New sustainability centre to spearhead drive towards net zero

Dan Jarvis

A new research centre to help decarbonise organisations across South Yorkshire has been revealed.

The South Yorkshire Sustainability Centre was confirmed at the South Yorkshire Economic Summit 2022.

The news was confirmed by South Yorkshire Mayor Dan Jarvis. The centre will bring together researchers, businesses and organisations across the region to co-design solutions to regional and global sustainability challenges and work towards net zero emissions by 2050.

It is led by the University of Sheffield through a partnership that includes  the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, the four South Yorkshire local authorities, Sheffield Hallam University, and a range of private and voluntary sector organisations.

Projects that will be coordinated by the centre include optimisation and decarbonisation of transport routes, retrofitting housing stock, decarbonising the agri-food sector and heavy industry, and restoring  the region’s natural environments and assets.

Jarvis said: “South Yorkshire is the heartland of innovation and we are harnessing these credentials to tackle the biggest challenge facing our generation: the climate emergency and the need to drastically reduce carbon emissions.

“I’ve made it my mission to create a stronger, greener, fairer South Yorkshire economy and our investment in the Sustainability Centre will catalyse our region’s plan to reach net zero emissions by 2040, unlock good green jobs and grow and attract new businesses and investment.”

The centre has recently received £5m from Research England. It will be delivered by a network of academics working with the region’s established business and industrial capabilities.

Centre director, Professor Rachael Rothman, said: “The South Yorkshire Sustainability Centre will bring together academic expertise from across Sheffield’s two universities to address specific regional challenges.

“It is important to look at sustainability challenges holistically; ensuring that in our urgent drive to reduce emissions we are also considering the economic and social impact, and opportunities, of the solutions we propose.

“We are looking forward to working with organisations of all sizes to assess the opportunities to work together to decarbonise for the future.

“While we have identified initial projects for the centre, we also have some funding for future projects and we are keen to hear from organisations that would like to work with us to co-design solutions to regional sustainability challenges.”

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