Sustainable Development Goals


The SDGs and me - Chiara Morfeo

Spotlight on Chiara Morfeo - Senior Sustainability Communications Officer at UCL

What is your role and what does it involve?

Chiara Morfeo photograph

I communicate UCL’s ambitious sustainability goals and progress and engage the UCL community in our activities via our websites, newsletters, social media channels  so that we can all make #ChangePossible together. Specifically, I engage with professional services staff via the Green Impact programme to make offices more sustainable. I also run online and in-person campaigns and events for students and engage with UCL’s academic community via my work on the UCL Climate Hub and the Generation One campaign. 

How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?

I’ve been with UCL since April 2020, so just over two years now. Previously, I was a communications fellow at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Forestry and Timber Section in Geneva, working on forest-related communications and engagement activities for the UNECE’s 56 member states. 

Tell us about something you’re working on at UCL that is supporting the SDGs

I work on communicating and engaging the UCL community in UCL’s Sustainability Commitments that connect to a range of SDGs.

Our Positive Climate Campaign about UCL’s net zero commitments links to SDG7 (Affordable & Clean Energy) and SDG13 (Climate Action). UCL’s institution-wide climate campaign – Generation One – also links to SDG13.

The Loop activities about UCL’s waste and recycling and circular economy practices, such as running Swap Shops, link to SDG12 (Responsible Consumption & Production).

Beyond work, which of your everyday activities contributes most to one or more of the SDGs?

I think contributing to the SDGs in everyday life often requires a lot of time and bandwidth, especially in the current infrastructures we live in, so not everyone can be expected to contribute. Thanks to my privilege, I have the bandwidth and resources to engage in sustainable lifestyle practices in my everyday life that contribute to SDGs 12, 13, 14 and 15. However, as I work on SDG related topics from 9 to 5, I find that switching off from those topics in my personal life is important too, so that I can re-charge and tackle my work with renewed vigour and enthusiasm the next day, driving change at the institutional rather than the individual level.

And what do you do that has the most detrimental impact on the Goals?

My family is based in Germany and Italy and my partner’s family is based in Spain, so I do a lot of air travel which is detrimental to many of the SDGs.

In your opinion, which of the SDGs is the most important for humanity to address?

I might be biased because of my work, but I would say SDG 13 (Climate Action), as it touches on so many of the other goals and improvement in this area would impact many other areas.

If there was an 18th Goal, what should it be?

It would be something like community and connection. There are already so many great initiatives happening around the world, instead of creating new ones, or more goals, I think it’d be really powerful to connect the dots and maximise the efforts that are already happening.

If you could bring in one law or societal shift to help the UK address the SDGs, what would it be?

As a foreigner, I’m fascinated by the British electoral system. A reform in the electoral system might give other players a chance at power and achieving the SDGs. It seems that under the current system progress has not been as fast as it could be.

What is the biggest challenge to the world achieving the Goals by 2030?

I would probably say our current economic systems and our forms of production and consumption as it ties in with so many SDGs, such as 5 (Gender Equality), 10 (Reduced Inequality), 12, 13, 14 (Life on Land) and 15 (Life Below Water).

What would it surprise people to know about you?

Having started my role remotely, the thing that surprises my colleagues most people is that I’m quite tall, 5”7’. And I’m surprised that it surprises my colleagues as I’ve never considered myself particularly tall.