Prince Charles praised for his climate work by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership
The Prince of Wales paid a visit to a world-leading collaborative sustainability projects at the University of Cambridge on Thursday (March 31) - and earned praise for his own climate work.
His Royal Highness also opened a pioneering green retrofit office.
During the visit to the new ultra-green Entopia building on Regent Street - a groundbreaking sustainability project that began in 2016 - the prince met with experts and practitioners from all sectors and disciplines working together on the climate challenge.
The building is the new low-carbon headquarters of the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership's (CISL) and its new green entrepreneur hub.
Ahead of the royal visit, Clare Shine, CEO and director at CISL said in a speech to those assembled: “Isn't it brilliant that a 1930s telephone exchange - so built for human connection - is now going to be a global leadership hub for people, nature and climate?”
She added: "For over 30 years, CISL has been a pioneer in pushing social and environmental issues right up the business and policy agenda, a pioneer for bringing partners and direct competitors together in new ways for global reach and impact, and a pioneer in inspiring current and future leaders across the world from very different perspectives and backgrounds but always with that shared common vision.”
Clare spoke of how important it is to be involved in the community and said of “long-standing patron” Prince Charles: “His leadership and his unwavering commitment to three things: to sustainability, to business as a force for positive change, and to youth opportunity have been ahead of their time - and much of what you see here as modern is actually anchored in quite simple and straightforward approaches that the prince himself has championed - not always gaining himself popularity in the process.
“But advocating for minimising materials and energy use, for the circular economy and reusing and refurbishing materials, for looking at nature for biobase inspiration, and for putting people and their needs at the very heart of design. Those have been steady hallmarks of his approach for over 30 years, as we know ourselves.”
Clare also expressed her pride that “Entopia is now the most sustainable building in Cambridge University's estate - but even more so that it is an exemplar for the UK and internationally.”
While giving his Royal Highness a tour of the roof - he later commented on how many stairs there were to the top of the building while talking to a group of people involved in the construction - Clare pointed out Emmanuel College to him. Then when he asked her to identify another nearby building, she replied, “That's Sainsbury’s”. “Ah, that's Sainsbury’s?” enquired the surprised prince.
Ashlyn Vaikkath, a construction manager with ISG - the main contractor for the project - said after meeting His Royal Highness: “He was really easy to talk to, jokes around as well, so it was nice to just laugh about stuff and talk about the building.
“He was quite interested in the sonaspray [recycled paper used in the ceiling], and he was involved in the project.”
The £12.8m retrofit is supported by a £6m donation from greentech leaders Envision Group and a £3m grant from the European Regional Development fund (ERDF), which is also funding the operation of the Canopy. The university has invested its own funds in the project alongside an internal grant from its internal Energy & Carbon Reduction Project.
Prince Charles also visited the Whittle Laboratory and King’s College during his day in Cambridge.