The Sustainability Lab works globally through Bangor University's position as an international University. We collaborate with Welsh, UK and global partners to develop sustainability to help solve some the world's issues, working with students, universities, businesses, governments, charities, communities and International Development Agencies to achieve this.
In recent times The United Nations has launched its Sustainable Development Goals, and The Welsh Government has implemented the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act, both hugely significant in supporting and developing national and global sustainability, especially SDG 17 and the WFG Act's five ways of working to enhance sustainability.
What Wales is doing today, the world will be doing tomorrow. Action, more than words, is the hope for our current and future generations."
– Nikhil Seth, 2015
Director of the Division for Sustainable Development, DESA
The Bangor-Makerere Partnership (Wales-Uganda)
With support from Hub Cymru Africa, The Sustainability Lab has established The Bangor-Makerere Partnership with Makerere University in Uganda to work collaboratively on enhancing and promoting sustainability within both universities and their partners through shared learning and collaborative research & innovation. This includes industrial research and international student placements and training opportunities as well as closer working between the two universities at an organisational level.
The Partnership has already attracted a wide diversity of active participants include Planning, Human Resources, Estates, Procurement, Library, International, research groups and the Students' Unions, and is gaining funding as well as attention from organisations such as the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), The World Bank, and The British Council. These partners are developing a number of projects including the Bangor-Makerere Students' Link, textile re-use, and value addition to pineapple crops.
The Students' Link
This initiative supports students from international universities to work together and take the lead in developing sustainability in their universities and communities, promoting collaboration and well-being across continents. The overall goal of The Students' Link is to bring different student bodies from all over the world to advance sustainable development in their universities and communities through shared learning.
The Bangor-Makerere Students' Link
Bangor & Makerere students discuss campus greening in Uganda
With support from Hub Cymru Africa, The Sustainability Lab has started implementing this project by partnering with the Students' Union at Bangor University and the Sustainability Program at Makerere University in Uganda. The Bangor-Makerere Students' Link currently focuses on four main areas:
- urban greening (any form of green projects and ideas from students)
- improving energy efficiency
- improving waste management & resource utilisation
- increasing awareness, communication and publicity about sustainability
One example of the Students' Link already underway is an on-campus fruit tree planting project. This will green the Bangor and Makerere campuses and provide fruit to students, staff and the local communities in Bangor and Kampala.
Sustainable Clothing Action
Consumer demand for clothing globally means that preventing textiles from being landfilled or disposed of is an issue that affects most countries. In 2015, Bangor University signed up as a WRAP Sustainable Clothing Action Partner. Since then, The Sustainability Lab has been developing partnerships with those wishing to reuse unwanted clothing, extend the life of clothes and textiles, and encourage reuse activities. Working both domestically and internationally with retailers, trade associations, governments, communities and consumers, we are finding ways to reduce waste as well as strengthen links between members of local communities, including university staff and students, local businesses and members of the public.
Our recent campaign, #LoveYourClothesBangor, piloted a highly successful series of events designed to help people make the most of their garments while drawing attention to the environmental issues of clothing waste. We also produced a template for how to set up similar events, enabling others to learn from our experiences. The completed template can now be used by a wide variety of organisations anywhere in the world.
Latchem, R. Textile exporters take case to Africa. MRW
Fair Trade University and Students' Union
Bangor University and the Students' Union have been granted Fairtrade status since September 2009 by making an ongoing commitment to support Fairtrade. The University sells Fairtrade products in all catering outlets, and Fairtrade and local produce are an important part of the Food@Bangor menu planning. As well as these actions throughout the year, The Sustainability Lab works with teams across the University as well as the Students' Union and local community groups to run Bangor's Fairtrade Fortnight, an annual promotional campaign to increase awareness of Fairtrade products and encourage people to make ethical choices, for example when they buy food, drink or clothing, and to show support for the farmers and workers who grow crops for us in developing countries.
Following the introduction of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, The Sustainability Lab is working alongside the Procurement team to produce a Bangor University statement identifying supply chains where there is a risk of slavery and human trafficking taking place, and noting the steps being introduced to assess and manage the risk. Together we are seeking to adopt the Welsh Government's planned Code of Practice on Ethical Employment in Supply Chains.