Keele joins 1,000 universities worldwide in pledging climate action

Keele University has joined more than 1,000 universities and colleges around the world in pledging decisive action to reduce its carbon footprint, as the crucial COP26 climate summit in Glasgow takes place.

A total of 1,050 universities and colleges from 68 countries have pledged to half their emissions by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2050 at the very latest, impacting over 10 million students, in a commitment announced at the recent Times Higher Education Climate Impact Forum.

The pledge is part of the Race to Zero for Universities and Colleges initiative, led by EAUC – The Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education and Second Nature with support from the UN Environment Programme.

Race to Zero highlights the education sector’s sustainability leadership ahead of COP26 in Glasgow, where world leaders are currently discussing how the world must work together to combat the climate crisis.

Keele has already established itself as a world-leader in sustainability, which is embedded in every aspect of our campus life. The University is aiming to become carbon neutral by 2030, and this reputation was further highlighted when the University was named Global Sustainability Institution of the Year at the 2021 Green Gown Awards.

The pledge is also supported by a number of high-profile sustainability projects on campus, including Keele’s renewable energy park, which will provides at least 50% of the campus’ electricity needs; our role in the world-first HyDeploy trial, blending hydrogen into a domestic gas network for the first time to reduce carbon emissions; and the Smart Energy Network Demonstrator, which has seen Keele’s campus used as a living laboratory for testing new and emerging green energy technologies.

Professor Mark Ormerod, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Provost, and Institutional Lead for Sustainability said: “It’s absolutely vital that universities show genuine leadership of sustainability and the actions required to combat climate change and achieve a sustainable low carbon future. Universities are in an incredibly strong position through their research and innovation, knowledge exchange and education of future to have huge influence and impact on reducing carbon emissions. I’m proud that Keele University is widely recognised at being at the forefront of sustainability leadership and as an institution leads by example in terms of the decarbonisation of our campus.”

UK high-level Climate Champion Nigel Topping added: “Higher education institutions have the power to redesign the future. Not only are universities, colleges and schools committing to ambitious decarbonisation plans; these institutions also have the capacity - and indeed the responsibility - to support and educate our leaders of tomorrow. It's fantastic to see so many higher education institutions joining Race to Zero and I urge those who are not yet in to commit and take action now."