The Sustainability Lab shaping brighter futures


Enhancing Research Success is a Strategic Priority in Bangor University’s Strategic Plan 2015-2020. One of our aims is to “Foster a culture that values and promotes sustainability alongside business and enterprise activities”.

The Research and Enterprise Office (REO), lead by Dr. Garry Reid, is partnering with Bangor University’s Sustainability Lab to ensure that our team and all our partners are able to demonstrate that we are giving meaningful consideration to the well-being of current and future generations in all we do.

  1. The one Sustainable Development Principle is our overarching guide:

We must act in a manner which seeks to ensure that the needs of the present are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

When conducting our business and designing projects we need to consider the possible impact of our decision making on University staff, students, business partners, collaborators and the people living their lives in Wales currently, and in the future.

  1. Whilst our main motivator for bringing University academics, students and businesses together to tackle the grand challenges is to boost the economy, we recognise that the economy is interdependent with the environment, society and culture. If we want our development initiatives to be sustainable in the long term, it is important that we consider how to improve all four aspects equally
  1. To achieve this we will be adopting five ways of working, to help us work together better, avoid repeating past mistakes and tackle some of the long-term challenges we are facing:

  • Long term thinking: We must balance how we meet the needs of ‘now’ with the need to safeguard the ability to meet long-term needs
  • Prevention is better than cure: We must consider whether our proposed actions will prevent problems occurring or getting worse – or will they make things better
  • Integration: We must consider how our objectives impact on each of the well-being goals and on the objectives of others
  • Collaboration: REO must seek to act in collaboration with anyone (internal/external) that could help us meet our well-being objectives
  • Involvement: It’s extremely important to involve as many relevant people (stakeholders) as possible to help us meet our collective well-being objectives and to reflect the diversity of the University and beyond

  1. Last but not least we aim to demonstrate that our activities contribute to the following seven well-being goals:

  • A prosperous Wales/REO/Bangor University/Partner business/student

Contributing towards an innovative, productive, low-carbon society that uses its resources efficiently and proportionately

  • A resilient Wales/REO/Bangor University/Partner business/student

Creating a healthy environment supporting social, economic & ecological resilience, a society that adapts to change

  • A healthier Wales/REO/Bangor University/Partner business/student

Maximising physical & mental well-being by making right choices for the future

  • A more equal Wales/REO/Bangor University/Partner business/student

Enabling people to fulfil their potential regardless of background or circumstances

  • A Wales/REO/Bangor University/Partner business/student of cohesive communities

Creating capable, safe & well-connected communities

  • A Wales/REO/Bangor University/Partner business/student of vibrant culture and thriving Welsh Language

Promoting & protecting culture, heritage & language

  • A globally responsible Wales/REO/Bangor University/Partner business/student

Considering wider impacts of our decisions on global well-being

By adopting this innovative and logical approach to project management and delivery we are promoting the Welsh Government’s ‘Well-being of Future Generations Act (2015) Act’ which became law in April 2016.

This is a new way of working for us and REO will be engaging in an active learning process to improve our understanding of what sustainability and well-being really means to us and our partners. We are enthusiastic about partnering with others who share the same vision and who are on a similar journey. Contact the University’s Director of Sustainability, Dr Einir Young if you would like more information or if you would like to join Bangor University’s well-being network to share ideas with us.

This way of working has gained global recognition. This is what Nikhil Seth, UN Director of Sustainable Development, says about the Welsh Government’s approach:

The Wales Future Generations Act captures the spirit and essence of two decades of United Nations work in the area of sustainable development and serves as a model for other regions and countries… We hope that what Wales is doing today the world will do tomorrow. Action, more than words, is the hope for our current and future generations.”

Bangor University has many European Funded projects and this way of working is the way we have chosen to make a positive contribution to the Horizontal Principles (previously known as the Cross-cutting Themes). If you are a collaborator in EU projects contact your Academic partner or Dr Einir Young, Director of Sustainability and her colleagues at The Sustainability Lab for more information.

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