Subscribing to our award-winning Hub enables readers to receive regular emails with the top articles most likely to interest them

As part of the Ask ME series of podcasts, Dan Smith looks at sustainability in Bristol

I recently spent an enjoyable afternoon in Bristol recording a podcast with Future Leap, the sustainable business network that acts as an eco-hub for the area and offers co-working space in a vibrant eco-community.

During our discussions, it struck me that to get to ‘F’ for Future Leap, you have to go through the alphabet of A, B, C, and D, and I realised that these summed up the overall aims of the podcast quite well.

‘A’ stands for ‘Accountability’ as well as ‘Air Source Heat Pumps’; ‘B’ is covered by the ‘B-Corp Accreditation’ that Future Leap has gone through; ‘C’ not only stands for ‘Carbon reduction’, but more importantly in my view, it stands for ‘Collaboration’, which is vital if we are ever to reach Net Zero; ‘D’ is covered by the phrase ‘Do business better’ or even ‘Do things differently’ which encapsulates Future Leap’s approach; and ‘E’, well 'Environment’ obviously but also ‘Exploration’.

Collaboration is also at the heart of Future Leap and its thriving community of eco-businesses

Dan Headshot BW Dan Smith Sustainability & Construction Manager

True pioneers

Future Leap has existed in Bristol since 2005 and has been a pioneer in helping Bristol not only become the first European green capital in 2015, but also the first city to declare a climate emergency in 2018.

The team at Future Leap is also working tirelessly to help the city achieve its ambition to become carbon neutral and climate resilient by 2030.

In the podcast, we speak to Managing Director, Fenna Leake and Director of Partnership and Sustainability, Katherine Piper, and from Mitsubishi Electric, I’m joined by Head of Sustainability, Martin Fahey.

Accountability / ASHPs

Future Leap supports organisations on their mission to carbon neutrality and Net Zero by showcasing great work in the network, and by providing co-working spaces for people to use.

Not only does this make for a thriving community, but just by locating in one of Future Leap’s hubs, businesses are also reducing their own carbon footprint – which points to the accountability topic.

In the podcast, Fenna Leake talks about the equipment (Mitsubishi Electric of course) that they had installed into what is actually an old, Art Deco tram station, which includes a highly efficient air to air heat pump, which was the first installation of lower GWP R32 City Multi system in the UK.

Future Leap also has mechanical ventilation with heat recovery which increases the efficiency of the whole system by recovering otherwise wasted heat.

B-Corp Accreditation

Katherine Piper explains why Future Leap has just completed B-Corp accreditation.

There are already several B-Corp consultants within Future Leap so it made sense to go for it.

Although it is quite a long process, and there are a lot of questions to answer involving all the parts of the business including HR, Finance, etc. she says that it is a really good way of looking at all elements of sustainability, not just your environmental impact but also your social impact and your governance as well.

B-Corp Accreditation offers a really holistic approach that asks organisations to take a really deep dive into their operations and this must involve everyone.


To work best, B-Corp Accreditation needs everyone on board and you need to look at everything to complete the journey. This is all about collaboration.

And collaboration is also at the heart of Future Leap and its thriving community of eco-businesses.

As members, these businesses are not only sharing working space with other inspirational companies, they also have access to a network of events and sustainable initiatives that they can join in with, to grow their experience and their business.

Do things differently

And this is one of the main reasons for Future Leap’s success, because right from day one, they have chosen to do things differently and try to do things better.

Collaboration is a major part of that because, as we also realise here at Mitsubishi Electric, we will not reach Net Zero in isolation, we will only do it together and, although we know the destination, there is no road map, so there isn’t one single way to get there.


Finally, on my A, B, C, D, E to F for Future Leap, we have exploration as, despite the success and the thriving business community, the team hasn’t rested on its laurels and continues to explore ways to improve the environment.

That sees Katherine, Fenna and the team joining into the Bristol One City plan.

This builds on the City’s Climate Emergency strategy and ecological emergency strategy to identify the deliverables and work out how to achieve them.

Again, the C word is key here – Collaboration. This is not just about the council but needs government, business, communities and individuals to have any chance of succeeding.

There’s a whole lot more in the full podcast, which is now available to listen to,

Click here to listen on Apple..

Click here to listen on Spotify.

One thing that I’ve learnt in doing this though is that there is a huge appetite for collaborative work spaces and a strong desire for people to come together to tackle climate change.

If you would like to learn more about Future leap and their busy programme of events, including their annual Festival of Sustainable Business in November, click here.

Dan Smith, Sustainability & Construction Manager