What makes Bristol an ideal base for green tech companies?
Reading time 7 mins
- Bristol became the UK’s first city to receive the European Green Capital award
- Public transport initiatives (e.g. improving infrastructure to encourage cycling, busses that run on biofuel), ethically conscious businesses, and ‘green construction’ alternatives
- Independent charities actively fighting against food wastage and hunger
- Bristol Energy offers customers 100% renewable energy and 15% green gas – most of which comes from the local sewerage system
- Tech for Good: A robust tech-based ecosystem that provides communities, projects, and organisations with the support needed to collaborate and achieve environmental outcomes
Here at Ignitec, we’re often asked why we’re based in Bristol. Our response, “Why not?” We opened our doors almost a decade ago, and over the years, we’ve seen Bristol become one of the most attractive destinations for green tech companies in the UK – there’s no place else we’d rather be.
Bristol is a popular, vibrant city known for its unique contribution to the arts and sciences. It’s also one of the most populated cities in the South West of England – which always bodes well for business! Enterprise and collaboration have been central to the success that many have found here. These created the foundation for an economy based on creative media, tech, electronics, and aerospace engineering technologies to be built upon  – making it the perfect home for green tech companies like ours and many others.
Why does Bristol get the green light for startups?
Bristol made its mark on the green cities map by becoming the first in the UK to receive the European Green Capital award in 2015 . It took several attempts to win and was more than a simple case of ‘third time lucky’ as it had to:
- Demonstrate a record for achieving high environmental standards
- Commit to achieving future goals for further environmental improvements and sustainable development
- Prove that it could be a role model to inspire and promote best practices in other cities
This award certainly played a role in assuring other green tech companies that they would have a sustainable future here. It confirmed Bristol’s robust technological ecosystem that provides support and collaboration opportunities. For example, Tech for Good is an action research project used to identify people, projects, and organisations in Bristol and Bath with similar social, economic or environmental objectives. In this way, people can build networks and connect in a collaborative and user-led way.
Bristol’s green credentials were further solidified when it was officially awarded the status of Gold Sustainable Food City  by the UK partnership program, Sustainable Food Places in 2021. Winning criteria were based on:
- Reducing food waste, e.g. redistributing surplus food
- Community action, e.g. empowering people to engage in wildlife-friendly and sustainable food growing practices
- Expanding Bristol’s Good Food Movement, e.g. increasing public awareness and participation in food-related activities
- Buying better, e.g. sustainable sourcing
- Eating better and improving food quality, e.g. plant-based menus and gardening projects at the University of Bristol
Green tech companies need resource-efficient infrastructure
Those who choose Bristol based on shared values and eco-conscious credentials find themselves in good company. Company that’s made easier to keep thanks to an infrastructure that promotes renewable energy, carbon offsetting, and green gas alternatives.
The number of green tech energy companies based in Bristol and Bath is impressive. Bristol Energy, the national gas and electricity supplier, offers customers 100% renewable electricity and 15% green gas. Better still is that they’re not the only option: Tech for Good data shows that there are 16 other energy-friendly companies that both public and private customers can turn to for bespoke solutions.
That said, transportation alternatives to reduce congestion and pollution remains a leading concern. Bristol, unfortunately, isn’t as cycle-friendly as other green cities, with 73.5% of people responding to a recent survey as not feeling safe to cycle . Fusion Processing, a Bristol-based company, specialising in automated driving systems and improving vehicle safety, has developed an encouraging solution in the form of CycleEye®:
- An advanced driver assistance system (ADAS)
- Alerts drivers to the presence of cyclists alongside their vehicles
- Improves the safety of cyclists
- A cost-effective solution that’s proven to be robust, reliable, and effective
Cycle unfriendliness aside, those taking the bus can still rest assured that their footprint isn’t necessarily getting any bigger. Our Bio-Bus was the first in the UK to be powered by food, sewerage, and commercial liquid waste. And while it’s the butt of countless jokes, it could still reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85% and deliver a 12% reduction in the total greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 .
The road to Bristol is paved with eco credentials
Now that it’s clear why we and other green tech companies chose Bristol as our home, the question is: where to from here?
In recent articles, we looked at options for meeting Sustainable Development Goals, creating ecosystems to reduce plastic pollution, and smarter ways to reduce household waste. We face many challenges, and it often feels like the clock is ticking faster. However, this has led to a sense of urgency that has motivated collaboration and innovation on an international scale. You don’t need to be in Bristol to benefit from the innovations that green tech companies based here have inspired.
If any of this resonates with you because you’re looking to relocate or searching for a solution we could help you find, feel free to contact us.
- The City of Bristol: Creative Industries. (n.d.). University of Bristol. Retrieved September 15, 2022, from https://www.bristol.ac.uk/city/bristol-is-famous-for/creative-industries/
- European Green Capital Award. (2019, May 1). Bristol Green Capital. Retrieved September 15, 2022, from https://bristolgreencapital.org/who-we-are/european-green-capital-award/
- Andrews, R. (2021, October 14). Bristol named Gold Sustainable Food City. Going for Gold Bristol. Retrieved September 15, 2022, from https://www.goingforgoldbristol.co.uk/bristol-named-gold-sustainable-food-city/
- Booth, M. (2022, September 2). Three-quarters of people do not feel safe cycling in Bristol. Bristol 24/7. Retrieved September 15, 2022, from https://www.bristol247.com/news-and-features/news/three-quarters-people-do-not-feel-safe-cycling-bristol/
- Bio-methane buses rolled out across Bristol. (n.d.). Resource Magazine. Retrieved September 15, 2022, from https://resource.co/article/bio-methane-buses-rolled-out-across-bristol