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South African students hear about Science Park’s sustainable activities

Sustainability in business was the focus for a group of MBA climate leadership students visiting the UK from South Africa.

The trip which was organised by the University of Exeter aimed to explore innovative practices and solutions that align economic growth with environmental stewardship. By engaging with industry leaders and visiting cutting-edge projects, the students gained valuable insights into sustainable business models.

The group spent a day at Exeter Science Park where they met with chief executive Dr Sally Basker, who discussed the Science Park’s net zero ambitions. They also heard from Tim Wheeldon, managing director of Zeal Hotels, about the new net zero hotel being built at the site. Their visit included a tour of the hotel, which is due to be completed in December.

The group, who were visiting from the Gordon Institute of Business Science at the University of Pretoria, also heard talks from Naomi Harnett, East Devon District Council; Roli Martin, Global City Futures; and Exeter Science Park based companies Quanterra and Oxitech.

Sally Basker said: “We were very pleased to welcome the MBA students to Exeter Science Park. It gave us a chance to showcase some of the work that is going on here, and it was exciting to hear the group’s views on climate and business, which included positive action, as well as some of the challenges.”

Tim Wheeldon said: “At Zeal Hotels we believe that education is a two-way process. Creating our first net zero carbon hotel in the voco Zeal Hotel has been many years of research in the making and we are continuing to learn as we go.

“It was a privilege to hear from the MBA students and to share our knowledge. We are eager to accelerate the net zero carbon process within the hospitality industry and believe that together, we can push boundaries and achieve our climate goals.”

The group went on to visit St Sidwell’s Point, the first leisure facility in the UK to be built to the ultra-energy efficient Passivhaus standard.