Sugarcrete®, a low-carbon material developed by the University of East London has won a prestigious environmental award at the United Nations Climate Change Conference. The environmental group, Green Cross UK, selected Sugarcrete® to be the winner of the circular economy section of its Climate Positive Awards.
The awards celebrate sustainable development initiatives that address climate change. The circular economy category is concerned with reducing waste by reusing existing materials and products as much as possible.
Sugarcrete®, developed by UEL’s Sustainability Research Institute, with the support of Tate & Lyle, combines waste sugarcane with binders to produce bricks that have a carbon footprint five times smaller than traditional bricks.
Alan Chandler, co-director of the institute, said he was proud of the recognition for Sugarcrete® and pointed out the project had other benefits too. He said,
We have not only created an innovative carbon positive construction material, but we use ‘open science’ principles to share knowledge and practice with sugar producing countries, learning from their contexts and supporting them to find ways to refine and deploy Sugarcrete® in a sustainable and ethical way.
The winners of the Climate Positive Awards 2023 were announced in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, as part of the UN Climate Change Conference, better known as COP 28. The annual COP meetings are intended to be forums for governments to agree policies to limit global temperature rises and adapt to impacts associated with climate change.
Armor Gutierrez, senior lecturer at UEL’s School of Architecture, Computing and Engineering also welcomed the award. He said,
We are honoured to have been selected for the Climate Positive Awards 2023, and look forward to deploying Sugarcrete® in close collaboration with Green Cross UK.
The environmental charity’s executive director, Ruy Campos Dugone, noted the awards were an attempt to highlight the efforts of institutions and people that were directly addressing the climate change crisis. He said,
Green Cross rewards organisations that are action oriented and transcend the path to sustainability.
It’s not the first time Sugarcrete® has come to the attention of those judging awards in the field of sustainability. It’s been nominated for three other awards this year. The other nominations include the Earthshot and RISE prizes, while it has also been included in the material innovation category of the Dezeen Sustainability Award.