Top 5 Leicester projects for a greener future

The G7 Summit gets underway in Cornwall today (Friday), where world leaders will gather to tackle global challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic greener, more prosperous future.

As true Citizens of Change, we can all play our part; whether that’s at a global, national or local level.

Here are five ways in which the University of Leicester is promoting a more sustainable world:

1. Using nature’s carbon catchers

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are a leading factor in global warming and climate change. But it’s not enough to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other harmful gases pumped into our atmosphere – we need to take active steps to ‘capture’ carbon and other GHGs.

A team of scientists, including experts from the University of Leicester, have estimated a potential global reduction of 500 million tonnes of CO2 by better management of agriculture peatlands. These wetlands cover just 3% of the global land surface but store around 650 billion tonnes of carbon around 100 billion tonnes more than all of the world’s vegetation combined.

2. Measuring human impact – and creating solutions

Climate change is a complex process, and it’s already having a disastrous effect on some habitats around the world.

University researchers are at the cutting edge of measuring this impact, with one project using remote sensing techniques to survey the habitats of endangered chimpanzees in the Republic of the Congo.

Professor Kevin Tansey’s collaboration with the Jane Goodall Institute will provide critical scientific insights about the forest and woodlands of the Tchimpounga Nature Reserve, in the Congo Basin.

3. On the world stage

Leicester experts are also key contributors to the global academic community in terms of climate research – a role which Alok Sharma MP, President for COP26, described as “absolutely vital”.

COP26, the 2021 United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference due to be held in Glasgow this November, where climate researchers, policy-makers and world leaders will come together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Not only is the University of Leicester part of the COP26 Universities Network, but other key partners such as the National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO) – hosted at Leicester – will also present their world-leading research on the world stage.

4. Closer to home

The University’s Climate Change Strategy, underpinned by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), demonstrates that, both operationally and academically, we will lead on the solution and avoid contributing to the problem through environmental management, education for sustainable development and wider research and engagement with the SDGs.

Projects include work with the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) on improving the carbon literacy and environmental sustainability of local businesses, while researchers are also collaborating with Leicester City Council to better understand the needs of the city’s waterways.

The Materials Centre provides a world-leading research and enterprise environment to develop innovative and environmentally-friendly processes that have wide-ranging implications for more efficient use of natural resources, as well as recycling and the ‘circular economy’, energy storage and zero-emission vehicles.  

University spinout EarthSense was recently recognised with a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise for their innovative work in studying air quality.

5. A global contribution

All of this – and much more – saw the University of Leicester recognised among the top 2% global universities in the latest Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Ranking.

Leicester ranked 8th globally for the proven impact of our endeavours as well as a commitment to educate our students as socially responsible global citizens. In 2020/21, 98% of our undergraduates had access to SDG-related course content.

Explore more of the University’s work protecting our planet’s future and in building a more sustainable world.