Ensuring sustainability has a future

20th January 2015

Well done today to those universities whose commitment and hard work for sustainability has been recognised by this year’s People and Planet University League.  However, the EAUC also recognises and celebrates the equal hard work and commitment of many of those who chose not to enter this year. We are proud of what the sector has achieved but in truth we all know there is certainly a long way to go.

The sector is diverse and with so many institutions choosing not to complete the University League reflects that a one size fits all approach is not going to work for us. But we must not let this be seen as a signal that sustainability is no longer important or that universities are not taking actions. Instead each university and college in the sector needs to step-up to the challenge and take responsibility and ownership for its own environmental and social performance.

With a lack of government direction and reduced lead from most funding councils the sector risks finding itself in a sustainability policy vacuum. Where we no longer have strong sustainability drivers, we need to collaborate and  build new ones so that we can continue the great efforts our Members are making.

The EAUC is committed to working with all the key sector stakeholders, to ensure there is a fair, representative and transparent way for the sector to not just account for itself but to embed the values of sustainability throughout its institutions. The future will be challenging and we need to look for new ways of connecting, for example ensuring we really are hearing the learners voice. It’s for this reason we are hosting a unique and powerful Student Sustainability Summit in partnership with NUS and People and Planet on 23 March as part of our Challenging Connections conference.

Iain Patton
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