Category: Events/Talks

• Chrissy and Michael Bentley from the Farmers Overseas Action Group

Global Development in a Post-COVID-19 World

In March this year, the Department of Geography at the University of Worcester held its annual public conference that focuses on a specific theme in global development. The conference, organised collaboratively with the local Beacons Development Education Centre, was attended by students from across the university, as well as University staff, Beacons volunteers, members of the public, and representatives from… Read more →

University of Worcester: Net Zero Carbon by 2030

The University of Worcester set a target to be net-zero carbon by 2030. We think students and staff working together on projects they’ve designed is the best way to do this. Credits listed below, Edited by Rosie Bramwell.

Having declared a climate emergency in 2019, the University of Worcester set a target to be net-zero carbon by 2030. We have been measuring and reporting our carbon footprint since 2008, both direct and indirect emissions. Our total carbon footprint in the academic year 2018/19 was about 22,000 tonnes. This is our baseline year. Watch the full video to find out more!

Above: Highlights – University of Worcester – Net Zero Carbon by 2030


University of Worcester – Net Zero Carbon by 2030

Katy Boom – Director of Sustainability, Presenting

Jess Tasney – Carbon Reduction and Sustainability Manager, Data

James Atkins – Technician, Drone Footage

Molly McMahon – Digital Creative Assistant, Filming

Aly Elsaid – Digital Creative Assistant, Editing and Graphics

With support and additional material from Digital Creative Assistants Rosie Bramwell, Charlie Marston and Diego Arachchi

Direct Carbon

Having declared a climate emergency in 2019 we set a target to be net-zero carbon by 2030 for both direct and indirect carbon emissions. Our total carbon footprint in the academic year 2018/19 was about 22,000 tonnes. This is our baseline year.

In 2022-3 it had increased to over 32,000 tonnes. Direct carbon has reduced by 25%, but our indirect carbon is up by 63%. Why is this?

Direct carbon is produced by the energy we use and the fuel for our vehicles. It is called direct because we own and control these. This has reduced because of changes to lighting, heating, on-site renewable
energy and changing to electric vehicles. Lighting is predominantly LEDs, and by adding double glazing and insulation we have improved energy efficiency of our buildings. We installed solar thermal and PV panels to heat our water and generate our own electricity.

We’ve also expanded our building management system to help us control temperatures in response to weather conditions and heat buildings to 19 degrees. We can also save carbon and money by sharing heating and cooling and create a community heat network. The university is working to see if we can do this in Worcester. Government funding has appointed consultants to work on a design to use the river as the heat source.

Indirect Carbon

Indirect carbon refers to what we have less control over changing. Most of our indirect carbon emissions are from what we buy, and by staff and student travel. Together this made up 29,000 tonnes in 2022-23.

To reduce commuting carbon, we installed 100 electric vehicle charging points on Severn Campus, one of the largest single installations in the country. Students are working with a global travel planning app which provides small rewards from local businesses for travelling sustainably. To reduce procurement emissions, we work with our suppliers and give them free access to a tool to help them work with their supply chains to reduce their emissions and include carbon reduction commitments when awarding contracts.

To be net zero by 2030, we aim to reduce our carbon first. Then will we invest in credible schemes that will take carbon out of the atmosphere, such as planting trees and soil conservation projects. In short, we are aiming to be low carbon and high nature. Our biggest area of impact are our students and staff – around 11,000 people.

To help reach zero, people need to understand carbon and high impact solutions for reducing it. We offer 8 hours of carbon literacy training to all. It is important when our students graduate, they leave with the skills, knowledge and experience of climate action and sustainability. We think students and staff working together on projects they’ve designed is the best way to do this.

Student and Staff Projects at The University of Worcester: 

  • Hazaar, a zero waste online swap shop for students 
  • A visual style for the staff mental health network 
  • Introducing ergonomic  and energy saving cleaning methods 
  • Nature cams on campus supporting wellbeing 
  • Take a break campaign 
  • Peaceful spaces to decompress 
  • Bringing the climate emergency into education 
  • Hedgehog highways and conservation 
  • Teaching children sustainability through library activities  
  • Promoting low carbon meals in the canteen 
  • Encourage sustainable travel to campus 
  • Swapped paper systems to digital 
  • Move the world. Teaching children sustainable development goals 

Teaching and Research Projects

– My name is Elena Lengthorn. I work in the School of Education. We introduce the SDGs in the core professional studies program for all our secondary teachers in training. It includes the background to the goals, a critical evaluation of the roles and responsibilities of educators, and insights on how the SDGs can be taught in practice. This year we held an educator climate assembly to support the development of a course on education in a climate emergency. This innovative program includes elements of carbon literacy and nature connectedness, climate anxiety and the SDGs.

