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Our Climate Initiative
Climate Action: Make it Work In response to the growing environmental crisis, Sciences Po is committed to fulfilling its responsibilities as an institution, a centre for learning and, above all, a place of instruction.
What is Climate Action: Make It Work?
The “Climate Action: Make It Work” programme is Sciences Po’s response to increasingly pressing environmental disruption. Inaugurated in 2015 and significantly expanded since spring 2019, the Make It Work initiative is built on three founding commitments:
- To adapting our teaching and research in view of environmental disruption
- To transforming our campuses and activities to become a more eco-friendly university
- To raising awareness among our communities and the wider public
Adapting our teaching and research
Sciences Po also acknowledges its responsibility as a site of teaching and the transmission of knowledge. Meeting between April and October 2019, our research and teaching review committee, led by anthropologist and sociologist Bruno Latour, has produced an encouraging first report on the place of environmental concerns within our educational ecosystem. A significant and varied range of teaching and research on the environment already exists, which must now be expanded and rendered more visible and more accessible. This is the objective of the 2020-2023 roadmap (FR) that the institution has set for itself with regards to teaching and research. The roadmap establishes environmental disruption as a priority theme, which should feed into all aspects of our educational mission.
Becoming a more environmentally friendly university
How can we make Sciences Po a more energy-efficient, eco-friendly place to work, study and conduct research? That is the objective of our Plan of Action for Our Ecological Transition (PDF, 120 Ko), which aims to progressively transform our institution, its premises and its practices between now and 2023.
Taking direct inspiration from an online consultation that surveyed students, teachers and university employees in November 2019, the plan outlines ten concrete objectives so as to reduce our ecological footprint over the next three years.
To face climate and energy crisis, Sciences Po acts with its communities. The energy saving plan published in October 2022 (PDF, 223Ko) falls within the plan of action for our ecological transition.
The Planet: A keynote speaker at our events
Make It Work also involves a rich programme of events, with weekly debates, lectures and talks from experts, researchers and decision-makers in the field of the environment.
Take a look back at past events:
- The inaugural lecture by Bruno Latour, anthropologist and scientific sociologist
- The inaugural lesson by Jean-Marc Jancovici, climate specialist
- The inaugural lecture by Gilles Boeuf (FR), President of the Scientific Council of the French Agency for Biodiversity
- The inaugural lesson by Emmanuelle Wargon (FR), Secretary of State to the Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition
- Jeremy Rifkin's lecture "Can a Green New Deal Save Life on Earth?"
- Youth & Leaders 2020 summit on the theme “Prosperity in the face of climate change”
A Significant and Varied Offering
In spring 2019, Sciences Po’s Director, Frédéric Mion, gave the anthropologist and sociologist Bruno Latour the mission of conducting a vast review of teaching and research around ecological transition. Meeting between April and October 2019, a committee headed by Latour produced an “encouraging” preliminary report: there is already a “rich ecosystem” of courses, seminars, research and educational innovation centring on the environment at Sciences Po. A significant and varied offering, which now needs to be expanded and rendered more visible and accessible. In Latour’s own words: “What we need is an across the board adjustment of the institution’s teaching, research and public interventions”.
The 2020-2023 Action Plan
Taking up the committee’s conclusions, as of 2020 Sciences Po has adopted a 2020-2023 roadmap for implementing new initiatives and reorganising existing teaching and research (FR). The roadmap establishes environmental disruption as a priority theme to feed into all aspects of the university’s educational mission and research. The measures include:
At undergraduate level: set ecological transition at the heart of Undergraduate College teaching
- With the creation of a mandatory core course on the history and sociology of the environment and the introduction of climate-related exploratory seminars on every campus as of 2021/22
- Climate-related educational exercises as part student induction and a range of international environmental opportunities for the third year abroad
- An ecological issues certification as of the academic year 2021/2022
- Within the existing framework of the Civic Learning Programme, increase the number of opportunities proposed for students in the field of the environment
At master’s level: give master’s students the choice of an ecological transition pathway
- Establishment of a core foundational course in environmental issues, with introductory classes in new disciplines and in-depth classes in the ‘classic’ disciplines of Sciences Po
- Creation of an environmental skills certificate
- Launch of new dual degrees on ecological issues between now and 2023
For doctoral students: broaden the base of teaching around environmental change
- Creation of an interdisciplinary programme of doctoral research on the subject, comprising around 30 doctoral students, who will sustain and support the programme
- Creation of a summer school open to PhD and master’s students, to introduce them to the challenges of social science research on the environment
Research: amass a wealth of scientific analysis
- Recruitment of at least 15 academics working on issues related to environmental disruption in all disciplines and research centres between now and 2023
- Recruitment of post-doctoral researchers to deepen expertise on the subject
An institutional commitment in line with the unique educational mission of Sciences Po, these measures will build on the university’s existing disciplinary foundation, while expanding it to encompass the full range of environmental issues
10 Objectives for a “Sustainable Campus”
At the instigation of our new Chief Sustainability Officer and beginning in 2020, Sciences Po has set itself an ambitious action plan to progressively transform the institution, its premises and its practices between now and 2023.
Taking direct inspiration from the November 2019 consultation "Sustainable Campus" that surveyed students, teachers, and university staff, this plan takes the form of ten concrete objectives aiming to reduce the ecological footprint of our campuses and activities:
- Reduce transport pollution from work-related travel: develop our travel policy so as to increase the number of journeys made by train, promote the use of video conferencing and facilitate cycling
- Reduce energy and water consumption via a strategy combining best practice sharing and energy optimisation of our buildings
- Reduce digital pollution: aim for moderation in the use and choice of digital resources
- Reduce single-use plastic waste, initiated with the removal of plastic bottles in 2019; introduce water fountains on every campus
- Reduce paper consumption
- Improve recycling
- Promote reuse
- Plant more green spaces and implement sustainable management of existing ones
- Reinforce our policy on sustainable purchasing
- Improve the catering offering on our campuses
A detailed assessment of the requirements necessary to achieve each of these 10 objectives will be conducted between now and the end of 2020. This will allow us to put figures to the objectives and finalise a calendar for their implementation.
Much of the content of this action plan was nourished by our “Sustainable Campus” consultation, conducted in November 2019 in order to gather ideas concerning the ecological transition of our campuses from students, academics, and administrative staff. It was also inspired by the proposals of several student associations contained in the "Green Booklet" (FR), the writing of which was coordinated by the Sciences Po Environment association (FR). It also takes inspiration from examples and best practices observed in our partner institutions in France and internationally.
The plan will build on various existing environmental initiatives launched over recent years: our eco-responsible travel policy, the introduction of environmental criteria in public tenders, removal of plastic bottles, shared printers, recycling bins, etc.
Our collaborative climate platform
Our interactive platform dedicated to Climate Action: Make It Work was launched in April 2019. Users participated in a first online consultation organised in anticipation of the European elections last spring. A second consultation took place in November 2019, so as to gather proposals for our sustainable campus from students, teachers and university staff.
Make It Work: a 2015 triumph
Make It Work was inaugurated with the first of two 2015 success stories: six months before the COP 21, 200 students proved that climate negotiations could "work". An international agreement was reached after four days of intense simulated discussion, paving the way for the success of the “real” COP 21.