Race to Zero

@EKC__Group has joined forces with education providers from around the world to take a stand against climate change by signing a landmark pledge to become a carbon net zero organisation.

The momentous move sees East Kent’s leading further education provider named alongside more than 594 education institutions dedicated to supporting the UN’s ‘Race to Zero’ initiative globally.

Signed ahead of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference due to take place in the UK later this year, the pledge sees EKC Group commit to three key actions:

  1. Mobilising more resources for action-oriented climate change research and skills creation;
  2. Pledge to reach net-zero by 2030, or 2050 at the very latest; and
  3. Increasing the delivery of environmental and sustainability education across curriculum, campus and community outreach programmes.

In order to deliver this important agenda, EKC Group has created a Climate Change Working Group headed up by its Chief Operating Officer, Andrew Stevens. He said: “We are totally committed to making our colleges and other premises much greener places to learn and work. Reducing our carbon footprint is a key priority for our students, staff and Governors. Our Climate Change Working Group brings together representatives from across the whole Group and acts as the catalyst for our ambition to become a carbon net zero organisation.

“We are delighted to show our support for this initiative and join hundreds of like-minded colleges and universities across the world. Addressing the damaging impact of climate change is not something that any organisation could, or should, tackle in isolation. As a Group, we are incredibly proud to be working with others in this way and embedding sustainability in everything that we do.”

The Group decided to develop a sustainability and climate change strategy after students highlighted the importance of these topics to them. As a consequence, the Group has already developed its baseline carbon footprint after working in partnership with the Carbon Trust to do so and has put in place a range of actions to begin embedding sustainability across much of its estate with six colleges in Ashford, Broadstairs, Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone and Sheppey.

It has begun weaving sustainability into its courses, with its Canterbury School of Visual Arts at Canterbury College recently delivering a fashion upcycling project in collaboration with a local sheltered housing scheme. It is also placing more emphasis on its land-based courses, with the Group’s Spring Lane site set to deliver courses in horticulture, forestry and arboriculture starting in September.

Sian Suter is a student at the Group’s Spring Lane site. She is also a student representative on the Group’s Climate Change Working Group. She said: “Ensuring the protection and the future of our incredible planet should be on everyone’s agenda. My passion for sustainability is one of the many reasons I have chosen to study Animal Management. The importance of the current climate crisis is evident every day and we all must take action to behave more sustainably in everyday life. I'm excited to be raising the voices of students within EKC Group and I look forward to the future becoming more sustainable.”

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