University of the Arts London (UAL), which includes Central Saint Martins and London College of Fashion, has issued a response to what it calls a “climate emergency” by confirming that sustainability will become a “required part of the student learning experience”.

In a statement, UAL said that all courses, starting this academic year, would include compulsory modules in sustainable practice, with all students expected to complete. To facilitate the modules, all academic and training staff will be required to undertake a carbon literacy training programme.

UAL has appointed pro vice-chancellor Professor Jeremy Till to lead the University’s response to the climate emergency. Professor Till is pro vice-chancellor research, head of Central Saint Martins and a leading thinker on scarcity, sustainability and creativity in the built environment.

As part of its plan to place “decarbonisation at the heart” of its academic offering, UAL will place all academic operations on a sustainable basis through a significant expansion of its Environmental Management System (ISO14001). This is a first for UK Art and Design institutions and makes UAL one of a handful global universities with a comprehensive measure of sustainability across all its operations including learning, teaching and research.

Till said in a statement: “The climate emergency and collapse of biodiversity are central issues of our age. I am committed to ensuring that UAL engages with the issues across our academic and operational activities. UAL is well-positioned to use its creative intelligence to make a distinctive contribution to the debate and action around climate and ecological issues.”

Sir Nigel Carrington, Vice-Chancellor of UAL, added: “The climate emergency is a societal threat as much as it is an environmental crisis. The big advances in this challenge will, therefore, come from changes in human behaviour. UAL is uniquely placed to influence those changes under Jeremy Till’s leadership.”

Since 2013, UAL has invested to reduce its environmental impact, by switching to 100 percent renewable electricity in 2018, and by pledging to cut its carbon emissions by 43 percent by 2020 and to achieve carbon-neutral utilities by 2030. UAL’s new London College of Fashion building at East Bank in Stratford is designed to achieve BREEAM Outstanding status.

 

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