West Midlands' Top 50 Green Leaders announced
International Synergies' Chief Executive Officer, Peter Laybourn, has been heralded as one of the regions' Top 50 Green Leaders in an initiative organised by Sustainability West Midlands.
The scheme aims to drive forward the move to a low carbon economy and society by 2020 and addresses the leadership gap in the area by celebrating and promoting some of the most influential people currently driving the agenda.
Peter Laybourn was joined by Prof Quentin Leiper CBE (Carillion) and West Midlands Fire Service Chief Vijith Randeniya in the groundbreaking list that also features representatives from academia and social enterprise.
The Top 50 Green Leaders received certificates from international campaigner Jonathon Porritt at a special event at Millennium Point earlier this month and will now be invited to use this new platform to share and pass on their experiences, skills and knowledge to the next generation of professionals.
The Green Leaders will also be invited to develop new solutions and influence policy by contributing to research and new Government initiatives such as the Big Society.
"We were absolutely overwhelmed by the response and what it clearly shows is the appetite from the West Midlands to meet the 2020 Low Carbon vision," explained Dr Simon Slater, Executive Director of Sustainability West Midlands.
"Our Top 50 Green Leaders features a diverse group of individuals, who have all helped to implement and run activities that have had a positive environmental impact with additional social or economic benefits."
He continued: "There have been some excellent examples of low carbon innovation, communities tackling key green issues successfully and major public services adjusting the way they work to be more eco-friendly.
"It proves the great ingenuity and spirit that was present when the West Midlands kicked off the high carbon revolution is still alive and well today as we invent the low carbon era. We are trying to capture this drive and passion and share it with up and coming leaders, who will be essential in picking up the agenda and running with it."
Peter Laybourn was included in the list for his work in developing and introducing the National Industrial Symbiosis Programme (NISP).
Through spin-out company International Synergies, he has made a major contribution to the region by creating/safeguarding over 2600 jobs, boosting the economy by £99m and diverting 660,650 tonnes waste from landfill.
Today, NISP has over 13,000 member companies from all industry sectors and some of its green achievements include reducing CO2 by 6 million tonnes, saving 10.5m tonnes of industrial water and eliminated 371,000 tonnes of hazardous water.
Peter was delighted at being part of the first Top 50 Green Leaders list:
"Anything that raises awareness of the green agenda is very welcome and I'm delighted that the work we did in developing NISP has been recognised and will be used as an example of what can be achieved.
"The lessons learned here can be used for new projects and opportunities that the West Midlands can lead on."
Other business people recognised in the list are Barry Davies (A.F. Blakemore & Son), Dr Susan Juned (Greenwatt Technology), Andy Whyle (Ricoh UK Products), Sue Prince OBE (Beechenhill Farm), Tim Pollard (Wolseley UK) and David Smith (former CEO of Jaguar Land Rover).
Social enterprise is also well represented with Natasha Giaquinto (the Hive), Richard Beard (Jericho Foundation) and Michael Lilley (MyTime CIC), whilst Cllr Paul Tilsley (Birmingham City Council), Ian Housley (Staffordshire Fire and Rescue) and Cllr Anthony Blagg (Worcestershire County Council) are amongst 17 public sector leaders.
There was even a place on the list for BBC Gardeners World's Alys Fowler, who used her garden and community work in Birmingham for the TV series 'edible gardener'.
This explored the possibilities and limitations of community self-sustainability and has subsequently inspired a range of people to live lower impact lifestyles through community gardening and growing food as part of a small garden.
Dr Simon Slater concluded: "We wanted our first Top 50 Green Leaders to be reflective of the West Midlands and that is why it was so important to get a broad cross-section of people working in different sectors that others can relate to.
"This is just the start and we'd like to make this an annual competition and a way for the very best to get involved and make the region a sustainable capital of excellence.
"We've already got some interesting solutions, such as a masterclass series, support for young or emerging leaders and developing a West Midlands' low carbon agency. There were also suggestions of green industrial tours to continue to attract investment, as the Government cuts support outside London."
Sustainability West Midlands, the sustainability adviser for the leaders of the West Midlands, shares a vision where business and communities thrive in a region that is environmentally sustainable and socially just.
It is private sector led, cross sector and not-for-profit organisation which acts as a catalyst for change through advice to leaders, developing practical solutions with members and sharing success through its communications and events programme.