Bridgend College declares its commitment to address the climate emergency

Following both the UK and Welsh Government’s declaration of a climate change emergency, Bridgend College is reaffirming its strong and positive corporate commitment to take action on climate change, to become the first College in the UK to declare a climate emergency.

This statement has been made with other organisations and institutions across the United Kingdom and the rest of the world. Climate change is undeniably the greatest threat to humanity and combating it must be a top priority.

As the first College in Wales to sign the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Accord, we are committed to social justice, well-being, sustainability and to encourage our students and staff to become critical global citizens.

The SDG Accord is a commitment learning institutions are making to one another to do more to deliver the goals, to annually report on each signatory’s progress, and to do so in ways which share the learning with each other both nationally and internationally. An objective is that sector SDG reporting metrics will be presented at the annual UN High-Level Political Forum.

By signing the Accord, Bridgend College has made an extraordinary commitment to advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as part of the way we do business.

Bridgend College has developed a sustainable development strategy which aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals and has committed to further substantial progress in the decarbonisation of its activities. The aim is to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2040; ahead of the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendation to adopt a 2050 net zero emissions target. We understand that sustainable development is as much about shifting mindsets as well as changing unsustainable practice.

We recognise that issues such as ethical investment, equality and social justice, social care and health, access to fresh water and food, climate change, land degradation, biodiversity, modernity and social change are inextricably linked to sustainability.

We also recognise that our contribution to sustainability must include operational as well as educational dimensions.

Principal and CEO of the College, Simon Pirotte, said,

“This is a challenging agenda and the contribution required is both substantial and sustained, but also absolutely necessary.

In order to meet these commitments, we will take action on a number of concerns, mainly teaching and learning, estates operations, responsible investment, renewables opportunities, collaboration and partnerships. Further, we will continue to develop our climate change risk analysis and carbon action plan.”

Bridgend College’s key objectives for the Carbon Management Programme are:

  • To understand and quantify the carbon impact of the College
  • To use carbon data to establish baselines and monitoring of carbon emissions, from which reduction strategies can be assessed, costs controlled, targets set and action implemented
  • To identify, resource and implement projects that will help to reduce carbon emissions
  • To ensure that the challenge of carbon management and the reduction of pollution is understood and shared at both strategic and individual levels throughout the College
  • To achieve carbon emissions reduction set out in our sustainable development strategy
  • To assess land use as a potential for CO2 absorption

This action sends a clear message to our stakeholders and we ask that they commit to joining us in taking radical action by giving appropriate weight to the severity of the crisis in our teaching and business operations. We also hope to lead the way, working collaboratively to help others to act decisively and urgently.