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UCU and student activists launch green agenda for colleges and universities

24 June 2020 | last updated: 25 June 2020

UCU, in conjunction with Students Organising for Sustainability (SOS-UK), has launched a Green New Deal for colleges and universities to coincide with the International Trade Union Confederation's Global Day of Workplace Action. The initiative calls on staff and students to pressure their college or university to help tackle the climate emergency.

The organisers say that the Covid-19 pandemic is a reminder that our existence on Earth is fragile and that there are a lot of similarities between the climate crisis and the coronavirus crisis. They warn that in both cases there has been a refusal to listen to scientists, academics, or the wider communities of people most affected by the crisis. 

The Green New Deal brings together policy set by both UCU and the National Union of Students, and seeks to create a better world as we emerge from the lockdown. Demands on institutions include:

  • declare a climate emergency
  • agree concrete action plans on embedding meaningful environmental policies
  • climate-proof the curriculum
  • sign up to ethical investment and banking strategies
  • review food & land use, travel policies, and carbon & energy management commitments. 

Union reps and student officers will be trained so they can take forward the demands as part of their bargaining and negotiations work to secure meaningful action. 

UCU said dealing with climate change requires planning and concerted action, and warned institutions they would not be able to hide behind empty greenwashing gestures.

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