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Local universities to help lead county-wide net zero project

Leicester’s universities are set to deliver a major new programme of net zero research and climate action across the region.

De Montfort University (DMU) and the University of Leicester were successful in winning more than £500,000 to help scale up action by communities, citizens and organisations to become more sustainable. The institutions made the bid under the Universities Partnership, the alliance of local organisations which also includes Loughborough University.

The work to be carried out by DMU and University of Leicester is part of a bigger £2.5m project led by Leicestershire County Council, funded through Innovate UK, the UK's innovation agency.

That project is called Leicestershire CAN (Collaboration to Accelerate Net Zero). It will be used to explore how local organisations can collaborate and accelerate climate action, develop a decarbonisation pathway plan for the whole county, identify the best ways for communities to get to net zero and launch a new online platform to share information and tools.

Leicestershire CAN will also work to develop community energy projects, aiming to have a community energy organisation in every district.

As part of this, DMU will be responsible for developing, piloting and evaluating models for good governance in order to reach net zero targets, enabling inclusive participation in decision-making for people and organisations across the region. Dr Andrew Reeves, DMU’s lead for the Environmental Sustainability theme within the Universities Partnership will lead this work.

The University of Leicester’s School of Business will lead on the creation of a digital suite of resources, toolkits and other materials to help ensure that SMEs and other stakeholders have all the information and capabilities required to reduce their carbon footprints.  This builds on the success of previous work with small businesses to develop the Responsible Business Toolkit which helps local businesses become more sustainable.

BUILDING A RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS - A toolkit for a future-proof organisation

Not only are energy costs rising, but competition is intensifying and the economy is more uncertain than ever. At the same time, the Government has set ambitious targets around climate change and customers and employees are demanding ethical and environmentally responsible practices. With all this in mind, it’s never been more important for your business to invest in its future. 

By innovating for good you have an opportunity to not only become more sustainable, but to lower your running costs, qualify for grants and tax benefits and maintain a competitive advantage long into the future. But doing this effectively is no easy feat. Many businesses end up greenwashing, while others see little return for their efforts.

The good news is that – regardless of what your starting point is, how big your organisation is, or how much time or resources you have – this toolkit can help. Designed by business and sustainability experts, the Responsible Business Toolkit gives you everything you need to make the right decisions around sustainability, demonstrate your success to your customers, and – ultimately – future-proof your business.

Please click here to access the Responsible Business Toolkit.

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