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Northern Powerhouse European Union

The UK needs to cut its emissions by around two thirds this decade

7 in 10 British businesses plan to introduce net zero emissions goals in the near future

Three quarters of the world’s biggest companies expect to deselect suppliers based on environmental performance

Please register your interest in our next cohort programmes using the link below.


Journey to Net Zero is a fully funded online programme exclusively for SMEs in Greater Manchester that want to get on the path to net zero emissions, but aren’t sure where to start.

Via group workshops, study material and one-to-one advice, environmental specialists will guide you through what net zero means for your business and how to prioritise action. With expert support, you’ll build a strategic plan to cut your carbon footprint, reduce costs, minimise risk and capitalise on the many opportunities awaiting you in the net zero world.

The net zero transition is here, and every business needs to take part

In 2019, the UK became the first major nation to commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero.

The transition will fundamentally transform every part of the economy. Some of  these changes will be visible, such as renewable energy and electric vehicles, but most will happen behind the scenes in the way organisations operate and manage their relationships.

Businesses of all sizes will face new responsibilities and risks, but also new opportunities to grow and benefit from greener and more efficient ways of working.

Businesses like yours have a vital role to play. SMEs are responsible for nearly half the UK’s business-related emissions, and large companies are increasingly focusing on their supply chain to reduce their environmental impact.

The choice is either to start now and capitalise on the opportunities ahead, or fall behind and miss out on the benefits, such as stronger stakeholder relationships, brand reputation and higher profitability

Our impact

Since 2012, our net zero specialist have helped SMEs in Greater Manchester to save…

Net zero beginners welcome

Journey to Net Zero is a programme specially designed to help senior decision makers develop a clear plan of action for net zero. The course is fully-funded and no prior expertise is required.

Build a strategy from start to finish

Through online workshops, study material, one-to-one advice and shared learning, you will equip yourself with the knowledge and tools you need to:

  • Understand your priorities
  • Implement cost and carbon cutting actions
  • Use data to make decisions
  • Build the business case for investments
  • Engage your staff and suppliers
  • Build your reputation as a green business
  • Commit to a long-term strategy

See the brochure for more detail on programme content: Journey to Net Zero brochure

Journey to Net Zero testimonials

“I was a complete beginner when I met the Hub, but now we’re on track for net zero by 2022 and more successful than ever.”

Richard Hagan, Managing Director at Crystal Doors, winner of the 2021 Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development

“Each session is informative, providing an in-depth and rigorous exploration of the challenges and wider context. Where the programme really shines is in the practical tools and strategies it is providing within a realistic framework, enabling small businesses like ours to be proactive in making improvements without being over ambitious.”

Jenny Heil, Business Development Manager at Smith Goodfellow PR in Stockport

“Although becoming carbon neutral is important to our organisation, it’s a lot of work for a small team to put the measures into place. The Journey to Net Zero course has given me practical, step-by-step advice that has made it easy for me to lay the foundations for our organisation to be able to take action and achieve our goal of becoming carbon neutral.”

Kat Mulhall, Events Manager at Victoria Baths Trust in Manchester

“SMEs need to make a commitment to tackle climate change and take action on that commitment as quickly as possible. It makes them attractive suppliers to the hundreds of multinationals that need SMEs’ emission reductions as part of their bold climate action plans.”

Maria Mendiluce, CEO of the We Mean Business coalition

Learn from environmental specialists

GC Business Growth Hub’s team of environmental business advisors collectively have over 150 years’ experience in supporting SMEs to become cleaner, greener and more profitable businesses.


Alasdair Dalzel-Job

Alasdair provides resource efficiency and environmental risk support to businesses, helping them to identify and implement low carbon solutions. As well as a Master’s degree in clean technology, Alasdair has over 17 years experience in the Environmental field. He is an ESOS Lead Assessor, a member of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, an Associate Member of IEMA and an IEMA Associate Environmental Auditor.

