The Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC) is the sustainability champion for further and higher education in the UK and Ireland. We are a not-for-profit member association representing institutions with over 2 million students and nearly 400,000 staff. Our vision is to create a world with sustainability at its heart. We aim to do this by inspiring, challenging and supporting the post-16 education sector to make tangible changes to improve their sustainability. The ultimate goal is for institutions to recognise the value sustainability provides makes it 'just good business' and start to embed it in everything they do.

The EAUC and the Sustainable Development Goals

We have worked tirelessly for the last 20 years to align our priorities with those of our member institutions to show how sustainability will support their objectives. We do this by building dialogue and understanding between institutional leaders, helping them to enhance sustainability education and supporting them embed sustainability into their missions and strategic plans.

We offer training and events to help accomplish these goals, such as our Sustainability Leadership Programmes, webinars and workshops.

Networking is key to the continued bettering of sustainability best practice and we have a dedicated discussion network for members to talk about their experiences and latest industry news. We also hold a conference in Scotland and England (annually) to allow members to meet up face-to-face.

We combine resources and experience from top sustainable development and education bodies, to create a Sustainability Exchange. This is a huge resource for sustainability in tertiary education, sharing a wealth of information that is available to everyone.

The Green Gown Awards have also been developed and organised by the EAUC. They recognise the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges across the world.

The EAUC offers a planning and self-assessment tool specifically for colleges and universities called LiFE. This to help institutes improve social responsibility and environmental performance by identifying strengths and weakness in their current approach.

We are currently in the process of establishing a Future Business Council that will facilitate dialogue between education institutes and businesses. This aims to ensure educators have a better understanding of the attributes employers are looking for in their employees. An understanding of sustainability is a key focus area.

The EAUC also works to promote sustainability globally. The Global Alliance of Tertiary Education was set up at the EAUC annual Conference in 2015 and represents global and regional organisations from Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe and North America. The overarching aim of the alliance is to connect sustainability networks in the tertiary education sector and provide a collective voice to contribute to global developments. As part of this plan, EAUC CEO Iain Patton delivered an open letter to Secretary General, Pierre-Henri Guignard at COP21. This urged him to acknowledge and support the research and education role that universities and colleges play in addressing climate change.

We hold an annual National Conference in a different location each year. This year’s theme was Global Goals: Local Action, it recognised the critical role universities and colleges across the planet have to play in finding and implementing a solution to climate change and realising the Sustainable Development Goals on a local level within their communities. Following the conference we are exploring a possible international SDG Charter to:

  • Help universities communicate and get recognition for what they are already doing
  • Incentivise and direct more action
  • Enhance reputation and build innovative collaboration between stakeholders
  • Provide a new focus and framework for teaching and research
  • Become a force to call, inspire, motivate, guide and drive the SDG agenda in a more dynamic way

To find out more contact the EAUC

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