At Climathon Suzhou, which took place last month, students and academics from multiple Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University departments joined forces to find innovative ways to help International Business School Suzhou reduce its carbon footprint.

Climate-KIC, Europe’s largest public-private partnership addressing climate change through innovation, organises the global Climathon, which sees students around the world collaborating to propose climate change solutions in a short time. This is the fourth year XJTLU has participated.

A total of 36 XJTLU students forming eight groups had 12 hours to propose their suggestions to help IBSS become carbon neutral by 2022.

Two teams were selected as the winners, and each team received a prize worth 1,000 RMB.

One of the top winning teams seeks to convince staff and students to use human energy rather than carbon energy to go to different floors in the IBSS building.

“We found a lot of students in IBSS are using elevators intensively, even when not necessary, so we want to convince them to walk staircases more,” said Chen Wang (pictured below), a masters student in Project Management.

“Our project aims to help students develop a new habit based on the idea that developing a new habit needs three steps: trigger, action and rewards,” Wang said. “We do think our plans will make students feel walking is more interesting, and that consuming less electricity is important.”

Besides Wang, students in the team included Yao Chen, a masters student in Urban Planning, Yiting Sang, a Year Two student in Marketing and Chuyi Qin, a Year Two student in Economics and Finance.

From left to right: Yao Chen, Yiting Sang, Chuyi Qin and Chen Wang

The second winning team proposed to reduce daily usage of consumables based on the “rethink, reduce, reuse, recycle” sustainability concept.

They calculated that the consumption of trash bags in IBSS building lavatories accounts for close to 200 per day, or 72,000 bags per year.

They also proposed to switch to soluble toilet paper, in order to reduce the amount of waste produced by the building.

This project was conceived by Songyu Wang, a Year Two student in Accounting, Haina Sang, a Year Two student in Economics and Finance, Yixian Lu, a masters student in Management, and Xiaoyue Lu, a masters student in Operations and Supply Chain Management.

From left to right: Xiaoyue Lu, Songyu Wang, Charlie Reis, Dr Ellen Touchstone, Haina Sang, and Yixian Lu

XJTLU 2020 Climathon chairperson David Dufour (pictured below, right) of the Department of Strategic Management and Organisation at IBSS said that despite this year’s shortened working hours – from 24 hours to 12 – the students generated at least 15 feasible ideas. “The output was good,” he said.

This year’s Climathon combined efforts to highlight sustainability with two other XJTLU initiatives: the Carbon Neutral IBSS Project and Solar Decathlon China which is a joint project with the Schools of Design, Science, and Humanities and Social Sciences. The Carbon Neutral IBSS Project is dedicated to making the IBSS building carbon neutral by October 2022. Solar Decathlon China is one of the worldwide collegiate competitions initiated by the US Department of Energy in 2002, introduced to China through the China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogues and organised by the China Overseas Development Association.

According to Dr Ellen Touchstone, Associate Dean for Responsible and Sustainable Business Education at IBSS, the School is ramping up its sustainability since last year and the Climathon has become one of its signature initiatives.

Dr Touchstone says: “Last year we decided that ERS (ethics, responsibility, sustainability) is a strategic priority for IBSS. Through initiatives like Climathon Suzhou @XJTLU, we are hoping to educate responsible future business leaders and make business sustainable.”

By Ke Tang
Edited by Tamara Kaup and Patricia Pieterse
Photos by Ke Tang

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