A year ago, I announced that the University of Warwick was declaring a state of climate emergency. In doing so, Warwick joined the global fight back against climate change, along with our partners in Coventry City Council, Warwick District Council, and Warwickshire County Council. Our declaration is ambitious – it has to be. We have a responsibility as a community and organisation to moderate our individual actions, our research and teaching, and how we run and develop our University. We aim to reach net zero carbon from our direct emissions and the energy we buy by 2030, something that will need the continued commitment of Government and partners, in addition to the University looking inwardly at our own policies, processes and behaviours.
This year has seen us begin in earnest, with our Climate Emergency Taskforce forming to coordinate the initiatives needed to reach our aim. Just a few of their achievements from this past year have included:
Launching our Institute for Global Sustainable Development; Warwick’s hub for transdisciplinary research on global sustainable development that will enable transformative change in global sustainable development. This Institute sits with our Global Sustainable Development degree programmes which offer a multidisciplinary curriculum that addresses sustainability in its broadest sense.
Announcing changes to our travel policy. Travelling by train is the normal expectation now for journeys within Great Britain, or that are up to six hours. We also announced our plans for an internal carbon offset scheme, for those occasions when travelling by plane is unavoidable.
Announcing improvements to our socially responsible investment activities, by more actively targeting our investments in the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) arena where companies are seeking to have a more positive impact on the environment, and where there is a commitment to more socially responsible practices.
In the following videos, my colleagues, Rupert Lawrie (Commercial Director) and Parvez Islam (Director of Transport and Future Mobility) are going to talk to you further about some of the progress that has been made this year, and further improvements that are to be delivered in the near future. And Luke Mepham, incoming President of the Students Union, talks through the individual actions that can be taken by our community to help fight against climate change.
There’s still so much to do, and while we’re proud of everything we have accomplished together over this year, we’re ready to roll up our sleeves and keep fighting back against the drivers of climate change.
- Chris Ennew, Provost
Updates on progress so far, and upcoming improvements
Hear from three of our community on some changes that have taken place this year, and on further improvements coming up in the near future. Transcripts are included at the bottom of this page.
Rupert Lawrie, Commercial Director, CCSG
Parvez Islam, Director of Transport and Future Mobility
Luke Mepham, President of the Student's Union
To learn more about what the University of Warwick is doing to tackle sustainability issues head along to warwick.ac.uk/environment. You can follow up to date news and events via social media @WarwickUniSust on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter; and if you are a member of staff or a Warwick student you can join the Green Champions network.
Warwick is proud to be part of the small number of universities committed to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 for all its emissions including procured goods and services with additional milestone for decarbonising energy supply by 2030. This is a university wide effort. All teams and departments are involved across teaching, research and professional services. We are planning our resources to sustain this effort for the long term including a monitoring plan to share regular updates with our community.
We are also looking for immediate actions such as changes to the travel policy announced last academic year, and boosting sustainable mobility.
We are fully aware climate science is calling for urgent actions. For example, within CCSG our colleagues are improving sustainability of the University food system.
Within CCSG, we operate the majority of cafes and bars and restaurants on our campus and with Warwick we’re committed to providing healthy and environmentally sustainable food to all our students, staff and visitors.
Our vision is to be a sustainable and socially responsible University that showcases local produce, promotes healthier eating options and better supports our environment.Our sustainability strategy includes a commitment to pursue change in reducing emissions, reducing waste, socially responsible sourcing, community and supplier engagement. Following progress made with more achievements to come:
We’ve reduced number of disposable cups by 44%.
We’ve reduced the volume of single use plastic cutlery by 54%.
100% of our fresh fish is from sustainable sources.
1,000 meals previously sent to food waste were sold at cost to the University community via our partner “TooGoodToGo” scheme.
If you'd like to find out more, please visit our website, and in the meantime please join me in making this new academic yearmore sustainable. Thank you
I’m Parvez Islam, Director of Transport and future mobility. My Role at the University has been to help develop the University’s strategies and implement the master plan to create a more sustainable and evolving campus that is accessible to all. Over the past year, I’ve been working very closely with people across the University in planning to create a better environment and provide more options and choices for our users. This is our building towards having a smart campus and a more sustainable campus and trying to reduce our carbon emissions so that we can meet to requirements of the climate emergency.
Some of the initiatives we’re working on, you’ll start to see them as you return back onto campus. We’ve developed a bus service with national express, that will serve the campus and also serve Cannon Park Shopping Centre, Tile Hill Station, Eastern Green and Pool Meadow down in Coventry. This will be an exclusive route for students and staff to use, and if they show their ID they will only have to pay a Pound for any single journey. We’re very keen on developing public transport and making it cost effective, and this is the first stepping stone in our ambition to achieve that for all staff and students. The other initiatives that we’re working on at the moment involves introducing a Car Club scheme for the start of term. This will give us two dedicated vehicles solely and exclusively for use by University staff for business travel, at no cost to them. We also have two additional vehicles which will be offsite but are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for any staff or students to use and they be a lot more competitively priced compared to anyone independently going to hire a vehicle. We’re also working on a Demand-Response transport network with Transport for West Midlands and that is a mode of travel which is a cross between an Uber and a bus. So it’s a shared mobility service with the main positive being convenience. It will operate on a virtual bus stop network and a virtual route network, and it will make it easier for people to get around if a bus stop is far for them on a fixed bus network. And if anything it will complement the fixed bus networks as well.
As you can see, a lot of these initiatives we’re working on for the start of term, it doesn’t mean we’ll stop there. Over the coming months and years, we’ll be developing more and more initiatives and more and more options for both staff, students and our visitors, pretty much our entire university community to be able to fully appreciate the campus and develop a unique and very inclusive experience at the campus. So I’m very positive about the future when it comes to transport and mobility, Obviously we’re also looking at automated vehicles which are further down the line but in a post-Covid world they’ve become even more critical for us to master. So watch this space, over the coming weeks, you’ll get more information about some of the new initiatives I’ve mentioned about the start of term. And keep watching this space because long-term we’ll have more and more good news to share for our University community
It’s now been a year since The University of Warwick announced a climate emergency. It’s important to remember that whilst some great work has been done, there’s still so much work that needs to be done by the University and the SU over the coming years. And it’s also important to remember that we all have a responsibility to act sustainably whilst studying and working at Warwick. There’s loads of initiatives you can easily get involved with, such as Warwick Cup or the Pay as You Fill Fair. But to find out more about how you can act sustainably while on campus, and go on about your day to day life, make sure to check out the Sustainably at Warwick induction video.