WMU - A Sustainable Tomorrow Hub
On 15 September, WMU participated as a hub for the A Sustainable Tomorrow 2022 Conference - Sweden’s largest digital conference focused on the environment and the future. “Half Way to 2030” was the theme for the ninth annual conference that was live streamed from HETCH in Helsingborg, Sweden to the various hubs around Sweden where invited guests joined to watch the live stream and network. Invited guests at the WMU hub included representatives from the shipping sector, seafood sector, clothing sector, urban developers, societal educators, academics, non-governmental organizations and decision-makers.
Following the main conference programme, WMU hosted an afternoon session that began with welcome remarks from Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, WMU President. She emphasized that WMU’s portfolio of expertise and research is broadening and expanding as Maritime and Ocean issues become ever more important in the race to find sustainable solutions for the future of humanity and Planet Earth. She spoke specifically of humankind’s dependence on the ocean for transport, trade, energy, climate regulation, recreation, culture and history and for our well-being and food, yet emphasized that most people take the ocean for granted.
“Science, research and academia alone will not solve the problems of our ocean and put us on the pathway to ‘A Sustainable Tomorrow’. For that we need collaboration with the private sectors, governments, non-governmental organizations and wider society. This is why movements such as A Sustainable Tomorrow are so important, because we have exactly that mix of professionals in the same place with a common interest,” said President Doumbia-Henry.
A presentation by WMU Assistant Professor, Dr Alessandro Schönborn followed regarding current WMU research activities in the CAHEMA project. Concepts of ammonia/hydrogen engines for marine application (CAHEMA), combines advanced computational and experimental methods to investigate innovative injection and combustion strategies for engines using ammonia and hydrogen. The project aims to develop successful implementation of Reactivity Controlled Compression Ignition (RCCI) and Direct-injection dual fuel stratification (DDFS) concepts for these fuels as well as assessing their life-cycle climate impact in maritime applications. WMU’s role as a project partner is to conduct life-cycle assessments of the technologies, communicate project results and evaluate the environmental and socio-economic impact of these new fuels.
The afternoon concluded with a lively panel discussion on the topic of sustainability in the ocean and maritime business sector. Participants included HE Anna Lindstedt, the Swedish Ambassador for the Ocean together with a number of CEOs and strategic leaders in sustainability from VESTAS, IKEA, Concordia Maritime, Sjöfartsverket, Stenströms, the Marine Stewardship Council, Stavis Consulting, RecoLab and the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (SwAM) – as well as WMU researchers and students. There was an overall understanding of the urgency to act today to ensure a sustainable tomorrow and willingness on the part of all involved to advance a sustainable mindset within their own organizations and realm of influence. It was emphasized that individuals can make a difference and that consumers are actually shaping business practices through their purchasing choices and influencing the demand for responsible and sustainable options for goods and services. Nevertheless there remain challenges for business as the need to maintain profitability and satisfy shareholders can conflict with the cost of investing in sustainable materials, sources and services. How a company verifies and demonstrates its commitments to sustainability was debated and is a key issue for businesses to get right if they are to avoid accusations of greenwashing. Collaboration among all sectors, including industry, decision makers and academia is key for the way forward and to change from business as usual to a successful green or blue (in the case of the ocean) transition.
The goal of A Sustainable Tomorrow is to ensure that people with different backgrounds meet with the aim of creating sustainable business and driving the transition to a sustainable society. WMU is pleased to collaborate with organizations and companies that are also committed to achieving the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 17 interconnected UN Sustainable Development Goals and related Targets promote partnerships and guide the choices made today to ensure a sustainable future for generations to come. WMU is well positioned to deliver tangible contributions to the UN SDGs and the University's strategic goals and Business Plan are fully aligned with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.