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‘Net zero by 2035’ – Luminate Education Group launches climate pledge

The living wall at Leeds City College's Quarry Hill campus

One of West Yorkshire’s biggest education providers has pledged to become net-zero by 2035.

Luminate Education Group, whose members include Leeds City College, Leeds Sixth Form College, Harrogate College and Keighley College, has made the commitment in its newly launched Climate Emergency and Sustainable Development Pledge.

The document lays out some of the steps that the group, which also has University Centre Leeds, Yorkshire Centre for Training and Development and Leeds Conservatoire, will be taking to hit the target.

Luminate Education Group’s institutions operate across multiple campuses plus smaller centres and community venues, so its collective current carbon footprint is substantial.

That means achieving net zero – where the amount of greenhouse gases produced is equal to, or less than, the amount the group is removing from the atmosphere – will be a major challenge.

Energy efficient campuses and sustainability training for all

The organisation’s Deputy CEO and Executive Principal of Leeds City College, Bill Jones, however is confident the action plan will enable it to hit the goal ‘by 2035 or earlier’.

He said: “Climate change and ecological destruction are some of the biggest challenges of our time and education providers, like all institutions, have a responsibility to play their part by cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

“The government’s target for the UK to reach net zero is 2050, but here at Luminate Education Group we’re aiming to do so much sooner. So we have agreed on a group-wide set of far-reaching actions to reduce our carbon footprint, as set out in our new pledge.

“These will include making our campuses more energy efficient – through building improvements, waste reduction and energy generation – and introducing sustainable travel plans for each of our sites.

“We are also embedding sustainability into our curriculum, for example by offering carbon literacy training to all our students and staff, to ensure that we each, individually, are playing our part. And we will be partnering with other local organisations and community groups that value sustainability to coordinate our efforts and so maximise the results.”

The group’s pledge also states an ‘aspiration’ to achieve net zero even earlier than its target, by 2030.

This would align with Leeds City Council’s aim, following its endorsement of the UK100 Net Zero Local Leadership pledge, to bring its emissions to net zero by 2030. The council is also working with residents and businesses to bring the wider community’s greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2045 ‘at the latest’.

Luminate Education Group, meanwhile, will start publishing regular reports to show the progress it is making towards hitting its target.

To find out more about the organisation’s sustainability work visit .

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