Why Bristol stands out as a sustainable city

Bristol has a strong identity and is known for its culture, sustainability, and was recently ranked as the world’s 4th most inspirational city. Since winning the European Green Capital status in 2015, it has implemented long term commitments to climate change and to becoming a low carbon, happy city.

Bristol sustainable

How does Bristol remain at the top of the list for sustainability in the UK, or even the world?

As highlighted at the Bristol Green Capital event yesterday, they focus on five themes; energy, food, nature, resources and transport to make it a healthier and happier city. We heard from pioneers from each area who have created change in Bristol including; Jon Usher from Sustrans, Joy Carey from Bristol Food Network, Shelly Dewhurst of the West of England Nature Partnership and Jane Stephenson from Resource Futures.

Below are examples of Bristol’s pioneers and their triumphs, that need to be celebrated for their work in 2016 in supporting and encouraging the transition to a low carbon economy.

ENERGY

Bristol’s energy scene has a real sense of community, supporting local people with clean renewable energy. The Green Capital has created a lot of momentum in the region and now the city’s become a hub for energy companies and groups such as Bristol Energy Cooperative, Bristol Community Energy Fund and Centre of Sustainable Energy. Bristol aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 40% by 2020 and 80% by 2050.

It’s also the only city which has an energy company owned by the local council – Bristol Energy, the first energy company in the country to offer 100% green electricity and reinvest its profits back into local communities.

bristol sustainable

Lighting up Bristol with positive energy. Image: Bristol Energy

FOOD

From projects tackling food waste to events such as Food Connections and Eat Drink Bristol Fashion, Bristol has a thriving sustainable food scene that is bringing delicious ethical food to the streets. The Bristol Food Network plays a key part in informing and encouraging local people to take part in transforming the city into a sustainable food city.

Bristol is also the home of leading organisations such as the Soil Association, Pukka Herbs and exciting start-ups like Edible Bristol who are creating food growing spaces in the urban landscape.

NATURE

Avon Wildlife Trust has continued to transform the open spaces and are planning on making Bristol an urban nature reserve. #MyWildCity partnered with Bristol Cathedral at the beginning of the year to show how iconic buildings can play a huge part for wildlife as the Cathedral became the breeding ground for peregrine falcons (sorry pigeons!).

The Bristol Green Capital Partnership and The West of England Nature Partnership also delivered a hugely successful event this year called Healthy City Week. Which discussed the important relationship between nature and health. We, for one are certainly looking forward to next year’s line-up.

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#MyWildCity Image: Avon Wildlife Trust

RESOURCES

We have an independent company, Bristol Waste managing our waste and recycling, and plenty of litter campaigners and non-profit organisations such as the Litterati tackling the huge issues of littering.

Natalie Fee from City to Sea has been brilliant in reducing the litter in Bristol’s waterways and her new Switch the Stick campaign is calling on UK retailers to switch cotton bud stems from plastic to paper. You can support her by signing the petition here.

Leading environmental experts Eunomia and Resource Futures are also based here, providing ground breaking research on issues such as the UK’s air pollution, food waste and behaviour change.

bristol sustainable

Cabot Tower Image: Real World Visuals / Silas Manhood / Bristol Waste

TRANSPORT

We supported the UK’s first poo bus, and are the best city in the UK for cycling. Which isn’t much of a surprise due to the culture of Bristol, and the fact that it is the home to Sustrans. There’s also a fleet of electric vehicles available to hire through the Co-Wheels scheme.

The city has a Good Transport Plan supported by Bristol Green Capital which has set out a clear vision for the future of sustainable travel. Also, a new MetroBus is currently being constructed as another means to encourage people to use public transport and decrease congestion in the centre.

We recognise that Bristol is teeming with green pioneers and entrepreneurs, which is why we have chosen the city as our home. We try to make it down to the Green Mingle every month, so do catch us as we would love to support the work of local businesses. Otherwise, please don’t hesitate to get in touch for a chat.

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