Written by Dr Hannah Wright of the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation
The Centre for Global Eco-Innovation (CGE) is an award winning centre which supports the development of new products and services with environmental benefits. Since 2012, the centre has delivered high quality business led research, through enabling enterprises to access the expertise, resources and global contacts of Lancaster University and its national and international partners.
Eco-innovation is a key mechanism for delivering the changes required to respond to climate change and will support the global need to live well within the limits of the planet. It aims to decouple global economic growth from resource use. It is fully consistent with delivering solutions to economic and technological priorities expressed in other terms, for example, “clean energy”, “low carbon”, “sustainable agriculture”, “sustainable development”, “green economy”, “bio-economy” or “circular economy”.
Connecting up food research
Food is one of six key challenge areas that CGE works across, recognising its connectivity to the other areas of: water, energy, natural capital, resource efficiency and waste. Connecting research within these areas is vital to developing resilient food systems.
All CGE’s projects work with enterprises in the North West region, supporting local businesses in thriving from local land and resources to provide communities with a diversity of sustainable foods. Some of these projects work on ways to grow food more sustainably. Other projects work with businesses to develop more sustainable food systems in other areas, such as packaging and waste products. Connecting with the FoodFutures network is therefore vital to CGE’s collaborations and impact in the low-carbon eco-innovation space moving forwards.
In 2019 CGE supported a FoodFutures Intern in conducting an environmental audit of Lancaster’s Seasonal and Chater markets which went on to inform market policy around single use plastics.
CGE success stories
CGE has worked with over 700 businesses since 2012, in collaboration with academics and researchers at Lancaster University and partner HE institutions to deliver projects which all innovate towards a low carbon future.
By 2015 the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation had won recognition through two national awards: The Outstanding Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation Initiative 2015 according to the UK Research Councils; and the Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges Green Gown Award for Research & Development.
CGE’s vision for the future
CGE’s goal is that past, current and future eco-innovation projects will enable a low carbon future. The new technologies and systems created enable businesses and communities to thrive, whilst reducing greenhouse gas emissions from numerous sectors. In 10 years, we anticipate that the products and services created will have become mainstreamed, with new approaches still being developed to address emerging challenges.