Over the coming weeks, we will take a closer look at Manchester’s concerted aim to become net zero. We will cover each area of the city’s focus and look at how businesses can play their part in achieving ambitious sustainability targets.

Let’s start at the beginning. Greater Manchester has long been at the forefront of urban decarbonization, and its drive towards net zero continues at pace. The city launched its first plan for collective climate action in 2009, which in turn led to the establishment of the Manchester Climate Change Agency and Partnership.

The measures have had a positive impact and the city was able to achieve a demonstrable reduction of 54% in its carb emissions between 2010 and 2020.

However, the city is not one to rest on its laurels and considered that further reductions were possible, especially in light of national and global aims relating to climate change. Notwithstanding its own significant achievements, Manchester declared a climate emergency in July 2019 and committed itself to halving again its carbon emissions within the next five years.

The city does not operate in isolation and accepts that its own direct carbon emissions make up only around 2% of the city’s total. However, the authority does have power and influence over a range of administrative and infrastructure matters, which it is hoped in turn will themselves contribute to the objectives to be achieved.

What is Manchester doing to achieve net zero?

The city has publicly stated the view that, “everyone has a part to play,” in limiting the effects of climate change and has set out its intentions to achieve net zero carbon in its Strategic Outline Business Plan. The Plan, which is bolstered by bespoke climate action plans for each of the authority’s 32 wards, lists a number of arguments in favour of the move, including establishing the city – and North West as a whole – as a leader in clean energy, which it is hoped in turn will attract private sector investment and help deliver wider social benefits, such as reducing fuel poverty.

The Council has identified 48 actions which can be taken – by itself and the city as a whole – to help focus minds, which can be summarised under the following broad topics:

  1. Buildings and energy
  2. Transport and travel
  3. Reducing consumption-based emissions
  4. Carbon storage and sequestration
  5. Emissions savings.

What objectives are being pursued?

Taking each category in turn:

  1. Buildings and energy

The Manchester urban area, and city centre in particular, is a significant estate and magnet for the use of utilities and energy. It is therefore a prime candidate for savings, in terms of the existing built environment as well as future energy usage. For example, the Council has already stated its commitment to reduce CO2 emissions from its estate and streetlighting by 50% by 2025, and a further 50% by 2030, to be achieved through a programme of retrofitting and local energy generation, including solar farms.

That being said, decarbonisation of the built environment is no easy feat and requires consideration at both the new build and retrofit stages of a building’s life.

In respect of future construction, the Council has produced a Buildings and Energy Strategy for its estate and has produced a Manchester Build Standard for future developments.

The above goes hand-in-hand with the retrofit of existing premises, which includes considerations as broad as the provision of (and energy supply to) heating alternatives, installation of energy-efficient fixtures and fittings, increasing thermal comfort and lowering energy bills.

Going forwards, all developments within the Manchester area will need to be mindful of the city’s drive towards net zero, and will have to incorporate sustainable concepts and energy efficiency into their construction proposals, including energy generation and usage. Not only has the Council declared that it will give additional weighting to environmental credentials in future tenders, but companies themselves are becoming more alive to the importance of ESG scores, which are featuring more prominently in pre-contract discussions.

  1. Transport and travel

There is a balance to be struck between improving liveability and ensuring access into the city centre and other areas within the authority’s control through low-cost public transport, and ensuring that such travel and opportunities are provided on solid environmentally friendly credentials.

In connection with its own vehicles, the Council is replacing its fleet with electric vehicles and charging infrastructure, which is estimated will save around 900 tonnes of carbon annually (c.£9.8 million). The move towards electric vehicles is a huge logistical exercise, which will be decades in the transition, but is nonetheless one the Council is eager to pursue.

As laudable as the aim is, there are clear logistical hurdles in the way. For example, not only are there immediate and significant financial costs associated with the decarbonisation of travel, but the technology remains very much in its infancy and at developmental stage. Additionally, were these obstacles to be overcome, there are planning and spatial issues arising in connection with the installation of electric charging points. It remains to be seen what volume of energy generation will be required to realise the objectives, which leads to the question as to how that energy is to be produced in the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to allow green travel to remain a viable alternative.

