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University joins with WWF to promote circular economies


Online signing of the memorandum of understanding between University of Bradford and the WWF

Memorandum of Understanding will help create business leaders of the future to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss

The University of Bradford has signed a memorandum of understanding with the World Wide Fund for Nature (formerly the World Wildlife Fund) Central and Eastern Europe to promote circular economies and sustainable development.

It will mean a closer working relationship between the two organisations and collaborations on tackling issues like climate change and biodiversity loss.

Andreas Beckmann is regional CEO of WWF Central and Eastern Europe (WWF-CEE) and completed an MBA at the University. He is also a member of the University’s Industry Advisory Board.

He said: “On behalf of WWF-CEE, and as a University of Bradford alumnus and member of the University's Industry Advisory Board, I am very pleased to sign this partnership. As underlined by the World Economic Forum's global risks report, biodiversity loss, climate change and environmental degradation are leading risks now facing our societies, economies and also businesses.

“Tackling these existential challenges will require leadership from government, business, civil society as well as academia. By working together, we will contribute to shaping a new generation of leaders, bringing together Bradford's globally-recognised expertise related to circular economy and management with WWF's practical experience working with governments, the private sector and other partners to promote and implement circular economy principles in countries of Central and Eastern Europe and to preserve many of Europe's greatest remaining natural values."  

What will the partnership do?

The partnership seeks to develop and strengthen the bonds between the two organisations in order to promote educational opportunities. It will also enable WWF staff members to access discounts on courses and establish joint projects in the broad areas of sustainability and circular economies.

Students and staff at the University will also benefit through reciprocal learning experiences through seminars and joint working on projects.

The MoU will be effective for an initial period of two years, with a view to creating a more formal agreement in the future.

How will it affect the university?

University Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Zahir Irani, who co-signed the pledge, said: “This is a proud and important moment for the University. This memorandum underlines our serious commitment to tackling issues such as climate change and biodiversity loss and to create global leaders who are keenly aware of the moral imperative for organisations to act responsibly and bring about meaningful change.”

Prof Sankar Sivarajah, head of the School of Management, added: “The WWF stands at the forefront of campaigning for global change on issues like the environment and if we are to achieve our goals, then we need to create responsible business leaders and Andreas Beckmann, who completed our circular economy MBA, is testament to that. This is part of a wider vision to champion that agenda and create citizens of the world who can go out and promote ethical business practices.”

Professor Amir Sharif, Associate Dean (International and Accreditations), said: “We hope this relationship will enable both organisations to further their shared visions and values around sustainability, circular economy and with a focus on people and place, for which the environment is a crucial factor.

“We welcome this link through our alumnus, Andreas Beckmann, and we look forward to continuing to strengthen links and collaborations in Europe as part of our existing and future internationalisation strategy.”

World first

The University of Bradford offers the world’s first and only Postgraduate Certificate focused on the Circular Economy. The qualification looks at the efficient use of resources, the re-use of products and materials and how these can deliver increased profit for organisations.

The relationship will enable WWF-CEE staff members to access educational programmes, including the University's prestigious and globally-recognised Distance Learning MBA in Innovation, Enterprise and Circular Economy. It will also establish joint projects in the areas of sustainability and circular economy with the School of Management and the wider networks which the university is engaged in.