University departments sharing the journey to Carbon Zero

Covers of some of the Cambridge University Press published books on climate change including There is No Planet B and a Citizen's Guide to Climate Success

Colleagues from Cambridge Assessment took part in a sustainability panel session hosted by Cambridge University Press as part of the internationally renowned Frankfurt Book Fair 2020. The two organisations, both departments of the University of Cambridge, discussed where they are on their shared journey to Cambridge Carbon Zero.

The Carbon Zero initiative forms part of the response to the commitment set out in the Vice-Chancellor’s recent address to the University. In it, Professor Stephen Toope confirmed that the University will reach zero carbon emissions by 2038, including a large programme of divestment in fossil fuels by 2030.

Over the last 18 months, Helen Griggs, Global Director for Environment, Procurement and Supply at Cambridge University Press and Cambridge Assessment has been heading-up a change programme looking at the impact of the organisations' operations worldwide. For the Frankfurt Book Fair, Helen and an expert panel which included the Press and Assessment’s Head of Sustainability, Vicky Evans, and Amy Budd, from Cambridge Assessment International Education and a member of Cambridge Assessment's Environment Staff Network, discussed this journey so far. 

Introducing the session, Helen Griggs said: “I want to tell you about our journey so far, the reasons for it and the challenges we’ve encountered, in the hope that it will help others who want to do likewise. 

"We’ve tracked data under Greenhouse Gas Protocol scopes 1 and 2, and are attempting to do the same for Scope 3. Scope 1 covers direct emissions from activities under our control like the buildings we own and our fleet vehicles. Scope 2 is indirect emissions from the electricity we purchase. Scope 3 is going to be hard, both because of its size and that so much of is out of our control, because it covers emissions from third parties and things beyond our immediate control: procurement, business travel, distribution of goods and so on. But we have started, requesting information from suppliers and reviewing our travel policy. And it’s worth the pain, because a better picture of our carbon footprint lets us measure progress meaningfully and set targets which will have a real impact."

Beyond this, the Press is also using its position as one of the world's leading publishers on climate science and sustainability to support the research community and breakdown disciplinary boundaries.

The panel session was held in the spirit of sharing knowledge, inviting the audience to ask questions and to discuss the points raised.

Watch the panel discussion.