What is Zero Carbon Lab?

While hundreds of cities and regions have announced ambitious climate targets, many are struggling with HOW to deliver at the speed and scale needed.



This is particularly the case following Covid-19, with authorities facing their biggest economic crisis for generations.



Zero Carbon Lab (ZCL) provides knowledge and insights to UK city and regional authorities on translating their net zero carbon ambitions into action.



As a direct response to the need for added support, capacity and capability; we bring together a partnership of leading UK practitioners to develop an integrated service offering, beyond what each individual partner can provide.

Who we are: the ZCL partners

The Zero Carbon Lab brings together a set of leading knowledge and design partners, each bringing experience and insight to key parts of the net zero challenge in relation to the built environment, mobility, energy, materials and finance.


The partnership has extensive knowledge of the barriers and opportunities for decarbonising key urban systems, and has trialled a portfolio of innovative approaches in recent years with local and regional authorities.

Climate-KIC Holding BV:

EIT Climate-KIC’s team, based in the UK (London, Birmingham and Edinburgh), acts as project lead, orchestrating the partnership and its activities. 


EIT Climate-KIC is Europe’s leading climate knowledge and innovation community working towards a prosperous, inclusive, climate-resilient society.

Centre for Excellence for Low Carbon and Fuel Cell Technologies (Cenex):

Cenex leads on sustainable urban transport. 


Cenex lowers emissions through innovation in transport and energy infrastructure, operating as an independent, not-for-profit research technology organisation and consultancy.

UK Green Building Council (UKGBC):

UKGBC leads on sustainable built environment.


UKGBC is uniting the UK building industry using sustainability as a catalyst to positively transform the places people use every day. A charity with over 400 member organisations spanning the entire sector, it represents the voice of the industry’s current and future leaders who are striving for transformational change.

Energy Systems Catapult (ESC):

ESC leads on sustainable energy systems.


ESC is set up to accelerate the transformation of the UK’s energy system and ensure UK businesses and consumers capture the opportunities of clean growth. The Catapult is an independent, not-for-profit centre of excellence that bridges the gap between industry, government, academia and research.

Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP) at UCL:

IIPP leads on the mission-oriented approach to placed-based clean growth plans.


IIPP is changing how public value is imagined, practiced and evaluated to tackle societal challenges. It brings revived notions of public value and public purpose to the centre of political economy and to concrete policy practice.


UK100 leads on the network development and communication activities.


UK100 is a network of highly ambitious local government leaders, who have pledged to secure the future for their communities by shifting to 100% clean energy by 2050.

Dark Matter Labs

A strategic discovery, design and development lab working to transition society in response to technological revolution and climate breakdown. It specialises in systems mapping, visualising complex and interconnected challenges, Reframing Challenges, convening senior decision makers.

Bankers without Boundaries

Bankers without Boundaries is an innovator in finance, is a social enterprise powered by finance specialists to assist high impact projects that benefit the environment and social good. It has particular expertise in assessing financial instruments currently used, building the city’s finance capability and capacity, technical assistance in creating a pipeline of investible projects.

Democratic Society

Democratic Society is a non-profit organisation working for greater participation and dialogue in democracy. It has expertise in citizen participation theory and practice, designing to ensure public involvement in the net zero transformation.

What does ZCL do?

Work with individual authorities to operationalise their plans and address particular challenges shaped by their needs and experiences

Draw together a group of leading authorities to share experiences and facilitate collective learning across the UK and the EU

Deliver a series of learning workshops and materials to share learning with a broader network of city and regional authorities

Host a Knowledge Hub to help authorities access the information and tools they need to tackle their net zero challenge