Smart Transport

Icebreaker One launches £901,000 net zero Covid-19 recovery project

Non-profit organisation Icebreaker One has launched a £901,000 project to support a green recovery from Covid-19.

Project Cygnus has been selected to receive funding as part of the “Pandemic Response Projects”, one of the two instruments of the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) Crisis Response Initiative – a €60 million initiative launched in May 2020 to contribute to the European Union’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Icebreaker One has joined forces with the Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence at the University of Edinburgh, the University College Dublin (UCD) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to deliver Project Cygnus.

The first phase of the initiative will deploy the £901,000 to analyse current economic and environmental investment trends.

This will include those caused by the current pandemic as well as those pre-dating Covid-19 but which might have been exacerbated by it.

The aim is to develop strategies for investment and policymaking that will address fragility and opportunities in the current systems that have been exposed by the pandemic.    

It will identify potential investment risks, and opportunities to drive both carbon neutrality and economic growth.

It will also unpack how to unlock access to data flows that can fuel informed future investment and policy decisions in a timely, robust and scalable manner. 

Collaboration with public and private sectors

The knowledge and insights gathered will be used to develop tools, data infrastructure and policy recommendations, as well as economic modelling needed to support a post-pandemic transition that addresses net-zero investments.

Phase two will build on the foundations of the first phase by providing investors, policy makers and decision-makers with tools to address the challenges of achieving economic recovery while also transitioning to net-zero.

Central to the success of Project Cygnus will be collaboration with partners across the public and private sectors.

Icebreaker One is calling on national and regional administrations, asset managers, investors and leaders to engage with the project.

Gavin Starks, Icebreaker One founder and chief executive, said: “Both Covid-19 and climate change are major economic and social threats: it is vital that we tackle them in tandem.

“If we are serious about building resilient and sustainable economies we also need to be serious about achieving net-zero: the two are intrinsically linked.

“As the saying goes, ‘never waste a good crisis’ — as vast investments are unlocked to help restart our economies we have a unique opportunity to build into the future we want. This project will help us make decisions based on facts, evidence and needs combined with cutting-edge research and data science.”

Icebreaker One is actively calling on organisations, leaders and investors from across the public and private sectors to participate in the project.

Watch now: Connecting Policy To Solutions Virtual Conference 2021

Smart Transport Conference returned on June 8th & 9th, to facilitate pivotal discussions on the future of transport. 

The UK’s most senior public and private sector transport leaders discussed the impact of Covid-19, achieving the Government’s decarbonisation ambitions, the need for more efficient living and better health, and much more.

Keynote speakers included: 

Kwasi Kwarteng, secretary of state at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), who spoke on BEIS's approach to decarbonising transport, particularly the electrification of the vehicle industry

Keith Williams, co-author of the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail, who spoke on rail’s role in integrated transport, decarbonisation and innovation.

Rachel Maclean, parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Department for Transport, who discussed the future of transport and its pivotal role in a ‘green recovery’ from the pandemic.


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