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Environmental Sustainability Powered By Space

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Event Review – Environmental Sustainability and Space in the South West

On the 19th November, The South West Centre of Excellence for Satellite Applications, and the European Space Agency’s Business Applications Regional Ambassador Platform for South West England and South Wales co-hosted an event focusing on the benefits Space-based assets can bring to innovative services concerning environmental sustainability.

The UN Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) have been designed as a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for us all. They address the global challenges we face, including environmental concerns such as climate change, environmental degradation, and diversity.

Here in the South West of the UK, local government, businesses, and academia are committed to environmental sustainability. From considering solutions for green energy to the whole circular economy and environmental growth, organisations in the South West are developing innovative solutions to aid sustainable development.

The UK’s first Biosphere is proudly hosted in North Devon being part of a global network of biospheres that develop sustainable commercial models that deliver economic benefits.   During the event, Andy Bell described the opportunities of their plan to create a digital twin biosphere encouraging more to become digitally savvy and benefit from integrated data that is currently difficult to access.   The biosphere also includes a large coastal area and through collaborative working with the University of Plymouth and Plymouth Marine Laboratory they are developing a Marine Capital Plan using to monitor the biodiversity in stocks, flows and benefits to the marine sector.

The utilisation of space-based assets and space technology offer numerous benefits to environmental applications. Services such as satellite navigation, earth observation, and satellite communications all bring added value to environmental solutions – especially when combined with enabling technologies such as artificial Intelligence, machine learning, 5G, and big data processing.

Gwen de Groot from Exeter Business School highlighted the value of unlocking data in the South West for machine learning and artificial intelligence using IoT network sensors explaining how the roll-out of 5G will open new opportunities for network capabilities.

The benefits and use of 4EI’s Environment, Social and Governance framework was outlined by Michael Hanley, Commercial Manager who described the objective, repeatable and consistent intelligence when delivering information on environmental and social performance.  The opportunities are above and beyond monitoring uses by analysing change and informing improvements for the use of project impact assessments, defence, mining and corporate supply chains.

During the event we heard from a range of speakers from businesses engaged with sustainable development, or organisations offering funding & support for innovation regarding sustainability & space. The speakers were:

  • Steve Jermy, Executive Chair of WaveHub and non-executive Director of the Cornwall Local Enterprise Partnership
  • Heather Garrick, Head of Sustainable Development at the Satellite Applications Catapult
  • Gwen De Groot from the University of Exeter Business School
  • Michael Hanley, Commercial Manager at 4 Earth Intelligence
  • Andy Bell, Manager, North Devon UNESCO World Biosphere
  • Emma Haskett, Director, Bennamann Ltd
  • Kenton Rogers, Co-Founder, Treeconomics Ltd
  • Ed Glücksman, Innovation Impact and Business, University of Exeter

and the co-hosts:

  • Conrad Gillespie, Centre Manager, South West Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications
  • Andy Williams, ESA Business Applications Ambassador, South West England & South Wales


For a video of the event please CLICK HERE.






Sharon Addinall
ehealth Business Engagement Officer
Sharon has worked within the health sector undertaking administration and management for the majority of her career and prior to joining the Centre, she ran her own business as an Editor for a local magazine.
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