Learning from iNetwork’s first climate emergency roundtable 


We are now facing the parallel crises of an ongoing global pandemic, economic recession, and a climate emergency. In the absence of strong national or international leadership on these issues, many local public sector organisations are responding by looking towards an holistic “build back greener” approach.

In response to this, on Wednesday 16th September, iNetwork hosted the first  in what will be a series of member-led events to explore and support the critical role of local public services in building a green and sustainable future for our people and places. 

At the online event, attendees heard from Martin Budd, (Hull City Council), Neil Hind, (Greater Manchester Health & Social Care Partnership (GMHSP), Claire Igoe (Manchester University NHS FT) and Esther Barrott, Local Government Association (LGA).


Eight Areas of Work for a Carbon Neutral 2030, Martin Budd, Hull City Council

A specialist with 11 years experience working in the area of environmental sustainability and climate change, Martin presented on the Eight Areas of Work for a Carbon Neutral 2030 at Hull City Council. The main areas of work identified by Hull are innovation, heat, power, mobility, consumption, fair transition, carbon sequestration and skills and jobs.

Martin spoke about the analysis work undertaken at Hull City Council in partnership with Anthesis. The work aimed to assess the leading areas of consumption and emissions output in the council’s remit. Martin shared that there are a number of challenges to reducing the council’s emissions. The top six council categories, works, environmental, utilities, adults, financial, and public accounted for 85% of emissions and works accounted for 26% alone. Hull are looking at regeneration work and need to focus on where the activity is and where to take action.

As well as an assessment of the Council’s own emissions, Martin spoke about the need for progressive procurement practices and social value in the supply chain to encourage suppliers and businesses to engage with the sustainability agenda. 

Hull City Council’s eight areas of work for a Carbon Neutral 2030

Martin also spoke about the effects of the pandemic and how, although Covid-19 has delayed plans and pushed back deadlines in the Council, the fast-tracking of government funding awards for schemes such as cycle lanes and domestic heating has been encouraging. Martin was also encouraged by a growing climate team within the council, reflecting increased recognition of the importance of the climate agenda.

To download a copy of Martins presentation visit here: Eight Areas of Work for a Carbon Neutral 2030 – Hull CC


A Net Zero NHS by Sustainable Procurement

Neil Hind is GMHSCP’s Procurement Programme Direct and has over 20 years experience in a range of public sector and procurement consultancy roles.

Neil gave an update on a wide range of work and projects undertaken by NHS organisations in the Greater Manchester region, following the joint declaration of climate emergency in August 2019 and the publishing of the five year environment plan for GM. The NHS in GM has been sector-leading in the implementation of various sustainability projects, including recyclable materials in canteens and clinical settings, reusable hospital gowns, better management of clinical waste, and print better management.

Neil also referenced the impact of Covid-19 and what has been learnt in the NHS from the Covid response in the context of sustainability. Neil explained that Covid exposed fragile supply lines for cheap goods, such as PPE, produced in the far east. The emergency procurement of PPE had implications in terms of air miles, logistical pressures, and an increased volume of waste.  

In response to these issues, there is a need to change logistics and storage practices alongside placing a greater emphasis on procuring from local suppliers to reduce environmental impacts and increase supply chain resilience. Neil explained that to accomplish this, the sector needs to support local suppliers to ensure that they are ready to bid for NHS and other public contracts. Delegates agreed that there is a massive opportunity in the NHS to get hold of this agenda and to make a real difference and that we should be looking forward to doing this. 

To download a copy of Neils presentation visit here: A Net Zero NHS by Sustainable Procurement – GMHSCP

Engagement & Organisational Buy-in on the Journey to Zero Carbon, Claire Igoe, MUNHSFT

Claire Igoe is Manchester University NHS FT’s Head of Environmental Sustainability. Claire has over 18 years experience working on environmental sustainability at a range of public, university, and private sectors.

Claire spoke about various projects that MFT have undertaken to engage the circa 23,000 staff of the trust to champion issues of climate change and sustainability. MFT published the sustainable development masterplan in 2018 outlining the vision, strategy, and objectives for sustainable healthcare across the city of Manchester.

Claire also outlined some of the specific activities undertaken by MFT to promote sustainable behaviours and explained that all pathways and models to improve sustainability have used a combination of top-down technology and bottom-up behaviour change.

To encourage organisational culture change, MFT have developed E-learning modules on sustainable healthcare, produced sustainability newsletters, and have launched a green rewards scheme with a gamification platform to encourage sustainable behaviours. The green rewards scheme incentivises action with monthly prize draws and six-monthly charity donations. So far via the scheme, 1000 staff have registered and over 60,000 sustainable actions have been recorded.

Practical steps like assessment of materials and medical equipment used was also encouraged. A significant success story has been observed with anaesthesia teams, where the use of one of the most environmentally harmful gases, Desflurane, has been reduced by 48%, removing over 1000 tonnes of CO2e in 2019-20 alone.

Claire and her team continue to work to engage more people across the organisation to showcase the tangible benefits that collective behaviour change on sustainability can deliver. Not only have these behaviour change projects triggered positive outcomes on climate and sustainability, it has encouraged the organisation to look at other areas of improvement such as staff health and wellbeing.

To download a copy of Claire’s presentation visit here Engagement and Organisation Buy-in – MUNHSFT

Sustainable Development Guide for Councils, Esther Barret, LGA

The final presentation of the event was an LGA overview and update on the Sustainable Development Guide for Councils published in July 2020. The session was presented by Esther Barrott. Esther is a National Management Trainee, working in the LGA’s policy team.

The LGA are supporting councils with sustainable procurement using the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) as an overarching framework. The SDGs underpin UN Resolution 70/1, Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 17 goals and their 169 accompanying targets, agreed by all UN member states in 2015, represent the world’s most broad, ambitious and comprehensive agreement on sustainable development to date.

There are 4 steps in the LGA Sustainable Development Guide, Plan and Prioritise, engage and partner, implement and monitor, advocate and report. The guide also details six case studies from Bristol, York, Liverpool, Newcastle, Mannheim, and Utrecht, where the SDGs have been effectively integrated into city development plans.

Esther highlighted the Bristol City Council One City Plan. Emerging from Bristol’s selection as European Green Capital in 2015, the One City Plan is an excellent case study for the integration of the SDGs into city development planning. Bristol’s leaders, including the elected mayor, now see the SDGs as central to delivering a sustainable and inclusive economic recovery from Covid-19 for the city.

Esther  concluded by emphasising that the SDGs can support the local public sector to ensure that economic recovery and development is achieved in a fair and just way. To best accomplish this, it is imperative for councils to focus on encouraging people to work together across the range of public sector organisations both locally and internationally. It is also important to continue to inspire people to be involved and to support grassroots action. 

Esther’s presentation is available for download here: Sustainable Development Guide for Councils – LGA.

To close the session, iNetwork facilitated a 40 minute discussion with all delegates. This was a fully participatory session where all delegates had the opportunity to share insights, updates, and challenges from their own areas of work.


Additional resources discussed on the day:  Resources and Links

Once again, thank you to our guest speakers Martin Budd – Hull City Council, Neil Hind – GMHSP, Esther Barrot – LGA and Claire IgoeManchester University NHS FT and to those of you who were able to join us and for your contribution on the day.  

We look forward to seeing you again at another iNetwork event soon.