Its recent “Sustainability” award is impressive, but the University cannot rest on its laurels


Milan perera, English, second year

The University of Bristol received a coveted ranking of “First Class” and placed 20th out of 154 universities in the last People & Planet College Sustainability League. This is good news, but it also shows that the University cannot rest on its laurels.

People & Planet, an influential student-led network assesses universities on their performance on issues such as climate action, renewable energy investment, financial ethics, food and energy supply and migrant rights.

And Bristol has excelled in some of those categories. One notable achievement was the achievement of top marks (35 percent out of 35 percent) for the university’s commitment to phase out fossil fuel investment.

The University has announced that it is committed to divesting itself from the fossil fuel industry in the coming years. It also has a strong sustainability strategy in most areas, including emissions, biodiversity, sustainable purchasing and transportation.

The University also pledged to eliminate investments in the arms manufacturing sector, for which it scored 5 percent out of 10 percent.

The allure of mega-funding is understandable, but it does not justify the role of the University in funding harmful climate behavior.

However, the survey showed that the University is far from perfect in many areas.

Its score on ethical banking is a sensitive point in an otherwise laudatory bulletin; the university scored zero percent on its ethical banking policy.

To rub more salt into the wounds, the University scored another zero for its efforts to exclude the banks that fund the fossil fuel industry. Sadly, the University of Bristol still does business with Barclays, whose estimated £ 4bn investment in the fossil fuel industry puts them on the docks as one of the worst climate baddies.

The allure of mega-funding is understandable, but it does not justify the role of the University in indirectly funding climate-damaging behavior.

Large companies offer attractive workshops and career services on campus. For universities competing for students, it is difficult to refuse this type of support, even if it means ignoring the poor climate record and the lack of financial transparency of their benefactor.

But universities need to develop a tougher moral compass and decline generous offers from these weather baddies until they change their ways.

Likewise, the University did not score anything in the catering sector of the survey. The sourcing of its food reflects the University’s commitment to sustainability, which means that this poor track record is undermining its reputation as an environmentally conscious institution.

He cannot use this award as an excuse to rest on his laurels

To solve this problem, the University should accredit its catering links (with suppliers and catering organizations) through organizations such as the Soil Association and the Food Made Good Membership. This would ensure that our catering is ethically and sustainably sourced.

In order to encourage staff and students to actively participate in sustainability, Bristol could adopt a measure similar to the ‘Green Space Movement’ introduced at Durham University.

The United must fight to protect its inclusive nature.

This policy has rewarded individuals for their contribution to sustainability through a campus-based app. Users earn points for recording positive activity that goes towards vouchers, charitable donations, and festival tickets.

It might sound trite, but it turned out to be a huge success in Durham.

There are also areas where the University has excelled, but which will require continued attention. He cannot use this award as an excuse to rest on his laurels.

As the current migrant crisis turns into a full-fledged humanitarian crisis, universities across the country should play their part. In this area, the University has outdone itself by offering full scholarships to a number of applicants with transitional immigration status.

But the Uni must fight to protect its inclusive nature. For example, he must dissociate himself from bidding the Interior Ministry by reporting on students whose immigration status is in question. If ignored, it could threaten its status as a sanctuary.

This prestigious honor is a well-deserved recognition of the Bristol Student Union’s tireless campaign. The SU not only represented Bristol at COP-26, but was also a vocal force in reducing the University’s carbon footprint.

Against this, the SU obtained the maximum mark (10%) for “Working towards the continuous improvement of environmental sustainability”.

The University has made giant strides in sustainability. But it must use this recognition as a springboard to continue its efforts to tackle the climate crisis we all face.

Featured Image: Markus Spiske

How do you think the University could improve its sustainability record? Let us know @EpigramOpinion, or on Facebook


Comments are closed.