City College Plymouth is the first college in the South West to join universities across the globe in calling for action to prevent a climate catastrophe.

With the world focused on the COP26 summit starting at the end of the month, the College has officially declared a climate emergency and is putting in place its plans to become a carbon-neutral organisation.

A working party of staff from across the College has developed a plan of action to address ways in which the organisation can contribute towards the fight against climate change.

Chief Executive, Jackie Grubb, said: “At City College, we’re preparing students for happy, successful futures, but what type of a future will they really have if we don’t act now to protect the planet?

“We have formally acknowledged the global emergency collectively with our students, staff and representative groups, and last week City College signed up to the United Nations Race to Zero campaign. In a short space of time, our new working party has been identifying different ways the College can be part of the fight against climate change.”

The College is now developing a strategy to meet its carbon-reduction targets and will be placing curriculum at the front and centre of this strategy, with all areas being encouraged to develop their teaching content around this theme.

Mark Trewin, Chief Digital Transformation Officer and owner of the strategic action for opportunities at the College, said: “This fight against climate change needs to be rooted in every aspect of our life. There is no single area of the College responsible for making the site more environmentally friendly or for reducing its carbon footprint – it’s a cross-College effort.

“After the half-term break we will be inviting the students to contribute to our overall plans by setting up a student-led sustainability group, and we will also create a new student representative role here at the College so our students have a nominated voice to speak on their behalf.”

Ian Poyser, lecturer in environmental science and an expert in resource-management and sustainability, said: “The College is already doing lots of great things across the campus, but now we need to step up the gears.

“The climate declaration is the first step towards creating a more sustainable college community. The benefits of committing to a long-term sustainability plan will be far reaching: not only can we help avert a local and global climate and ecological catastrophe, but it will improve and enrich the lives of students and staff.”

Jackie added: “Our ambitions are vast but for the sake of the planet, they have to be. It is fortunate that City College benefits from a breadth of skills and knowledge to drive these plans forward and support the city in creating a green and more sustainable future for all.”