Businesses and organisations from around Northern Ireland came to five locations, including Mid and East Antrim, last week to visit leading sustainability certification group Planet Mark’s 100% electric battle bus and hear from local people, employers and community groups about the impactful and inspiring projects they are undertaking to reduce their carbon emissions.
The Northern Ireland leg of the tour saw Planet Mark partner with NILGA and Translink to travel the region in Translink’s new zero emission hydrogen bus – built by Wrightbus in Ballymena.
The tour visited local businesses to hear stories about how organisations are decarbonising in addition to providing net zero workshops for businesses that are yet to begin their low carbon transition.
The event was supported by Belfast City, Mid and East Antrim, Derry City and Strabane and Causeway Coast and Glens Councils.
The tour was part of Planet Mark’s Zero Carbon Tour, which aims to empower British firms and their employees to become part of a greater national effort to protect the environment by raising understanding of the action they can take to support the drive to net zero. It will also highlight the great work many companies are already doing to address their carbon emissions.
Steve Malkin, founder and CEO of Planet Mark, said: “It was great to meet with businesses and organisations from throughout Northern Ireland and to hear their carbon stories and learn the benefits small businesses can secure by reducing their emissions.
“This event is an eminent example of what the Zero Carbon Tour has set out to achieve. We are aiming to inspire, educate and provide the impetus for businesses of all shapes and sizes to take action, set zero carbon targets and implement achievable steps to deliver continuous carbon reductions over the coming years.”
Race to Zero is the UN-backed, global campaign to rally leadership and support from all non-state actors for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery.
All members are credibly committed to the same overarching goal: halving global emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions as soon as possible, and by 2050 at the very latest. Planet Mark is one of the campaign’s 11 formal partners for businesses.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Cllr William McCaughey, said:
“I was delighted to be invited to Wrightbus to gain an understanding on how this new, innovative hydrogen technology is changing the transport system across Northern Ireland.
“The Wrightbus investment in hydrogen technology, coupled with Council’s investment in training to progress a skilled local workforce in clean technology will help to support and sustain new and existing businesses and to position Mid and East Antrim as a dynamic, outward-looking region which welcomes and supports inward investment.”
NILGA President, Cllr Robert Burgess, said: “I was delighted to welcome the team from Planet Mark who have been on tour, demonstrating to Northern Ireland’s businesses how we can set our own very credible carbon reduction targets and get things done, now.
“It is vital that our local businesses begin their journey on the Race to Zero, and I trust that last week’s events will have empowered local firms and workers to protect our environment, by demystifying what is needed to achieve net zero. The tour has also been highlighting the good work many companies are already doing to address their carbon output.”
Neil Collins, Wrightbus Managing Director, said:
“It was a pleasure to welcome Planet Mark’s Zero Carbon Tour and to show them how Wrightbus is leading the way with zero-emission buses – including the production of our world-first hydrogen double decker, the Hydroliner – to help create a greener future.
“To date, our zero-emission vehicles have saved almost 1 million kg of CO2 from entering the atmosphere, having clocked up half a million miles in the process. We completely echo the tour’s ambition to encourage businesses to think about their own carbon reduction targets.
“We’re incredibly proud that, thanks to significant investment and technological advances, we’re now able to offer four zero carbon vehicles to our customers, all being built here in our Ballymena factory. Their development has also led to us helping to create a strong green economy in Northern Ireland, with 300 permanent job roles being filled over the next six months.”
Chris Conway, Translink Group Chief Executive, said:
“It was great to help facilitate the Northern Ireland leg of the Carbon bus tour – using our own zero emission hydrogen bus. The team have captured so many great stories during their visit and as we continue our journey to decarbonise Northern Ireland’s public transport, we hope even more people take action for climate and get inspired to create a better future for generations to come.”