Sustainability champions will meet in Wrexham this week to discuss measures being taken to prepare Welsh universities for a greener future.
Climate change, poverty and 21st century lifestyle choices will all be on the agenda at a two-day conference which gets underway at Glyndwr University on Thursday, July 9.
Talks will centre around universities’ progress in tackling sustainability challenges outlined in a January 2009 Welsh Assembly Government report.
High on the agenda will be how universities are educating young people about the environment by incorporating sustainability issues into teaching of all subjects.
Also discussed will be the progress being made towards meeting government targets on reducing the equivalent thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions produced by Welsh universities in gas and electricity usage every year.
Examples of good practice from both universities and the business world will be shared, with a presentation from Deeside-based UPM Shotton, 2009 winners of the Queens Award for Enterprise in the Sustainable Development Category.
Representatives from all universities in Wales are expected to attend, including Bangor, Aberystwyth, Swansea, Cardiff and Glyndwr University.
Derek Jones, sustainability coordinator for Glyndwr University, said: "We’re really pleased to be hosting such an important event for creating sustainable, 21st century universities. Universities have a key role to play as beacons and citizens of the community and like everyone else, we must do our utmost to protect the environment.
"Glyndwr University, I’m sure like many others across Wales, have made good progress in tackling problem areas like energy consumption and waste but clearly much more can be done. The conference will be a celebration of the work that’s already being carried out in Welsh universities, as well as helping to identify areas where we can improve."
North Wales paper mill firm UPM Shotton was recognised through the Queens Award as one of the UK’s most sustainable businesses after introducing sustainability right across its operations – from producing newsprint entirely from recycled newspapers and magazines to generating its own electricity and steam from paper making residues.
Mr Jones added: "We live in a world where everyone must become more sustainable and to this end, universities can benefit hugely from sharing ideas with the private sector.
"We’re delighted to welcome UPM Shotton to the conference. Their achievements are quite astounding really and they are to be held up as a model of a truly sustainable business – exactly the sort of model which universities in Wales should take inspiration from."
Anyone interested in attending the conference should contact Gemma Long (firstname.lastname@example.org).