Leicester students are helping local businesses to become more sustainable

Social Impact Ambassadors programme sees University of Leicester students helping Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to innovate with a free sustainability audit.

The University of Leicester Innovation Hub is providing support to local SMEs by training students to deliver free Sustainability Audits, helping businesses to embed sustainability at the core of their operations.

As Social Impact Ambassadors, students are trained to audit the businesses’ practices around waste, water, procurement, travel, community, food sustainability, energy and biodiversity, and generate reports for each business, outlining strengths and the steps they can take in order to further reduce their carbon footprint and make cost-savings.

In collaboration with ReFiesta and Octopus Energy, the students audited local venues that were nominated for the Leicester Comedy Festival’s ‘Greening the Laughs’ Award, where venues are recognised for their commitment to sustainability. The results of the audits contributed towards the decision of electing a winner, which was announced as Firebug (a city centre bar) at a ceremony on Monday 1 April.

The Social Impact Ambassadors are trained by Sumaya Jamaale, Social Impact Projects Officer at the Innovation Hub, and are supported throughout the process in developing key leadership, analytical and communication skills.

Sumaya said: “The Sustainability Audit offers businesses a unique opportunity to increase their efficiencies and innovate their processes, with the outcome of students enabling meaningful impact on the local business community in a practical way to address sustainability and bring in new innovation.”

“What has made this programme distinctive is that students have the opportunity to gain experience with businesses, increase their knowledge of sustainability, where they feel empowered and have the skills to continue to put social impact into action both within the University and beyond.”

The Social Impact Ambassadors Programme has been nominated for the Reaching Higher award at the 2019 Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE) awards. The AUDE award for Reaching Higher rewards those who have gone above and beyond the usual realm of their institution, benefitting their local community and having a positive impact on those outside of the usual student and staff community.

The winner of the AUDE Reaching Higher award will be announced at a ceremony on Tuesday 16 April 2019 at Lancaster University.

  • The Innovation Hub’s Sustainability Audits are free for SMEs across Leicester and Leicestershire. To book your audit, please contact Sumaya Jamaale at leicinnovation@le.ac.uk. For further information, please visit our website.

Update, Wednesday 17 April: We're delighted to report that the Social Impact Team won the AUDE Reaching Higher award at the AUDE Awards yesterday evening.