University provides Net Zero support to local businesses

Tue 21 May, 2024
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The University of Bedfordshire has announced its newest venture with Luton Borough Council aimed at supporting local businesses in their journey towards achieving net-zero.

The Sustainability and Net Zero Business Support Programme has received £25,000 from the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) - a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda, providing £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025.

This comprehensive programme showcases the University of Bedfordshire’s and Luton Council’s joint commitment to sustainability and fostering a green economy in the area and marks a strategic investment in local businesses operating within the Luton region, offering support to Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in reducing their carbon footprint.

As part of this collaboration, the University will provide guidance to support organisations in implementing Net Zero practices and developing robust sustainability strategies. Businesses will also benefit from workshops designed to equip them with the knowledge and tools necessary to embrace sustainability - covering topics such as green marketing strategies and lean thinking methodologies.

From fully-funded 1-2-1 consultancy sessions with industry experts to the development of effective travel plans aimed at reducing environmental impact, businesses will receive tailored support to address their unique needs, with the goal of decreasing their carbon footprint and offsetting any remaining emissions through carbon removal.

Professor Andrew Church, Pro Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation at the University of Bedfordshire, said: “We are excited to work with Luton Council in our shared commitment towards addressing the climate crisis, as well as fostering sustainable development and growth within our community. This newest partnership focuses on empowering SMEs to transition towards Net Zero and embrace eco-friendly practices. Together, we aim to cultivate a more environmentally sustainable and robust economy in Luton, ensuring a healthier ecosystem for future generations."

This programme also aligns with the Luton’s 2040 vision of being carbon neutral by 2040 and the strategic Civic Agreement between the University and the Council signalling a commitment to working together in support of local goals for the transformation of the town and its people. Priorities of our long-term partnership also include supporting a strong and empowered community built on fairness and equality; and on becoming a child-friendly town.

Dr Andrew Grantham, Senior Lecturer, Strategy and Sustainability at the University of Bedfordshire said: “Net zero is not only the next competitive advantage for businesses, but increasingly it is a necessary commitment by firms of all sizes if they want to be approved suppliers in both the public and private sectors. Although challenging for most firms, it is particularly hard for SMEs to find the necessary resources and investment to operationalise their plans. So, we are excited to partner with Luton Council on this UKSPF-funded programme to offer a package of support that includes workshops aimed at developing understanding and help organisations get on their way to Net Zero for the benefit of their business and society more widely.”

Nathan March, Senior Business Partnerships Manager within the University of Bedfordshire’s Research & Innovation Service, said: "The University of Bedfordshire is leading the charge towards Net Zero in Luton. Partnering with over 800 private sector organisations annually, we aim to drive sustainable innovation and economic growth within the region. We are committed to the government’s drive to be carbon neutral by 2050 and supporting our region's business community by forming strategic partnerships to support the future of the region and deliver our shared ambition for economic growth, prosperity and a more green economy.” 

Councillor Tom Shaw, Portfolio Holder for Climate Change at Luton Council, added: “Tackling the climate crisis is a top priority for the Council. The programme provides local businesses with a practical and accessible means of identifying, planning and implementing decarbonisation initiatives, whilst also reducing their energy costs. It’s encouraging to see organisations in Luton who share our vision of making our town net zero carbon by 2040 and I strongly encourage all SMEs to make use of the advantages that this support has to offer.”

To find out more about the business support available through this programme via the University’s Research & Innovation Service, click here.


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