Place-based business support towards net zero: enabling through the place-policy-practice nexus

by Polina Baranova

28 Sep 2023
Journal of the British Academy
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Abstract: The prevailing approach of policymakers to the design and delivery of net zero business support remains focused on financial economic growth. This approach limits the role of businesses in leading societal transformation towards a sustainable future. Although opportunities for businesses to transform so that they remain financially viable and resilient may emerge, support and policy innovation are needed to enable businesses to navigate the net zero transition. Place-based policies are one way of ensuring localities, cities and regions respond effectively to the economic and social challenges of the transition. Despite place being identified as one of five foundations of national and local industrial strategies, business support provision across the regions remains largely ‘place-blind’. Support programmes are often generic in their design, scope and delivery mechanisms, and downplay the challenges businesses face when engaging with the net zero transition. This article critically reviews the policy articulation and the state of net zero business support from the place-based perspective. By applying place–policy–practice nexus thinking, gap analysis of net zero support is undertaken, and resolutions are offered. The article calls for a deeper reflection of place characteristics in policy discourse, local strategies and policy mixes. This requires concerted efforts from the government, support agencies, universities and businesses to develop a shared understanding of the growth opportunities and risks of the net zero transition relative to place. This includes the development of representative net zero governance mechanisms and addressing the growing demand for net zero skills.

Keywords: Business support, net zero transition, place-based, policy mixes, place–policy–practice nexus, gap analysis, net zero skills, governance.

Article posted to the Journal of the British Academy, volume 11, supplementary issue 4 (Governance Factors on the Road to Net Zero)

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