Regional manufacturer TDP is a trailblazer in low-carbon manufacturing, making furniture from recycled plastic. The company shared its passion for a more sustainable future with 15 to 19-year-olds at the Midlands Engine Young People’s Green Growth Assembly held on Friday 11 March. More than 100 delegates and green Growth Champions gathered at the East Midlands Convention Centre to discuss the challenges facing our planet and explore creative solutions.
The Young People’s Green Growth Assembly was organised by regional partnership Midlands Engine to showcase the determination of young people to shape a better future. It brought together leaders from business and the public sector to hear what regional teenagers had to say about the climate crisis and take part in a series of interactive sessions themed around green growth.
As a pioneer in sustainable production, TDP was invited to share its experience. Its Derbyshire factory has so far used more than 3,000 tonnes of recycled plastic waste to produce quality outdoor furniture. In 2021, its commitment to the circular economy prevented 2.1m tonnes of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere.
TDP’s Managing Director Rob Barlow took the opportunity to talk to young people about the importance of balancing People, Profit and Planet and educating people about the impact human activities are having on precious ecosystems. Rob has just returned from an expedition to the Antarctic and spoke first-hand about the devastating consequences of ocean microplastics and receding glaciers.
The TDP team was inspired by the passion of the event’s Green Growth Champions and the demands they are making on business to be transparent about their environmental impact. The manufacturer has already taken the net zero pledge and during the event made further commitments to educate its supply chain and develop new products to support the natural world, such as garden hedgehog boxes, bird boxes and tables, and stands for beehives. Its tables and benches are also ideal for parks and gardens and rather than depleting natural resources they are removing plastic waste from the environment and not contributing to deforestation.
TDP Managing Director Rob Barlow said: “We were inspired and humbled by the young people we met. The event highlighted the scale of the problem but also showcased the passion and commitment of our future leaders. They called on business to be transparent about its environmental impact. We were honoured to be asked to participate and share our model for supporting a circular system which transforms waste into resource.”
Discussing the event, Chairman, Midlands Engine Chairman, Sir John Peace, commented: “Our region is already at the forefront of delivering world-leading low carbon innovation. The Midlands Engine Young People’s Green Growth Assembly has demonstrated the huge appetite, of our Midlands Engine partners and our region’s young people, to go even further and take steps right now to shape a greener, cleaner, and better future.”
The assembly celebrated the creativity of the region’s young people and a desire to influence Midlands’ decision makers in securing more sustainable outcomes. It sought inspiration from COP26 and came in the wake of the publication of Midlands Engine’s Ten Point Plan for Green Growth. The plan has the potential to deliver a 36% reduction in CO2 emissions and boost regional GVA by £24.2 billion by 2041.
A few words from four of the green growth champions…
Lewis – “As young people, it can sometimes be difficult to get our voices heard. Our future relies on decisions made now, and it is a great honour as a young person to be a part of the conversation happening today.”
Iqra – “As consumers we have so much power to decide the future of our world. Whenever you are buying a “cheap” item, the planet is paying the cost for you.”
Dan – “I think this is a great opportunity for me and others to share our opinions on really important issues that are likely to affect us in the future.”
Ruby – “I think it is important that we work together as climate change is not an issue we can solve alone. We must work together to reduce global warming.”