Vice-Chancellor appointed to UK Climate Commission

13 Nov 2019

Professor Joy Carter DL, Vice-Chancellor, has been appointed as the University of Winchester and GuildHE representative on the council of the Climate Commission for UK Higher and Further Education Leaders. The Climate Commission was launched on 13 November at Ravensbourne University, London.

The commission aims to be a catalyst for real action and long term change. It will develop an action plan in response to the government’s stated climate and environment emergency on 1 May 2019. This comes after the University’s climate emergency declaration during September’s Global Climate Strike. The Climate Commission’s emergency framework will be drawn together to initiate a strategic sector-wide approach to tackle the most pressing climate issues. This framework will guide and support all UK and Irish universities and colleges to be net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest.

The University of Winchester’s work towards a sustainable future has earned the institution a place in the top 100 universities worldwide in the Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings and Responsible Futures accreditation with the National Union of Students. Winchester student teachers are training to be among the world’s first United Nations accredited Climate Change Teachers. “As a provider of higher education, it is the responsibility of the University to lead by example when it comes to tackling the climate agenda.” said Professor Carter. “We provide the tools for students to take charge of their futures. Together we are working to enhance climate change education, training, public awareness and access to information - recognising the importance of these factors is essential to preserving the natural world.”

The University is taking radical action to reduce its environmental impact – from pledging to eliminate the use of unnecessary single-use plastic by the end of 2020 and being carbon neutral by 2030, to opening a zero waste shop for staff, students and the local community early next year. All new developments across the estate meet the highest sustainability standards, no waste goes to landfill and all electricity comes from renewable sources. This includes the West Downs development, which is due to open in 2020 and is one of the first university buildings in the UK to register for WELL certification. Additionally, all catering outlets across campus offer only Local, Independent, Fair and Ethical (LIFE) products and continue to encourage the use of reusable cups.

Professor Carter is passionate about all aspects of equality and sustainability, with a particular interest in combatting the climate emergency. She has an academic background in Environmental Geochemistry and Health and has been Vice-Chancellor of the University since 2006. As well as holding a number of roles at national level in university and vocational-related boards, she is engaged in faith-based, values-led education at all levels. She is also a member of the Prime Minister's Social Mobility Advisory Group. In 2013, Professor Carter became a representative of the Lord Lieutenant and is now a Deputy Lieutenant for the county of Hampshire.

The Climate Commission consists of partnerships between the Association of Colleges (AoC), EAUC, GuildHE and Universities UK. Professor Carter is joined on the Climate Commission council by:

Steve Frampton, AoC President, AoC representative; Professor James Longhurst, Assistant Vice-Chancellor, University of the West of England and EAUC representative and Professor Judith Petts CBE, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, University of Plymouth and UUK representative.

These education providers have been selected for their unique positions, in order to prepare their institution for, and act against, the climate crisis.

A final report will be presented at COP26, the UN’s climate change summit, in Glasgow November 2020.

For further information as the commission progresses, keep involved here.

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