– My name is Paulo Mora and I teach brand management. Nowadays consumers demand sustainable and responsible brands and small and large corporations are using the United Nations Sustainable Framework. My students implement the same tools used by these companies to measure their impact and identify areas for possible strategic development.

– Hello, my name is Rachel Cooper. I teach responsible business and accounting and finance at Worcester Business School. How are we going to finance zero carbon?
Businesses are looking for graduates with knowledge, skills, and experience to make this happen.
Our aim is to inspire future business leaders and we bring experts in to explore what is really happening. How do businesses report and deliver results? There is momentum and our graduates are ready.

– Hi, I’m Daniel and as a psychologist, I’m interested in social forces on our behaviour, including altruism such as kindness and helping behaviour and the role it can play in romantic long-term relationships. In a paper published recently, we looked at pro environmentalism. We found that people find it desirable in long-term partners and, we display it more in the presence of potential partners. In our courses here in psychology, we look at global themes, including climate change and the environment so that students can understand the role of psychology and helping make a difference in the world.

– My name is Alan Dixon and I’ve been doing research and teaching in sustainable development for over 25 years and I’m looking at the interrelationships between society and the environment in Sub Saharan Africa. I’ve been exploring how wetlands contribute to food security, poverty reduction and climate resilience and work with different stakeholders to develop wetland management strategies that balanced development with environmental sustainability. This informs the teaching on our geography courses such as our fieldwork to Malawi, where students gain first-hand experience of sustainability and climate change issues in the global South.

– I’m Ian Maddock and I’m a geographer and professor of River Science. My research involves investigating ways to use un-crewed aerial vehicles or drones to map and measure rivers, in particular their morphology in their flows. At Worcester, we’re also using drones to monitor soil erosion and provide evidence of the best farming practices to reduce soil run-off into rivers that can cause pollution. Rivers have suffered greater ecological declines than any other part of our natural environment and the results of this research can help us restore our rivers and enhance biodiversity.


Big thanks to the Digital Creative Team for putting this video together, to Sheridan Courtney for the video footage for Professor David Green, University of Worcester Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, CBE – and to the students and staff who are embedding sustainability into their teaching and research projects at The University of Worcester.

How can you get involved? Check out our Carbon Literacy Training in Worcester post for more!

Yellow box with white text reading: 11 sustainable cities and communities

Go Green Week 2020

Go Green Week returned for the 10th year running! Ran by the University of Worcester’s first year an introduction to sustainability students’ and the sustainability department the week taught attendees ways to live more sustainably and promotes the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) created by the United Nations. All thanks to the hard work of volunteers, several stalls, special guests,… Read more →

Heating Decision Making in Student Housing: influences and future options

Despite the efforts of landlords, local authorities and government, houses in multiple occupation (HMO) are often perceived as cold, and sometimes damp, with the tenants spending disproportionately large sums on energy. A 2018 report by the National Union of Students on students’ experiences nationally found that: “49% of students described their HMOs as drafty and cold as a result of… Read more →

How to Make a Digital Impact; Go Green Week 2019 (Free Talk)

Build organic ranking in search engines; develop digital campaigns to share information about your services; sell your products online; attract more volunteers to sign up to campaigns. The University is providing a FREE TALK to all charities, organisations and businesses who are supporting Go Green Week, 2019 to help you with your digital presence. The session is delivered by Wendy… Read more →

On Thursday the 14th of July 2016, the University of Worcester hosted the Midlands Sustainability Network for Further and Higher Education Institutions event. Around fifty individuals attended the event, not just from education institutes but from businesses and local authorities, to begin the process of engagement, collaboration and sharing ideas. The event was hosted at the University of Worcester, who also Chair the Network, and there was a wide range of speakers on hand to provide their expertise, insights and, above all, show their passion for the sector and sustainability. Universities that attended include the University of Worcester, Birmingham City University, and the University of Bristol.

Midlands Sustainability Network for Further and Higher Education Institutions

On Thursday the 14th of July 2016, the University of Worcester hosted the Midlands Sustainability Network for Further and Higher Education Institutions event. Around fifty individuals attended the event, not just from education institutions but from businesses and local authorities, to begin the process of engagement, collaboration and sharing ideas.  The event was hosted at the University of Worcester, who… Read more →

Whole Earth? University of Worcester’s response.

