March 03, 2020

Green Week: Thinking about our Climate Emergency


Green Week is our annual celebration of the environment, and a time when we work with partners in the region to promote some of the great activities that are happening to help us all to be more sustainable, in our day-to-day lives. It’s also an opportunity for us to focus on the future courses of action that we need to take as individuals, as communities, and as organisations. Indeed in the period since we declared our Climate Emergency we’ve seen the emergence of a number of important initiatives which include de-carbonising our electricity usage and increasing re-use and recycling through initiatives within Campus and Commercial Services.

There is a huge range of activities to take part in over the course of Green Week – from ‘swap shops’ where you can exchange clothes for new ones, to a Green Fair at the end of the week. There really is something for everyone, so make sure to get involved and book onto events happening across our campus this week.

With all this activity on campus around all things sustainable, there couldn’t be a better time to start talking with you about some changes to our travel policy and to our investment policy. Both of these changes have been encouraged by the Climate Emergency Task Force which met for the first time in January. Its role is to provide advice and facilitate better co-ordination of the University’s actions to address a climate emergency, and business travel was one of the first things it considered. Whilst we are still working out specific details, I’d like to give you a feel for what’s coming up.

Upcoming changes to our Travel Policy

We are moving to a situation in which the normal expectation would be that train is used for journeys that are within Great Britain or are around six hours. This would encompass destinations such as Paris and Brussels, as well as Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.

We also plan to introduce our own internal offset mechanism for flights. To enable us to do this quickly, we will be introducing a simple system. There will be two levels – one for flights within Europe and one for flights beyond. An internal charging mechanism will be put in place and the funds collected will be used to support on-campus initiatives to reduce our carbon footprint. The aim would be to implement this at the start of May (the beginning of Q3 of the financial year), but in terms of train travel, the new arrangements can start straight away for new bookings. You’ll be hearing more about this soon.

Upcoming improvements to Socially Responsible Investment

We are looking to move to a more proactive approach to the management of our investments so we more actively target 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. The Investment Sub Committee keeps the University’s Socially Responsible Investment policy under review, and is in the process of finalising the new approach and agreeing the details.

This all represents a good start to fulfilling our Climate Emergency Pledge, but there is a great deal more to do. I greatly look forward to working with our community to fulfil our responsibilities to help combat climate change through our individual actions, our research and teaching, and how we run and develop our university.

chris_sig.jpg


Chris Ennew

Provost


- 5 comments by 4 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Maria MacCallum

    Do you have any plans for more cycle routes so we can cycle safely to the University.

    Many Thanks and Regards, Maria

    03 Mar 2020, 16:13

  2. Tina Jones

    I cycle to work in the spring and summer. Are there any plans to light existing cycle ways so they are safe to use in autumn and winter? There is also a lack of adequate cycle parking away from University House.
    Kind regards
    Tina

    03 Mar 2020, 16:18

  3. Alastair Smith

    As a member of our community, I would like to personally thank those who campaigned to support the University in their recognition of the global Climate Emergency. It is a terrific tribute to those individual University of Warwick students who drew on their learning and passion for positive global change, worked with and through the democratic institutions of the Student Union (SU) and University College Union (UCU), to generate petition and support for a declaration of action: drumming up over 1,000 signatures appended to the petition delivered to University Council 15th March 2019.

    It is a shame, and rather disappointing, that this work has not been more formally acknowledge by the University. It is of further regret that the Task Force have reportedly overlooked the philosophical reason for action on climate – presumably a belief in inter-generational justice of opportunity? – and therefore apparently sees no inherent contradiction in declining to formally include environmental and intra-generational justice as part of their considerations, as suggested by the SU Environment Officer: the absence of which, for example, allows for the withdrawal of free transport to some of the university’s lowest paid staff, thus implicitly and rather oddly, valuing the needs of future generations above those of the current.

    For those unaware of wider community involvement that preceded the University’s announcement, I hope you find some inspiration in the story of the student coalition – GLOBUS magazine, Global Sustainable Development (GSD) Society and Climate Reality Campus Corps – that brought pressure for recognition of the climate crisis: https://globuswarwick.com/climateemergency/

    I’m sure there are many more unsung heroes among us – and to all of you, I say thank you for taking your research beyond REF and your learning beyond the classroom. We have made a great start, but as the Provost rightly notes, we still have much to do: not least in creating a sufficiently scholarly conceptualisation of what a sufficiently rapid and socially just transition might truly require, and whose voices it might be appropriate to include in decision making on this subject.

    04 Mar 2020, 16:08

  4. Maria MacCallum

    Green week and there is a truck with it’s engine running non stop by westwood campus to power the very bright LED display panels all over it… deep sigh

    05 Mar 2020, 14:40

  5. Alexander Corcos

    Hi Christine,

    Thank you for this, it is well-intentioned. I am particularly pleased to hear that there will be lovely train journeys for those travelling between Paris, Brussels and the University in future.

    Do you think the eventual construction of the new High Speed rail line, work on which has continued on and next to campus regardless of the pandemic, will result in fewer people driving to campus?

    I hope so!

    My commute to the university involved walking from Kenilworth and so I have had a privileged view of HS2’s work for many months now. Diamond Wood has been transformed; I do hope this represents progress.

    I had assumed the University were already very proactive with their investments, particularly the Council, and that this had led to Warwick’s strong position in the national and international marketplace?

    Choo choo!

    All best,

    Alex

    18 Apr 2020, 08:27


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  • Hi Christine, Thank you for this, it is well–intentioned. I am particularly pleased to hear that the… by Alexander Corcos on this entry
  • Green week and there is a truck with it's engine running non stop by westwood campus to power the ve… by Maria MacCallum on this entry
  • As a member of our community, I would like to personally thank those who campaigned to support the U… by Alastair Smith on this entry
  • I cycle to work in the spring and summer. Are there any plans to light existing cycle ways so they a… by Tina Jones on this entry
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