The University of Derby and East Midlands Chamber have become signatories of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Race to Zero campaign.
Professor Kamil Omoteso, pro vice-chancellor dean of the College of Business, Law and Social Sciences at the University, and Scott Knowles, Chief Executive at East Midlands Chamber, made the announcement at the annual Midlands Sustainability Summit, co-hosted by the University and Chamber, and supported by the Midlands Engine.
Race to Zero is a global campaign to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions, and investors for a healthy, resilient, zero-carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs, and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth.
The objective is to build momentum around the shift to a decarbonised economy ahead of COP26 in November, where governments must strengthen their contributions to the Paris Agreement. By joining the Race to Zero, the University and Chamber have demonstrated their commitment to the net zero agenda to global leaders at COP26.
Prof Omoteso said: “I am delighted to announce that the University has become a signatory to the UN Race to Zero, cementing its existing pro-environmental commitments.
“This pledge provides a springboard for our ongoing efforts to support the shift to a sustainable economy across the region and beyond, and forms part of the University’s wider environmental ambitions and commitment to sustainability on our own net-zero pathway.”
East Midlands Chamber launched the Sustainable East Midlands campaign last year to encourage more businesses to engage with the low-carbon agenda by demonstrating its commercial benefits, as well as highlighting successful case studies.
A newly-appointed Sustainable East Midlands policy officer will aim to create a net zero plan over the coming months, with ideas including setting a baseline carbon footprint to measure against, installing energy-efficient lighting and heating systems, and developing an employee engagement strategy to support behavioural changes in terms of workspaces, travel and waste.
Scott Knowles added: “As the business community looks to rebuild after a turbulent 18 months, the focus now shifts towards the future and the role we must all take in addressing the ever-pressing climate change challenge.
“As our commitment to this urgent challenge, where we feel it is important to lead by example, we are pleased to announce that the Chamber is setting our own net zero goal to cut our carbon emissions in half by 2030, with an aim to reach net zero before 2050.”