Newlands Group is part of an initiative to encourage local business leaders to take a “joined-up” approach to tackling environmental challenges.

The inaugural meeting of the Darlington Employers Environment Group was initiated by Darlington Building Society and hosted by engine manufacturer Cummins, with a host of key Darlington businesses and organisations coming together to share good practice around Net Zero targets.

Newlands Group was one of the business represented, along with North Star Housing, architects Corstorphine and Wright, legal firm BHP Law, County Durham Community Foundation, Darlington Borough Council, and Darlington Cares, with support for the initiative also being pledged by EE and Darlington Economic Campus.

The business representatives were given a presentation by Cummins around how sustainability initiatives at the Darlington plant are contributing to the global company’s ‘Destination Zero’ strategy.

The meeting was attended by senior figures from Cummins, including Plant Manager, Craig Thomas.

Attendees were then given a tour of the site, which employs 1,900 people, to gain a better understanding of how Cummins is approaching sustainability.

David Bews, Chief Risk Officer at Darlington Building Society, said: “Our aim in initiating this inaugural meeting was to try to establish a group of key local employers who can come together to learn from each other and share good practice.

“It was great to be able to see how a major Darlington site is playing such an impressive part in a global company’s efforts to progress towards net zero with innovation, change, and action – all with an environmental purpose.

“Cummins is demonstrating that the environment is a fundamental part of its business while also producing major cost savings and commercial value. There are so many lessons we can all take away.”

Cummins spokesman Steve Nendick said: “Sustainability is central to our entire operation and, as a major company in the North-East, it’s great to share the thinking behind the initiatives taking place at the Darlington plant, as well as learning what others are doing.”

Antony Lewis, Group Marketing Manager for Newlands Group, said: “As a group of businesses with a wide-ranging portfolio, including care, recruitment, education, and property, we are determined to take the net zero agenda seriously and it helps our thinking to hear the steps other businesses are taking.”

Architects Corstorphine and Wright are involved in some of the region’s most high-profile developments, including Teesworks and the expansion of Teesside International Airport. Director Simon Crowe said: “The net zero targets now have to move to the top of the agenda for all of us. They are at the heart of everything we do, so it was valuable to get the thoughts of other businesses.”

Carol Smith, Operations and Development Manager for County Durham Community Foundation, told the meeting: “I’m going away feeling energized, with lots of ideas, and knowing that small things can make a big difference.”

Mark Ladyman, Assistant Director of Economic Growth for Darlington Borough Council, added: “We welcome this initiative because it’s essential that we all play our part. The organisations at the meeting were very different, but there is common ground on net zero and just being able to pick up even small ideas from others is valuable. We would definitely encourage further meetings and look to bring in other Darlington businesses.”