Sustainability - the rising tide of business

New degree level students from Somerset College were told by leading business people how sustainability should be core to all business practice by the time they enter the work place.

On Thursday 25 September undergraduates studying on the College's 27 degree level courses got the chance to understand why sustainability and enterprise go hand in hand from industry leaders at their induction conference in the Genesis Conference Centre.

Undergraduates heard from speakers who work in their industry sectors how sustainability has impacted on their business planning. Companies that operate in their course areas also gave talks about how going green has helped their business.

Galahad Clark, from Terra Plana, said: ‘I hope that sustainability is a rising tide that will carry everyone with it. It is not a trend, it should be at the core of all business planning for the future.'

Galahad took over the running of Terra Plana in 2003. He set about transforming the fortunes of the brand as he was attracted to the principles of Terra Plana, which include a respect for artisan shoe constructions, eco-friendly materials and modern design elements.

Every Terra Plana product is designed with a sustainable concept in mind and eco-friendly materials are actively sourced from all corners of the world. Sustainable design, according to Galahad, is just ‘good design', and products that are efficient, durable, lightweight, enjoyed by users and don't cause any unnecessary harm. Terra Plana won The Observer Ethical Fashion Product of Year 2007 award.

This is the first time Somerset College has undertaken a conference for its new university level students. Undergraduates heard from companies including Brend Hotels, Terra Plana, Knightstone Housing Association, IBM and Gendall Design at the event.

Pauline Osborne from Somerset College said: ‘There are many benefits to the students in holding this conference. As well as introducing the students to each other, Somerset College and the University of Plymouth, they will gain an understanding of the concept of sustainable development. Gaining this understanding whilst developing their creative, entrepreneurial and subject specific skills will really help to prepare them for a sustainable future.

‘I am delighted that so many organisations agreed to speak at the conference and to share with our students how they are becoming more sustainable in their working practices across different sectors.'

Amanda Brend, Environmental Resource Manager for the Brend Hotel Group - winner of three sustainablility awards this year - told students: ‘We have set up an innovative resource metering system in all 11 of our hotels. We are able to monitor the amount of gas, electricity and water we use every half an hour. We can then look at these results and make reductions in certain areas at certain times. Last year we saved 750 tons of CO2 which saved the company £96,000.'

Somerset College deliver higher education courses through a partnership with the University of Plymouth. Both are known for their commitment to sustainability having gained many awards including the Civic Trust Award 2008, Chartered Institute of Waste Management Award for Environmental Excellence and two Green Gown Awards.

For more information on degree level courses at Somerset College click here. To receive a copy of the prospectus or for further enquiries, click here.