Sustainable UCL


London's Universities: Making Our Global City Greener

11 July 2023

Every year climate experts from across the city take part in London Climate Action Week (LCAW). To mark this year’s LCAW (24th June - 2nd July), UCL and London Higher delivered a panel event to explore the power of the higher education sector in tackling climate change.

London's Universities: Making Our Global City Greener was a part of London Climate Action Week 2023 held at the newly established UCL East: One Pool Street building.

Author: UCL Student Sustainability Ambassador, Nuzulia Fajriningrum, MSc Economics and Policy of Energy 

As a centre of academic excellence, London's universities play a crucial role in shaping future leaders and experts who will steer sustainable solutions tailored to the city's needs. To mark this year's LCAW, the event, "London's Universities: Making Our Global City Greener," put on as part of the UCL Climate Hub, brought together prominent figures from the higher education sector to discuss the essential role of universities in driving sustainability initiatives. Held on June 29th 2023, the event encouraged attendees to engage in meaningful discussions, exchange ideas, and explore collaborative projects to address the environmental challenges encountered by the city. 

Universities have a significant role as an ambassador for sustainability through research, innovation and education, breaking boundaries between disciplines and encouraging collaboration across the board to find solutions for our cities to be more sustainable and reducing carbon emissions”  said Professor Paola Lettieri, the UCL East Pro-Provost.

The panel discussion, led by Simon Goldsmith, Chair of the London Higher Sustainability Network, featured four respected speakers representing diverse areas of expertise: Tristan McCowan (Institute of Education, University College London), Ola Bankole (Bloomsbury Colleges Group, University of London), Pippa Palmer (London South Bank University) and Anna Valero (London School of Economics).

Panel discussion featuring London’s university representatives.


The discussion centred around the impact and role of higher education institutions (HEIs) in driving sustainability efforts. The speakers highlighted the benefits of incorporating sustainability practices within London's HEIs, from reducing environmental impact to fostering societal engagement. The panellists also emphasised that HEIs have an excellent prospect to serve as catalysts for change, nurturing a generation of environmentally conscious individuals trained to tackle global sustainability challenges.

One key area of focus was the development of a global metric for measuring sustainability, acknowledging the necessity for standardised indicators to assess the impact of sustainability initiatives across HEIs, including the importance of appreciation and recognition for organisations with continued dedication to support the cause. Additionally, the session addressed the behavioural challenges associated with sustainable development, emphasising the need for education to drive societal transition.

This event was a remarkable opportunity for students, academics, and environmental enthusiasts to come together and contribute to the sustainability measures in London. The event showcased the commitment of London's universities to sustainability and the potential for these institutions to lead the way in creating a greener future. Through such initiatives, we can make significant strides towards mitigating climate change and preserving our planet for generations to come.

More UCL Climate Hub Events