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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.

Section #overview

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

To fight climate change, it is vital that universities make a commitment, not only to educate citizens and produce knowledge, but also to set an example by controlling and reducing their environmental footprint. 

Sciences Po is taking action and assuming this responsibility with conviction: we are committed to a net-zero 2050 trajectory, with ambitious intermediate deadlines, in particular in 2035, in line with the Paris agreements. 

To achieve these objectives, Sciences Po has adopted an ecological transition action plan for 2024-2027 structured around 10 strategic areas. 

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:

Section #teaching-and-research

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

Section #sustainable-campus


Sciences Po is committed to an ambitious net-zero trajectory involving the following direct and indirect greenhouse gas emission reduction targets: 

  • -90% by 2050 compared to 2019, to reach net zero
  • -60% by 2035 compared to 2019, to achieve carbon neutrality

Our interim reduction targets are -30% in 2027 and -46% in 2030 compared to 2019, for scopes 1, 2 and 3.

In addition to these reduction targets, Sciences Po will finance carbon contribution projects aimed at sequestering residual greenhouse gas emissions from scopes 1, 2 and 3 by 2035 at the latest. Emissions linked to the travel of executive committee members will be offset from 2024, via a contribution to the reforestation of the Bois du Boscq in the Landes region, a project with the 'Low Carbon Label' and driven by the operator Stock CO2. 

Sciences Po's net-zero trajectory is illustrated by the graph below:

-90% by 2050 compared to 2019, to reach net zero -60% by 2035 compared to 2019, to achieve carbon neutrality

2024-2027 ACTION PLAN

In 2024, Sciences Po adopts a 2024-2027 ecological transition action plan structured around ten strategic areas: 

  1. Energy
  2. Travel
  3. Digital
  4. Purchases
  5. Catering
  6. Waste
  7. Biodiversity and water resources
  8. Awareness-raising and training
  9. Exemplarity
  10. Governance

The first 5 areas of this action plan will contribute directly to our net-zero trajectory. The next 5, while not having a significant carbon impact, are nonetheless major areas of work in the context of an ambitious ecological transition.

Given their carbon impact, the "energy" and "travel" areas are priorities. With regard to energy, the main challenges will be to sustain the good practices introduced by the energy saving plan launched in 2022 and to initiate renovation work based on the monitoring of energy consumptions and the recommendations of the energy audits. 

To measure and gradually reduce the carbon impact of business travel, Sciences Po is launching a test phase of the carbon quota mechanism in January 2024. 

Download the full action plan. 


Our climate strategy is based on the net-zero standard method of the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), which defines emission reduction targets that are consistent with scientific recommendations (in line with the Paris agreements).

All Sciences Po communities have been involved in building our net-zero trajectory and the associated action plan, in particular students through the Ecological Transition Student Advisory Committee, research centres involved in the test phase of the carbon quota mechanism, and employees through the Ecological Transition Correspondents network. Numerous working sessions have been organised with the departments particularly concerned by the challenges of the action plan (Real Estate Department, General Services and Resources Department, Legal Affairs Purchasing and Procurement Department, etc.). Members of the permanent faculty were also consulted.

The actions proposed in the 2024-2027 action plan are also based on the results of Sciences Po's first 2020-2023 ecological transition action plan. Out of 45 commitments, 30 have been achieved, 12 partially achieved and 4 have not been achieved. The detailed report can be found at this link. It should be noted that as the action plan was drawn up before the Carbon Footprint, the objectives were prioritised at a later date. Overall, the targets for the areas with the highest emissions were achieved (energy, travel, digital and purchases).

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.