Zero Carbon Tour Bus Hosted by University on way to COP26

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(L to R) University of Worcester Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive, Professor David Green CBE DL, Hannah Dean-Wood, from Planet Mark, and Gary Woodman, Chief Executive of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, with the bus at the University of Worcester Arena

Planet Mark’s fully electric powered carbon battle bus is visiting 30 towns and cities across the UK and will finish its journey in Glasgow, the venue of the COP26 meeting in November. This is the 26th UN Climate Change Conference bringing together world leaders to discuss and agree on how to tackle climate change.

The Tour was brought to the County in partnership with Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership. It was stationed at the University of Worcester Arena and later the St John’s Campus (Monday, September 20).

Katy Boom, Director of Sustainability at the University, said: “It was wonderful to welcome the Zero Carbon Bus onto campus and for the University to play its part in spreading awareness of COP26, the climate emergency and the ways that businesses and all of us can help by acting now to reduce our carbon footprint. It was great to see our students taking part and a good turnout from local companies to this important event. We were proud to be able to showcase what the University is doing on its way to meeting its sustainability commitments.”

Local businesses, staff, students and the wider community were able to attend a series of presentations to find out about impactful projects to reduce their carbon emissions. Planet Mark, a leading sustainability and net zero certification group who led the event, demonstrated to Worcester businesses how they could set their own credible carbon reduction targets and implement plans to achieve them.

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Attendees also heard from a number of companies that are already doing good work locally. There were also four inspirational ‘carbon stories’, including one on the University’s current path to net zero carbon. The aim was to empower local firms and their employees to become part of a greater national effort to reduce carbon emissions and commit to climate action.

Ellie Bullock, PGCE Secondary Geography student, who attended, said: “It was very interesting to hear about the work of local businesses, like Worcester Bosch and Sanctuary Housing, on their road to net zero. I feel inspired to take my experience of the event into my placement school, raising awareness of COP26, Planet Mark and how pupils can take climate action. I hope to learn more about Carbon Literacy and how this might be applied to learning in the classroom. It was a very positive experience!”

Fellow PGCE Secondary Geography student, Emily Bratt, said: “The Net Zero Bus Tour was an eye-opening experience for me. Being a self-confessed ‘geography nerd’, I went into the conference with what I thought was a great understanding of ‘Net Zero’, however I came out with a whole new perspective. I can’t wait to put this knowledge in my ‘geographers toolkit’ to teach the future pioneers of our country! I can’t wait to follow the Net Zero Bus Tour around the UK while I improve my carbon literacy and hopefully tune into their ‘Net zero carbon emission essential workshops’, albeit virtually.”

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Ms Boom added: “The session on carbon literacy was really interesting. We offer a course to our staff and students, and I am always keen to learn from others how they present the material and interact with participants, but the most inspiring were the local carbon stories. It was interesting to hear from Worcester Bosch about their hydrogen ready boilers, Worcestershire Wildlife Trust’s work with businesses on improving wetlands, planting wildflower meadows and trees. Finally, hearing from Sanctuary Housing Association on the hugely significant impact social housing can have on reducing carbon emissions in homes was inspiring.”

The University of Worcester has a long-standing record on sustainability and was named Sustainability Institution of the Year at the 2019 Green Gown Awards, going on to be Globally Highly Commended at the International Green Gown Awards, at the United Nations in New York. The University, which has committed to cutting carbon emissions to net zero by 2030, is ranked 5th in the UK’s greenest universities in the People & Planet University League, in which it has been among the ‘First Class Honours’ ranked universities for more than 12 years.

The University was recently once again ranked in the top three UK universities for Quality Education in the prestigious Times Higher Education’s global University Impact Rankings, which highlight the contribution made by universities towards the international Sustainable Development Goals.

In 2019, the University of Worcester and Worcester Students’ Union both signed the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Accord, pledging officially to work towards a more sustainable future and supporting the United Nations’ internationally agreed 17 SDGs.