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BY Lucy Bannister | Wednesday 19 October 2022

The Waterline Summit 2022 brough together our region's businesses, public sector organisations, academic institutions and community groups to unite to deliver net zero

The region’s flagship climate change summit has brought the Humber together behind a shared vision for a prosperous net zero future.

The Waterline Summit 2022 has concluded with businesses, public sector organisations, academic institutions and community groups agreeing to work towards three specific goals.

Those goals, which were highlighted on the third and final day of this year’s summit, are:

  • Highly-skilled, green jobs.
  • Private investment to drive economic growth.
  • A decarbonised future for our country.

The Waterline Summit, organised in partnership between Marketing Humber and the University of Hull, has addressed the challenges and significant opportunities facing the region as a result of the global climate crisis, including the implementation of internationally significant decarbonisation projects.

Over the past four years, the annual summit has involved hundreds of speakers across dozens of events and engaged tens of thousands of people across the region.

It has reached an international audience by being streamed to all seven continents ahead of last year’s COP26 conference, with key contributors to The Waterline Summit also taking part in the landmark event in Glasgow.

The summits have highlighted the crucial role the Humber has to play, as the UK’s biggest climate change opportunity and an exemplar and demonstrator region to the world.

The 2022 summit was held at the Aura Innovation Centre, at Bridgehead business park, in Hessle, and featured in-person discussion panels, presentations, exhibitions and networking opportunities focused on accelerating action to tackle climate change.

Dr Diana Taylor, Managing Director of Marketing Humber, said: “The Waterline Summit has delivered as the largest decarbonisation event in the North of England.

“We’ve been the catalyst to raise awareness of the challenges and opportunities for the Humber, as the biggest emitter of CO2 in the UK, and alongside our academic and industrial partners, we’ve put the region on the global stage to lead the transition to a net zero future.

“We’ve shared knowledge and ideas to help position the Humber as a world leader in the climate change challenge. Now, the focus must be on action and implementation, as there can be no delay.

“We are leading in innovative technology and building expertise to achieve our aims and now, after four years of The Waterline Summit, the Humber has a shared vision.”

The Waterline Summit 2022 was held at a time when the climate crisis has never been more evident, including the recent devastating floods in Pakistan that have claimed more than 1,600 lives and impacted 33 million people.

Professor Dave Petley, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Hull, said: “It’s critical for us to stem the tide and make the changes necessary to avert the worst of the climate crisis.

“Doing so will require stakeholders from all walks of society coming together and collaborating towards our net zero goals. Whilst this may seem daunting, the Humber is a shining example of what can be achieved.

“We announced our plans to become carbon neutral by 2027 at the first The Waterline Summit in 2019 and since then we’ve been working hard to progress this ambition.

“We’re also accelerating the drive to net zero by providing students with the skills and knowledge they will need to thrive in a green economy, as well as through our world-leading research and collaborations.”

The launch of The Waterline Summit 2022 was hosted by renowned broadcast presenter and journalist Louise Minchin.

It included a panel discussion involving Professor Petley; Mark Goldstone, Head of Regional Policy at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI); Jenny Sutcliffe, Principal Consultant Regulatory Affairs at energy company Phillips 66; Cathy Yitong Li, OneStepGreener Ambassador, COP26; and former Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Chris Huhne.

Beckie Hart, Regional Director for the CBI Yorkshire and the Humber, who attended the summit, said: “It’s been great to see so much commitment from businesses to such an important agenda.

“It’s vital the business community is united in projecting a vision for how it wants to see the Humber develop in the next stage of its evolution. It now has that vision.

“In recent years we’ve seen businesses move from exploring and learning about decarbonisation, to knowing they have to do something. That’s why the momentum created by The Waterline Summit is so important.”

The winners of the Waterline Student Sustainability Challenge, which encourages young people across the Humber to come up with their own eco solutions, were also announced at the summit.

The Loyal Leaders, from Engineering UTC Northern Lincolnshire, won the top prize of £2,000 for their school and a trip to Norway with sponsor Equinor.

Team members developed and implemented an energy pledge at Engineering UTC Northern Lincolnshire, investigated ways to reduce energy consumption and is now working with the Finance Manager to cut the school’s energy bills by a third.

Students attending the session also enjoyed a talk from three-time Olympic champion cyclist Ed Clancy OBE, who shared his tips on how to succeed in even the most high-pressure environments.

The Waterline Summit 2022 was supported by Event Partner, Phillips 66. Arup sponsored the Adaptation and Resilience Day, Equinor and SSE Thermal sponsored the Student Sustainability Challenge and Exhibition, while innovation consultancy Edenic Group and offshore wind global leader Ørsted were Waterline Hackathon Sponsors. The Oh Yes! Net Zero campaign, in partnership with Hull City Council, were the Networking Sponsors throughout.