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A year of change, a future of optimism

This last year has been a difficult and challenging one. It’s had a transformative effect on all our lives, reshaping how we live, work, socialise and travel to name just some of the impacts. As we look forward to a time when we might come together again in person, on campus, it’s worth reflecting on how differently we’re living day to day in this changed world and what this means for environmental sustainability.

It’s our vision to lead the way at Warwick by trialling new ideas and activities that will help to create a greener, cleaner, safer, better world for all. To use our campus as a space for experimentation and innovation before we take ideas and research out into the world. And to do this collectively as a community.

We want to be world-renowned advocates for sustainability and carbon reduction, leading the way through purposeful action and meaningful engagement with our communities and partners. Championing sustainable development in both research and teaching, we will share our passions through public engagement and partnership working.

The University is committed: not only have we set some challenging goals to work towards, but we’ve established a new action group, 'Environmental and Social Sustainability Action Group' (ESSAG), to proactively challenge, guide and steer our future work. But we also need every one of you to get involved in driving change with us. It’s our collective responsibility to try and create a better world for future generations and we can all make a difference.

Over the next few months, we’re going to tell you more about what we’ve done so far and what we’re planning to do. We’re asking for your support and involvement. We’ll share plans, facts, stories and opportunities to engage with you too - please join us in the effort.

Here’s a summary of progress so far, and what we’ve committed to do next:

Our commitments

In 2019, Warwick declared a climate emergency; this was a clear statement of intent for how we plan to realise change:

  • First, we’ve committed to achieving net zero carbon from our direct emissions and the energy we buy by 2030; then by 2050 we aim to achieve net zero carbon for both direct and indirect emissions
  • In 2020, our Vice Chancellor signed the United Nations Sustainable Development GoalsAccord, a 'blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all'.
    The University will work towards supporting these goals wherever possible and report annually on progress
  • We’re putting sustainability at the heart of our procurement, campus developments and transport & mobility strategies to name just a few areas of focus
  • We’re embedding sustainable development into our curriculum to encourage and inspire global citizenship
  • We will continue to focus academic research in the fields of cleaner, greener and more innovative sustainable development
  • We have committed to a socially responsible sustainable investment policy in the belief that socially sustainable companies are more likely to be successful in the long run; we will not knowingly invest in companies involved in fossil fuel extraction or production
  • Our travel policy commitment sets out that travel by train is to be the default mode of transport for journeys under 6 hours and a departmental ‘green levy’ will be charged for air travel
  • This year, the UK hosts the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26)bringing parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. We will be there working to engage, inspire and influence like-minded groups.

    What does Sustainability mean to you?

    Would you like to feature in our next Green Week video? We would like to know your thoughts on Sustainability and what this word means to you.

    You can get involved by submitting a video and saying a quick few words, by holding up a sign with a one-worded answer or even submit a few creative photographs to showcase your feelings around sustainability at home, or on campus.

    Find out more about this project and advice on how to capture content here.

    Please send your content to internalcomms@warwick.ac.uk by 3rd March 2021.