Net-Zero Live 2020 preview: 8 things not to be missed at next week’s virtual event

Net-Zero Live is free-to-attend and has been shifted to a virtual format for 2020

Net-Zero Live, which has transitioned from a face-to-face to virtual format, is taking place from Tuesday 10 November to Thursday 12 November – so edie readers have just one week left to register.


The three-day conference is a must-attend for any sustainability, energy and CSR professionals looking to increase ambitions and accelerate action in the face of the twin climate and nature emergencies. The line-up for each day includes interactive panel discussions, facilitated networking sessions, educational masterclasses, and “open roundtable” discussions, as well as virtual exhibition booths showcasing the cutting-edge net-zero technologies and services that will shape the decade ahead.

With so much taking place over the course of the event, the edie team has rounded up eight of the things we are looking forward to the most.

1) The keynote speeches

On Day One, Committee on Climate Change (CCC) Chair Lord Deben will be providing a high-level update on how Covid-19 has impacted the UK’s decarbonisation progress and what policymakers must now do to ensure a green recovery. This will set the scene for a jam-packed three days of discussions.

Our keynote speakers for Day Two and Day Three respectively are Bim Afomali MP and Unilever’s chief supply chain officer Marc Engel. Both will be taking questions from the floor, providing inspiration, motivation and advice on tackling some of the UK’s biggest environmental challenges.

2) An update on LafargeHolcim’s net-zero announcement

Building materials are a key hurdle on the net-zero journey, but the sector has shown a strong appetite to lead the transition. September saw the world’s largest cement manufacturer LafargeHolcim pledge to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest and to work with the Science-Based Targets Initiative to ensure its work is climate-science-aligned.

On Day One of Net-Zero Live, the firm’s chief sustainability officer Magali Anderson will take part in a panel consisting of experts on the broader net-zero transition. She will provide the first public update on LafargeHolcim’s decarbonisation progress and processes.

3) A 45-minute masterclass on developing net-zero strategies

While many businesses have set net-zero deadlines since the UK changed its climate legislation, levels of progress in regards to planning and implementation are varied. Whatever stage your organisation has reached in its journey to net-zero, the 45-minute masterclass on Day One is an ideal scene-setter, providing best-practice advice. Expert representatives from CDP, Centrica and JRP Solutions will be guiding the session.

4) Unparallelled networking opportunities

Net-Zero Live may be virtual this year, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait until 2021 to network. After all, net-zero will only be achieved through collaboration and conversation. There will be time dedicated to networking on all three days and edie’s online event platform is well equipped to host all your introductions and ideas-sharing.

Hopin – the platform edie’s publisher is using across its array of events – allows attendees to meet new people at random and to speak with them for a few minutes at a time. So, get your elevator pitches ready.

5) Built environment sector experts from Landsec and Multiplex

The built environment is responsible for more than one-third of emissions and one-third of energy consumption globally. Moreover, most buildings erected today will be standing post-2050, meaning the sector has less time than most to align with net-zero.

Across the sector, businesses large and small are showing leadership by setting ambitious targets, changing design and investment processes and collaborating to broaden their scope. We are delighted to have Landsec’s energy and sustainability manager Andy Mazzucchelli speaking and Multiplex’s sustainability manager Pavan Juttla co-leading a masterclass on Day Two. Between these sessions, attendees will gain invaluable information on energy management and Scope 3 emissions – two key focus areas in the low-carbon transition.

6) Circular economy discussions with Unilever, Mars and Timberland

Pre-Covid, plastics were sitting at the top of the environmental agenda, alongside climate change, for businesses, policymakers and the general public alike. But how can businesses now bring the conversation back to the table, and broaden it to other materials? What does great engagement on circular economy issues look like? And how can organisations transition away from doing ‘less bad’ to having a positive impact?

In a high-level panel discussion on Day Three, representatives from Unilever, Mars, Timberland, Green Alliance and Reconomy will explore these questions and more. This session is a must-attend for anyone working in the resource space.

7) A masterclass in eliminating single-use plastics

Environmental groups have repeatedly warned that Covid-19 could lead us back to single-use. Yet businesses like Asda and P&G have forged ahead in launching new refill models and corporates are frequently making new commitments to reduce plastics packaging and to improve recyclability.

At this pivotal moment, the masterclass on Day Three will provide the information and inspiration organisations of all sizes and sectors need to tackle the plastic pollution crisis. Speakers from WWF and PHS will walk visitors through the low-hanging fruit, the role of sustainable packaging innovation and the importance of avoiding greenwash.

8) Open roundtables

Each of the three days will conclude with a series of open roundtables – a format which gives you the chance to “choose your own adventure” and take part in the discussions and activities most relevant to your focus areas.

The edie team has hand-picked a group of sustainability and energy experts for each roundtable, but there is no limit to how many others can (virtually) sit in on the conversation. Attendees will also have the chance to ask questions and share ideas, meaning each session will be a hub for co-creation.

View the full Net-Zero Live content programme here

edie staff

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