Whilst there is ongoing discussion around the possible use of hydrogen as an alternative fuel source, to date these exchanges have focussed on haulage and logistics as opposed to domestic travel. Despite its relative cleanliness, the use of hydrogen does come with its own significant risk factors.

  1. Reducing consumption-based emissions

There are a number of measures being taken, at both local and national level, to reduce consumption-based emissions and those arising from supply chains generally. For example, mirroring measures taken by central government, Manchester has indicated its intention to phase out single-use plastics and other non-recyclable products.

The last few years have seen an increasing behavioural and cultural shift towards the circular economy, and away from the take-make-use mentality. The national government has stated its desire to avoid all avoidable waste by 2042 and although this objective will not be achieved overnight, regulations are already in force working towards this aim, such as the successful introduction of the plastic carrier bag charge in 2015, and the prohibition on sale and supply of plastic straws and single-use cutlery.

In addition, the UK has recently seen the introduction of the Plastic Packaging Tax and Extended Producer Responsibility regulations, both of which serve to impose waste management cost obligations on businesses for the packaging they generate and handle.  Whilst the purpose of these regulations is to encourage and incentivise durability, repairability and recycling, and move away from disposal as the default option at a product’s end of life, the additional costs generated are almost certainly going to be passed on throughout the supply chain.

Businesses need to start considering now whether any of their produced items can be redesigned using environmentally friendly components, or re-packaged in a way that supports environmental targets.

  1. Carbon storage and sequestration

Manchester is eager to promote carbon storage solutions, and has introduced a Green and Blue Infrastructure Strategy which includes an intelligence-led approach to tree and hedge planting.

To date, over 7,000 trees have been planted, as well as five community orchards, with the aim of not only increasing the aesthetic attractiveness of the urban area, but also to best position the city ahead if expected future climate changes. 

  1. Influencing behaviour

The Council is eager to be seen as leading by example and, in turn, influence the behaviour of others. For example, to date it has embedded zero carbon as a priority into its Service Plans, has appointed three Neighbourhood Climate Change Officers, and has arranged both private and public lobbying of the GM Pension Fund to divest from investment in fossil fuels.

That being said, change will not come overnight and there also needs to be a degree of consensus and agreement as to how and in what way cultural changes are expected to occur. There is already discussion within the UK, as well as other countries, regarding the implementation of ’15 minute cities,’ programmable digital currency and, at its extreme, social credit scores. These are highly overt ways of compelling an expected behaviour, but are likely to meet resistance in the event of their unilateral imposition.

At this stage, the Council encourages individuals to take responsible actions – which can also be replicated across businesses – including:

Conclusion

The Combined Authority states that it ‘takes climate change seriously,’ and the objectives it seeks to achieve are to be welcomed. The decarbonisation objectives are not simply to meet Government guidelines, but are also intended to provide a framework for others to follow and to improve the lives of those living and working within Manchester.

However laudable the objectives are – at both a local and national level – they are not without their real and significant obstacles, which do need to be addressed before the aims can be fully realised.  Certainly, the objectives cannot be achieved overnight, in isolation, nor by one city alone. That is not to say that the aims should not be pursued, but they do require a considered and coordinated approach across numerous authorities.

Although many of the details as to the future landscape and specific actions expected of both businesses and individuals remain to be confirmed, the direction of travel is clear.

In the absence of a statutory compulsion to do so, we recommend that businesses undertake an internal review of their systems, production methods and environmental impact as soon as possible, to identify areas where more could perhaps be done. This process will help to position organisations in the most favourable position for further environmental regulations, which are undoubtedly on the horizon, and will also help work towards those collective aims intended to be achieved by the Combined Authority.

In our next blog in the series, we will cover the issue of transport and travel.

Picture: The Tower of Light – Manchester’s low-carbon energy centre (credit: Philip Openshaw)

Latest News

AI and the Future of Work: A landscape of uncertainty - Pannone Corporate

Following our AI in the Workplace event last month (May), our guest speaker, Dr Richard Whittle, takes a closer look at AI and the future of work, lookin...

