Energy Transition Day

Joining the Dots for a Sustainable Future: social mobility . aspirations . health


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How do we ensure a just transition, so that no one is left behind and everyone thrives as we progress to net zero?

Discussions covered educational and social inequalities, climate injustice and the impact of climate change on human health and active living.


Nina Stobart facilitated a thought provoking panel discussion looking at the connections between social mobility, aspirations and health.

As the COP26 official Hygiene Partner, Dr Bruce Charlesworth focused on the impact of climate change on health in developing countries. Reckitt’s plan for a cleaner, healthier world embeds sustainability in the core of their business.

Dr Lisa Jones focused on educational and social inequalities, particularly those pertaining to issues of social class and socio-economic disadvantage as well as climate injustice.

In 2021, Sewell Group received a Queen’s Awards for Enterprise for Promoting Opportunity – the most prestigious accolade for UK businesses. Jo Barnes spoke about how Sewell Group contributes to the region through employing local people and investing in developing talent, as well as delivering value for local communities, creating opportunities for people to be involved in projects, supporting communities, charity groups and pioneering initiatives to support people who need it. 

The Children’s University is a local charity that changes the future of disadvantaged children and children living in the care system by working with businesses, philanthropists, foundations and trusts. Natasha Barley gave an insight into how the Children’s University gives local children aspirations for their own future.


Nina Stobart: “I’ve seen the stark reality of what many of the children in our region are battling against. As a region we need to ask how we help them and help them to feel that they can become whoever they want to be. We need the diversity of minds to help us overcome the challenges ahead. While talent is spread equally across the country, opportunity is not. Equality of opportunity starts with education.”

Dr Bruce Charlesworth: “The environmental pressure is clear, as they intensify the demands on business go up.

“To protect, heal and nurture people, we have to do the same to the environment that sustains us all.”

“We’ve set out a vision for Hull to be the first place to reach net zero.”

Dr Lisa Jones: “Working class students do worse by every measure than their middle-class counterparts. The focus is often on how we close the gap, how we get them to catch up, but instead we need to focus on the educational system that produces this.”

Jo Barnes: “Social mobility is good business sense, about making your business culture as rich as it can be with as many people from different backgrounds as possible.”

“We have to take risks, invest in people, and not accept the finished article all the time. There is a huge, unexplored part of the labour course. Talent can be in every postcode in our area, but we need to hunt for it and find it.”

“If you can support someone, show confidence in them and invest in them, they will give you their career.”

Natasha Barley: “Show children the world of work, show them the opportunities that exist for them. Children can only aspire to the opportunities that they know exist.”

“Giving kids these opportunities is vitally important, and we can’t start them too young.”

“It is our responsibility as a society for all children to be given the opportunity to fulfil their potential.”

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