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GW4 Living Labs and the Road to Net Zero

Climate change solutions require dramatic shifts in organisations, not just communities. GW4 universities are creating ‘living labs for net zero transformation’ to address our own sustainability responsibilities as well as provide exemplary practice to other organisations striving to achieve these and net zero targets.

Dr Joanna Jenkinson MBE - GW4 Alliance Director

What do we want to achieve?

“Universities have an invaluable opportunity to use our research on campuses and with wider communities to co-create, explore, test, evaluate and implement net zero solutions” Prof Pete Walker, Project Lead

The GW4 universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter need to become sustainable and net zero organisations. Together, we focus on our hardest-to-decarbonise emissions areas, such as our supply chains and travel. We want to work with our external stakeholders to co-create solutions to these complex challenges and help the transition to a greener future for the South West and South Wales.

Why Living Labs?

“A Living Lab is where real-world sustainability challenges are formally addressed in stakeholder partnerships” Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education (EAUC)

The GW4 Alliance is developing a living labs model for finding, testing and sharing net zero solutions across the South West and South Wales.

Living labs involve all partners equally in developing solutions to sustainability challenges. This includes everyone in our university communities – students, researchers, campus staff – and non-university partners in communities, local authorities, and businesses. This approach is about working inclusively and across sectors to co-create solutions that are right for different locations and communities.

Get involved in our Living Labs project!

  • Our most recent workshop in Bristol brought together local authorities, community organisations, business, and universities to develop proposals for Living Labs to reach Net Zero in South West England and South Wales.  If you would like to join or lead on one of our Living Labs, please get in touch with our Sustainable Net Zero team on

Download the workshop report

Download a short report on the principles of Living Labs

Download the Living Labs literature review

Take a look at current Living Lab activity across GW4

  • If you are working on a living lab-style project or have an idea for one, we would love to hear from you.  Get in touch

Image Credit: Laura Sorvala

University of Bath
University of Bristol
Cardiff University
University of Exeter