Read more...
My Life in Law – Danielle Amor - Pannone Corporate

Nearly a decade on from joining Pannone Corporate, Danielle Amor talks about her career, her passion for seeing clients get the outcome they deserve, her...

Read more...
Pannone crowned Corporate/Commercial Team of the Year at the Manchester Legal Awards - Pannone Corporate

Pannone Corporate has been crowned Corporate/Commercial Team of the Year at the 15th annual Manchester Legal Awards. The firm was recognised at the regi...

Read more...

View all posts

The Legal 500 is positioned as the ‘client’s guide to the best law firms’ because it is underpinned by client feedback and insight about how a firm and its lawyers work. It’s an important benchmark, which celebrates our team, allows us to build on success and strive for continuous improvement.

The Legal 500 rankings for 2022 – highlighting the practice area teams who are providing the highest quality legal advice – feature Pannone Corporate in 15 areas of law, moving up in two corporate & commercial, and commercial property.

The rankings include Tier 1 listings for our contentious trusts and probate, media and entertainment, and debt recovery teams. As well as the teams’ success, three people were named in the Hall of Fame, the firm had six namechecks for ‘leading individuals’, two ‘next generation partners’ and four mentions for ‘rising stars.’

Beyond the numbers and fantastic recognition in the rankings, we’re proud to see all the feedback from clients. Here’s what they said:

 

Contentious trusts & probate

“What sets them apart is their ability to combine their knowledge of the law, the softer skills of client care and an ability to be direct. The clients I have referred to them are by the nature of the specialism in a highly emotional state and every one of them has been gushing in their praise of the work done by this team.”

 

Debt recovery 

“An engaging, tenacious team who are practical and efficient in what they do. They have worked with us and our functions to provide a seamless recovery service to suit our business needs.”

 

Media & entertainment

“Liaison with clients takes on a personal form and the relevant legal staff do not need reminding about issues. They keep in touch.”

 

Employment 

“Responsive, accessible and commercial practitioners who work with us, as the client, to arrive at the right outcomes for our business.”

 

Health & safety

“A new team but one with excellent experience and technical expertise with a dynamic can-do approach and a personable demeanour.”

 

Intellectual property

“…amazing from our first meeting right to the conclusion of my case, our first meeting gave me hope in a situation which I had long since deemed a lost cause… extremely empathetic to my situation and secured a settlement against a formidable adversary.”

 

IT & telecoms

“Attentive, personal and always available for advice and guidance.”  

 

Professional negligence

“Highly specialised firm with a strong track record in claimant professional negligence work.”’

 

Commercial litigation

“Pannone Corporate has lawyers at the top of their respective disciplines and a client base to match. Customer service is a key ethos at the firm with a high degree of partner involvement ensuring the client gets the service it needs. Electronic document management and searching ensures that key documents are identified early in the case.”

 

Corporate & commercial

“…adaptive and pragmatic in their guidance and advice. We completed three transactions with them and found them to be sensibly priced and adaptive in their approach to the size and scale of due diligence required.”

 

Property litigation

“Pannone Corporate strikes an excellent balance: they have the big-firm capacity to handle large and complex cases, but the small-firm responsiveness and personal touch. They have the flexibility and skills to manage cases that cross between different fields, for example real estate litigation that raises company law, insolvency or property damage issues.”

 

Commercial property

“The approach of Pannone and their staff is very much aligned to our values, what is important to us and the way we like to operate, Pannone recognise this and it’s reflected in the service they provide. It’s important when dealing with legal matters that a firm has the ability to tailor its service to work in partnership with its clients, take time to understand our objectives, the way we operate and therefore offer a more bespoke service to deliver the right outcomes. I feel that this is a specific strength of Pannone.”

 

Insolvency & corporate recovery 

“The team are always ready to help and have found innovative solutions to technical problems.”

 

Construction 

“All of the partners feel like extended members of the in-house team. They are flexible and accommodating.”

 

Latest News

AI and the Future of Work: A landscape of uncertainty - Pannone Corporate

Following our AI in the Workplace event last month (May), our guest speaker, Dr Richard Whittle, takes a closer look at AI and the future of work, lookin...