Here’s a short summary of how we’ve used Whole Earth? at the University of Worcester We have been working with Institute of Education colleagues and students to use the exhibition with primary school children. We have trained university students to guide primary school students around the exhibition and then undertake 2 or 3 activities with them, depending on their age… Read more →

Developing Partners for Sustainable Learning in Green Graphic Design

For some years now I’ve been developing the teaching in ‘Green’ or (possibly better described as) ‘sustainable’ graphic design techniques as part of the Graphic Design and Multimedia degree course at the University of Worcester. In order to broaden the experiences and learning of students in this area further, I’ve also been developing both links and lecture visits with other specialist organisations outside of the University.


One of these organisations is the Worcester Resource Exchange – a ‘scrap store’ of post industrial materials allied to the Duckworth Trust and based in the city. We’ve also developed links with the larger Centre for Alternative Technology (or ‘CAT’ as it’s often known as in shorthand) based in Machynlleth, mid Wales. I firmly believe as a lecturer that not all learning takes place within the classroom and that facilitating students to both engage with and see other experiences on site at such places can be hugely beneficial to them too. This comment doesn’t just relate to the students’ learning experiences, but rather it also relates to the galvanising effect on a cohort that an occasional trip or visit outside of the University can also achieve.

Green Graphic Design

The Green Design module’s link with CAT has been evolving year on year now for nearly a decade. Students have benefitted from a range of new perspectives that the staff and facilities on site there have provided. In particular I want to highlight their ground-breaking latest research into how we might practically start to ‘decarbonize’ the British economy – which is called ‘Zero Carbon Britain’ (again known in shorthand as ‘ZCB’). This body of findings is the output of many years of painstaking research and analysis by specialists at CAT. It compares where we are now with resource and power use and where we could potentially be – albeit if we started to make small, practical changes to the ways in which we live. Now this might immediately worry readers of this article, who are probably imagining us at this point going back to the horse and cart – but CAT’s vision is anything but this. They see a modern-day society that is less oil and gas reliant and instead is more efficient with it’s use of fuels and one that has also invested more in diversifying heat and power generation utilising more renewables and other related technology.

Closed loop cycles

Linking with such external organisations brings various additional benefits to students and we’ve now adopted a core set of considerations that focus around working towards the core idea of a ‘closed loop’ of product development & usage. Closed loop cycles are also a key theme within CAT’s own ZCB research too if we’re to effectively lower our resource uses. In practical terms, this asks students to look at a lowered, ‘cleverer’ and more sustainable use of resources in their packaging solutions for their ‘live’ clients. Crucially, it also means that students are introduced to the idea of a ‘second use’ for their packaging concepts too.

Second solutions

Their latest project for regional sustainable brewer Oldfields Orchard Cider (Hobsons) actively encourages them to seek a follow-up use for their packaging once it has safely delivered the goods/bottles to the intended user. This could take one of many forms and in previous projects students have designed their packaging so it easily dismantles as traditional pub games, into small recipe books, and in one case rice paper spice tabs to be put directly into cooking. While there’s often no ‘ideal’ second use solutions, the idea is that students experiment and suggest additional ‘value added’ features for their packaging concepts that either delay or even stop the pack going into the waste systems by ultimately transforming it into another appropriate and useful artefact. While this idea isn’t brand new, the industry appears to be slowly changing and there are more and more sustainable design and packaging precedents appearing now that students are actively bearing in mind for their own concepts.

CAT Educational Lectures

Green Design students were fascinated by CAT’s ZCB research at a recent lecture and workshop on site in the unique Sheppard Lecture Theatre – one of the largest ‘rammed-earth’ structures in Europe. CAT Educational lecturer Ann MacGarry discussed many of the research’s salient findings within their ZCB proposals.. The debates to be had in this area clearly impacted on many of the students – who had only seen overviews to date but nothing in this in depth. Reactions were broad and when audio-interviewed en route back to Worcester, student comments included:

With (the concept of) ‘Zero Carbon Britain’, I really do think it’s achievable – but I think it’s only going to be possible by getting politicians to ‘pull their fingers out’ – it won’t happen without new legislation.. There’s only so much individuals can do really.


I found the visit and lecture really interesting, a lot of people talk about sustainability and low impact living but CAT seems to actually ‘do it’. I thought their ethics were really interesting too – not taking funding from big business or being biased or in anyone’s pockets.

Despite the broad-ranging nature of the day’s lecture, students could clearly see how these additional layers of information and context could widen their thinking with their own sustainable packaging projects ongoing. Third year graphic design student Jimi O’Doherty adds:

It (the lecture) was broad in nature – but I think much of the information was transferable and I’ll be bearing some of it in mind when I’m thinking about my further packaging ideas.

