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See some recent examples of how Chester Business School has been meeting the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals and working towards the 6 PRME Principles since its last report in 2019, to help our students, communities and businesses be sustainability aware. Our full PRME report for 2021 lists all our developments and can be accessed here.

1. No Poverty

(PRME Principle 6)

An evaluation of creative and collaborative processes to tackle poverty in Cheshire which could help to tackle the issue in a new way during and after the COVID-19 pandemic was published by Professor Tony Wall. The West Cheshire Poverty Truth Commission (PTC), established by Cheshire West and Chester Council, brings together businesses, leaders of public services, and people with lived experience of poverty, to tackle the causes of poverty through collaboratively agreed action plans at local level. The second PTC focused on three key themes: food poverty; housing and homelessness; and health (including mental health). The evaluation used imaginative approaches to help participants decide what and how to measure the impacts of their transformational action plans. The 18-month commission worked with young people to strengthen their voice. They have managed to influence changes to school meal provision and shared their experiences on the support they receive for mental health and wellbeing. The PTC has also worked with food banks, housing providers and health services, raising awareness of issues and solutions at a local and national level. One of the most radical changes involved a single housing provider changing their eviction processes to focus on wellbeing rather than process.

The evidence captured in the evaluation will underpin council policy moving into the next planning period. This includes integrating anti-poverty strategy into council action plans, rather than hosting another PTC. Louise Gittins, Leader of the Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “The legacy of this work is the golden thread for our new plans as a council. The work carried out by the PTC has made positive change in the borough and on a national scale.”

2. Zero Hunger

(PRME Principle 6)

Professor Tony Wall, as part of The West Cheshire Poverty Truth Commission (PTC) evaluation team, highlights that the young people participating in the collaborative study felt strongly about food poverty and considered a high proportion of their classmates were negatively and severely affected. The PTC mapped current provision and identifying barriers then worked with food banks and user groups to tackle issues in schools, as well as supporting individuals.

3. Good Health and Well-being

(PRME Principles 1, 2 and 3)

For the last 10+ years health charities - such as Mind, Papyrus, Hope House Hospice, Claire house, Clatterbridge Cancer Charity, Miles of Smiles, Hospice of the Good Shepherd etc - have been a core focus of support by our events management students. The students undertake an event project that they develop and deliver on behalf of the charity to raise funds and awareness for the cause as part of TM5025 The Live Event.

Health charities have been of particular importance as the immediate impact that supporting these local charities can have for the patients and staff - for example £300 buys 5 wigs for cancer patients at Clatterbridge. Many students are affected by health issues - directly and indirectly - and with mental health issues becoming more prevalent the students are keen to do something that can support others.

In 2020-21 students switched to virtual events - raising over £2,600 - for charities whilst reducing the carbon footprint by 90%+ from a traditional in person event. As a result virtual and hybrid events are being adopted as a core approach for delivering events on the module in the future.

4. Quality Education

(PRME Principles 1, 2 and 3)

The BA Digital Marketing integrates contemporary issues relating to Good Health and Well-being into its programme. Concepts introduced include ‘information hygiene’ which encourages healthy scepticism of social media posts and the role that social media plays in dissemination. The Covid19 pandemic has been a rich source of examples of information and misinformation. ‘Nomophobia’ is the fear of being detached from mobile-phone connectivity which can result in anxiety and panic attacks. ‘Self-concept’ considers how, as individuals, we evaluate or perceive ourselves to be. The module content covers the influence of social media on body image, self-esteem and mental health. This is intended not only to demonstrate topicality in the subject area, but to increase student resilience through better understanding of the potential pressures of the digital world upon their well-being.

5. Gender Equality

(PRME Principles 2 and 3)

The event “The Future of LGBT+ Learning and Training – from ideas to action” was hosted by Chester Business School in partnership with CIPD and “Proud at Work”, a new regional LGBT+ partnership for Cheshire and the surrounding regions. As part of the Diversity Festival in March 2020, it brought together regional employers, University staff and students to share best practice and build links as part of a regional network of organisations. The event looked at what the workforce and community currently do in the region to support LGBT+ learning and training. It considered where the region wants to be and how the region can get there, while identifying firm actions to take forwards. Attendees looked at statistics on the future workforce and worked to consider what priorities are wanted in the region and in workplaces to develop LGBT+ students and employees.

