In May PML hosted the first marine-themed networking meeting on behalf of the Centre for Business and Climate Solutions (CBCS), based at the University of Exeter.
The breakfast meeting was organised to highlight the opportunities and support available to businesses in the South West as they take action to adapt and mitigate their impact on climate change as well as identify opportunities relating to the changing climate.
The meeting introduced the work of CBCS and some of its partners, such as PML and WITT Energy, as well as the ways in which the Centre and its partners can support SW businesses take advantage of climate change-related expertise, products and services for R&D, competitive edge and social responsibility. Focused on marine-related collaborations and solutions, presentations showcased the range of services offered by the Centre and case studies of lucrative collaborations, such as how CBCS and PML have helped local start-up energy business WITT Energy to develop their innovative marine energy device. WITT Energy Director, Mairi Wickett, said that CBCS opened doors to key personnel who helped promote their new technology, and brought expertise in testing and development to the business.
Councillor Ian Darcy, Plymouth’s Shadow Cabinet Member for Economic Development, recognises how important this is for businesses in the South West. At the breakfast meeting he said, “what I witnessed today is another example of the world-leading innovation that's happening in the region. I heard today how small and medium enterprises– not the 250-employee organisations but the five-man bands – could benefit from the centre’s activities or indeed what’s going on under the umbrella of PML.”
Councillor Darcy continued: “Climate change is particularly relevant for this region as we rely heavily on tourism. It’s a massive contributor to the local and national economy and also one of the largest employers so it's vital that we understand the impacts of climate change on this sector.”
“From an individual business perspective, energy overheads are often one of the biggest expenditures and that affects bottom line. We have no control or influence over energy costs so the support available from CBSC and how the Centre can afford free time to local organisations to assess carbon footprint, energy usage and how savings can be captured to the benefit of the business is a fantastic resource.”
Part-financed by a grant from the European Union’s Regional Development Fund 2007 -2013, CBCS offers two days of consultancy to local businesses free of charge. The event attracted many business people interested in how CBCS could help their organisation, including the Director of Operations of a large Plymouth-based business park, who stated: “We have a hybrid of energy solutions so to have someone do a thorough audit of what we already have will enable us to review the situation and develop an appropriate plan; it may be what we currently have is the best solution but it may be that the Centre identifies gaping holes in the way we are sourcing our energy and the boiler systems that we use.”