GC signs up to tackle climate change

9 December 2019

Ahead of this month’s UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid, Gloucestershire College declared its commitment to tackling climate change by becoming one of the first UK colleges to sign the Global Climate Emergency Letter, in addition to The SDG Accord.

This means the College accepts the findings of the science around climate change and has made a public commitment to taking steps to reduce its carbon impact, and map and formally report on its progress. 

GC’s top priorities are to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 and engage with staff, students and stakeholders to raise awareness of the environmental impact of what we all do. 

By signing the Global Climate Emergency Letter, the College joined forces with more than 7,000 institutions and networks of further and higher education across the world, to recognise the need for a drastic societal shift and equip our young minds with the knowledge, skills and capability to respond to the ever-growing challenges of climate change. 

The SDG Accord, meanwhile, was created to inspire, celebrate and advance the critical role that education has in delivering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the value it brings to governments, business and the wider society.

The 17 SDGs to transform our world include no poverty; zero hunger; good health and well-being; quality education; gender equality; clean water and sanitation; affordable and clean energy; decent work and economic growth; industry, innovation and infrastructure; reduced inequalities; sustainable cities and communities; responsible consumption and production; climate action; life below water; life on land; peace, justice and strong institutions; and partnerships for the goal. 

Matthew Burgess, CEO and Principal, said: “I believe we have a moral responsibility to play our part in tackling climate change and prepare our students to make informed lifestyle choices.

“We have already done a lot of work to reduce our carbon footprint, such as invested in greener energy consumption, improved waste and recycling processes, reduced water consumption and introduced reusable food and drink items. 

“Forthcoming plans include creating GC sustainability teams at each campus to identify, resource and implement projects focussing on energy, waste, transport, food, biodiversity, procurement, engagement and our curriculum. It is important that we work together as a whole college to ensure that these key areas of focus are taken forward as team.”

Examples of recent actions the College has taken to reduce its carbon footprint includes: replacing redundant lights with LED lighting; installing timers and controllers to reduce the running time of heating and extraction systems; using off-site compactors and recycling; giving priority for unwanted furniture to staff and community groups; installing new taps which do not leave water running; reducing single-use plastics in catering; and introducing reusable cups, paper straws and wooden cutlery.

For more information visit www.sdgaccord.org

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