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.
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 have jointly presented 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 calls for:
- A meaningful reduction in local and global emissions – we call on the University to bring forward its net zero commitment to 2030, expand the target to encompass all emissions including all scope 3 emissions, and adopt a carbon budget approach with the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research carbon budget modelling as a maximum emissions target. This will require an assessment of the university’s estates strategy that brings scope 3 emissions within the net zero target, and the development of a set of policies, incremental binding targets and transparency mechanisms which set out how the target will be achieved.
- Sustainable Employment – we call for the adoption of measures to ensure sustainable employment policies that tackle casualization and reduce the pay gap, including a commitment to tackling gendered and racialised pay inequalities and a commitment to a 1:6 pay ratio. The University will establish a formal system of workplace green reps and allocate facility time for these roles. University of Liverpool Joint Trade Unions and Guild of Students Green New Deal bargaining claim
- Decolonisation and decarbonisation of the curriculum – A wholesale revision of teaching programmes along the principles of ‘decolonising and decarbonising’ the curriculum.
- A just transition in research – This will entail concrete commitments 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 industrial, economic, social and political practices and processes; ending funding streams that tie the University to companies that are pursuing growth in unsustainable practices and processes
- Continual improvement of the University’s divestment strategy
The full claim can be found here.