On 26 September, we were very lucky and honoured to be invited by JLR to represent their Responsible Business efforts at the opening of their new innovation centre at Gaydon.

As well as seeing the brand new Defender in all its glory (check it out to the top left of the photo above) this was an opportunity to speak with various media about our work on malaria genetics and to hear about JLR’s ambition of ‘Destination Zero’: zero emissions, zero accidents and zero congestion.

When climate change is rightly high on the political agenda, it can sometimes feel a little awkward trying to justify driving a car across Africa for the sake of the Mobile Malaria Project. It’s therefore great to know that JLR are doing important work to try to adapt and change their engines and processes to drive change in the right direction. The need for people to travel is never going to disappear completely, and people across the world are so used to driving that, in my opinion, we are going to need to adapt and develop carbon neutral options for travel in the future. Large corporates like JLR – the UK’s biggest car company and a major Midlands employer – will need to lead the way, and this new innovation centre is part of this push to find new solutions. It was fascinating and reassuring to see JLR’s plans for getting to ‘Destination Zero’, and that they are taking the needs of the planet seriously.

Of course, we should all take personal responsibility to reduce our own carbon footprints by finding more sustainable and carbon neutral ways to travel, and potentially by travelling a lot less. There a raft of measures we can all take to save energy and to ensure that the energy that we do use is renewable. Nevertheless, efforts by companies like JLR to find innovative and sustainable solutions to achieving carbon neutrality are definitely welcome.