April, 2021


Webinar: Are businesses and the public ready to adapt to Net Zero?

The race to net zero is a core part of the Government’s agenda, with ambitious targets being set for business and the public to adapt to meet this challenge. But how much do businesses and the public know about these targets and the impact that the Government’s climate agenda (including 10-point plan for a green industrial strategy) will have on them?

BECG and Cavendish Advocacy were delighted to be joined by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng, Chief Economist at the CBI, Rain Newton-Smith, and Director of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Andrew Barnett OBE to discuss how to raise business and public awareness and participation in the net zero challenge.

This event coincided with the launch of new polling which looks at what is required to raise public awareness and participation in the decarbonisation agenda, and how the Government can overcome this in the year ahead.


Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Kwasi Kwarteng was appointed Secretary of State at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in January 2021, after previously being the Minister of State at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. From 2018 – 2019 Kwasi was Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Exiting the European Union.

Prior to this, he was appointed as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Leader of the House of Lords, and in 2017 he became Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Kwasi was also elected the Conservative MP for Spelthorne in 2010, and from then until 2013 he was a member of the Transport Select Committee.

He attended Harvard University on a Kennedy Scholarship, going on to later earn a PhD in economic history from the University of Cambridge.

Rain Newton-Smith, Chief Economist, Confederation of British Industry (CBI)

Rain Newton-Smith is the Chief Economist at the CBI. She and her team provide business leaders with advice on the UK economic outlook and global risks. Previously, Rain was head of Emerging Markets at Oxford Economics where she managed a large team of economists and was the lead expert on China.

Prior to that, Rain worked on the international forecast for the Monetary Policy Committee at the Bank of England and also led a team with responsibility for developing a risk assessment framework for the UK financial system. While at the Bank, she also went on secondment to the International Monetary Fund in Washington D.C. where she was adviser to the UK executive director.

Rain was honoured by the World Economic Forum in 2012 as a Young Global Leader.  

Andrew Barnett OBE, Director, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

Andrew Barnett has been Director of the UK Branch of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation since September 2007. As a strong believer in the value of collaboration, he played a major role in the establishment of the Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) Coalition, the Campaign to End Loneliness and the international arts and homelessness movement (With One Voice). He was a founding director of the Social Innovation Exchange (SIX) and founding council member of Collaborate CIC.

He is chair of trustees of the Church Urban Fund, which promotes faith-based social action and community cohesion across England, and a director and trustee of the Association of Charitable Foundations. For eight years, Andrew was the senior independent member of Healthwatch England, the statutory national consumer champion in health and social care. He previously served as chair of DV8 Physical Theatre, of Space Studios, group chair of People Can, a trustee of Addaction, of the Forces in Mind Trust, and director of Yorkshire Metropolitan Housing, among other appointments. He is a Church Warden at St Dunstan-in-the-West in the City of London.

He was awarded an OBE in the 2021 New Year’s Honours List for his contribution to social change.

Sarah Wardle, Associate Director, BECG

Sarah has a wealth of experience in developing stakeholder engagement and public affairs strategies across London and the South East.

Sarah has worked for major housebuilders such as Redrow and Taylor Wimpey, housing associations ranging from One Housing to Home Group, hotel operators and large build to rent developers, Greystar and Essential Living.

Notably, Sarah led the engagement on the UK’s first ever purpose-built family PRS development and has increasingly focused on setting early engagement strategies for estate regeneration projects.

Outside London, Sarah has worked with both the Local and Neighbourhood planning process to secure strategic allocations.

Prior to this, Sarah worked in the House of Commons for two Conservative Members of Parliament and holds a comprehensive knowledge of the legislative process.

Beyond BECG, Sarah remains politically active and is a Councillor in the London Borough of Barnet.

David Button, Senior Account Director, Cavendish Advocacy

David has considerable experience of designing and delivering public affairs and communications programmes across the housing, transport, healthcare, energy, FMCG and infrastructure sectors.

He has an excellent track record of helping clients to build their influence with the Government and Parliament, being an expert in the parliamentary and legislative process, as well as raising the profile of campaigns and asks.

His work has helped clients to achieve changes to legislation including securing government funding for infrastructure projects, exemptions to UK and European legislation and regulations, and reversing harmful policy decisions that would have a detrimental effect on their commercial interests.

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