Green New Deal

Demand a Green New Deal at the University of Liverpool

Universities have a key role to play in addressing the Climate and Ecological Emergency. As major drivers of the local economy, and are crucial sources of the knowledge and expertise needed to transform economies towards social and environmental sustainability, universities are uniquely well placed to deliver on climate action and climate justice.

The Liverpool University branches of UCU, UNITE and UNISON and the Liverpool Guild of Students believe that action taken to address the Climate and Ecological Emergency must also tackle problems of inequality and economic insecurity at the same time. This is what a ‘Green New Deal’ means: a successful transition to a green economy must transform social and environmental outcomes.

Sign the petition to Demand a Green New deal at the University of Liverpool

The University of Liverpool has taken welcome first steps towards sustainability, but we believe current measures are insufficient. The carbon management plan envisages an absolute reduction in emissions of only 6.1% by 2030. The university has adopted a Net Zero target for 2035 but this excludes the largest proportion of its emissions: the travel, supply chain and ‘outsourced’ emissions counted as ‘scope 3’ emissions. Accounting for scope 3 emissions is required under the Science Based Targets Initiative definition of net zero. The university has failed to meet its previous target of a 36% reduction 2005-2020. The role of workers’ organizations in combatting the climate and ecological emergency and ensuring a just transition is recognised through the intersecting policy frameworks of the Paris Agreement, the International Labour Organizations ‘just transition’ guidelines, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The university is signatory to the Sustainable Development Goals but is failing to implement them in its own institutional and employment practices.

This is why we are jointly presenting a formal collective bargaining claim to the University. We believe that the transition towards a sustainable University is too urgent and important to be left to informal agreements and self-regulation. We need to use our collective mechanisms for worker and student voice to drive change. Climate change needs formal, binding solutions, to make sure that we all play our part. This is why it must be part of our trade union bargaining agenda with the University.

The Green New Deal claim has 5 main parts:

Reducing Local and Global Emissions. The University must bring forward its net zero commitment to 2030 and expand the target to encompass all emissions. This must include all scope 3 emissions generated through commutes, international travel, homeworking, and procurement of goods and services including construction. The NZ target must be backed by a set of policies, binding incremental targets and transparency mechanisms which set a clear pathway to net zero.

Sustainability, Employment and Procurement. The University must take measures to incorporate the Sustainable Development Goals in its employment and procurement practices in order to ensure compliance with SDGs 8, 10 and 12. This should include the adoption of measures to ensure sustainable employment policies to tackle casualization and reduce the pay gap, including a commitment to tackling inequality including gendered and racialised pay inequalities, and a commitment to a 1:6 pay ratio.

Decarbonise and Decolonise the Curriculum. The University must review its role in reproducing unsustainable economies through its teaching and research, and the associated careers pathways of students. We say decarbonise and decolonise because this means acknowledging that climate change is directly linked to the global imposition of exploitative political and high-carbon economic systems. The university must negotiate policies to achieve this with the trades unions and the Guild, addressing workload, training, and resourcing issues.

Research. The University must bring its research agenda into line with UN SDGs and end its research contribution to unsustainable and environmentally harmful activities. This must include a concrete commitment to supporting and promoting research that tackles problems of climate change and the ecological crisis; working with staff and the campus trade unions to move the University’s research agendas away from unsustainable practices and processes; ending funding streams that tie the University to companies that are pursuing growth in unsustainable practices and processes.

Divestment. In 2019 the University made a first step towards decarbonisation by committing to divest £9.5m of portfolio assets from holdings in fossil fuel companies with ‘significant revenues.’ To meet the SDGs, the University’s policy should now shift towards decarbonising the entire investment portfolio, and the development of a more rigorous approach to divestment from firms associated with labour and human rights violations and environmental harms.

A full version of the draft claim can be found here.

Sign the petition to Demand a Green New deal at the University of Liverpool