Progress on environmental sustainability: An update from Karl Leydecker, Senior Vice-Principal

Progress on environmental sustainability: An update from Karl Leydecker, Senior Vice-Principal

Dear student,

With COP26 only a few weeks away, I would like to update you on the University’s progress and ambitions in relation to environmental sustainability.

Our Aberdeen 2040 strategy includes a clear commitment to show leadership in working for the sustainable future of our planet, including a commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions before 2040.  We have already made progress in reducing emissions associated with our energy use, with a 34% reduction in our recent five-year Carbon Management Planning period.

Our work on sustainability is being coordinated through our Sustainable Development Committee, which is considering actions to help deliver our net zero commitments.  You can find more details of our actions and ambitions in this message to our staff.

Divestment and COP26

Last week, the University Court approved a commitment to financial divestment from fossil fuels by 2025.  We have worked alongside the student community in the development of this policy, which makes clear our intention to work with the energy sector as part of a just transition to a greener, more sustainable future.  You can find further details on our divestment plans, including a range of FAQs, here.

I have already mentioned COP26, and I am pleased that many of our students are actively engaged in our Road to COP26 activities, including as observers at the event itself following our call for applications.   As a University we are world leaders in climate science and the energy transition, and it is important that our students and staff are, and remain, visible and active in discussions around the sustainable future of our planet. 

Your chance to get involved

We will soon be putting a call out to our community inviting students and staff to come up with ideas based around the four themes of Aberdeen 2040: Inclusive, Interdisciplinary, International and Sustainable.  In the case of sustainability, examples might be suggesting energy reduction measures in our buildings, or in how we use our equipment.  I would encourage you to be ambitious in your suggestions – as a University we are striving to be leaders in sustainability, building upon our success in being ranked among the top 60 universities in the world for our positive impact on society, based on the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

If you have a particular interest in getting involved in our work around sustainability, or thoughts on the work of the Sustainable Development Committee in general, please contact either myself via communications@abdn.ac.uk or Heather Crabb, Committee clerk.

Finally, the Association of Commonwealth Universities has established a Higher Education and Sustainable Development Goals Network which is free for students to join and aims to promote education and collaboration, including how universities are engaging with the SDGs.

Further information about the network is available online here, and if you would like to become a member of the network and receive information and updates about its activities, resources and events please sign up directly via SDGs@acu.ac.uk

Best wishes,

Karl

Karl Leydecker, Senior Vice-Principal

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