Growing Green carbon emission reduction project hailed a resounding success
23rd January 2023
By supporting small local businesses in their move towards net zero, the Growing Green pilot project is expected to deliver £3 million in GVA in the Kent and Medway area by 2028, according to a recent independent report.
Led by the Growing Kent & Medway (GKM) consortium, the 12-month programme designed to help horticultural and food & drink businesses become more sustainable has proved to be a success for both the local economy and the environment.
As well as driving down carbon emissions, the independent report produced by Amion Consulting anticipates the project to deliver over 20 new jobs and £3 million in GVA in Kent and Medway over the next five years.
The scheme supported 33 small local businesses by providing training, co-developed decarbonisation action plans and grants to 24 of the businesses to the value of £180,000. The project was funded by the UK Government and Growing Green partners through the UK Community Renewal Fund.
Sarah Nurden from Kent County Council, who monitored the UK Community Renewal Fund for the region, said: “Supporting local businesses to thrive, grow, and become better prepared to tackle future challenges (such as climate change) are key ambitions both for central and local government.
“Kent County Council is delighted with the progress that NIAB and partners have made in helping small businesses to reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions through offering them tailored support to help them achieve this.”
Ms Nurden highlighted that the project has addressed a range of barriers standing in the way of small businesses mitigating their environmental impact. Alongside offering independent, dependable advice, the scheme provided businesses access to vital finance, hence unlocking the door to innovation and technological investments.
According to UK local authority and regional greenhouse gas emissions statistics from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the rate of decline in carbon emissions was slower in Kent and Medway (22.6% to 7,292.8 kilotonnes) between 2015 and 2020 than in the wider South East (24.7%) and the national rate for England (23.4%).
Dr Nikki Harrison, GKM programme director, said: “We designed Growing Green to provide guidance and financial support to not only directly impact the businesses on the programme, but to inspire and demonstrate to other businesses in our sector how they too can reduce carbon levels and make environmental improvements.
“While the pilot scheme has now finished, we’ll be continuing to generate interest in the latest innovation and new technologies available for smaller businesses to move towards net zero through Growing Kent & Medway grant funding, events, case studies and information on our website.”
GKM has released a series of videos showcasing how local businesses are addressing their environmental impact with the help of Growing Green. The issues tackled include carbon capture and reuse in brewing, reducing food waste, finding value in by-product waste streams, heat and water use, electrifying refrigerated vehicles and bottle return schemes.
The full playlist of Growing Green video case studies is available here: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLzBHN7xFW0p_gx5cNGH7aDmTbRYIEThE6
A grant from Growing Green has enabled Jason Perrott, founder of Ro-gro, a vertical farm growing micro herbs and salads in Kent, to insulate their electric vehicle instead of using a fossil fuel-powered vehicle with a cooling unit.
“There were clear measurable benefits of our project,” he said. “Based on 20,000 miles of delivery, the electric van saves 3,600kg of carbon. So, we’re saving a lot of CO2.
“Growing Green has improved the way I approach environmental management. We now have a framework to look at how we can make improvements to our whole business, including our fertilisers, composting and rainwater harvesting,” Mr Perrott added.
For more information about the projects and to watch the case studies, visit growingkentandmedway.com/growing-green.