Every University wants to be seen to be ‘acting green’, but how many are sincerely willing to put in the work?

Every University wants to be seen to be ‘acting green’, but how many are sincerely willing to put in the work?

As the global climate justice movement continues to grow and grow with an increasingly exciting energy, it manifests at its loudest, most colourful, creative, and radical on university campuses across the UK and the world. With a fresh wave of fossil fuel divestments announced alongside People & Planet’s 2016 University League, universities across the country now know full well that sustainability is a core concern for their staff and students, and it is here to stay.

As the Higher Education sector is pushed deeper and deeper into a model defined by marketisation and competition, with students as consumers and education a for-profit commodity, it is little wonder that universities are seeking to capitalise on the growing popularity of sustainability among their members. This has led to grandiose statements across the board on how universities will lead us to renewable energy futures and a decarbonized economy, how they will set the sustainability agenda, and even conceding to powerful divestment campaigns by making that important commitment. Every university wants to be seen to be ‘acting green’, but how many are sincerely willing to put in the work?

While universities move to adopt the narrative of sustainability to enhance their reputation, the University League plays a vital part in holding our institutions to account by tracking and ranking the work they do to be more sustainable and ethical. This ranking isn’t based on how resourced the universities’ marketing departments are or how compelling their propaganda is, the League ranks based on information made available on university websites and uses public verified data sources. Putting the League together this way ensures maximum transparency for universities that thrive on opaque, impenetrable bureaucracy. It helps staff and students who care about sustainability to hold university managers to account on the commitments they make and their subsequent action.

Source: People & Planet

Date: December 2016

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