Imperial and Climate Change - 2 March 2020
As one of the world’s great universities, Imperial has the power to make a profound difference in the fight against climate change. Today we are announcing a set of actions and policies that harness our influence as researchers, educators, innovators and investors, and show how we will act as an institution and community.
Our goal is simple: to use our relationships across industry, government and civil society to find meaningful solutions to climate change. Whether that’s through collaborating on new technologies or changing behaviours through conversations that challenge conventional thinking and open new debate, we will be evidence-based and driven by a shared commitment to solve this urgent and complex challenge.
Transition to Zero Pollution
One of the very first actions from our Academic Strategy is to launch a transformational cross-disciplinary programme in research, education and innovation that will help society: ‘Transition to Zero Pollution’. This will bring together researchers across Imperial to help realise a new low-carbon future by building new partnerships across fundamental science and engineering, systems thinking, human health, new business models and policymaking.
The ‘Transition to Zero Pollution’ initiative demonstrates the bold action we will take to deliver on our pledge to build a ‘sustainable society’.
Socially Responsible Investment Policy
We have adopted a Socially Responsible Investment policy. We will use our reputation as a world-leading academic institution to influence company behaviour, mobilizing the relationships we build through our research, education and innovation collaborations. As part of this, our Endowment will actively engage with the companies in which we invest to influence their behaviour, whether alone or by collaborating and combining resources with like-minded investors. Where efforts to influence fail, and where a company’s current activities and future plans are not aligned with our goals, we will instruct the Endowment to divest.
In the case of fossil fuels we will continue to invest in companies that can demonstrate they are working towards meeting the Paris Agreement targets. On the current evidence, coal and tar sand extraction do not play a part in achieving Paris targets and we will therefore instruct the Endowment Board to divest from direct and indirect investments in companies engaged in these activities.
Sustainability should run through the whole of College thinking and activity across all campuses. Initiatives like Greening Imperial have already made real progress on this front. Our new Academic Leader in Sustainability, Professor Paul Lickiss is leading a College-wide conversation on making our campuses more environmentally friendly. Supported by an advisory group from across the College, Paul will publish a Sustainability Strategy in the Autumn. This strategy will set a carbon neutral target for the College and recommend policies that marshal our convening power, our research and our educational expertise to put us at the forefront of positive change for the sector.
You can read more about these efforts on our Imperial and Climate Change webpages.
Alice and Ian
Professor Alice P. Gast, President
Professor Ian Walmsley, Provost