« Governments and scientists are unanimous in recognising that the current system doesn’t work as it should and is leading us to an impasse, but alternatives are very slow in coming. The real advisers of governments are the corporations whose economic interests governments serve. »
Who sounded the alarm on climate change and its consequences? Universities. They were the first institutions to grasp the urgent need for action. Today, while the obligation to transition to a more sustainable society is obvious, actually doing so remains a challenge to be met with fairness and innovation.
At UCL, the transition is underway and the goals are ambitious. The university is positioning itself as a cutting-edge institutional exemplar of how to contribute effectively to sustainable development – this is part of the university’s responsibility to and wide-ranging role in society. Frank decisions were taken and formalised in ‘Louvain 2020’, a comprehensive strategic plan through which UCL commits to making sustainable development a priority based on its specific University Sustainable Development Plan and its signing and ratifying the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative at the 2012 United Nations Conference for Sustainable Development (Rio+20).
It’s thus by adopting a comprehensive vision that UCL and its entire community hopes to act. What better actor than a university to teach tomorrow’s minds how to deal with the complex and pluralist reality of a society for which sustainable development is mandatory? Through its primary missions of research and education, UCL prioritises innovation and open-mindedness. And in carrying out its own internal operations, serving society and managing its own property, the university applies to itself the very same values it teaches.
UCL embraces change and embodies principles that are pillars of its sustainable development strategy and policy. Its researchers, faculty, staff, students and the entire university community are all stakeholders. Only together can we make change happen.