Students on the Green Design module will be completing their sustainable packaging outputs for this year’s ‘live’ brief set by sustainable regional beer and cider maker Hobsons in January 2015.

More information

CAT’s ‘Zero Carbon Britain’ research

The Centre for Alternative Technology 

Images and student comments from the latest Green Design module trip and lecture at the Centre

Previous sustainable packaging concepts (incorporating second uses and ‘closed loop’ thinking) for the Wye Valley Brewery:

#greendesign #universityofworcester #graphicdesignandmultimedia #sustainabledesign #hobsons #centreforalternatetechnology #andystevenson #zerocarbonbritain

WHOLE EARTH? Hard Rain Project

WHOLE EARTH? successor exhibition to The Hard Rain Project.

Tell it and speak it and think it and breathe it Mark Edwards is one of the few environmental communicators to have personally witnessed the global issues that are defining the 21st century. Assignments for magazines, NGOs and United Nations agencies have taken him to over 150 countries.   One of the most widely published photographers in the world, his pictures… Read more →

Is leadership for sustainability possible in a market economy?

This debate is worth listening to. It made a refreshing change to hear some honesty and courage as panel members tackled the questions raised which included present corporate and personal value systems. Each brought a unique perspective, knowledge and experience to the debate. These people are specialists in their field, they are serious about change and they are courageous enough… Read more →

leadership for sustainability debate

Students’ role in debate on a sustainable market economy

As everyone loves a great debate, this week’s event at the Hive welcomed representatives from a variety of fields to discuss an often controversial topic: is it possible to have leaders who push for a sustainable market economy? As a recent graduate, I was interested in seeing how some of today’s leaders consider sustainability in their day-to-day jobs. It was… Read more →

Visiting Slovenian Academic Talks About Her Research in Šalek Valley, Slovenia

As part of the University of Worcester’s lunchtime sustainability talks, Natalija Speh, visiting academic from Slovenia talks about her recent research in Šalek Valley. Food production, organic farms, renewable energy We were interested in the economic perspective of farms, we wanted to know their attitude to energy supply as a supplementary farm activity or if they might have experienced renewable energy sources. The purpose of this research is to examine the… Read more →

Climate change debate

University of Worcester students set out to examine the dramatic impact flooding and climate change has had on our beautiful city Our plans as first year Sustainability students have quickly changed, due to the weather and flooding issues the city has been facing this week. We felt compelled to report on the issues brought by floods in Worcester, from our… Read more →

New disease poses a threat to oaks in city’s woods

The local newspaper announced last week that oak diseases are now a threat to local trees. Will the Midlands landscape be altered forever? Come to a fascinating lunchtime talk from Ewan Calcott, Forestry Commission North West & West Midlands Area manager.  Ewan will tell us exactly what this threat is and he will explain  about sustainable forest management and planning.… Read more →

Podcast, getting a graduate job in the UK

Change Agents place graduates in sustainability jobs in the UK.

The sustainability sector is growing and many employers are looking for graduates with skills and experience.

Worcester has many opportunities within the curriculum and in extra curricula projects such as Go Green Week for students to gain these skills. A survey by recruiters Acre in July 2012 found that average salaries in sustainability jobs in the UK rose to £56,360, an increase of 14% since 2009.

Find out what you can do while at university to gain the skills that make you a great applicant for sustainability jobs in the UK by listening to our podcast.

Sarah Hooper is from Change Agents UK.

susthingsout talks to Claire Bridges about helping students get jobs in Worcestershire

Claire Bridges, operations manager at Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (WLEP), explains how LEPs were created in 2011 as an instrument of Government to spearhead local economic growth, enterprise and job creation.

The WLEP has produced a business plan which is the delivery focus for the country. But the government has now set increased responsibilities and ambitions for each LEP. Amongst the new challenges, one of it will be the integration of sustainability principles.

Listen to our podcast to find out how WLEP helps students get jobs in Worcestershire and how you can get employability skills through sustainability projects across the University of Worcester.

For more information please contact Katy Boom, Director of Environmental Sustainability, University of Worcester, email

Support the revival of  local economic growth, enterprise and job creation by sharing this post – or – start a discussion using the discussion box below.

Lunchtime Talk, Wednesday 16th October, Local enterprise partnerships. Local economic growth, enterprise and job creation

Claire Bridges operations manager at Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership  (WLEP) will explain how LEPs were created in 2011 as an instrument of Government to spearhead local economic growth, enterprise and job creation. The WLEP has produced a business plan which is the delivery focus for the country but government has now set increased responsibilities and ambitions for each LEP and… Read more →