As Glasgow prepares to host COP26, City of Glasgow College has committed to becoming net zero by 2040 and has signed the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Accord. 

The Accord embeds SDGs into its education, research, leadership, operations, administration and engagement activities. 

For nearly three decades the United Nations has been bringing together almost every country on earth for global climate summits called COPs – Conference of the Parties. In that time climate change has gone from being a fringe issue to a global priority. 

This year will be the 26th annual summit – giving it the name COP26. With the UK as President, it takes place in Glasgow from 31 October to 12 November. Many believe this event to be the world’s last best chance to get climate change under control. 

As Scotland’s largest college, City of Glasgow College has reduced its carbon emissions by 33% in the last five years. 

Paul Little, Principal and Chief Executive at City of Glasgow College, said: 

“Our college is committed to achieving net zero by 2040 through our Sustainability Strategy, by adopting the Further Education Roadmap developed by the Climate Commission, and becoming signatories to the Sustainable Development Goals Accord. 

“We are leading the Glasgow City Region in developing the skills base to support the ‘Home Energy Retrofit’ across housing stock in the area, a key element of the Scottish Government’s Climate Action Plan en route to a Net Zero future, and Glasgow City Council’s aim of being carbon neutral by 2030. Our college is also modelling blended learning and hybrid working, reducing the environmental impact of some 30,000 students and 1,400 staff travelling in and out of Glasgow.” 

The college operates a 100% electric vehicle fleet and secured Cycling Friendly Campus status in 2020, in recognition of the world-class facilities, equipment and the additional investment made in the ‘Cycle to Work’ scheme. The College is in the process of introducing an annual travel pass scheme for public transport and is working with Glasgow Learning Quarter and local communities to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. 

Fergal McCauley, Head of Facilities Management at City of Glasgow College and founder of its Environmental Sustainability Working Group, added: 

“We have reduced our carbon emissions by 33%, we recycle approximately 85% of our waste, no longer send any waste to landfill, and were awarded BREEAM excellence ratings for college buildings. We’ve transformed our waste management, achieving Platinum level in Zero Waste Scotland’s Resource Efficiency Pledge, and now divert 100% food waste from anaerobic digestion by composting directly on site.” 

Our International Maritime Hub at Riverside campus, in partnership with Maritime UK, will be the location for a number of different events highlighting UK maritime expertise within areas such as technology, policy, regulation, education and training and will be formally launched on Friday, 29 October.