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UoG joins international community in Race to Zero campaign

The University of Gloucestershire, which earlier this month announced its plans to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030, has signed up to the worldwide Race to Zero campaign.

Universities and colleges from across the globe have signed up to the initiative led by EAUC – the Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education and Second Nature with support from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) – ahead of COP26.

Race to Zero seeks to rally education and financial institutions, companies, cities and regions into taking rigorous and immediate action to halve carbon emissions by 2030.

The University of Gloucestershire reaffirmed its commitment to addressing the global emergency two weeks ago by announcing a comprehensive action plan to reduce its carbon footprint to net zero by 2030.

The University’s Net Zero Strategy includes the replacement of gas boilers with electric heating, improved building controls to reduce gas and electricity use, new solar PV capacity and completion of LED lighting installation across the estate.

Staff and students will be supported to choose the lowest carbon mode of travel, create innovative and educational options for lower carbon field trips and study visits, and enhance understanding through curriculum projects and research into carbon reduction solutions and climate change adaptation.

When purchasing goods and services, the University will work with suppliers and contractors to find more carbon-efficient project spend decisions and choose lower carbon products including in the design and construction of the new City Campus in Gloucester.

Benefits of the measures that the University is taking include greener and more energy efficient campuses, savings on energy costs, and improved health from lower carbon travel and better air quality for the wider community.

A pioneer and leader of sustainability in higher education and the region, the University’s previous carbon strategy (2010-2020) achieved a 47% drop in emissions by 2019 that rose to 63% by 2020 – surpassing its target of 40% by 2020. It had already fully divested from fossil fuels in May 2018 and these credentials helped the University to become the UK’s most sustainable university in the People and Planet League 2019.

Stephen Marston, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire, said: “We start from a strong place thanks to our previous Carbon Strategy achieving a more than 60 per cent drop in emissions, but undoubtedly we now need to go further.

“The climate emergency means there is absolutely no time to stand still and, with the help of our students, staff and partners, we’re determined to contribute meaningfully to tackling this global crisis.”