Mersey firms offered free support to cut emissions

Businesses and charities in Liverpool city region offered free support to measure and reduce their carbon footprint, cut energy bills and accelerate growth

Wired is an aerial theatre company based in Liverpool


A support programme is getting the message out to businesses and charities across Liverpool city region that support is available to help them to decarbonise.

The Low Carbon Eco-Innovatory (LCEI) is a business support programme which gives SMEs in the city region free access to world-leading academic expertise and resources.

Lancaster University, one of the delivery partners of the scheme, provides student interns to help research, evaluate and benchmark the current greenhouse gas emissions of businesses and organisations across Liverpool.

This could involve analysis of the impact of energy, buildings, vehicles, travel and logistics, as well as materials and supply chain. Data is used to create a carbon reduction plan with potential actions, changes and investments that would help the environment and also reduce costs.

Wired Aerial Theatre, a Liverpool-based theatre and dance organisation, are transitioning to a more sustainable business model after capitalising on the fully funded support from LCEI.

Before the pandemic a student intern reviewed the environmental impact of its rehearsal space and international touring productions, and proposed new approaches to reduce carbon.

Before being able to activate its plans, COVID restrictions plunged the company into crisis. It was forced to make cuts to survive, reducing its core staff from seven to three, and giving up its rehearsal space and offices.

Now Wired, which has garnered international acclaim for its signature bungee-assisted dance productions, is rebuilding. It is putting efficient use of resources, sustainable delivery of its show and collaboration at the heart of its recovery.

Jamie Ogilvie, Wired’s founder and technical director, said. “Without any income and an uncertain future our core funding couldn’t sustain us. We had to make some difficult decisions. But we survived, and now it has given us the opportunity to reset as an organisation.”

READ MORE: 30 Mersey firms set to slash carbon emissions

Home working and sharing rehearsal space has reduced energy use from pre-pandemic levels from seven tonnes of CO2e to 428kg – a 94% reduction.

By reusing set equipment and costumes, and by removing paper-based processes and deploying digital approaches to its work, the amount of CO2 generated by waste has halved to one tonne per year.

Wired has also taken steps towards reducing the carbon footprint of travel and accommodation. It has almost eliminated the use of high carbon rated hotels in favour of house shares and rentals.

It is one of 24 companies that have so far collaborated with Lancaster University as part of LCEI. They have a variety of aims such as testing a new product, delivering market research, reviewing a business process or analysing the carbon footprint.


Wired Aerial Theatre
Wired Aerial Theatre directors, from left, Michaela Anders, Wendy Hesketh-Ogilvie and Jamie Ogilvie


Collectively, these businesses have saved more than 170 tonnes of greenhouse gases – more than two-thirds of the programme’s target. And with up to 25 fully-funded internship projects available to the next batch of sustainability-driven SMEs, more is to come.

Carolyn Hayes, LCEI Project Manager at Lancaster University, added: “One of the biggest challenges small businesses and charities have is the lack of resources, such as personnel, knowledge and time, to devote to starting their net zero journey.

“The LCEI programme is offering access to the skills and expertise of undergraduates, postgraduates and world-renowned academics, leveraging our plethora of world-class facilities, to identify a bespoke course of action.”

LCEI is a business R&D consortium, backed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and led by Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) alongside partners Lancaster University and the University of Liverpool.

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