Read more...
My Life in Law – Danielle Amor - Pannone Corporate

Nearly a decade on from joining Pannone Corporate, Danielle Amor talks about her career, her passion for seeing clients get the outcome they deserve, her...

Read more...
Pannone crowned Corporate/Commercial Team of the Year at the Manchester Legal Awards - Pannone Corporate

Pannone Corporate has been crowned Corporate/Commercial Team of the Year at the 15th annual Manchester Legal Awards. The firm was recognised at the regi...

Read more...

View all posts

 The high-profile spat between Dolce and Gabbana and Diet Prada continues to create quite a stir among fashion circles – long after the now-infamous D&G ad campaign in 2018, which set this whole public affair in motion. The Italian brand has accused the self-professed ‘fashion watchdog’, Diet Prada, of fuelling a large-scale backlash to its misjudged ad, by unleashing a volley of social media content, as well as its contended “illegal publication of Stefano Gabbana’s private conversations” on Instagram.

 

Dolce and Gabbana alleges that by way of their heavily followed Instagram account, Diet Prada’s founders initiated a “smear campaign”, consisting of “serious and repeated defamatory conduct” aimed at harming the Italian brand to the value of €3 million in damages.

 

While the long-running legal battle is being played out in foreign courts, it poses some very pertinent questions that are as relevant to UK companies as they are to global brands – namely, the growing role social media is playing, not only in acting as a medium for defamatory comment, but being used as a tactic for applying pressure on the opposing side during legal proceedings.

 

Applying pressure in the hope of a settlement is nothing new; using such a public platform in which to do so is certainly a growing trend. Social media has popularised and accelerated many things in society – its vast reach, instant impact, and widespread adoption, makes it a perfect channel for engaging with untapped audiences and amplifying your message.

 

However, there’s a big disclaimer that comes with using this method to interact with people – whether you’re a business or an individual. Defamation occurs when someone causes substantial harm to the reputation of another by publicising a false statement – inappropriate or ill-considered written words, posting private correspondence in which allegations about someone else are made, sharing, forwarding or commenting on news or gossip, will all potentially be grounds for a libel case.

 

It’s so commonplace to use the likes of Instagram as a means of communicating with people, it becomes second nature to share material on the platform; it’s vital however that companies think twice about using social media channels as a pressure tactic in an ongoing legal case, or as a means of attacking competitors given the risk such behaviour could expose you to.

 

It’s essential to tread carefully when using social media and other media outlets for any form of publicity, whatever the motivation, and equally important to recognise when it’s happening to you as a business. When does a social media post cross the line? Where do the boundaries lie? Has something happened which harms your or your business’ reputation? Can you legitimately object and challenge the way in which a competitor has spoken about you on-line?  Once subject to targeted attack, the erosion of your reputation can be difficult to recover from.

 

As a business, it’s important to understand your rights when it comes to instances of defamation and the breach of privacy of your staff and directors, and to engage in PR and other business strategies appropriately through the right channels. Dolce and Gabbana’s bitter duel with Diet Prada has been played out in a very public way over a number of years. Businesses need to avoid airing their dirty (even if fashionable) laundry in public – it is ultimately and inherently unattractive, being publicity for all the wrong reasons. Instead, harnessing the power of social media positively to facilitate the creation or exchange of information in order to promote a business is much more likely to give that business greater longevity and credibility.

 

 

Latest News

AI and the Future of Work: A landscape of uncertainty - Pannone Corporate

Following our AI in the Workplace event last month (May), our guest speaker, Dr Richard Whittle, takes a closer look at AI and the future of work, lookin...

Read more...
My Life in Law – Danielle Amor - Pannone Corporate

Nearly a decade on from joining Pannone Corporate, Danielle Amor talks about her career, her passion for seeing clients get the outcome they deserve, her...

Read more...
Pannone crowned Corporate/Commercial Team of the Year at the Manchester Legal Awards - Pannone Corporate

Pannone Corporate has been crowned Corporate/Commercial Team of the Year at the 15th annual Manchester Legal Awards. The firm was recognised at the regi...

Read more...

View all posts