Keele COP26 Festival to discuss regional response to the climate emergency

Keele University will host a series of sustainability-themed events to coincide with the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in November.

Keele’s own COP26 Festival, which will take place from 8 to 12 November, will see a range of community leaders coming together on the Keele campus to discuss how local organisations and groups can positively impact Staffordshire’s contribution towards a more sustainable future.

One of the key events of the week, the Staffordshire Sustainability Leaders’ Summit, will feature a round table of regional leaders from across different sectors – from politics and the arts to education and transport – to discuss what COP26 means to Staffordshire and what actions can be taken to address the climate emergency. The round table will be chaired by Professor Zoe Robinson, Keele’s Professor of Sustainability in Higher Education and Director of the Institute for Sustainable Futures, who will be attending COP26 in Glasgow. BBC Radio Stoke will be reporting from the event as part of Keele’s coverage around COP26 and climate change.

Another event will see leaders from across industry and academia discuss the small steps that businesses across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire can take to have a significant impact on their carbon footprint.

A selection of festival events will take place under the inspiring installation GAIA by Luke Jerram, in Keele Chapel – a six-metre-wide floating three-dimensional model of the Earth, featuring NASA imagery. The installation is presented in partnership between ArtsKeele and Appetite.

Professor Mark Ormerod, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost at Keele University, said: “We are delighted and privileged to host the Keele COP26 Festival on our campus.

“Hosting delegates from a variety of sectors and local leaders from our region will enable us to discuss our collective efforts towards tackling the climate crisis. Sustainability is very much at the heart of our mission at Keele University, and it is crucial that we work together to create a more sustainable future for Staffordshire and beyond."

Keele University is at the forefront of sustainability innovation and research, with its Institute for Sustainable Futures driving research into issues such as climate change, food security and clean energy on a local, national and global scale – culminating in the University being named as Global Sustainability Institution of the Year at the 2021 Green Gown awards.

Keele was one of the first UK universities to declare a ‘climate emergency’ in 2019, reaffirming its position and commitment to being a world-leader in sustainability. This year the University has also published its Climate Action Framework principles, outlining its holistic approach to tackling the climate crisis as it strives to become carbon neutral by 2030.

Visit the Keele website to view the Festival programme and book on to events.