6. Clean Water and Sanitation

(PRME Principle 2)

In the recreational facilities a new pool cover has been installed to reduce evaporation and heat loss from the swimming pool. During the refurbishment of toilet facilities push taps replacing twist taps and flow restrictors are being installed. Use of the drinking fountains by students and staff continues to increase.

In a high footfall corridor, a focus on plastics is created through a poster display positioned by a drinks fountain dwell-point. Images not only show how plastic pollution impacts our rivers, oceans and wildlife, but also how poorer communities around the world have to manage their lives amongst this detritus which is created both locally and internationally.

Household rubbish was used in a waste masterclass with students which reviewed the challenges of waste disposal in England. Activities included sorting household rubbish by two local councils recycling criteria, to demonstrate the gulf between the best and the worst levels of recycling. Students also worked on packaging redesign to reduce packaging and non-recyclable components.

7. Affordable and Clean Energy

(PRME Principle 4)

Chester Business School’s Associate Professor Kirstie Simpson has been working with Professor Joe Howe as part of the Industrial Consortium of the UKRI funded Net Zero North West Cluster. The University of Chester is the academic partner of choice in planning the Net Zero Industrial Decarbonisation investment projects. The transition to net-zero for industry in the North West of England and North East Wales will be set out by the Net Zero NW Cluster Plan, by focusing on two key objectives: (1) Establish a low-carbon industrial cluster by 2030, by deploying anchor investment projects including HyNet hydrogen and CCUS infrastructure. (2) Establish a net-zero carbon industrial cluster by 2040, underpinned by multivectored industrial decarbonisation solutions. Aiming to be the world’s first net-zero industrial cluster, it will realise over 33,000 new jobs and over £4bn in investments. The University of Chester will take a lead role initially engaging with other NW based Universities and R&D centres with knowledge disseminated and unmet innovation needs articulated to innovative problem solvers.

8. Decent Work and Economic Growth

(PRME Principle 4)

Chester Business School, in collaboration with co-investigators in Hanoi, Tay Bac, and Phu Xuan universities in Vietnam, was awarded a competitive British Academy bid (£266,077) called “Empowering Ethnic Minority Youth in Vietnam to Re-Vision the Future of Decent Work” (Re-WORK). This project is examining pathways to decent work with ethnic minority young people, employers and policy makers, and uses creative appreciative practices to revise employment and education policy and employment practices across Vietnam. So far, the project has engaged over 1070 young people and over 200 policy makers and employers, with lessons around the connectedness and effectiveness of current policy instruments.

After engaging in the project, one governmental official said:

"When I received the invitation to engage in the in-depth interview with you, I had a chance to review the current policies on supporting EM youth to access decent work and the collaboration among government agencies accordingly. To some extents, we can withdraw some lessons learnt for our active cooperation with concerned Government agencies in the coming time when we implement the policies and programs under the National Master Project on Socio-economic ethnic minority, mountainous and disadvantaged region development …We believe that with this comprehensive project, we can, to some extents, help the ethnic minority youth achieve better job opportunities"

9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

(PRME Principles 1, 3 and 4)

Chester Business School’s Associate Professor Kirstie Simpson has been working with Professor Joe Howe on the economic impact and workforce planning aspects of the UKRI funded HyNet Deployment Project. The University of Chester is the academic partner of choice to the industrial consortium that consists of many of the North West region’s anchor companies. This is a £20M research and innovation project that is the UK’s leading Carbon Capture and Storage/hydrogen production and distribution deployment project. It is core to the UK achieving its climate commitment as emphasised by Government through its endorsement of the Climate Change Committee’s 6th Carbon Budget. When built HyNet is expected to reduce the North West’s CO2 emissions by over 1 million tonnes per annum between 2023-26, rising to 25 million tonnes per annum from 2027-2035 and with a vision to achieve 100 million tonnes per annum between 2035-2050.

