Suffolk Sustainability Institute launched

Key figures and speakers at the launch of the Suffolk Sustainability Institute - from left, Prof Moh

Key figures and speakers at the launch of the Suffolk Sustainability Institute - from left, Prof Mohammad Dastbaz, of the University of Suffolk, Matt Hullis and Sue Roper, of Suffolk County Council, Justine Oakes, of the university, Alan Ridealgh, of Muntons, and Prof Darryl Newport, of the University of East London. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The University of Suffolk and Suffolk County Council have combined to champion sustainability.

Key figures and speakers at the launch of the Suffolk Sustainability Institute - from left, Prof Moh

Key figures and speakers at the launch of the Suffolk Sustainability Institute - from left, Prof Mohammad Dastbaz, of the University of Suffolk, Matt Hullis and Sue Roper, of Suffolk County Council, Justine Oakes, of the university, Alan Ridealgh, of Muntons, and Prof Darryl Newport, of the University of East London. Picture: GREGG BROWN

If there were any doubts as to why sustainability has become such a buzzword in recent years, they were well and truly dispelled at the launch of the Suffolk Sustainability Institute last week.

Statistics presented at the event by Professor Mohammad Dastbaz graphically brought into focus the immense pressures exerted on the planet and its natural resources by factors such as over-population, water usage and energy production and consumption. The need to securing a sustainable future in key areas of life such as the environment and in business became all too clear,

Prof Dastbaz provided the global context in which the new Suffolk Sustainability Institute venture is set. The institute will aim to provide consultancy and research around sustainability. It will support innovation and enable the transfer of knowledge and skills development for businesses, communities, policy-makers and others in Suffolk and through established UK-wide networks.

Set up in a partnership by the University of Suffolk and Suffolk County Council, the Institute will aim to provide a “regional centre of excellence” for a “constant dynamic progression towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.”


You may also want to watch:


Prof Dastbaz, the university’s deputy vice-chancellor, said although there were still people who did not believe in climate change, “we are going through a significant change in climate - we have significant evidence about it.”

The world’s “population explosion” was also a major problem. At the “dawn” of the Industrial Revolution the global population was 700 million. It was now 7.6 billion. “We do not have the resources on our planet to support such growth,” he warned.

Most Read

Worldwide, two billion people relied on wells for their water supplies. By 2025 about 1.8bn people would live in areas “plagued by water scarcity,” he said.

Energy consumption figures were “staggering”. In 1977, 4,650 mega-tonnes of fossil fuels were used, but that had doubled by 2015 and CO2 emissions had reached 32,000 mega-tonnes.

Technology could provide solutions but they came at “a cost”. We now lived in a “digital universe” of 2.5bn smartphone users and there were three billion laptops and tablets. These were “conservative estimates” and it was thought there would be six billion smartphones by 2020. There were 3.8bn internet users and Prof Dastbaz said: “This is a 24/7, 365-day-a-year universe that requires energy.”

It was estimated that the world required electricity equivalent to the combined consumption of Germany and Japan “just to keep this going”.

The Suffolk Sustainability Institute would involve much collaborative work on how to respond to the sustainability goals set by the UN and there was “great enthusiasm” for such work in Suffolk, he said.

The institute was launched at the Ipswich Waterfront Innovation Centre with the first Suffolk Sustainability and Innovation Summit, attended by industry and academic leaders, business representatives, students and key stakeholders who considered how innovation is unlocking the value of incorporating sustainability into business strategy.

The event was supported by Stowmarket-based global malt giant Muntons, a sustainability award-winner whose vice-president of external affairs Alan Ridealgh was a keynote speaker. He told summit delegates: “There are still some people out there who do not appreciate that having a really strong sustainability programme does actually preserve resources and actually saves you costs. People all along the supply chain really need to start thinking about sustainability.”

Muntons had placed great emphasis on energy, water and waste reduction. It had invested £20m over 12 years in capital production projects that had enabled it to reduce its energy consumption by about 17% and cut water use by about 20% - and yet increase productivity by about 25%, he said.

Matthew Hicks, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for the environment and public protection, said Suffolk was “no newcomer” to the green agenda. The council and key stakeholders had worked for more than a decade to protect and enhance the natural environment and to be an exemplar in tackling climate change.

He added: “ Indeed, we have calculated a net value to Suffolk over the last five years alone of £34m from our environment work, which does not include the incalculable social benefits all this brings.”

The new institute marked a “new chapter” of collaboration as “we seek to answer some of the key challenges of our era.”

For more information about the institute visit www.uos.ac.uk/ssi

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus