Flagship report accelerates Tertiary Education Sector’s path to Net Zero

23rd January 2023

The Royal Anniversary Trust today released “Accelerating towards Net Zero,” an ambitious roadmap for carbon reduction in the tertiary education sector. The report offers a robust profile of the tertiary education sector’s carbon footprint – the first of its kind – using detailed modelling which highlights target areas for emissions reporting and reduction. It also proposes a new Standardised Carbon Emissions Framework designed exclusively for the sector which will enable all HE and FE institutions to measure, report and manage carbon emissions. The report is the result of a year-long research project – The Platinum Jubilee Challenge – led by 21 higher and further education institutes from across the UK, all recent winners of the prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize. It concludes with 14 clear recommendations to Government and priorities for the sector that will accelerate progress towards Net Zero; Ministers are expected to respond by 28th March, 2023.

Kristina Murrin, CEO of The Royal Anniversary Trust commented: “Our ambition was to bring together the extraordinary winners of the Queen’s Anniversary Prizes to collectively tackle a tough shared challenge. The resulting report sets out a clear action plan for the tertiary education sector to accelerate progress to Net Zero, with recommendations for institutions and government. We are enormously proud of the proposed carbon reporting Framework – if adopted sector-wide, this will allow for consistent, transparent, and data-led decision making. ”

The Standardised Carbon Emissions Framework for Further and Higher Education (SCEF) was developed by EAUC - The Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education in consultation with the Challenge participants and the sector via member bodies, including the Association of Colleges (AoC), Colleges Scotland and Universities UK (UUK). The Framework will bring good practice and guidance and will develop a fuller understanding of how institutions contribute to the climate emergency and enable them to take action.

The Department for Education has confirmed that universities and colleges will be reporting their carbon emissions by 2024 as per their Sustainability & Climate Change Strategy.

Fiona Goodwin, CEO (Interim), EAUC commented: “To ensure students and stakeholders can hold their institutions to account, a standardised framework must be used for colleges and universities to ensure transparency and comparability. This Framework ensures institutions are taking their responsibilities seriously and taking action to become Net Zero and be part of the solution through their world leading teaching, learning and research.”

Head to the EAUC's dedicated SCEF page, for more information.

 
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