Sustainability conference series to go virtual in 2021

Paula Widdowson

Sustainability conference series In The Circle is to go virtual to ensure businesses can seize the opportunities presented by the Government’s multi-billion-pound plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.

The business response to climate change and sustainability is a key part of the build back better strategy that is central to the UK’s post-Covid recovery.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently outlined his 10-point plan for a Green Industrial Revolution which is designed to create and support up to 250,000 British jobs. It will use £12bn of Government investment to accelerate billions of pounds of private sector investment in clean energy and green technologies.

The In The Circle conferences will be a key resource to businesses in the North and Midlands that want to implement, improve and lead on sustainability initiatives.

The conferences will bring together more than 30 speakers and 50 exhibitors, including experts who have led on industry-leading initiatives for Marks & Spencer and Yorkshire Water and take place virtually after Easter.

The Yorkshire event is being held on Wednesday, May 19 and the North West event on Wednesday, June 30, with a third planned for the Midlands in autumn 2021.

Paula Widdowson, who became York Council’s first cabinet member for climate change last year and is part of the team behind the conferences, said: “Collectively, we all need to take responsibility. There is now an expectation from investors, stakeholders and consumers that businesses are showing they are responsible and taking the lead on sustainability.

“Whether a business is already well down the sustainability road, or wanting to get onto it, In the Circle events will help them achieve their goals. We hope all businesses will join us ‘in the circle’.”

The speakers and exhibitors will share best practice from across sectors and inspire and inform business leaders and managers on how to bring about real change in their organisations and the benefits that will bring.

In the Circle is supported by Squire Patton Boggs, musicMagpie,, Orderly, Whitecap and Harworth. It is also backed by Northern Powerhouse Partnership, Transport for the North and the Institute of Directors.

John Alderton, managing partner of Squire Patton Boggs in Leeds, said: “Boris Johnson has put sustainability front and centre as we look to “build back better” in an uncertain post-COVID-19 world. We are pleased to support the In The Circle events which will help businesses seize opportunities that exist under the 10-point plan whilst advancing the climate and environmental agenda.”

Lee-J Walker, joint managing director of, added: “There is a pressing need for businesses to understand and grasp the sustainability agenda. Consumers and funders are increasingly using it as part of their decision-making process, and staff and suppliers are also looking for innovation and leadership on this issue.

“The In The Circle conferences will put businesses in better shape to address the challenges and seize the opportunities that an innovative and forward-looking approach can bring.”

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