Today’s Students Aren’t Dreaming of a Sustainable Future. They’re Working Out How to Make it Happen
According to a global survey of 1,800 recent university graduates, 96% expect to be involved in sustainability in some way during their careers. 70% of respondents also believe that sustainability should be covered by their university course. For them, it is not enough that universities have sustainable procurement processes, research how to reverse climate change, and promote sustainable lifestyles. Those students believe their university should teach them how to apply the principles of sustainability in their careers, equipping them to be effective advocates for the changes that they know need to happen throughout their whole lifetime. And they are putting pressure on universities to meet their expectations.
This pressure means that the momentum for sustainable education is building across the world. Times Higher Education has started ranking universities based on the impact, including environmental impact; the Council of Australian University Librarians has released a report identifying the contribution of Australian university libraries to sustainability; and the UN has issued a Greening Universities Toolkit to encourage academic institutions to transform themselves into green and sustainable spaces.
At the same time, the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, were launched by the United Nations in a blaze of publicity in 2015, as a 17-point, 15-year, multi-trillion pound call to arms for the world’s nations to fix global problems of poverty, inequality, climate change, pollution, and conflict. Though some notable progress has been made, the SDGs risk being stalled or derailed by populist political agenda issues.
Harnessing the energy and brainpower of the student population behind the SDGs, Taylor & Francis will be helping to build the next generation of leaders who have sustainable development hard-wired into their sensibilities. Working alongside various UN bodies, Taylor & Francis have developed a new online collection to help lecturers teach sustainability and enhance their students’ satisfaction with their institutions and aims to engage many of the world’s 200 million higher education students, their tutors, and the researchers in their universities, in learning about and addressing these difficult problems. Sustainable Development Goals Online (SDGO) will also enable those students and tutors to deliver the change they want throughout their careers and lives.
The SDGO collection has attracted top-level commitment from Taylor & Francis and its FTSE100 parent company, Informa plc. According to Annie Callanan, CEO of Taylor & Francis, “Both students and funding bodies are setting the bar on sustainable development for universities ever higher. Part of our response at Taylor & Francis is Sustainable Development Goals Online, a platform that will give academics from across disciplines access to the knowledge and materials which will help them provide the teaching their students believe they need to succeed. And it will give their students the ability to provide their best positive contribution to sustainable development.”
Jonas Haertle – from the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), Switzerland – says that “To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in the coming years, we need forward-thinking and responsible leadership, underpinned with education and research. The SDG Online Collection from Taylor & Francis is a significant contribution to that underpinning. Now more than ever we need to take action to ensure a truly sustainable future for all.”
- CAUL Sustainable Development Goals Report 2019: https://www.caul.edu.au/news/caul-sustainable-development-goals-report-2019
- First in class: how schools and universities are practising what they preach on carbon emissions: https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/first-class-how-schools-and-universities-are-practising-what-they-preach
- UN Greening Universities Toolkit 2.0: http://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/11964/Greening%20University%20Toolkit%20V2.0.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
- UN PRME and oikos Survey For Students Shows First Results: https://oikos-international.org/news/un-prme-and-oikos-survey-for-students-shows-first-results/
ABOUT TAYLOR AND FRANCIS: Taylor & Francis is one of the world’s largest academic publishers, delivering high-quality peer-reviewed books and journals under imprints such as Routledge, CRC Press, and Taylor & Francis. They are part of Informa plc, one of the UK’s biggest companies, with 11,000 staff worldwide and an annual turnover of more than £2 billion, with activities across events and exhibitions, business intelligence and publishing. www.informa.com
ABOUT THE UNITED NATIONS SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries – developed and developing – in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand in hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests. https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/
ABOUT THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS ONLINE COLLECTION: A searchable online library of thousands of articles, book chapters, presentations, videos and lesson plans, all indexed and categorised, built in consultation with UN agencies and an international panel of research academics and professionals. www.taylorfrancis.com/sdgo/