University Presidents of the U7+ Alliance Adopt Statement on Climate Change and Sustainability
Participants during the U7+ Summit on October 25, 2021
The annual summit of the Alliance U7+ occurred in a virtual format on October 25, 2021, prior to the 26th Conference of the Parties, which took place from October, 31st to November, 13th.
The members of the U7+ Alliance of World Universities emphasized the shared duty to help confront the challenges of Climate Change. Thus, twenty-nine member universities of the alliance adopted a statement reaffirming their commitment to protect our planet and establish collaborative partnerships with the respective governments, private sector, and civil society organizations to support implementing the goals set at the COP26.
École Polytechnique is a founding member of the Alliance U7+, initiated under the patronage of President Emmanuel Macron at Sciences Po in 2019. University presidents and leadership members of U7+ meet annually to establish a common agenda and identify critical areas for coordinated action.
Commitment to address environmental issues
Concluding the first presidential summit in 2019, university presidents voted six guiding principles of the U7+ Alliance. One of those principles stresses the central role universities are to play in tackling environmental issues, such as climate change, biodiversity, and energy transition. More specifically, U7+ Alliance universities have committed to lead by example on their campuses via two actions in particular: the promotion and integration of courses related to climate, biodiversity, and sustainability for all students of their institutions (action 1) and the significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions on their campuses by 2030 (action 2).
Both action points reflect commitments École Polytechnique has already pledged and continues to implement: l’X has introduced a mandatory Sustainable Development seminar to ensure all students accurately understand the current environmental and societal challenges. École Polytechnique is committed to conveying core values and thorough knowledge that is indispensable to shape a sustainable future. In alignment with this mission, the School is currently implementing a certification designed to provide in-depth training on sustainability issues for all students enrolled in the Ingénieur Polytechnicien, Bachelor and Master of Science & Technology programs.
With support from the interdisciplinary Energy4Climate (E4C) center, the School is currently developing a plan to reach carbon neutrality on campus. The E4C center has been created to bring researchers, professors, students, and other scientists and industry partners of Institut Polytechnique de Paris together around this common cause and rally their efforts to develop solutions on energy transition.
Representatives of the U7+ Alliance member universities working on the respective issues regularly meet to achieve the two objectives mentioned earlier. Several workshops have already been organized by the University of Toronto, Paris Sciences et Lettres, and the University of Edinburgh this year.
Spanning six continents and 17 countries, the U7+ member universities are currently at different stages of their action plans to mitigate climate change. Still, they all agree that working together towards a common goal is of vital importance.
About the U7+ Alliance of World Universities
The U7+ Alliance is the first international coalition of university presidents aimed at structuring and advancing the role of universities as global actors across the multilateral agenda. Since 2019, the university presidents and leadership members of U7+ meet annually to establish a joint plan for coordinated actions. Together, U7+ university presidents review their universities’ unique civic and social responsibilities and pledge to address further the world’s most pressing challenges at local, regional, and global levels.
Please find the complete statement here.