Pagabo Live
Pagabo News

Pagabo Live – Unlocking Decarbonisation Funding

26 March 2024

The third instalment of Pagabo Live was the most popular so far, which reflects the importance of the topic at hand – decarbonisation, and notably how to unlock critical funding for delivery.

We pooled the expertise of three sustainability and decarbonisation specialists from across the sector to help our viewers navigate this complex and confusing landscape.



The session was opened by our host Tom Snee of Cartwright Communications handing straight over to viewers to find out how knowledgeable they were on accessing decarbonisation funding. A whopping 78% detailing having low or almost no knowledge – reflecting the importance of the topic at a time when the race to meet net zero has never been more pressing.

Viewer polls also showed that 44% of people are currently looking for decarbonisation funding for upcoming projects, and a further 38% expect to in the future.

Thankfully, at the close of the session our viewers felt much more empowered on what they need to do to access funding, with 68% stating they had a good awareness on accessing decarbonisation funding. Watch the full episode here, and read on to find out more.

Watch the full episode today:

View webinar

The challenges in meeting net zero

We kicked off the discussion by questioning the government directive, and if it’s doing enough in the journey to net zero – with only 3% of viewers detailed feeling enough is being done by government.

Our experts acknowledged that there have been really positive foundations laid in the past decade, but there’s still a long way to go in terms of regulation and connectivity. Long-term planning for net zero needs continuity, which is understandable to worry about with an upcoming general election. Policy has an important role to play from a bureaucratic point of view, with a need to reduce red tape as far as physically possible through alignment with regulations.

Despite best efforts, one of the biggest challenges in delivering net zero projects remains in client understanding. The start of any scheme needs to identify what net zero actually means for that client. Is it a whole life cradle-to-cradle approach? Is it net zero in operation? Defining what the client really means and wants to achieve is one of the most important and earliest hurdles to get over – and without doing so, the chance of successfully meeting expectations is low.

Does accounting for net zero cost more? In short, there are two forms of currency to consider – capital and carbon costs. We have to weigh up what may be a slightly higher capital cost against the overall cost of not acting until later. It’s about balancing the affordability of capital cost and getting the right solution from an environmental perspective – but with the risk of stranded assets increasing as new legislation comes forward, overall net zero carbon won’t ‘cost more’ once we truly understand the cost of not acting.

The final challenge links in with one of the industry’s biggest talking points. All our experts highlighted the skills gap – and how we have to go far and fast, but we need to tools and skills there to do so. No matter how much funding is available and how easy it is to access, if supply chains are not able to develop and grow the skills we need there will always be pinch points in delivery.


Funding options

Salix operates a number of different funds, with its two key offerings being the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, and the Low Carbon Skills Fund, which launched Phase 5 on the day of Pagabo Live.

Along with this, there are smaller funding pots that may be available on a regional basis, some charities also offer grants and certain funding streams specific to technology or solutions are also out there. Meanwhile, the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has deployed billions of funding into various schemes including the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and a forthcoming £500m local authority retrofit scheme.

Accessing funding starts with understanding the requirements of your project or scheme, and how that aligns with the specific funding options to put together the right approach.


How to form an effective business case

Creating an effective business case for net zero is a large-scale discussion that could easily form a full webinar of its own. There are a huge number of options available and will often be organisation or project specific, but a common theme is to include how to maximise the benefits as far as possible.

By this, our experts explained a need to focus on the wider context of any actions rather than focusing solely on one point. Examine how to work across multiple departments and examine the co-benefits that would be created across the board from your work and align your business case to as many priorities as possible. Creating collaboration on this wider scale and highlighting the far-reaching impacts is the key to much stronger business cases.

Look at how to quantify and demonstrate the benefits to be created and what they mean. Detail how things will be measured and verified to ensure accountability to avoid value engineering elements critical to overall success.

Finally, remember there are reputational elements at play too, which is often a key risk avoidance for any project. It’s important to not get caught up in being seen to keep pace with competitors and look at the bigger picture to make sure that the actions you propose to take will not exacerbate or create a larger-scale negative impact elsewhere.

However, all will always come down to a central point, which links back to the challenge of the client’s understanding and clarity on their end goal.


Cautious optimism – but a need for realism.

When it comes to when we need to act on net zero, the realistic answer is that we should already be doing so. It’s not an action for tomorrow, or even today, and it should incorporate much more than just buildings.

There are targets being set closer to hand than the overall UK 2050 target, especially by local authorities up and down the country. There is a clear level of ambition across both public and private sectors, but targets have to be made from an informed and strategic viewpoint. Our experts reported having to advise clients that they simply won’t be able to meet their targets based on activities, cashflow or having set goals without considering elements like Scope 3 emissions.

This said, it’s not too late and optimism is to be found. All of our panellists agreed that with the right will and funding, anything is achievable as long we as act together. The critical part should never be the target date in 2050 as things won’t change overnight when the clock ticks over – the difference made will be on the journey there.


The full episode of Pagabo Live also delves into the role of the individual on carbon emissions, the age-old discussion of refurbishment vs new-build and a growing impetus on Scope 3 emissions and grid capacity. Watch the full webinar today:

View webinar


Our next episode will focus on the Procurement Act 2023 – Preparing the Public Sector, taking place on Wednesday 17 April at 3pm. With the new act coming into effect later this year, it’s critical to get ahead:

Register today


For more information on our frameworks and how they can support you, click below.
Discover our frameworks

Subscribe to our mailing list, to keep up to date with Pagabo news

Related articles