Collaborative working

To achieve sustainability objectives, industry cannot work in isolation.

A group of AREC visitors and members stood inside the University Management School.

There is a need for collaborative planning and development that sees industry, regulators, government and academia working together to establish and promote sustainable innovations.

The UK government is already committed to providing support to the UK’s 4.8 million Small and Medium-Sized Businesses (SMEs), developing an environment in which small companies can flourish. However it is not just SMEs that require support.

Large firms require support to understand unsustainable processes within their supply chains. The European Commission’s 2011 report A Resource Efficient Europe highlights the importance of understanding the risks to resources such as rare earths; energy; and water (Commission of the European Union 2011).

AREC collaborative case study: Forgemasters

The complex nature of supply chains, and the scale and spread across which they operate requires co-operation at local, regional, national, and international levels.

Future supply chain competition is not about a supply chain competing against another supply chain; it is about a resource sustainable supply chain competing against another resource sustainable supply chain.

For firms to compete in this environment there is a need to develop effective partnerships between industry and academia to share risk and reward in developing, implementing, and commercialising supply chain resource sustainability techniques, models, tools, methodologies and technologies.

This vision is in line with existing policy direction in the UK. For example, the 2012 Resource Security Action Plan from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) states: “government’s objective is to bring better resource use criteria into the mainstream, so they routinely included in the range of minimum and best practice product standards”.

The long term vision to achieve this objective is set out, stating: “The government is putting innovation and research at the heart of its growth agenda through greater investment and increased collaboration”.

Please see Relevant Policies for more information, resources and downloads that support and highlight the importance of the role of AREC.

A global reputation

Sheffield is a research university with a global reputation for excellence. We're a member of the Russell Group: one of the 24 leading UK universities for research and teaching.