Students trained to help city businesses go green

Students will be helping businesses in the city to come up with action plans to cut their carbon emissions and go green.

A team of volunteer students have been trained at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) and the University of Leicester to carry out funded sustainability audits to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) based in Leicester city.

Businesses who sign up are visited by a team of trained student auditors, who go through a set questionnaire to cover topics such as energy use, transport and waste management.

THUMB audit students

From the information provided, the students will then prepare a report which outlines the company’s current sustainable business practices and outline ways in which the business can improve its sustainability performance and reduce its carbon footprint. The reports also signposts the companies to potential funding, grants and other local support services.

The sessions are funded by the Government’s Community Renewal Fund (CRF) which aims to invest in skills, local businesses and new jobs. A key part is supporting the Net Zero agenda.

Asha Mistry, Social Innovation Officer at the University of Leicester Innovation Hub, has been training students from both DMU and Leicester to carry out the audits. She said: “It’s aimed at all SMEs as it is broad enough that the questions will be relevant to a range of sectors and industries to help identify some practical suggestions that will support them to make a change.

“We have delivered audits to all kinds of businesses, from cafes, retail shops to engineering and manufacturing companies.
“This is a great opportunity for business but also students to understand the problems and challenges that companies face and present some practical suggestions.”

So far 40 Leicester students and 25 DMU students have been trained as Social Innovation ambassadors. Among those at the DMU training was PhD student Ling Tian, who is studying for a PhD in DMU’s Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development. She said: “My research area is about green building management and doing these audits is a chance to take those principles and put them into practice.”

Energy and Sustainable Development student Jumoke Babatope, said: “I want to get the hands on experiences of doing the audits and helping businesses to become more sustainable.”
Classmate Happiness James said: “I want to make suggestions to help business, and learn how to make a difference not just in the classroom but also in practice.”
•    Businesses who want to find out how to book a sustainability audit can email

Posted on Wednesday 13th April 2022

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