Students from Universities of Nottingham community propose sustainable operation plans for smart

07 June 2024

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The smart Global Store Sustainable Operation Design Competition was held at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC) on 6 June. Since its official launch in March, it has received positive responses from students from Universities of Nottingham community in the UK, Malaysia, and China, attracting over 40 teams to propose innovative store design concepts and sustainable operation plans.

Professor Jon Garibaldi, Provost of UNNC, delivered the welcoming speech and said that sustainable development is one of the key challenges for humankind, aligning closely with the university's core values and development strategy. This competition put the concept of sustainable development into practice and actively responded to global challenges through university-enterprise partnerships.

 

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The participating students shared their unique insights and innovative proposals for sustainable development through diverse dimensions such as environment, business, and industrial ecology.

To promote public understanding of sustainability, two teams from UNNC launched online community activities and an environmentally friendly meal delivery project. A team from the University of Nottingham in the UK proposed a living green wall featuring recycled components of end-of-life smart cars. A cross-campus team suggested that enterprises strengthen partnerships with ride-hailing services, large retailers, and energy suppliers to jointly build a high-quality industry ecosystem.

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UNNC's team, led by Tianyu Chen, won the first prize and the "It's smart" award. Their "Meal delivery by small carts" project featured coffee cups made from coffee grounds and chairs made from recycled waste wheels. It integrated both business and environmental protection concepts and offered corresponding AR games to enrich the user experience.

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Ms Mandy Zhang, Global CMO of smart, expressed her hope to promote sustainable development to a new level with more young generations injecting vigour into future operations. This is the common goal shared by smart and UoN in the field of sustainability.

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The competition provided a platform for students to collaborate across programmes and countries, promoting the teaching and business application of sustainable development strategies. It was an innovative practice for UNNC to deepen the integration of industry and education. Through field visits and investigations of smart stores, the participating teams gained a deep understanding of commercial operation modes, effectively applying theoretical knowledge to practical use.

As the organiser of this competition, the Center for Responsible Business and Innovation (CRBI) at UNNC has always endeavoured to be a pivotal platform for research, education, and innovation in the fields of ESG, responsible business and sustainable innovation.  

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Professor Jing Dai, Director of CRBI, stated that UNNC is committed to becoming a leader in sustainable development education, leveraging global resources to support the sustainable operation of businesses. It also empowers students through high-quality international education and strong university-enterprise partnerships, enabling them to possess the ability to innovate and operate sustainably in a global business environment, and become future leaders who make a positive impact on society.