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University named awards finalist for leading the way to a low carbon future

The University of Chester has been named an awards finalist for its work to lead the way to a low carbon, low waste and sustainable future.

Recognising forward-thinking initiatives by the University’s Business School, its Sustainability Team and across the University, it has been shortlisted for an Excellence in Sustainability Award by the West Cheshire and North Wales (WCNW) Chamber of Commerce.

Part of the Annual Recognition Awards held by the Chamber, the award, sponsored by WR Partners, celebrates organisations placing sustainability at the heart of what they do.

The shortlisting acknowledges the University’s collaborative action to deliver positive environmental change, from educating students to be the responsible leaders of the future, to influencing future sustainability skills policy, and delivering on the University’s own low carbon goals.

Students are being helped to make a difference in their local communities and beyond through initiatives such as conservation volunteering days at varied locations, and the Chester Youth Climate Action Network (CYCAN), founded in 2022 by University of Chester students. Supported by the University, CYCAN recently designed and delivered the second Green Expo youth conference, involving apprentices, further education colleges and local employers in debate and problem-solving. 

The University is central to a number of strategic collaborative projects, focused on delivering a positive environmental impact on a significant scale. These include its Business School being academic lead for the nationally recognised HyNet North West consortium which is driving the decarbonisation of industry across the North West and North Wales, to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The University has convened the HyNet Skills, Learning and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Subcommittee, bringing together large employers in the region to ensure that needed skills and employment opportunities are created in addressing the decarbonisation challenge.

As part of its work with the Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre (IDRIC), the University has also published a nationally significant industrial decarbonisation workforce report, which will influence future sustainability skills policy. Chester Business School and the Faculty of Science, Business and Enterprise have led on this important research. 

Looking at reducing its own environmental impact, the University is moving forward in areas such as energy reduction through measures such as solar panels; in waste and recycling; water usage; transport, biodiversity, and introducing Carbon Literacy Training, looking at the science behind climate change and the practical ways individuals can make a difference. The training has been embedded within a number of modules across the Faculty’s programmes.

Wider staff and student research is also highlighting ways to protect the environment and the University’s longstanding relationship with Chester Zoo has included the creation together of world-leading conservation and sustainability education.

Associate Professor Kirstie Simpson, Dean of Chester Business School said:

“We are delighted to showcase our sustainability activity, and to be a finalist for this award.

“It has been a privilege to work with employers on industrial decarbonisation research, be the academic lead for HyNet North West and see students and staff involved in, and passionate about, sustainability.”

Tamara Hunt, Sustainability Manager at the University of Chester, added: “The climate and nature emergencies are complex interconnected issues that cannot be solved in isolation and the breadth of activities demonstrates how we work collaboratively. We are thrilled that our activities, within and beyond the University are being recognised as a finalist in this award.”  

The University, alongside Storyhouse, has also been shortlisted for a Green Gown Award in the category of Creating Impact, for Storyhouse Climate, an event held in autumn 2022 bringing the arts and sciences together to tackle climate change.

The Green Gown awards recognise exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges across the world.

Winners of the WCNW Chamber Recognition Awards will be revealed on Friday November 17 at a ceremony in the Pavilion at Chester Racecourse.

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