Leaders from public, private, academic and third sector organisations across the East of England agreed to take collective responsibility for long-term thinking around regional sustainable development challenges and opportunities at the Alliance for Sustainable Development’s Annual Leaders Dinner, held at Kings College, Cambridge.
The event, hosted by Sustainability East and sponsored by Conscious Communications, provided a forum for discussing pressing issues around ‘sustainable development in 2014’.
The urgent need for skills development and education for sustainable as well as inclusive growth were recurring themes throughout the evening.
Dr David Viner, of Mott MacDonald, who attended the Leaders Dinner said: “It’s been invaluable for my business to come together with key organisations across many different sectors. I’m excited by the potential new collaborations and ideas discussed this evening which could lead to positive and practical outcomes”.
The 30 attendees at the Dinner included senior representatives from Stansted Airport; ARM; Johnson Matthey, PwC; Mott MacDonald; Mills and Reeve; Environment Agency; Suffolk County Council; Cambridgeshire County Council; Hertfordshire County Council; Essex County Council; Peterborough City Council; Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership; Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership; New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership; Natural England; Forestry Commission; Anglia Ruskin University; Essex University; University of Cambridge; National Trust; RSPB; IEMA and the NHS.
Dr Aled Jones, Chair of the Alliance for Sustainable Development, Director of the Global Sustainability Institute of Anglia Ruskin University and Director of Sustainability East said: “The Alliance for Sustainable Development is a strong vehicle for collaboration and will allow us to develop efficient, sensible practice that can help address some of the great challenges that our region will face over the next few years. Growth and demographic change alongside pressures on land use and resource availability, all under the context of a changing climate mean we cannot carry on doing business like we have in the past. This region is renowned for being a receptive and fertile place for investigative work on sustainable development challenges, led by its universities and businesses. Working together in this broader Alliance will help us to identify opportunities and explore solutions”.
Dame Fiona Reynolds, DBE, delivered the evening’s keynote address which placed ‘Progress, Place and People’ at the heart of sustainable development. She stressed that people must be “engaged with as citizens and not as consumers”.
Dr Jones concluded “the rate and scale of change is dramatic, this area should be proud to be leading the way by developing supporting structures like the Alliance for Sustainable Development, we should become renowned as the place to come to for progressive action and investigation on sustainable development pressures and challenges.”
Established in 2013, the Alliance for Sustainable Development was founded on the premise that the transition to sustainability exceeds the capacity and capability of individuals. The Alliance believes that collaboration is essential to catalyse smarter solutions that address both the speed and scale of the challenge. Members of the Alliance are drawn from public, private and third sectors and academia, and all hold senior positions.