Manchester Green Summit to be sponsored by British Gas and United Utilities

Greater Manchester’s Green Summit, which is set to take place on 2 October, will be sponsored by British Gas and United Utilities.

The event, which is supposed to drive forward the city’s “ambitious goals for the environment”, has a sweeping list of corporate sponsors, some of whom have previously been criticised for their record environmental record.

United Utilities, a headline sponsor for the summit, was last month fined £800,000 for illegally taking 22 billion litres of water from boreholes in Lancashire. This led to a dramatic decline in the water level of the Fylde Aquifer, which will take years to recover, according to the government.

The month before, the company dropped from four stars to three in a report published by the Environment Agency on the water company’s environmental performance.

Another of the sponsors, British Gas was found by OpenDemocracy just days ago to have made false promises about “green” boilers.

The UK’s largest household energy supplier also reported an 889% surge in profits for the first half of 2023, despite a cost-of-living crisis. The End Fuel Poverty Coalition estimated that 4,700 people died in Britain last winter from a lack of household heating, while the chief executive of British Gas pocketed a £4.5 million pay packet.

Further still, the event organised by the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham will be sponsored by Autotrader, the UK’s largest car marketplace.

This is despite the Summit’s organisers specifically choosing the Lowry Theatre as the location of the event “due to its excellent proximity to active and sustainable travel options to help you get to the event in as sustainable a way as possible”.

A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) said: “Creating a better environment for Greater Manchester will require all people and businesses to play their part.

All the sponsors for this year’s Green Summit are committed to accelerating to net zero carbon in advance of the UK’s 2050 target and are actively working to support delivery of Greater Manchester’s Five-Year Environment Plan.”

Feature image: British gas van. ©KRoock74 licensed under creative commons

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