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Lancashire
Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Lancaster experts tackle North West businesses’ sustainability challenges

Businesses from across the region brought challenges to the table for Lancaster University Management School’s inaugural AIMday (Academic Industry Meeting day).

The event was was run in conjunction with the Centre for Family Business and the Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business.

Pressing issues affecting companies in the North West were addressed, including how to encourage sustainable activity across supply chains, measure and improve sustainability credentials, and combat greenwashing.

Representatives from 10 businesses – from major national brands to regional SMEs – discussed problems with experts from LUMS, and Lancaster’s Schools of Computing and Communications (SCC), and Engineering.

The companies came from across multiple sectors, including homeware, publishing, the food and drink industry, and engineering and manufacturing.

The 27 academics, from a range of disciplines and with diverse backgrounds, engaged in one-hour workshops with the business representatives.

Professor Jan Bebbington, director of the Pentland Centre, said: “Collaboration between the Pentland Centre and the Centre for Family Business has great potential, because family businesses have sustainability at their heart.

“We have seen before, and have observed again through the AIMday, that family businesses are willing to have the types of conversations that need to be had around sustainability – which is a globally and locally significant issue.

“Academia and businesses are natural partners. Through the AIMday, we have a format that allows ideas to come to the surface and be shared. We all learn from each other. I have learned about businesses I have not come across before and have been able to share ideas and pick up on the ideas of others.”

Professor Maria Piacentini, associate dean for Research in LUMS, is optimistic the first LUMS event can lead to further collaborations between the researchers and businesses involved.

She said: “Our first AIMday was a great success. It brought together so many companies with their own unique challenges – but also issues and questions that could be appreciated by many of their contemporaries.

“I’m hopeful that we will be able to build on the active conversations we have had by continuing to work with the businesses in longer-term partnerships that address their concerns around sustainability and family business.”

Pictured: Martin Rayner from Lakeland

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