Advocacy Updates 2019

December 2019

The last two months of 2019 saw a huge advocacy drive for more institutions to commit to net zero emissions targets, and to take part in the Climate Commission. There are now 24 institutions that have declared a climate emergency and 31 net zero commitments from institutions.

We also undertook the advocacy annual survey and look forward to sharing the resulting report.

Policy-wise, a period of purdah, the General Election and a focus on Brexit has meant sustainability policy developments have been hampered.

Climate Emergency
  • We launched the Climate Commission in November and it had a brilliant turnout of students and executive level staff. Advocacy on this topic has been well received by strategic partners, but Government interaction was hampered by purdah and the General Election.
  • We ran a webinar in November titled: ‘Adapting to Climate Change: Increasing your Institution’s Resilience’ with AECOM, Hebcon and Aude. This had a good number of participants that reported they found it very useful.  You can watch it again here.
  • COP 25 was moved to Madrid at the last minute in December, due to the civil unrest in Chile. The EAUC still managed to ensure the Global Climate Letter was presented in Madrid during a series of events that outlined what higher and further education institutions and networks in the world are doing to tackle the climate crisis. The scope of these events attended by institution and network representatives alongside their students was to share what higher and further education institutions and networks in the world are doing to take action around Climate Change. The UN tweeted about this.
  • We also ran a number of Carbon Literacy training events – including training all of the students involved with the Climate Commission.
Scotland Conference

The EAUC Scotland Conference was a brilliant event that attracted members from all across the UK and Ireland. The focus was ‘the elephant in the room’ and this gave EAUC a good opportunity to discuss many of the topics outlined by members throughout the year at meetings and on email network discussions as problematic. You can find all of the resources here. These resources hopefully will allow you to advocate on these topics with your institution.

Green Gown Awards

We held the Green Gown Awards immediately after the Scotland Conference this year, in Glasgow. This was an opportunity to showcase best practice from the sector and reward those having meaningful impact across the sector in a variety of sustainability areas. This gained some press coverage, noted in the media section, and created a huge quantity of case studies. These are all available on the Sustainability Exchange and these are useful to other institutions to provide insight and use as evidence for business cases.

New resources

Journal:
Working with Emerald Publishing, we launched a special edition of the International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, with academic input from the EAUC’s 2018 conference.

Blogs:
  • EAUC’s CEO Iain Patton - ‘ Commissioning a momentous climate-action trinity to better support our members’
  • UMAL’s CEO Paul Cusition – ‘Physician, heal thyself’
  • Jon Khoo from Interface – ‘Leading the Climate Emergency charge’
  • Kerry Cheek, SRS Projects Coordinator at University of Edinburgh – ‘Can university laboratories move away from single-use plastic?’
  • A group of leading academics collaborated on a new blog – ‘‚ÄčThe new civil politics of climate change’
  • Sustainability Champion:
  • Richard Masters – Programme Leader for Aerospace and Sustainability at Exeter College Technology Centre. Richard talks about how he advocates for sustainability in an FE environment with a focus on engineering.

Webinars:
  • Virtual learning at colleges and universities across the UK – EAUC sharing series
  • ‘Adaptation Guide Introduction Webinar’ based on the EAUC’s adaptation guide
  • University of Strathclyde present on their initiative ‘Vertically Integrated Projects and Sustainable Development’
Campaigns

We took part in several campaigns, including Mental Health and Wellbeing Week, Trustees Week and an advent calendar campaign that looked at how we can have a more sustainable Christmas in HE and FE.

Strategic Partners
  • We input information about skills provision to Aldersgate Group’s draft manifesto report, ‘Time to deliver: building a competitive and inclusive green economy’ – they added this into the published report.
  • We partnered with Enactus to create an Enactus EAUC Sustainability Advisor role to connect EAUC members with Enactus campus teams.
  • EAUC’s chief executive Iain Patton has been advocating for the sector at several high profile events. He presented at WonkHE’s Wonkfest, alongside AUDE, discussing ‘What tools do we have to help us co-ordinate environmental action within our universities and across the sector?’.
  • Iain was also the keynote speaker at the University of Porto’s ‘1st Conference on Sustainable Campus’ at which they also launched a new Portuguese university sustainability network.
  • An EAUC representative attended the Healthy Universities Network quarterly meeting which has given us insight into some potential health and wellbeing avenues we will explore. We also supported the launch of the University Mental Health charter – run by Student Minds.
  • We welcomed Russel Groups support of environmental sustainability and have been in discussion with them about how we can collaborate.
  • EAUC is partnering with Change Agents to pick up on the next stage of Future Business Council research on Graduate Skills Attributes.
  • We attended the TUCO and TEC conferences, and the AUDE digital campus conference.
Policy
  • We were able to provide two members with part funded tickets to the Government-run event ‘Women in Public Sector Leadership 2020’
  • We input a consultation response to the Scottish Government’s consultation ‘The role of Public Sector Bodies in tackling climate change’
  • We engaged with the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) through the Climate Committee. Lord Deben, Chair of the CCC gave the keynote speech at the launch of the Commission.
  • The Government published its response to the Committee on Climate Change’s 2019 progress reports. We have been engaging with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on some of the elements of this – with a particular focus on how to progress the public and higher education voluntary emissions target.
  • The General Election was held on 12th December, and there was a period of purdah from 6th November. This meant there was very little policy impact feasible in this time frame. Since the election, and the reinstatement of the Conservatives – we are focusing on ensuring their manifesto pledges come to pass on sustainability and education, and that the legislation held up previously is now going to be focused on.
 
Media Mentions
  • Times Education Supplement (TES) - Colleges and Universities launch Climate Commission
  • FE News – University and College leaders launch 12 month bid to find ways to combat Climate Emergency
  • University Business – New Climate Commission for Higher Education launches
  • Times Higher Education (THE) – Climate Commission targets coordinated sector action
  • Association of Colleges - Climate Commission targets coordinated sector action
  • Universities UK - University and college leaders launch 12-month bid to find ways to combat climate emergency
  • The Courier - Why Dundee and Angus College is ‘way ahead of the game’ combating climate change
  • FE News - The future of colleges: Is the sector ready for the climate emergency?
  • We took part in an interview with Guardian journalist Anna Turns. We look forward to seeing this published.
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