Just Getting Started: The West of England Carbon Challenge relaunches after four successful years
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Just Getting Started: The West of England Carbon Challenge relaunches after four successful years

Nick Mason
Author: Nick Mason October 03, 2013

Launched in May 2009 by Forum for the Future, the West of England Carbon Challenge (WECC) brought public and private organisations from across Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire together in a collective commitment to reduce their carbon emissions by 2.5% year-on-year, targeting a total reduction of 10% by 2012/13.

In this time the network has grown from 10 founders to over 130 members, including the likes of BBC, Environment Agency, Triodos Bank, Yeo Valley and Wessex Water. While WECC fell a bit short of the overall group target, there have been notable successes with over 50% of members showing reductions in emissions and several showing drops of over 20%.

Perhaps most importantly, the first four years of WECC have laid the groundwork for the future, developing a vibrant community dedicated to reducing carbon while sharing their experiences in doing so with the broader group.

Looking to the future

In July this year, Forum for the Future passed the WECC network over to Low Carbon South West CIC, a membership organisation and sector partnership aimed at promoting the growth of the environmental sector in the South West of England that has successfully created a resilient and diverse network of over 3,000 organisations, helping establish the region as a centre of excellence for low carbon development.

“We’re thrilled to be taking on the WECC at this time, and look forward to building on its success to date. We plan to expand the network, and Bristol winning European Green Capital 2015 is an ideal driver for building momentum and interest in the scheme. EnergyDeck gives the WECC a real purpose, by measuring actual energy use in the region we can benchmark and identify exciting ways to work towards a collective reduction – so the more organisations we can get using EnergyDeck, the better.”

Jessica Ferrow, Network Coordinator, LCSW

With this transition now complete, WECC has been relaunched with a new challenge for organisations to continue to reduce their carbon in 2013 and beyond.

The importance of an online platform to support the community

“One of the key lessons learned over the first four years was the importance of establishing a common, user-friendly, online platform that could be used to track energy use and share their results. EnergyDeck was selected as this platform for WECC. EnergyDeck came along with a solution that helps build a coherent way of reporting energy and carbon consumption whatever the shape or size of the organisation. It successfully combines a solid technical platform, with user friendliness, and moreover the ability for organisations to share peer to peer with others, not only in Bristol, but potentially the rest of the world.”

Simon Billing, Senior Sustainability Advisor, Forum for the Future

At EnergyDeck, we’re proud to have provided this platform to support the WECC community for the past 18 months, and are looking forward to continuing to do so as the initiative goes into its second stage.