Paul Cooper

Paul is a graduate Physicist and Chartered Engineer C.Eng MIE with over 40 years experience in Energy and Renewables sector ranging from R&D, technology transfer to market, design, build, operate and maintain ESCO projects as practitioner and business leader. Trained and practised as "a hands on" site engineer, managing installation, commissioning and maintenance of plant and equipment, Paul has worked both in UK and overseas at a senior level in the electricity industry, multinational companies and is an experienced project manager. Other more recent qualifications achieved were Chartered Energy Manager, ESOS Lead Assessor and international IREE (investor ready energy efficiency) certified.

Clare Fallon

Clare has over 10 years’ experience within the environmental sector. She has a BSC Hons degree in Environmental Management, is a Practitioner Member of IEMA and a Lead Environmental Auditor. She uses her wide experience of working with central and local government, automotive and defence industry, as well as other private sector businesses to benefit her clients. She has particular interest in environment and social value within supply chains and how behaviour change techniques can be used to engage with staff.

Rebecca Chedd

Rebecca has 8 years of experience working in the environmental sector and has been supporting SMEs as part of the GC resource efficiency team since 2015. Rebecca has previously delivered carbon reduction workshops for organisations including Transport for Greater Manchester and Great Places Housing Group. Rebecca holds an MSc in Energy and the Environment and is an Associate Member of IEMA.

Carl Hirst

40 years energy industry experience in: energy efficiency, supply contracts,  networks & connections, metering & data management, energy strategy and project management. I have worked with Industrial, Commercial & Public Sector clients both large and small to understand their businesses and help them to develop energy plans and implement efficiency projects to reduce energy use & carbon emissions and improve business productivity.

Rebecca Bowcock

Rebecca is a Human Geography graduate from the University of Salford with experience in the environmental sector. She has previously worked for leading sustainability focused organisations like City of Trees and Groundwork, as well as completed an internship with the Environmental & Sustainability team at UoS. Rebecca's background in the environmental industry enables her to play a key role in the coordination of the delivery of both the Green Technologies & Services and Resource Efficiency programmes. More recently, Rebecca has changed roles to work soley with the Resource Efficiency team as an ERDF Grants Coordinator.

Net zero blogs

Net Zero: What it is and why it matters to you

The Hub’s Resource Efficiency Lead, Kevin Lambert, explains what net zero means, where it came from and why all businesses need to sit up and take notice.

What does a Green City Region mean to SMEs?

Speaking at Greater Manchester’s 2020 Green Summit, our environmental business advisors discuss what SMEs should care about the city region’s ambitions.         

Making more with less

Environmental Business Advisor, Claire Scott, on the small process efficiency improvements that could make a huge difference to profitability for manufacturers.

A quick-fire guide to 'Scope 3' emmisions

Claire Scott breaks down what is meant by ‘Scope 3’ greenhouse gas emissions, why they are important and how SMEs can begin to measure them as part of their carbon footprint. 

How to be a 'Net Zero ready' supplier

Clare Fallon explains why supply chain sustainability is a vital part of any net zero strategy and how SMEs can cement their place as a supplier of choice for increasingly climate-conscious customers.

Greenwashing: What is it and how to avoid it

Kevin Lambert explains the rising awareness of ‘corporate greenwash’ and why businesses need to be accurate, clear and transparent when promoting their environmental credentials.

The case for sustainability: Thoughts from two SMEs on the frontline

Rebecca Chedd shares the thoughts of two of her clients in Greater Manchester who are making great strides towards sustainability, despite differing perspectives and challenges.

A beginner's guide to carbon footprinting

Environmental Business Advisor Claire Scott explains what a carbon footprint is, how they are calculated and why it’s something every business should consider. 

Why sustainable supply chains are essential in the post-coronavirus world

With insight from our expert team of advisors, resource efficiency lead Kevin Lambert shows how supply chain sustainability offers both resilience and opportunity as we recover from COVID-19.

How SMEs can prepare for Greater Manchester’s Clean Air Zone

Greater Manchester’s Clean Air Zone could be just a year away. Rebecca Chedd, Environmental Business Advisor at GC Business Growth Hub, sets out how businesses should prepare.