Wirral SME leading the charge to net zero with Lancaster University collaboration

A company which uses innovative excavation technologies is blazing a trail to net zero after accessing a programme giving them free access to world-leading academic expertise and cutting-edge resources.

Mole Group Utilities, construction-based civil engineers, based in Heswall, collaborated with Lancaster University as part of the Low Carbon Eco-Innovatory (LCEI), a business support programme which aims to help reduce their carbon emissions and accelerate growth.

It accessed a fully funded intern to put in place a marketing and communications plan which demonstrated its environmental credentials and unique drilling methods which excavate underground pathways for cables, pipes and network links. 

Commenting on the impact of LCEI, Lisa Furlong, Director of Mole Group Utilities, said, “As a small company we didn’t have the resources to dedicate to developing a marketing strategy which effectively articulated our technology as an alternative to traditional trenching that offers minimal earth displacement, less disruption to traffic, and uses less energy. 

“The intern improved our focus, made us more proactive about communicating our low carbon, low impact methods.”

Mole Group Utilities is one of 22 companies in the Liverpool City Region that have so far collaborated with the university to help reduce carbon emissions and accelerate growth. 

By partnering with Lancaster University through funded research and development projects, ranging from one month to 12 months, some of these SMEs have identified areas to reduce their carbon footprint, while others have tested, developed and commercialised low carbon products, processes and services.

Collectively, these businesses have saved more than 170 tonnes of greenhouse gases.

And with 18 fully-funded internships and five part-funded 12-month Masters by Research projects available to the next batch of sustainability-driven SMEs, more is to come.

Carolyn Hayes, LCEI Project Manager at Lancaster University, a delivery partner for the project, said, “SMEs play a major role in economies worldwide and Liverpool is no exception where they make up 99%* of the business community. It is therefore crucial that SMEs are equipped with the tools and resources needed to make their impact on creating a low carbon future.

“But the most common barrier to SME from taking action is a lack of resources, such as personnel, knowledge and time, and knowing where to start. That is how the LCEI programme can help. 

“Our support is designed for companies at all stages of their low carbon journey. We will work closely with them to identify a bespoke course of action harnessing the skills and expertise of undergraduates, postgraduates and world-renowned academics, and leveraging our plethora of world-class facilities.

“I would encourage leaders of SMEs on the Wirral to start a conversation with us about how LECI could help to reduce costs and their carbon footprint, improve performance, and future proof their business in a low carbon future.”

LCEI is a business R&D consortium, backed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and led by Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) alongside partners Lancaster University and the University of Liverpool.

Since its launch in 2015, the Low Carbon Eco-Innovatory has supported 350 businesses on projects which have saved 10,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases.

For more information visit www.lancaster.ac.uk/global-eco-innovation/business/lcei/ or contact Carolyn Hayes via email c.hayes2@lancaster.ac.uk


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