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Climate Action Plan from UAL pledges institutional changes for achieving climate justice

University of the Arts London (@UAL) today unveils its Climate Action Plan, against the backdrop of the COP26 Climate Summit. The plan sets out expansive pledges for institutional change to help tackle the climate emergency. UAL is sector-leading in its pledge to achieve net-zero by 2040 and committed to placing climate justice at the centre of its culture, teaching and operations.  

The Climate Action Plan is based on three key pledges: 

  1. We will change the way we teach and do research. We will teach students about sustainable practices and business models, and we will conduct research that contributes to climate justice. 

  1. We will change how we work with others. We will share our creative insights with wider society to bring about change, and we will collaborate with climate justice movements around the world to do so. 

  1. We will change the way we operate. We will reach net-zero by 2040, setting carbon budgets, reducing emissions, and cutting waste.  

These pledges are based on detailed actions, demanding targets and measurable outcomes drawn up by UAL’s Climate and Environmental Action Group (CEAG). The CEAG is co-led by Jeremy Till, Head of Central Saint Martins and Pro-Vice Chancellor of UAL, and Professor Dilys Williams, Professor of Fashion Design for Sustainability and founder and Director of the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, based at UAL’s London College of Fashion.  

Jeremy Till comments: 

“The pledges set out in our Climate Action Plan acknowledge that in order to move towards climate justice at UAL, we need to change the way we operate and behave. To influence others, we must first create an internal movement at UAL devoted to change. At the same time, we aim to look beyond the University, driving change across disciplines, sectors and communities.” 

Professor Dilys Williams comments:

“We see a commitment to climate justice as an essential part of UAL’s strategic commitment to social purpose. Addressing issues of climate is synonymous with addressing social and racial inequalities, so today’s Climate Action Plan will sit alongside UAL’s Anti-racism Action Plan in our commitment to a better future. This commitment informs all our future teaching, research, collaborations and operations.” 

James Purnell, President and Vice-Chancellor of UAL, comments:

“As one of the world’s biggest creative institutions, UAL can, and must, play its part in addressing the climate emergency. Through our Climate Action Plan, we will bring our creative insights to bear on this most vital of issues.” 

Running in parallel with COP26, UAL’s Carnival of Crisis is a series of events demonstrating the power of creativity in fighting for climate justice. The collaborative programme is designed to inspire and mobilise urgent action, with contributions from students, staff, alumni and other leading cultural institutions across the UK. 

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