Wren partners with Hull Uni to lead sustainability drive in the kitchen sector

Posted on 22 Sep 2023 by The Manufacturer

Wren Kitchen’s environmental team has partnered with specialist academics from Hull University to accelerate their journey to net zero. The partnership will take advantage of a unique supply chain carbon mapping tool, designed and developed by the university, to support Wren in its relentless quest to become more sustainable.

Wren customers will not just have the choice of a vast range of kitchen designs and finishes, they will also be able to base their choices on the carbon footprint for each element of the kitchen as early as the design stage, giving them the option to make more sustainable choices.

Lee Holmes, Transport and Logistics Director at Wren Kitchens said: “Wren is delighted to be partnering with the University of Hull to deliver what we believe will be an industry first and the catalyst for others in the Humber Region to take a holistic approach to their impact on the environment. We hope this project will deliver thought leadership to the manufacturing sector by being future-focussed beyond the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) regulations, and take a leading role in the industry to establish and develop a circular economy.

“Our ultimate aim is to fully embed environmental sustainability into the company beyond the project end and offer customers a user-friendly footprint calculation for “on pack claims” in the online sales ordering process, promoting customer awareness and the ability to make informed choices.”

Wren Kitchens and the University of Hull have secured a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) from Innovate UK, to fund the two-year project. The KTP will facilitate accelerated access to this specialist expertise and knowledge within Hull University Business School. It will also enable Wren to fully embed environmental sustainability knowledge, know-how and innovation from the University, right across its business and create the foundations for an inhouse sustainability team with access to new emergent eco-conscious markets globally.

Dr Shaw, Reader in Logistics & Supply Chain Management, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be working with Wren Kitchens on this exciting, innovative research project. The KTP will enable Wren to have capacity and capability to baseline their supply chain carbon footprint and make this data available to customers to drive carbon inset improvement decisions.”

The project will go beyond understanding operational carbon impact to total transparency of whole-life carbon of a kitchen, which is the combination of embodied and operational emissions, essential for the built environment and achievement of the UK’s net zero target by 2050. Lead academics from Hull University Business School, Dr Sarah Shaw and Linda Whicker, will be working closely with the senior safety & logistics team at Wren on the project.

Linda Whicker, Senior Lecturer in Logistics & Supply Chain Management, said: “The ultimate aim of the project is to fully embed environmental sustainability into the company beyond the project, to support Wren on their rapid and successful growth trajectory. The initial focus is to establish an accurate carbon baseline for their supply operations, which will unlock many opportunities.”

In order to ensure sustainability remains a key driver at Wren, two senior members of staff will study PhDs on the theme of sustainability, further demonstrating the company’s commitment to being a forward thinking and research driven business that wants to embrace cutting edge research and knowledge.

Trevor Nixon, Head of Retail Health & Safety at Wren said: “Being a PhD student, the KTP collaboration between Wren and the University is a very exciting, but challenging initiative which I am eager to embrace and lead from Wren’s perspective. It will not only support my personal development, bridge any gaps in Wren’s knowledge, as well as guide our corporate strategy through specialist experts but will act as an enabler for Wren to reach 2030 Net Zero Carbon objectives.”

Emma Calverley, Director of Knowledge Exchange, said: “At the University of Hull we’re thrilled to share this fantastic news about our ongoing partnership with Wren Kitchens. This innovative collaboration is evolving in a way that aligns with our commitment to environmental sustainability and we’re eager to see how it continues to grow as we work hand-in-hand with Wren to take meaningful steps towards a more sustainable world.”

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