Universities across the UK are throwing their weight behind government aims to cut carbon emissions by 78% by 2035, as part of efforts to combat the global climate emergency.

Ahead of COP26, 140 universities have backed a new set of commitments on climate action drawn up by Universities UK, including emissions reduction targets and a pledge to champion the UN Sustainable Development Goals Accord.

For over a century, UK universities have led pioneering research into the causes and effects of climate change, and shared their expertise with government, businesses and local communities.

As detailed in a new UUK report "Confronting the climate emergency: a commitment from UK universities", they have also made great strides in making campuses sustainable and are investing in the future by equipping students with the knowledge, skills and climate literacy the world needs to find solutions to the climate crisis.

 A number of universities are introducing COP26 scholarships to ensure the brightest and best talent can develop into the climate leaders of tomorrow.

Vice-Chancellors are calling on the government to acknowledge this critical role in the spending review by match-funding these awards and ensuring the overall contribution of universities to climate action is not constrained by budget cuts.

Sector Response

Professor Judith Petts CBE, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Plymouth and Chair of the Universities UK Climate Task and Finish Group, said:

“There is no simple solution to the climate crisis, with every sector of the economy facing a different set of challenges. Universities are some of the most effective weapons in the UK’s climate and environmental armoury. Our research and expertise is behind the deep understanding of climate change as well as the technological advances driving decarbonisation and building resilience. We are also equipping graduates with the skills and determination we need to respond to the climate crisis, generating the leaders of tomorrow to deliver public and environmental good.

“The commitments universities are making are far more than simply touting our eco-credentials. But we need government to support sustainable funding for the sector rather than further cuts, and specifically we hope that they will recognise the opportunities of the COP26 scholarships. With stable funding UK universities will continue to pioneer approaches and provide the world with the science, skills, and talent needed to safeguard the future of the planet.”

david hughes 100 x100Chief Executive of Association of Colleges, David Hughes said: 

“The climate crisis poses significant challenges to us all, and transitioning to a green economy to cut carbon emissions requires joined up, bold action from across the education and skills sector. No more so than by post-16 institutions, equipping the next generation of workers to fill the jobs that are needed for a successful transition to net-zero.

"Universities and colleges both have unique roles, and must work together in places to align priorities and make it easier for people and employers to navigate the green skills agenda. Both will be vital to deliver faster and greater progress on the road to reaching net-zero by 2050.”

Tomorrow (21 Oct), the Association of Colleges will set out The Green College Commitment in a new report. Colleges across the country are delivering skills for green jobs, educating students about how to be part of a sustainable future, and developing net zero and biodiverse campuses.

Colleges and universities are working together to deliver for their local communities and have come together at the national level through the Climate Commission for UK Higher and Further Education. Universities UK and Association of Colleges are founding members of the Commission.

The sector-wide commitments were developed by the Universities UK Climate Task and Finish Group chaired by Professor Judith Petts CBE, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Plymouth.

Universities have agreed to:

  • Set targets for scope 1 and 2 emission reductions which support the government’s plan for reducing emissions by 78% by 2035 and achieving net zero by 2050 at the latest.
  • Set a target for scope 3 emission reductions and other environmental targets beyond emissions as soon as possible.
  • Ensure targets are visible on websites alongside information on how the university is addressing the climate emergency through teaching, research, leadership, local contributions and campus responsibilities.
  • Clearly define how progress against these targets will be reported in a transparent, consistent, and understandable way, and work with official statistics providers to improve data collection. 
  • Sign the UN SDG Accord or embed elements of SDG accord reporting into their existing reporting.
  • Use the Climate Commission’s Climate Action toolkit to assess how further actions through the university’s policies and reporting could advance the UN SDGs and respond to the climate emergency.

Registration for a Universities UK event on 26 January 2022 titled Universities and the climate emergency: action following COP26 is now open.


Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener

The Net Zero Strategy sets out Government progress towards meeting UK carbon budgets and plans for further policy action, to deliver on their net zero by 2050 target:

Last year, the Prime Minister set out his 10 point plan for a green industrial revolution, laying the foundations for a green economic recovery from the impact of COVID-19 with the UK at the forefront of the growing global green economy.

This strategy builds on that approach to keep us on track for UK carbon budgets, our 2030 Nationally Determined Contribution, and net zero by 2050.

It includes:

  • Decarbonisation pathways to net zero by 2050, including illustrative scenarios
  • Policies and proposals to reduce emissions for each sector
  • Cross-cutting action to support the transition

In June 2021, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) published its annual report on progress in reducing UK emissions, assessing the government’s climate change mitigation activity. The government response to the 2021 Committee on Climate Change (CCC) progress report to Parliament in reducing UK emissions is published alongside this strategy. It sets out progress over the last 12 months and addresses the latest CCC recommendations.

The Net Zero Strategy will be submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as the UK’s second Long-Term Low Greenhouse Gas Emission Development Strategy under the Paris Agreement.


Chancellor sets new standards for environmental reporting to weed out greenwashing and support transition to a greener financial system

18th Oct 2021: Chancellor publishes roadmap setting out details on new Sustainability Disclosure Requirements

  • Requirements will mean businesses must start disclosing their environmental impact
  • Businesses and consumers will have a better understanding of whether their investments are aligned with net zero
  • Rishi Sunak will call on the investment community to help cement UK’s status as the best place in the world for green investment

Certain large businesses will need to set out their green credentials to potential investors under new world-leading reporting rules outlined by the Chancellor today (18 Oct).

The new requirements, which will also apply to pension schemes, investment products and asset managers and owners, are part of the government’s landmark reforms to create a greener financial system.

Around 70 per cent of the UK public want their money to go towards making a positive difference to people or planet. But the lack of common definitions around environmental sustainability is leading to greenwashing, misleading investors and consumers about how green a product really is.

The new Sustainability Disclosure Requirements (SDR) will ensure investors have the information they need to make informed decisions about where to put their money. 

Following the publication of a new report "Greening Finance: A Roadmap to Sustainable Investing" setting out further details of how SDRs will work, the Chancellor said:

“We are already a world leader in green finance, and today’s roadmap will give us the opportunity to set new global standards for sustainability that will boost the economy, protect the planet and support our net zero goals.

“We want sustainability to be a key component of investment decisions, and our plans will arm investors with the right information to make more environmentally-led decisions”

The report, entitled Greening Finance: A Roadmap to Sustainable Investing, comes ahead of the UK hosting COP26 next month and is part of the Chancellor’s plan for the UK to lead the world in green finance and sustainable investing.

The roadmap outlines the legislative and regulatory changes that will be made across the economy to arm investors and consumers with the right information by setting world-leading standards on environmental sustainability reporting.

First announced at the Chancellor’s Mansion House speech earlier in the year, the new integrated regime will bring together and streamline existing climate reporting requirements – such as the UK’s commitment to implement mandatory reporting aligned with the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) – and go further.

This will ensure consumers and investors have all the information they need to make investment decisions that drive a positive environmental impact.

This includes requiring every investment product to set out – for the first time – the environmental impact of the activities it finances, and justify clearly any sustainability claims it makes. Asset managers will also need to set out how they incorporate sustainability into their investment strategy to allow consumers to make informed judgements about the kind of firms they want to invest in.

SDR will also set out expectations for certain firms around the publication of transition plans in the context of the UK’s net zero commitment.

The Roadmap also sets out more details on a new green finance rulebook - the UK Green Taxonomy - which will create a shared understanding of which economic activities count as green. Relevant companies and financial products will be required to report their environmental impact against the UK Green Taxonomy.

The Roadmap also acts as a call to action for the pensions and investment sector, setting expectations that they will use the information generated by the SDR to start shifting financial flows to align with a net zero economy.

Specific reporting requirements, including scope, timing and detail, will be developed following public consultation.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page