Ecole Polytechnique: University Presidents of the U7+ Alliance Adopt Statement on Climate Change and Sustainability

U7+ Alliance member universities across the world adopted a Statement on Climate Change and Sustainability during the U7+ Presidents Summit on October 25, 2021, and declared their commitment to support the implementation of climate goals set during the COP26 conference in Glasgow.

École Polytechnique is a founding member of the Alliance U7+, initiated under the patronage of President Emmanuel Macron at Sciences Po in 2019. University presidents and leadership members of U7+ meet annually to establish a common agenda and identify critical areas for coordinated action. This year’s annual Presidents’ Meeting occurred in a virtual format on October 25, 2021.

The members of the U7+ Alliance of World Universities emphasized the shared duty to help confront the challenges of Climate Change. Their meeting closely preceded the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) on October 31. Thus, they adopted a statement reaffirming their commitment to protect our planet and establish collaborative partnerships with the respective governments, private sector, and civil society organizations to support implementing the goals set at the COP26.

Commitment to address environmental issues

Concluding the first presidential summit in 2019, university presidents voted six guiding principles of the U7+ Alliance. One of those principles stresses the central role universities are to play in tackling environmental issues, such as climate change, biodiversity, and energy transition. More specifically, U7+ Alliance universities have committed to lead by example on their campuses via two actions in particular: the promotion and integration of courses related to climate, biodiversity, and sustainability for all students of their institutions (action 1) and the significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions on their campuses by 2030 (action 2).

Both action points reflect commitments École Polytechnique has already pledged and continues to implement: l’X has introduced a mandatory Sustainable Development seminar to ensure all students accurately understand the current environmental and societal challenges. École Polytechnique is committed to conveying core values and thorough knowledge that is indispensable to shape a sustainable future. In alignment with this mission, the school is currently also implementing a certification designed to provide in-depth training on sustainability issues for all engineering students and a large part of the MSc&T programs.

With support from the interdisciplinary Energy4Climate (E4C) center, the School is currently developing a plan to reach carbon neutrality on campus. The E4C center has been created to bring researchers, professors, students, and other scientists and industry partners of Institut Polytechnique de Paris together around this common cause and to rally their efforts to develop solutions on energy transition.

Representatives of the U7+ Alliance member universities working on the respective issues regularly meet to achieve the two objectives mentioned earlier. Several workshops have already been organized by the University of Toronto, Paris Sciences et Lettres, and the University of Edinburgh this year.

Spanning six continents and 17 countries, the U7+ member universities are currently at different stages of their action plans to mitigate climate change. Still, they all agree on working together towards a common goal is of vital importance.

About the U7+ Alliance of World Universities

The U7+ Alliance is the first international coalition of university presidents aimed at structuring and advancing the role of universities as global actors across the multilateral agenda. Since 2019, the university presidents and leadership members of U7+ meet annually to establish a common agenda for coordinated actions. Together, U7+ university presidents review their universities’ unique civic and social responsibilities and pledge to further address the world’s most pressing challenges at local, regional, and global levels.

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