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It's been two years since Hull City Council, the University of Hull, Reckitt and Future Humber launched the Oh Yes! Net Zero movement at the Reckitt Science and Innovation Centre. 

With vocal backing from The Rt Hon Alok Sharma, President of COP26, and the support and enthusiasm of business leaders, scientists, universities, political and community leaders, schools and residents of all ages, Oh Yes! Net Zero capitalises on Hull’s history of innovation and the enthusiasm of its people to decarbonise our region, with the aim of achieving Net Zero by 2050.

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Turning up the heat on decarbonisation

Foreword by David Shukman

Hottest year, hottest decade, ocean temperatures flying off the scale – there are lots of climate developments to be gloomy about, but there’s plenty of positive news too. We’re witnessing an extraordinary shift: from it being unusual for cities, businesses and public sector organisations to have carbon reduction plans, to being unusual for them not to. The number of communities and companies joining this worldwide movement is growing fast. Find out why local action is more important than ever.

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How they’re doing it in Melbourne

It’s more than ten thousand miles away but Melbourne in Australia has a lot in common with Hull.

Both cities developed on estuaries – in Melbourne’s case beside the Yarra River – and became nationally-important industrial hubs with maritime links worldwide. But while the estuaries were a blessing for trade and for fishing, they’ve also made both cities vulnerable to flooding.

From the earliest years of its foundation, Melbourne has been inundated repeatedly. It’s one reason why the city authority declared a climate emergency in 2019 – the same year as Hull City Council.

Even Melbourne’s campaign for Net Zero sounds familiar: ‘City of Yes’, so it’s fascinating to hear about the approach of Lord Mayor Sally Capp and her team.

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Our Impact

Measuring cities’ decarbonisation efforts – David Shukman Investigates

A new science has developed to measure cities’ carbon emissions, and different systems have evolved worldwide. In the UK, we have a territorial approach, calculating the greenhouse gases released within a local area. But what happens when people buy products made outside their city? Or outside the UK? Should we also measure consumption emissions?

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The Oh Yes! Net Zero Executive Summary shows our journey to achieving Net Zero by 2050.

The Oh Yes! Net Zero Executive Summary shows our journey to achieving Net Zero by 2050. View executive summary
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The impact of Oh Yes! Net Zero

If it’s tricky to accurately and reliably record carbon emissions for a region or city at present, how do we measure the impact of the carbon reduction measures we’re taking in Hull? Our answer is to look at what we can actively support which would serve as a leading indicator – something that, if monitored, could reliably predict outcomes in the future. We believe that tracking the number of members who have produced a carbon reduction plan (CRP) meets this criteria. Organisations with CRPs have calculated their carbon footprint and have worked out the best way to start targeting their carbon reduction efforts. They’ve identified changes they can make and, importantly, they’ve put dates against them. They have made a commitment to do something and said when they will do it. We know if a CRP is implemented, a reduction in carbon will follow, and will be measurable. Find out about our ambitions and how we look to support and utilise our strong SME (small and medium sized enterprises) representation across all sectors.

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"The second year of Oh Yes! Net Zero has seen the project go from strength to strength, reaching a larger audience of SMEs that are at the heart of the city's economy and key to our net zero future. Extending the project into our secondary schools to grow the skills for the future Net Zero City has shown the power of the Oh Yes! message and approach. The council is proud to be one of the founding partners of the project, working with Reckitt, University of Hull and Future Humber to build a movement for change and develop solutions together as Hull businesses working today for tomorrow's city.”

Cllr Mike Ross

Leader of Hull City Council

Carbon Reduction in Action

Hear from Oh Yes! Net Zero members on what they have achieved so far

How important is collaboration in achieving net zero?
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Smith+Nephew and Vic Coupland

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Climate Changemakers

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Greens the Signmakers

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Sesh Events

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Hull City Council and Ideal Heating

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City Health Care Partnership

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7 key takeaways from our members

What have we learned this year?

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1. The importance of a carbon reduction plan

A carbon reduction plan gives you a starting point and helps you measure where you are now compared to your position last year and the year before. It also gives you a goal to aim at and helps you plan next steps.


2. Reporting your progress can energise your employees

As Bio-D found, many of the best ideas come from employees. If you report on your carbon reduction actions – either publicly or via staff meetings or newsletters – colleagues feel empowered and involved.


3. Collaboration is key to reducing emissions

Scope 3 emissions are tricky for companies to control and measure. But working together with suppliers on carbon reduction projects gives you a head start, as Carbon Clinic participants like Smith+Nephew and Vic Coupland are finding.

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4. Sharing information saves time and builds local supply chains

Oh Yes! Net Zero members have been able to work together and keep their spending in the Humber region by sharing their experiences and recommending suppliers.

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5. Reducing emissions can make it easier to win certain contracts

The NHS’s challenging Net Zero targets mean that companies without a carbon reduction plan and measurable reporting soon won’t be eligible to bid for their work.


6. Start with what you can control

The challenge of carbon reduction can seem overwhelming and expensive. But you don’t have to replace all your lightbulbs and install solar panels right away. There are smaller changes you can make – recycling, getting rid of disposable cups and cutlery, putting in bike racks for staff, implementing a cycle to work scheme – that can be easy wins to start with.


7. Empower young people

The younger generation is the one that’s going to have to live with climate change. Many are anxious and want to do something about it. By giving them agency through programmes like Climate Changemakers, their energy and ideas can be harnessed for the benefit of us all.

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