Journey to Net Zero programme helps over 100 Greater Manchester businesses take steps to lower emissions

Nov 10, 2022 | Bee Net Zero

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Over 100 businesses across Greater Manchester are now navigating their way to being cleaner, greener and more profitable with support from the GC Business Growth Hub’s Journey to Net Zero programme.


The GC Business Growth Hub is a partner of the Bee Net Zero initiative which is working to ensure Greater Manchester is the easiest place in the UK to become a net zero business. 


The fully-funded Journey to Net Zero programme created by the GC Business Growth Hub launched in July 2021 and works with SMEs across Greater Manchester who are at an early stage on the journey to net zero emissions. The programme helps them to develop a clear plan to help them get there faster and more efficiently from setting targets to advice on putting ideas into action.


The Sustainability and Net Zero service at GC Business Growth Hub has been working with SMEs across Greater Manchester for over 10 years, supporting businesses with the transition towards a vibrant, sustainable, and low-carbon economy.


To date, the team has helped SMEs across Greater Manchester to collectively save over 76,000 tonnes of CO2e per year.


Manchester-based textile supplier Thomas Kneale is one of the 107 businesses that have taken advantage of the Journey to Net Zero programme. The programme delivered by the GC Business Growth Hub, which is part of The Growth Company and is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.


Since starting the programme, Thomas Kneale has been calculating its emission output from a baseline year in 2018 and has achieved a reduction to date of several tonnes per annum. The replacement of an old boiler with a modern, combi model is saving 2.3 tonnes of CO2e per annum alone.


Director, Brett Mendell said: “The course was really insightful with lots of information and pointers for us to go and look into, which has been really important for us to be able to take the next steps & accurately measure and judge progress as it is made.


“Beforehand, we knew what net zero was but didn’t know how to get there and the course has given us the knowledge and information as to how to start the journey.


“Since the programme we have taken actions to reduce our carbon – like signing up for our first ever 100% renewable electricity tariff – and reviewing all of our activities. We’ve signed up to a carbon calculator and inputted all of our data from 2018 onwards to look at how we are reducing our carbon footprint over time. That’s helping to drive our activities, actions, discussions and decisions.”


The Journey to Net Zero programme is designed to help senior decision-makers in all sectors develop a clear plan of action for net zero. It provides support via online workshops, study materials, one-to-one advice, building business cases and staff engagement amongst other key areas.


Tech company IDS has also benefitted from taking part in the Journey to Net Zero programme. With offices in Leeds and London, as well as Manchester, the software data consultancy needed support and guidance to help them take the first steps towards becoming a greener organisation.


Donna Moores, Head of Quality and Compliance at IDS, said: “As a business, we knew how important it was to start our journey to net zero, particularly with regards to tendering for work with big organisations in the future, who are going to want to know about our carbon footprint. But the scale of the challenge ahead of us was overwhelming and we weren’t sure how to even get started.


 “I’ve attended all the seminars as part of Journey to Net Zero and I would definitely recommend it. It’s especially useful getting to know the rest of the people on the course because you can learn so much from each other, particularly when you are coming from different industries and offering fresh perspectives on their challenges – and vice versa. I’ve attended all the seminars and I would definitely recommend it.”


Kevin Lambert, Sustainability and Net Zero Lead at GC Business Growth Hub said“It is fantastic to see how businesses like Thomas Kneale and IDS have embraced the support available through Journey to Net Zero. Reaching net zero can be a big challenge, but with support, you can build a strategic plan to cut your carbon footprint, reduce costs, minimise risk and make the most of the many opportunities awaiting you in the net zero world.”


To find out more and register your interest in the next cohort of Journey to Net Zero, visit:


Bee Net Zero offers free, impartial advice to local businesses at all stages of the net zero journey whether they’re making the first steps or need help turning ideas into reality. To find out more about how the Bee Net Zero partnership can help your business on the journey to net zero, visit


Businesses looking to access specialist support can visit for more information about the organisation’s extensive range of services. This and other GC Business Growth Hub projects are part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the GM Business Growth Hub project designed to help ambitious SME businesses achieve growth and increase employment in Greater Manchester. The Hub is also supported by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Greater Manchester local authorities.

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