Petition to Vice-Chancellor set up after York ranks 93rd in sustainability ranking

The petition is addressed to Vice-Chancellor Charlie Jeffery and currently has over 300 signatures

A petition has been set up addressed to York Vice-Chancellor, Charlie Jeffery, after York ranks 93rd in a UK University sustainability ranking.

The petition, created by Pierrick Roger the YUSU Environment and Ethics Officer, calls on the university to “respect workers, human rights, and the environment.”

A spokesperson for the University of York told The York Tab: “The ranking is a historical snapshot in time and does not take into account the launch of the Sustainability Plan and our accreditation as a Living Wage employer.”

The petition, which can be found here, comes after People and Planet released a league table that ranks UK Universities on their environmental strategy. York placed 93rd out of 154 universities, placing it 22nd out of the 24 Russell Group universities. York also scored zero per cent for  Environmental Policy and Strategy as well as Workers’ Rights, and five per cent in Managing Carbon.

The petition has six demands which include: reducing carbon emissions, expanding the university’s sustainability plan, reinvesting funds sustainably, and eradicating modern slavery in supply chains.

The petition claims: “Still, the University refuses to engage with and listen to student representatives on sustainability while branding itself a “university for public good”.

Pierrick Roger, YUSU Environment and Ethics Officer and founder of the petition told The York Tab: “The Environment and Ethics Network’s research and later confirmation by People and Planet indicate gross negligence by the University, whether on climate goals, preservation of biodiversity, combatting slavery, or investments in conflict. The issues highlighted in the petition are important because they affect real but invisible people – people’s wellbeing the University is willing to sacrifice so long as they remain unseen.

They continued: “Repeated failure to address these issues and its ensuing stream of misrepresentation demonstrate a true lack of empathy from the University and erode their rebranding efforts of a “University for public good.”

“By not complying, the University shows its unwillingness to improve and inability to address wrongdoing, and the longer it holds out, the more it chips away at its reputation.”

A spokesperson for The University of York told The York Tab: “The University has many great initiatives in place to enhance sustainability, but we know there is still more to do. That is why we have recently launched our wide-ranging and ambitious Sustainability Plan with goals and targets that focus on teaching, research, partnerships, climate action, procurement, and consumption, along with health and wellbeing.

They continued: “The ranking is a historical snapshot in time and does not take into account the launch of the Sustainability Plan and our accreditation as a Living Wage employer. We continue to focus our resources on progressing impactful action and we continue to work with our staff, students, and local community to improve the sustainability of our operations.”

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