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Carbon Market Watch embarks on an industrious away day

To savour the real-world implications of our climate work, the Carbon Market Watch team visited an industrial zone seeking to decarbonise and a sustainable co-housing project.

The Carbon Market Watch team recently enjoyed a fascinating and stimulating visit to the scenic university town and medieval city of Ghent as part of our annual retreat. The first day involved an insightful cycling tour to the Port of Ghent. There, we learned more about the industrial zone of the city, its efforts to decarbonise and the challenges it faces.

The port area hosts companies of varying scale that operate along the River Scheldt. Witnessing firsthand the environmental impact of these activities and efforts to reduce it tied in closely with many of the themes and issues that CMW deals with on a daily basis.

In the afternoon, Policy Director Sam Van den plas invited us to his co-housing community ‘Bijgaardehof’: 59 dwellings and a neighbourhood health centre now occupy the site of an abandoned factory. The project showcases the transformation of a vacant brownfield location into a community founded on the principle of sustainability, that combines urban nature with urban agriculture. It is an impressive project and colleagues marvelled at the ambition of not only a comfortable, modern home powered without the need for gas but one that has a workshop, play area for children, and winter and roof gardens. 

Our warmest thanks to our tour guide Lieven from the Gandante association of city guides for his informative excursion told in good humour; to our colleague Noemí for capturing the day with her exceptional photography skills; and, of course, to Sam and his neighbours for their generous hospitality.

Enjoy some photos from our day out in Ghent.

Mapping the industrial cycle

A different kind of CMW briefing

The starting point for our adventure. The Rigakaai is where you will find the port in Ghent.

In the zone

An industrial network is dotted along the waterway that runs northward from here, connecting to Terneuzen in the Netherlands.

Mapping industrial pathways

Using his map, tour guide Lieven explains the vast industrial network along the river.

Productive listening

Industrial cycle

Our guide talked about the history of passing points of interest along the waterway.

Carbon Market Watch... and listen

The CMW team pauses to listen carefully.

Floating directors

CMW’s directors take in the sites as we cross the water on a barge.

Industrial sightseeing

Smokestacks...

All along the river, we encountered facilities at varying stages of decarbonisation

Ships and windturbines

Ships transport goods in and out of the port, while a skyline of wind turbines power the energy transition.

Sustainable urban habitats

Hanging garden

A wander through our colleague Sam van den plas’ natural rooftop habitat.

The greenhouse effect

Not all greenhouse effects are bad. 

Green shoots of recovery

The co-housing project stands on the site of a former factory. There are green shoots of recovery all around and up above.

Authors

  • Khaled Diab

    Khaled Diab is the communications director at Carbon Market Watch.

  • Gavin Mair

    Gavin is a member of the communications team. He formerly supported the work of MSPs in the Scottish Parliament, and held responsibility for media output and office management for two MEPs prior to Brexit. He is an experienced campaigner, relishing the challenge of communicating for causes that have a social and environmental impact and is motivated by CMW’s mission of holding businesses and governments to account as they move towards essential environmental ambitions and transitions. When not fighting the good fight Gavin can typically be found enjoying live music or attending to his houseplants.

  • Noemí Rodrigo Sabio

    Noemí is a communications officer at Carbon Market Watch.

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