Declaring a climate emergency

Colchester Institute has declared a climate emergency. With the UK hosting the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow later this year, the College is participating in a number of initiatives which aim to tackle climate change.

The declaration, made along with many other organisations and members of the Association of Colleges, acknowledges that climate change is at a critical point and that colleges have a vital role in raising awareness.

The College is also a signatory to the AOC Climate Change Roadmap, which outlines actions colleges can take to advance sustainability across their campuses and estates. To work towards a sustainable, decarbonised future economy.

As an employer and as an education provider to many thousands of students and apprentices across the region, Colchester Institute is a large organisation with its own significant carbon footprint.

As a major step towards its decarbonisation goals, the College is currently completing a £5m project at its Colchester campus in Sheepen Road which includes major alterations to, and improvement of key buildings.

By starting the conversation about the climate emergency, the College aims to contribute towards reducing its own carbon footprint and increasing carbon literacy among its staff and students. The College has developed a three-year plan which includes having students play a leading role in developing Green plans, introducing new courses to support clean, green energy industries and re-developing existing courses to address the climate emergency.

This year the College will pilot a Carbon Literacy learning programme, encouraging students to address and include relevant issues of sustainability and carbon literacy alongside their main qualification. This project is being developed by Tom Welham, Assistant Area Head for Digital Media and Carbon Literacy Lead who spoke passionately about the declaration.

“The climate emergency is one of the biggest challenges that we currently face and it is important that everyone works together to make the changes needed to limit warming – Colchester Institute is doing its part by not just officially declaring that there is an emergency, but also taking action to limit our own footprint. This year we’re piloting a new Carbon Literacy programme for students which we are looking to extend to the wider College during the next academic year. This is in addition to addressing our own processes within the college and seeing where we are able to reduce carbon emissions and improve our sustainability college-wide.”

Principal and Chief Executive, Alison Andreas expressed the vital role Colleges play in climate change. “At Colchester Institute we are passionate about preparing our students and apprentices for enjoyable and productive careers and to be great citizens. To do that it is vital that we all understand the environmental challenges facing Essex, England and our planet and the role we can all play to address these. This must, and will, become an ever more important part of what we learn at College.”