Students explore the sustainable development of new products and how organisations respond to the changing drivers towards more efficient and environmentally friendly products. As an example, students looked at how the changing demand for sustainable transport has led to the electric car revolution. Within this the conflicting drivers for lower emissions set by the Government bodies, the availability of technological within the cars and recharging infrastructure, as well as the consumer needs for clean air, convenient cost-effective comfortable transport that has reflected a consumer’s social status through pricing and branding; which have helped achieved the organisation goals of profit maximisation and perception of leaders in new technology that support the firm’s market position.

10. Reducing Inequality

(PRME Principles 5 and 6)

At an exciting Diversity Festival 2021 launch “The Race for Equality with Peter Cheese: Chief Executive of the CIPD” was undertaken in collaboration with Chester Business School. Peter’s keynote address discussed how the CIPD have responded to the Black Lives Matter movement and how the University of Chester and other organisations should prioritise their race equality work. Peter provided an insight into how the wider race for equality agenda could be discussed at government, organisational and individual levels without losing sight of the challenges faced in relation to other equality strands.

The University of Chester Business School was delighted to have brought this topical and important event to the Diversity Festival through its close links with the CIPD. It is now more important than ever for today’s students to be fully prepared as tomorrow’s leaders. Through our award-winning employer links, students get a real insight into industry to prepare them for their future careers. Equality and Diversity is paramount to this and the Business School is committed to working with employers and with students to develop the skills needed for race equality. It is at the forefront of supporting the equality and diversity agenda through its specialist Human Resources degrees and the regular CIPD events and workshops it provides.

11. Sustainable Cities and Communities

(PRME Principle 2)

Between November 2019 and March 2020, over 500 trees were planted at the University with 150 tree whips received from Students Organising for Sustainability (SOS-UK), as part of the Woodland Trust’s Big Climate Fightback. Students, staff and members of the local community were invited to take part in tree planting events, with over 60 people attending in November and March. The trees will provide a habitat for wildlife and promote clean air.

In June 2020, the Queen’s Park Green Impact team achieved a Bronze award based on their actions including the sharing of advice about sustainable travel to Queen’s Park Campus. Waste management has continued to improve with recycling points created for crisp packets, batteries, pens, chocolate wrappers and clothes, in addition to increased opportunities to recycle food and glass.

The Community Clean-Up took place as part of the University’s Go Green Week in March 2020 and was organised by Chester Students’ Union (CSU) and supported by the University’s Sustainability Team and Cheshire West and Chester Council. Students and the community worked hard to clean up litter in a section of the city using gloves and litter picks. The volunteers ensured that any recyclable material was collected separately and recycled appropriately. In total around 30 bags of waste were collected.

12. Responsible Consumption and Production

(PRME Principle 1)

Five students from the University’s Marketing degree programmes competed in final of The Pitch 2020, organised by the CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketing). Entrants had to come up with a marketing communications plan to publicise Lidl's progress in reducing its plastic packaging ahead of its target in 2022, whilst also encouraging customers to reduce their own plastic use. Eugene Pam and Dipanjan Paul, in the first Chester team, devised two innovative campaigns. The Marine Giants campaign helped to garner public support by commissioning artists to create giant sculptures of a whale, turtle, coral and a fish in four major city stores from recyclable plastic donated by the public. The Go Greener campaign was a screen to be placed outside major Lidl stores showing a colourless globe that would slowly gain colour to visualise Lidl's progress. The second Chester team which included students Megan Clelland, Megan Davies and Lucy Sherratt focused on a social media campaign showcasing an emotionally appealing film. Featuring a young child the aim was to really engage with Lidl’s target audience of young families.

Megan Davies, studying Business Management and Marketing Management, said: “It is a big mix of emotions! We were not really expecting to hear anything, so are really pleased to have been chosen. We are excited to be going to the finals.” Eugene, studying Marketing Management added: “I'm really proud to have reached the final of The Pitch and I'm looking forward to going to the competition and presenting the idea of the Marine Giants, as it's something I've worked hard on and am also passionate about. This is going to be an amazing experience and something that will help build my future career."

