aerial view of The Nest, Wren Kitchen's Parrott Street site


University partners with Wren Kitchens to pioneer and drive sustainability within the UK Kitchen sector.

Academics from the University of Hull are working with leading kitchen manufacturer Wren Kitchens to accelerate their journey to net zero.

The partnership will see academics from Hull University Business School use a unique supply chain carbon mapping tool, developed at the University, to help the company become more sustainable.

It will also allow customers to make choices based on the carbon footprint of each kitchen item, at point of sale, offering them the chance to make more sustainable choices.

quality control employee at wren kitchens
Quality Control Employee at Wren Kitchens

Wren Kitchens and the University of Hull have secured a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) from Innovate UK, to fund the two-year project. The KTP will facilitate accelerated access to this specialist expertise and knowledge within Hull University Business School.

It will also enable Wren Kitchens to fully embed environmental sustainability knowledge, know-how and innovation from the University, right across their business.

This will provide the foundations for an inhouse sustainability team, facilitating access to new emergent eco-conscious markets globally.

trainee operative working on a quartz kitchen counter
Trainee Operative at Wren Kitchens

The project will go beyond understanding operational carbon to transparency of whole-life carbon of a kitchen, which is the combination of embodied and operational emissions, essential for the built environment and achievement of the UK’s net zero target by 2050.

Lead academics from Hull University Business School Dr Sarah Shaw and Linda Whicker will work with the senior safety and logistics team at Wren on the project.

Dr Shaw, Reader in Logistics and Supply Chain Management, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be working with Wren Kitchens on this exciting, innovative research project.

The KTP will enable Wren Kitchens to have capacity and capability to baseline their supply chain carbon footprint and make this data available to customers and to drive carbon inset improvement decisions.

Dr Sarah Shaw

Linda Whicker, Senior Lecturer in Logistics and Supply Chain Management, said: “The ultimate aim of the project is to fully embed environmental sustainability into the company beyond the project, to support Wren Kitchen’s on their rapid and successful growth trajectory. The initial focus area is to establish an accurate carbon baseline for their supply operations, this will then unlock so many opportunities.”

Emma Calverley, Director of Knowledge Exchange, said: “At the University of Hull we're thrilled to share this fantastic news about our ongoing partnership with Wren Kitchens.

This innovative collaboration is evolving in a way that aligns with our commitment to environmental sustainability and we're eager to see how it continues to grow as we work hand in hand with Wren to taking meaningful steps towards a more sustainable world.

Emma Calverley

In order to ensure sustainability remains at the heart of the company, two senior members of staff will study PhDs on the theme of sustainability, further demonstrating the company’s commitment to being a forward thinking and research driven business that wants to embrace cutting edge research and knowledge.

Lee Holmes, Logistics Director at Wren Kitchens, said: “Wren Kitchens is delighted to be partnering with the University of Hull to deliver what we believe will be an industry first and the catalyst for others in the Humber region to take a holistic approach to their impact on society. We hope this project will deliver thought leadership to the manufacturing sector by being future-focussed beyond the International Organization for Standardisation (ISO) regulations, and take a leading role in the region to establish and develop a circular economy. The ultimate aim is to fully embed environmental sustainability into the company beyond the project end and offer our customers a footprint calculation output into user friendly "on pack claims" in the online sales ordering process for customer awareness and enhanced informed choice.”

spray machines at wren kitchens
Spray Machine at Wren Kitchens

Trevor Nixon, Head of Retail Health and Safety, said: “Being a PhD student, the KTP collaboration between Wren Kitchens and the University is a very exciting, but challenging initiative of which I am eager to embrace and lead from a Wren perspective. It will assist me in my personal development and bridge any gaps in current Wren knowledge, as well as guiding our corporate strategy through specialist expert advice and will inevitably be an enabler for Wren to reach our Net Zero Carbon 2030 objective.”

For more information on the KTP and applying for one with Hull University, please contact us.

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