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The launch of Sustainable Futures

16 Nov 2021

The University of Manchester externally launched Sustainable Futures with a showcase event on Wednesday 20 October, 2021

Sustainable futures

The event brought together over 200 attendees, including UoM academics focused on sustainability research, representatives from industry/public sector including local and national SMEs, strategic industrial partners, third sector organisations, HEIs, local colleges and international partners.

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor, opened the event, followed by a presentation from Mark Atherton, Director of Environment at Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) who gave the GM perspective on sustainability and explained why a strong relationship with our University is crucial to tackling the regions sustainability challenges.

Next up was Professor Mike Shaver, the newly appointed Director of Sustainable Futures. Mike introduced Sustainable Futures in more detail, explaining how it will create value, impact, and cohesion from our interdisciplinary research efforts in environmental sustainability. Following on from Mike, we heard from the following three senior academics, all of which have provided their expertise and support to the development of Sustainable Futures thus far.

  • Professor Carly McLachlan, Director of Tyndall Manchester discussed how our University can lower emissions levels down in a truly sustainable way.
  • Professor Hugh Coe, Director of Manchester Environmental Research Institute (MERI) discussed the impact Sustainable Futures will have across a wide range of Faculties and institutions.
  • Professor Frank Boons, Director of Sustainable Consumption Institute (SCI) discussed the urgency and complexity of the environmental sustainability challenges, and the opportunity for Sustainable Futures to grow our global leadership in transforming our world for the better.

The event then moved onto a panel discussion with Q&A, chaired by Professor Colette Fagan, Vice President for Research, exploring what Sustainable Futures can do that is new in terms of producing useful environmental solutions and how universities can work more effectively with other organisations to address environmental challenges. The panel participants included:

  • UoM, Professor Mike Shaver, Director, UoM Sustainable Futures
  • Dr Jen O’Brien, Academic Lead for Sustainability, UoM
  • UoM, Mark Atherton, Director of Environment, GMCA
  • Susan Jay, Sector Specialist, WRAP UK,
  • Joe Pitcher, Director, Industry Standards, Mastercard
  • Dr Paul Jenkins, Research Director, Beauty & Personal Care Science & Technology, Unilever

Professor Mike Shaver closed the event, reflecting on the individual perspectives of the panel speakers and plans for 2022 onwards in Sustainable Futures.

“It is a time to engage; it is the beginning of something”