The south’s flagship annual showcase of STEM technology has assembled an expert panel to discuss the latest developments in the corporate response to climate change.
And alongside will be a dedicated exhibitor zone featuring leading providers of eco-friendly products and services together with researchers at the cutting edge of environmental innovation.
Taking place at the Lakeside North Harbour business campus in Portsmouth on 14 September, #BIS2022 champions the role of science, technology and innovation across the full range of business operations including resilience building, growth planning, collaboration, cyber security and sustainability.
Experts on the sustainability panel include Dr Renata Konadu of the Southampton Business School at the University of Southampton.
One of the UK’s certified ‘sustainability professionals’ under the Global Reporting Initiative, an independent standards organisation, Renata helps SMEs in various sectors to prepare sustainability reports for customers, staff, investors and other stakeholders.
Renata said: “Many companies don’t know how to measure their carbon footprint and need help to gather data on their emissions.
“Others are doing incredibly well but need training in how best to present their progress.
“Conforming to GRI standards can help focus the mind and paint a much clearer picture of where grants and loans applied for are going to be used.”
Also discussing help for firms on the net zero journey will be fellow panel member David Wilshin.
He is a Carbon & Procurement Specialist at Auditel, a Winchester-headquartered company that helps clients achieve independent verification of carbon neutrality recognised by the British Standards Institution.
David said: “Regardless of where they are on the way to net zero, there are many sources of help for companies keen to progress.
“We will be discussing grants, government innovation subsidies underpinned by tax relief, and how to reduce indirect spend to help fund your net zero journey.
“These are all practical, robust approaches to reducing carbon emissions and highly recommended if you don’t want to be accused of greenwashing.”
Joining Renata and David on the panel are Professor Ian Williams, an expert in applied environmental science at the University of Southampton, Dr Matt Montgomery, Head of Climate Action at BCP Council, and Stephen Kirk, Climate & Sustainability Ambassador at the Institute of Directors.
Among the exhibitors highlighting progress with sustainability is the Centre for Enzyme Innovation (CEI) at the University of Portsmouth.
Scientists there are developing industrial-scale solutions through the re-engineering of naturally occurring enzymes that can break down, digest and recycle some of the most commonly occurring plastics responsible for global pollution.
These include polyethylene terephthalate (PET), used to make single-use drinks bottles, clothing and carpets.
CEI received investment for a new Industrial Engagement Hub from the government’s Getting Building Fund through the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership and is already attracting global interest in its work.
Rory Miles, Innovation Fellow for the CEI, said: “These new facilities will help us to bridge the gap between our current fundamental research, and the creation of practical and scalable enzyme-enabled technologies for recycling and upcycling plastic waste.
“In short, these facilities allow us to break, make and remake plastics over and over again so that we can develop true industrial recycling processes and partnerships.
“But enzymes alone are not enough. We need to translate this fundamental science into real-world applications and processes that can be commercialised and scaled-up to match the vast scale of the plastic pollution problem.
“The Hub will help us to realise this ambition through its delivery of bespoke facilities that enhance our collaboration with partners on a regional, national and international basis.
“The CEI innovation team is looking forward to engaging with businesses at the Business South Innovation Expo, exploring opportunities to collaborate to drive sustainability through research and development in biotechnology.
“We’re passionate about creating global impact through partnering with businesses across the Southern region.”
Also exhibiting is Absolar, a spin-out enterprise from the University of Southampton based on the Southampton Science Park.
Absolar will highlight its use of advanced technology including AI to provide remote solar surveys that help make homes and businesses more energy efficient.
Director Nic Cory said: “The Business Innovation South Expo gives us the opportunity to showcase our work contributing to sustainable cities and communities across the south and build relationships with current and potential clients genuinely interested in creating a more sustainable business community.
“That’s why we’re exhibiting for the second year in a row, with a particular focus on how solar can help businesses cut costs and carbon footprints.”
Among the exhibitors making their first appearance at the expo is ferry operator Wightlink.
Representatives will be discussing progress with their Green Solent Project including the use of hybrid energy systems.
David Williams, Wightlink’s Head of Marketing, said: “Climate change is happening, and we want to be part of the solution.
“That’s why we initiated our Green Solent Project, to protect the land, air and sea that surrounds us.
“We have already introduced England’s first hybrid powered ferry and shaped our day-to-day operations to reduce our food miles by working with local suppliers and recycling 99% of our waste.
“We are supporting the reintroduction of oyster beds at our port in Lymington and have a project to examine the growth of seagrass in the Solent off Ryde.
“Our future vision is to be removing 25,000 tonnes of carbon per year by 2030, delivering on our pledge of net zero emissions within the next decade.”
#BIS2022 organiser Lara Bull said: “Given the climate crisis, achieving and demonstrating sustainability is now an essential element of corporate strategy and social responsibility, and rightly so.
“We will be highlighting the latest thinking on how to address climate change. This will be hugely relevant to expo attendees, who represent many kinds of companies and organisations across all industry sectors.
“We will discuss sustainability as part of environmental, social and corporate governance, explain how to start or progress a net zero challenge, and give details of available grants and funds to help make the essential changes required.”
For updates, announcements and to register for the Business Innovation South Expo as an exhibitor or attendee, visit www.businessinnovationsouth.com or connect via Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn using the hashtags #BIS2022, #morethanjustanexpo or #catalystforcollaboration.