markets including  alternative vehicles and fuels, building technologies, and renewable energy.

Delegates heard Chris explain that while it may seem difficult for businesses to plan as there are a lot of changes, adaptability is what businesses are good at. And he said that the three main areas all businesses could look at were buildings, transport and food/supply chains on firstly an operational level, then by considering new markets and new products.

There is also grant and informative support to help companies achieve those ambitions, both through the government and EM3’s Clean Growth projects. (You can find out more about these here.

Chris concluded by telling the audience: “There is a lot going on, but it is an opportunity. There is also risk and individual businesses aren't going to look at this all-in-one go. So, a strategic approach needs to be taken looking at different things, at different times, in different organisations.

Breaking this down, he highlighted that there are now approximately five business investment cycles of three years each before 2035 which is when the UK’s carbon emissions will need 78% lower than in 1990.  He said “My advice is to take the long-term mindset, look for those opportunities. But do also take that short term action to help you build momentum and keep refreshing that plan.”

Co-founder of strategy and sustainability consultancy, Accelar Limited, Chris Fry (CDir) is also an advisor to the Green Finance Institute’s Coalition for Energy Efficiency Buildings, a member of EM3’s Clean Growth Forum, a trustee of the Ecosystems Knowledge Network and a member of the EIC Sustainable Smart Cities Taskforce. He joined the EM3 Board Directors at their virtual 2021 AGM and detailed his thoughts on how far the green agenda had come in the last 40 years and the opportunities it now presents to businesses, not just in the EM3 region but across the UK and globally.



EM3’s Annual Report, released at the AGM, highlighted how much work the LEP has done to support the region in this field including £6m investment in electric charging points. The low carbon economy in the region currently generates sales of £18.2bn representing 10% of the market and employs over 127,000 people.

You can see EM3's Annual Report here.

At EM3 we are committed to doing what we can to achieve the Government’s ambition to reach Net Zero by 2050.  In addition to supporting this through our own activity, we want to make sure every business and organisation we work with feels confident to play their part in this transition. Find out more here

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