The Climate Action for University Chairs Guide

Climate action has moved from the Boiler-Room to the Board Room. Every university needs a Governor to be at the heart of a whole-institution zero carbon strategy. The future of every student depends on it.
Following on from the Guide for Members of Governing Bodies (2018) and the Climate Action Toolkit for the Higher Education Sector (2020) that identified Higher Education specific critical elements that Vice-Chancellors and Governors should consider to advance sustainability and respond to the climate crisis,  we are glad to be launching today (28th October 2021) the Climate Action for University Chairs Guide – a joint work of the Climate Commission for Higher and Further Education. The Guide will be formally launched by EAUC’s Treasurer, David Duncan at the THE Climate Impact Forum.

The Guide outlines the crucial role of each university’s Board, Court or Council members in enabling the changes we need to do in order to address climate and natural world change. Only in doing so, we will enable the world to thrive comfortably into the years ahead. UK universities, the communities that form them, and the communities they are a part of, will experience increasingly significant climatic changes.

The Guide offers guidance on how sustainable institutions can become successful institutions by embedding drivers for environmental sustainability, and in particularly action on climate change, within two categories: Institutional Risk and Strategic Opportunities.

Equally important, this Guide includes implementable actions that a University Board and Senior Management Teams can take to:
  • set institutional ambitions to reach Net-Zero
  • commission extensive stakeholder engagement
  • develop an offsetting strategy
  • regularly publish progress
  • improve sustainability knowledge across the institution
  • review financial arrangements (banking and investments)
  • commission mapping of teaching content and graduate skills development
  • commission estates energy systems audit
Iain Patton, CEO at EAUC said: “Climate action has moved from the Boiler-Room to the Board Room. Every university needs a Governor to be at the heart of a whole-institution zero carbon strategy. The future of every student depends on it.”

David Duncan, Chief Operating Officer and University Secretary at University of Glasgow and EAUC Treasurer added: “I am delighted to see the publication of the Governors’ Climate Guide. There is enormous interest in the climate crisis among members of governing bodies, and this guide can only enrich our consideration of these vital issues in the future. Well done to the EAUC in taking this forward.”

John Rushford from Committee of University Chairs said: “The HE Code of Governance makes it clear that sustainability is one of the 6 core values that lie at the heart of higher education. This guide will greatly assist governing bodies to understand and support their institutions efforts in responding to the climate crisis.”

Additional resources can be accessed via the Climate Commission for UK Higher and Further Education's HE Climate Action Toolkit.

Do you have student governor actions in your institution you would like to showcase? Share it with EAUC at

The Climate Action for University Chairs Guide can be accessed below.


Notes to editors
Contact: Teodora Axente,

About the EAUC – The Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education
EAUC is the alliance for sustainability leadership in education. EAUC represents over 200 institutions with a combined total of 2 million students and nearly 400,000 staff with a spending budget of over £25 billion. We help leaders, academics and professionals to drive sustainability to the heart of their post-16 education institutions. EAUC also work on an international level with United Nations Environment and other UN bodies on several global education initiatives. EAUC are the secretariat for the Race to Zero for Universities and Colleges. For more information, visit and

About the Climate Commission for UK Higher and Further Education
The Climate Commission is a partnership encompassing Association of Colleges, EAUC, GuildHE and Universities UK. Senior executive-level representatives from each organisation and student representatives make up the Commissioners and EAUC provide a secretariat function. The Commission is UK wide and ensures direction and leadership to the Commission’s work, act as the visible face of the Commission and play a role in building engagement and consensus within the sectors involved. The Commissioners work with a wider Council that advise and support their work. Find out more regarding the extended work of the Climate Commission,
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