Willerby sustainability champion joins panel of experts at major Yorkshire climate summit

Holiday home manufacturer Willerby’s sustainability champion joined a panel of business leaders at a major climate summit to discuss how companies can develop their own plans to cut carbon emissions.

Simon Tempest (far right), Willerby’s sustainability champion, was joined on the panel by Danielle Heward (far left) from Optimo Business, Dr Diana Taylor of Marketing Humber and Louise Smith from the University of Hull.

Simon Tempest spoke during a breakout session at the Yorkshire Post Climate Change Summit in Leeds.

Simon discussed the steps the UK holiday homes market leader has already taken to reduce its carbon impact, including the newly-introduced Willerby GreEN Standard which will reduce the energy consumption of its models by up to 28%.

Willerby is leading the holiday home sector in its pursuit of environmental excellence. The manufacturer invested £1.25m in 2020 to install two new biomass boilers to heat its manufacturing facilities in Hull, saving 1,000 tonnes of CO2 annually and avoiding hundreds of truck trips to remove this waste.

This year Willerby underlined its commitment to sustainability by installing additional electric vehicle charging points across its two sites in Hull. Willerby has also changed its policy to encourage switching to electric and hybrid cars and vans, by financially incentivising company vehicle users to upgrade to environment-friendly models.

Simon was joined on the panel by Marketing Humber Managing Director Dr Diana Taylor, the University of Hull’s Louise Smith and Danielle Heward, founder of business improvement specialist Optimo Business Ltd.

The session, titled “Building a practical sustainable plan for your business”, was sponsored by Willerby and discussed the practical approaches and steps companies can take to make their operations sustainable.

Simon told the audience Willerby had calculated the carbon emissions produced in both the manufacturing and typical usage of its holiday homes on parks across the UK.

Last month, the company took its sustainability credentials to a new level by announcing the industry-leading Willerby GreEN Standard. This sets the manufacturing specification for all of Willerby’s holiday homes and means each home will emit at least 250kg less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year.

The new specification features upgraded insulation in the floor, ceiling and exterior walls and energy-efficient double glazing, and means Willerby’s holiday homes will be warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

The Willerby GreEN Standard also brings significant cost benefits to holiday home owners and holiday parks. Increased energy efficiency means homes are cheaper to run – making them better for the planet and better for the pocket.

Simon said: “At Willerby, we are taking the environmental challenge seriously and putting sustainability at the heart of our manufacturing and product development strategies.

“The introduction of the Willerby GreEN Standard is a significant step in our sustainability journey, leading the industry and delivering a step change in the energy consumption and carbon emissions of holiday homes.”

Dr Diana Taylor spoke about Marketing Humber’s journey as an organisation playing a central role in the Humber region’s transition to a net zero economy.

She discussed the agency’s work to reduce CO2 emissions within its own control – from energy usage and waste reduction to minimising travel and working with its supply chain to be more environmentally sustainable.

She said: “Like so many smaller organisations, the measurement and action stages have been daunting for us. I’m not afraid to say that cost is a big challenge within that.

“However, we’ve now reached a stage where we know our baseline carbon footprint and we’re committed to working with our customers and our supply chain to reduce emissions.”

Louise Smith is the Director at Aura, a University of Hull-led initiative which works with SMEs and businesses across the Humber region to support the net zero transition.

She said: “The University’s net zero journey began formally around six years ago. As an organisation with over 14,000 students and 2,000 staff, we knew there was a lot of work to be done.

“Since then, the University has announced its ambition to become a carbon neutral campus by 2027. That vision brings together expertise from right across the University.

“We’re investing in renewable infrastructure including solar, removing fossil fuels from our operations and reducing energy consumption across the campus.”

The final speaker on the panel was Danielle Heward, founder of Optimo, who spoke about common challenges and barriers faced by companies and initiatives available to support businesses on their journey.

The Yorkshire Post Climate Change Summit 2022 brought together politicians, business leaders, academics and media to debate the challenges that Yorkshire face and how to achieve the region’s net zero ambitions.