13. Climate Action

(PRME Principles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)

A small group of staff from Chester Business School undertook Climate Literacy training provided through the Carbon Literacy Project. During the Covid19 pandemic, this training was trialled and successfully delivered to Level 6 International Tourism Management students in place of climate change related field visits. Immediate success of the training was demonstrated through the level of LinkedIn posts proudly showing certificates of engagement. This was further supported by success in the related module assessment and an increased level of students inspired to seek career paths where they can make a difference on sustainability. Building on the success of this training trial, Business Growth Programme colleagues and the Sustainability Unit are working to deliver carbon literacy training to students and staff across the University, as well as to the wider community and local businesses.

Chester Business School’s Associate Professor Kirstie Simpson has been working with Professor Joe Howe to lead the UK’s Industrial Decarbonisation Workforce Plan and will also be the NW Universities lead on the £20M Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre (IDRIC). IDRIC has been formed to support the decarbonisation challenge and works with academia, industry, government and other stakeholders to deliver the multidisciplinary research and innovation in cross-cutting areas of technology, policy, economics and regulation.

14. Life Below Water

(PRME Principle 2)

Efforts to raise awareness of plastic pollution and its impact upon rivers and oceans was in full swing before the Covid19 lockdowns. Furniture made from plastic, including ocean plastics, was being used in outdoor spaces and newly refurbished workspaces. The fish sculpture ‘Moby’ was being used to collect plastic bottles to highlight the impacts of plastic waste on marine life. Catering stopped selling disposable coffee cups and only reusable cups were available.

15. Life On Land

(PRME Principle 2)

The University achieved the Hedgehog Friendly Campus Bronze award in February 2021, which included hedgehog house builds and monitoring hedgehog activity. An allotment was reinvigorated by staff and students, with additional bug hotels being created. At Queen’s Park the solitary red mason bees were given an accommodation upgrade as part of the MasonBees Guardian scheme. Considered more efficient pollinators than honeybees, the gentle, non-aggressive and non-sting mason bees emerge from their cocoons in spring. By the end of summer their mud-capped cocoon-filled nesting tubes are returned for safe winter storage to MasonBees before the process starts again.

16. Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

(PRME Principles 1, 5 and 6)

The student-run Tourism Society hosted an online talk and exchange of thoughts and ideas with Chris Matheson, MP for the City of Chester and Member of the Shadow Cabinet for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, on Thursday January 21, 2021. As part of a series of guest speaker events, the discussion covered the key role tourism plays in the region and nationally, centring around COVID’s impact on businesses and stakeholders, and the importance of the Visitor Economy for the area as the virus is combatted and the pandemic comes to an end. The MP talked about the need for the furlough scheme not to miss anyone out and as COVID-19 restrictions are eased, for it to be slowly phased out sector by sector, providing more support for hospitality and tourism businesses which are likely to be last to return to business-as-usual, and, to further support businesses, a short-term reduction in taxes such as Council Tax to give them a better opportunity to recover. Tourism Society President and final year International Tourism Management student Edward Dale said: “Students and staff all learned a lot from this event and Chris noted that he too learned a lot in exchange. It was great to hear Chris conclude that students are a valuable asset to Chester and that students should be confident in their knowledge.”

17. Partnerships for the Goals

(PRME Principles 3 and 5)

Chester Business School doctoral programmes are taught as a cohesive, vibrant, and interdisciplinary community with tutors from business, social and political sciences, education, and the arts. In recent years, CBS’s doctoral cohorts have become increasingly focused on the two themes of responsible enterprise and work-based learning for decent work, but now typically cross the SDGs. For example, the 2020 cohort comprises candidates examining decent work, health and wellbeing, responsible consumption, and partnership for the goals. CBS’s informal, online dialogue groups encourage transdisciplinary discussion, idea generation, and knowledge sharing, around critical issues raised in the wider doctoral curriculum, which are mapped against the SDGs. As such, CBS’s doctoral provision focuses on partnership for tackling complex issues.