Windsor Debates September 2021

Building back better: Strengthening digital and physical infrastructure

Thursday 23rd and Friday 24th September 2021 Virtual (Zoom) event

The theme of the most recent Windsor Debates reflected one of the key priorities of our 2021 Business Manifesto, namely to “promote the need for investment in a resilient infrastructure network for the Thames Valley, strengthening provision of physical and digital networks that will support the region’s future sustainable economic growth and innovation.”

During the September 2021 Windsor Debates, we continued to build on the topic of sustainability which was central to the March 2021 Windsor Debate. This session was particularly pertinent as we near the autumn COP26 (November 2021 in Glasgow). We have shared a report of the key outcomes of the Debate into the office of Alok Sharma, President of COP26 and Shevaun Haviland, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC). The event was facilitated by Iain Anderson, Executive Chairman, Cicero.

During the Debates, the Chamber also announced the launch of the Thames Valley Sustainability Working Group (SWG), in partnership with EY. This is a business-led roundtable focused on the theme of sustainability, climate change and net-zero.

Please view the September 2021 programme, below:

Session 1: Introduction and scene setting
14:00-15:30 Paul Britton, Chief Executive, TVCC, Bill Gornall-King, Group President, TVCC and Miranda Barker, Chief Executive, East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce opened this introductory session in conversation with Iain Anderson, Executive Chairman, Cicero, on the key themes of Windsor Debates. Keynote speakers: Hugh Milward, General Manager, Corporate, External, Legal, Microsoft Hugh outlined the underlying themes of this event and contextualised them, providing a localised, UK wide and global perspective on the overall direction of action to address climate change and sustainability. James Pincus, Corporate Finance Partner, PwC James spoke on the role of infrastructure in delivering the UK's net zero target by 2050, infrastructure & ESG and the need for cross sector collaboration. Net Zero Panel Discussion Miranda, James and Hugh discussed net zero in conversation with Iain Anderson. Why should businesses be aiming to be net zero?  What is the Government’s role in this?  What is the role of these two Chambers, and others around the country?
Session 2: Towards a stronger, more sustainable digital infrastructure
16:00-18:00 The focus of this session was on digital infrastructure, applications for delivering sustainable development and ‘net zero’ ambitions, as well as the efficiency of technology and the various benefits of 5G. Keynote Speakers: Simon Haston, Chief Technology Innovation Officer: Regions and Devolved Government, BT Martin Tufft, Director Public Sector, London and the South East, BT Enterprise Simon and Martin discussed how businesses can build back better by having a ‘digital fabric’. Helen Moore, Market Entry and GTM Strategist, Valley Spark Helen shared information about what major US West Coast businesses are doing to move towards net zero. Marko Jovanovic, Head of Marketing & Communications, Ericsson Marko spoke about how different sectors will benefit from 5G.

Session 3: Future resilience of the built environment and physical infrastructure
09:30-11:30 This session focussed on two areas: Part 1: Built environment and Part 2: Physical infrastructure Part 1: Built environment During this part of the session the panel discussed the importance of environmental planning as well as decarbonisation, battery technology, and multi-modal transport. Panellists: Anita Kasseean, Partner and Head of Environment & Planning, Blake Morgan LLP Nia Watkins, Regional Asset Manager, Electrification, Network Rail Lucy Wood, Director - Environmental Planning, Barton Willmore Ben Lewis, Infrastructure & Energy Planning Director, Barton Willmore Part 2: Physical infrastructure During this part of the session we focussed on future water planning and resources, as well as sustainable fuels and the electrification of the aviation industry. Panellists: Sarah Bentley, CEO, Thames Water Rachel Solomon Williams, Deputy Director, Head of Low Carbon Fuels, Department for Transport Matt Gorman, Director of Sustainability, Heathrow Howard Dale, General Manager, Kawasaki Motors UK
Session 4: Closing session
12:30-14:00 Paul Britton, Chief Executive, and Bill Gornall-King, Group President, TVCC, summarised the outcomes of discussions in earlier sessions alongside keynote speakers. Keynote Speakers: Shevaun HavilandDirector General, British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) Shevaun summarised the key takeaways from the two days of debate.  As Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, Shevaun also spoke about how the network will advocate for agreed priorities. Professor David Simon, Professor of Development Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London David explained and outlined the potential of multi-stakeholder partnerships, and methods to make progress. These are very different from conventional consultations but have demonstrated potential to overcome suspicions, hostility and to build common ground and trust. Relevant examples, including from our region, illustrated the points. Iain Anderson, Executive Chairman, Cicero, and Facilitator of Windsor Debates Iain shared his thoughts on the full event, the conclusions reached, recommendations to be made, and a look forward to the March 2022 Debates.

Supporting Resources:

Cicero’s Guide to COP26;

EY’s Sustainability 101: A short guide to key concepts and terminology;

PwC’s Unlocking capital for Net Zero Infrastructure