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Climate Emergency

Using our leadership in human-centred research, teaching and knowledge exchange to influence the creation of a sustainable future for everyone.

UAL's response to the climate emergency

The climate emergency is one of the most urgent problems facing society and the planet.

To demonstrate our leadership, UAL has put decarbonisation at the heart of our academic offer through three major new commitments:

  1. UAL has appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Jeremy Till to lead the University’s response to the climate emergency. Professor Till is Pro Vice-Chancellor Research, Head of Central Saint Martins and a leading thinker on scarcity, sustainability and creativity in the built environment.
  2. UAL has placed all academic operations on a sustainable basis through a significant expansion of our Environmental Management System (ISO14001). This is a first for UK Art & Design institutions and makes UAL one of a handful of global universities with a comprehensive measure of sustainability across all its operations including learning, teaching and research.
  3. At UAL, sustainability is a required part of the student learning experience, through the introduction of relevant learning outcomes across courses. This commitment is accompanied by the roll-out of our carbon literacy training programme for all academic and technical staff.

Sir Nigel Carrington, UAL Vice-Chancellor, 2008 -2021 said:
“The climate emergency is a societal threat as much as it is an environmental crisis. The big advances in this challenge will therefore come from changes in human behaviour. UAL is uniquely placed to influence those changes under Jeremy Till’s leadership.”

Professor Jeremy Till said:
“The climate emergency and collapse of biodiversity are central issues of our age. I am committed to ensuring that UAL engages with the issues across our academic and operational activities. UAL is well positioned to use its creative intelligence to make a distinctive contribution to the debate and action around climate and ecological issues.”

Campaigns Officer Amber Goneni, speaking on behalf of the Arts Students’ Union, said:
“Students are leading the campaign to create a better world for the next generation, learning from the mistakes of our predecessors. We need to act collectively if we are to realise the structural changes needed to reverse the effects of catastrophic climate change. We are looking forward to working with UAL, using our influence as creative leaders to address the problem locally and globally.”

Climate Assemblies

Staff and students have come together to pioneer the Citizen Assembly model throughout the university. These Climate Assemblies have been attended by hundreds of students and staff from all of our respective colleges.

The assembly process follows the Extinction Rebellion model of the Citizens Assembly, involving a first large Assembly followed by smaller working group meetings that took place in November and December. These will involve fact finding, input from experts, discussion and deliberation. The focus of these assemblies has been around four themes:

  • Curriculum
  • Carbon neutral
  • Zero waste
  • Divest/Procurement

For more information on the Climate Assembly process, contact