University of Bristol’s new School of Management declares climate emergency

The University of Bristol’s new School of Management has declared a climate emergency, becoming the first UK business and management school to make the pledge.

It follows last week’s announcement when Bristol became the first UK university to declare a climate emergency, reaffirming its strong and positive commitment to take action on climate change.

Professor Judith Squires, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost said: “The University of Bristol plays a key role in fighting climate change, it does this through its research, its teaching and how it operates.

“Calling a climate emergency highlights the urgency of the task we are engaged in and I hope others join us in increasing their action on this, the biggest challenge we face”.

In 2015 The University of Bristol made a promise to become carbon neutral by 2030, which was reaffirmed in its Sustainability Policy, published in 2017, that supports Bristol City Council’s pledge to become carbon neutral by 2030. In March 2018, the University also announced plans to divest completely from all investments in fossil fuel companies within two years. To date it has reduced carbon emissions by 27 percent and is on the way to hitting the target.

The School of Management, to be formally launched in 2020, will be located at the University of Bristol’s new Temple Quarter Campus and sits within the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law. The Temple Quarter Campus is a major regeneration project in the heart of the city bringing together the University, businesses and the local community to replace a derelict site with a vibrant campus that helps deliver sustainable growth, job creation and a hub for the knowledge economy. The regeneration of the site in itself is a major sustainability gain for the city, but the new development will be built to a high sustainability standard, reusing demolition materials, designing low carbon buildings, promoting a car free approach and enhancing biodiversity and green spaces.

The School benefits from the world-class social science research. In line with University’s strong civic ambition, the School is working on building partnerships with the city, private enterprise, public sector, third sector and civil society organizations. It is a School that seeks to represent the society in which it serves, to deliver public purpose and social value.

A key goal of their Climate Emergency campaign is to build public awareness of the consequences of the recently published Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report – which included contributions from our researchers - on 1.5 degrees of warming. An important focus of this report is to leverage insights from the Social Sciences to ensure progressive sustainability transitions, as was summarised in a Policy Brief recently published by the US Stanley Foundation and co-authored by Management School researchers.

Research is becoming increasingly challenge-led and interdisciplinary, to address societal issues at global and local level.  Current expertise and future aspirations of the new School of Management lie in the following thematic areas: inclusive economy, sustainable production and consumption, innovation and policy, governance and institutions, global political economy, digitalisation and work futures. Across these themes, colleagues are addressing the environmental impacts of how goods and services are produced, consumed and disposed from distinct perspectives. There is a growing appreciation for institutional and policy change to facilitate sustainability transitions that are ecologically sound, economically viable and socially just.

The School’s Professor Martin Parker is spearheading a new cross-university institute to explore ‘Civic Futures’ in which a low-carbon economy incorporates hybrid and alternative organisations. In addition, the School is also building new alliances with the University’s Cabot Institute for the Environment - a diverse community of 600 experts, united by a common cause: protecting our environment and identifying ways of living better with our changing planet. The School’s Professor Dale Southerton has recently been appointed Acting Director of Cabot, and Professor David Evans has been appointed Leader of its Food Security research Theme.  In addition, Professors Richard Owen, Palie Smart, Paul Cousins, Xiaojun Wang are exploring technological innovations and industrial transitions toward inclusive and sustainable economies that mitigate climate change effects.

The School of Management is also committed to embedding inter-disciplinary research on sustainability within its curriculum. Students can engage with the following themes: innovation and enterprise, global citizenship and sustainable futures to explore future opportunities and challenges facing them as they pursue important career and life choices. The School also contributes to the University’s Bristol Futures initiative and the new Cabot Masters by Research on Environmental Challenges. Together with the School’s new MSc in Global Operations and Supply Chain Management and MSc Marketing, these initiatives have been purposefully designed to meet the need for responsible management education that addresses global challenges.

The School, as part of an anchor institution in the City of Bristol, is keen to embrace its social responsibility and support the Climate Change challenge. Bristol is a pioneering city; having achieved European Green Capital Award in 2015; it is now working towards a Carbon Neutral 2030 Mission; as part of Bristol’s OneCity Plan.

As the school grows, it does this with the sound ambition to make positive change in the world.