Westminster eForum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7538736244 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7951044809.
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The UK tech sector and net-zero - sector decarbonisation, international leadership, and the role of technology in meeting wider green challenges

Morning, Thursday, 6th May 2021

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will examine the priorities and challenges for the tech sector in the UK policy drive towards achieving net-zero emissions.

Areas for discussion include:

  • priorities and challenges for sector decarbonisation
  • enhancing international collaboration, and the UK’s leadership role as it prepares to host the UN COP26 climate conference later this year
  • the role of technology in supporting wider industry to meet net-zero targets

The agenda

  • Priorities for decarbonising the UK tech sector and securing  buy-in from industry leaders, supply chains and consumers
  • Developing the tech circular economy - reusability by design, reducing waste, and meeting the challenge of proliferation of devices
  • Innovation in hard-to-decarbonise settings - data centre management, use of heating and cooling systems, and improving energy efficiency across manufacturing
  • COP26 and advancing international collaboration - sustainable supply chains, greater transparency on the sector’s carbon footprint, and fostering robust regulatory and legal frameworks
  • The role of technology in supporting wider industry to meet net-zero targets
  • Priorities for establishing UK leadership in decarbonising the tech sector

Key areas for discussion:

Priorities for decarbonising the UK tech sector

  • industry engagement - what more needs to be done to encourage buy-in from industry, supply chains and consumers
  • consumer engagement - innovating design, promoting better product labelling, as well as consumer and supply chain awareness, and widening the options and availability of electrical goods recycling
  • developing the tech circular economy - and meeting the challenge of proliferation of devices
  • supporting SMEs - promoting and facilitating decarbonisation, emissions reduction and the sharing of best practice across the sector
  • energy use - encouraging innovative solutions to data centre management, energy efficiency, and the use of heating and cooling systems

Encouraging international collaboration ahead of COP26

  • ahead of COP26 - how should the UK Government, regulators and industry prepare to lead on the issue of tech industry decarbonisation
  • collaboration - working with global partners to design robust international regulatory frameworks, improve transparency on the sector’s carbon footprint, and develop sustainable supply chains

Supporting industry to meet net-zero targets

  • the wider decarbonisation pathway - the role of technology and digital infrastructure in:

    • contributing to the transition to lowering energy use
    • driving changes in consumer and business behaviour
    • using data to improve efficiency
    • providing innovative solutions to challenges faced across energy intensive industries
  • innovation - the utilisation and rollout of AI and machine learning to improve business efficiency:
    • working with innovators to make industry adoption more achievable
    • addressing issues around compatibility with a wide range of tech and digital sector technologies
    • demonstrating cost and carbon saving potential

A scan of relevant background:

  • preparations for COP26 due to take place later this year - with Alok Sharma MP appointed as full-time President of the UN COP26 climate conference
  • UK tech for a sustainable future - ongoing work by Tech Nation designed to support tech companies that are building a greener, cleaner, and more sustainable future
  • Digital technology can cut global emissions by 15% - the World Economic Forum suggesting tech-based solutions in energy, manufacturing, land use, buildings, services, and transport
  • Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact - signed by major European cloud and data centre operators, as well as smaller and national providers, aimed at making data centres climate neutral by 2030
    • as a response to the EU’s European Green Deal aimed at ensuring there are no net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050
  • the Net-Zero Review Interim Report - from the Government designed to inform next steps in the UK’s transition to net-zero by 2050, which set out plans to support innovation and the deployment of new technologies, and a commitment to publish a further Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy
  • the Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution - government’s priorities for innovating energy-intensive sectors and supporting UK leadership in emerging technologies

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by officials from Defra; the Department for Transport; the Health and Safety Executive and the Welsh Government.

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government officials in this area of public policy, together with other stakeholders from across the tech sector, including electronics companies, oil and gas firms, telecoms groups, environmental campaigners, social enterprises, investment firms, social media groups, IT and software developers, law firms, professional services providers, charities and education bodies, researchers in academia and higher education, as well as reporters from the national and specialist media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speakers

Gerard Grech

Chief Executive Officer, Tech Nation

Stuart Hayward-Higham

Technical Development Director, SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK


Baroness Neville-Rolfe

former Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy


David Aitken

Associate Director, Policy and Innovation, Carbon Trust

Susanne Baker

Associate Director, Climate, Environment and Sustainability, techUK

Ashley Hurst

Partner, International Sector Leader, Tech, Media and Comms, Osborne Clarke

Dama Sathianathan

Partner, Bethnal Green Ventures

Srinivasan Keshav

Robert Sansom Professor of Computer Science, Department of Computer Science and Technology, University of Cambridge

David Pugh

Manufacturing Market Lead, Digital Catapult