Our planet is facing the most significant challenge in its history. Simply put, if society does not change those actions which impact on our environment, we will continue to see drastic changes to the way we live. It is incumbent on universities to act. To inspire future leaders so that sustainability can be rooted within their thoughts. To drive research that seeks to create a sustainable future for all.
At University College Cork (UCC) we are proud to be Ireland’s leading university committed towards creating this sustainable future. Over a decade ago, together with our students, we set an ambitious path to ensure our learning and teaching, research and operations were focused on building a better world. Our Sustainability and Climate Action Plan 2023 - 2028, stands on the shoulders of those who have ensured that today UCC is recognised as a globally leading university for the actions we take to protect our environment and society.
Our Green Campus Committee (GCC), in operation since 2007, and our Green Forum (GF), established in 2013, enable our students and staff to work together to drive our focus on sustainability across the institution and to build on the work that has been achieved to date.
Where we're at
A Sustainability and Climate Action Plan has been developed following a long period of consultation with staff and students, including our two Climate Assembly events. The implementation of this plan saw the creation of The Office of Sustainability and Climate Action established within the President's Office at UCC. This office, and its staff, will have overall responsibility for the implementation of the Plan, reporting and communicating its outputs. It will coordinate cross university initiatives and programmes aimed at embedding an ethos of sustainability across the entire campus and is our institutional path on how we will achieve significant targets including becoming a zero waste campus by 2030 and a carbon neutral campus by 2040. In addition to our own targets we are deeply cognisant of the role we can play in inspiring and leading change so that the entire higher education sector can play its part in driving the transition to a more sustainable future. UCC's Sustainability Strategy 2016, was the first Sustainability Strategy developed for an Irish HEI.
In 2018, UCC was also the first University outside of North America to be awarded a STARS Gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education and we renewed this STARS Gold ranking in 2022. UCC is also consistently ranked by the Times Higher Education (THE) as leading global university committed towards creating a sustainable future. This recognition is testament to the work of our students and staff, but we are aware that much work remains to be done. The Sustainability and Climate Action Office seeks to help us as a university navigate this path and help shape and inspire a world that protects our environment and our society.