Why London?

London has taken a leading role in tackling climate change.

It is the first city to commit to being a zero carbon city by 2050 (Mayor of London), compatible with the highest ambition of the Paris Agreement.

London also has the opportunity to lead the way in developing a new, circular economy. In 2015 LWARB (London Waste and Recycling Board) and GLA (Great London Authority) identified higher education as one of the five enabling sectors to support London in its transition.

Circular economy direction of travel statement for London’s higher education institutes

Working together, the Foundation and the LWARB have developed a Direction of Travel for universities in London to indicate their ambitions in the circular economy space.

We have set out areas across which we believe higher education has a large role to play. London’s transition to a circular economy will be supported by leveraging the following five key drivers:

  1. Leadership and influence
  2. Leading circular economy research
  3. Circular economy teaching across all disciplines
  4. Student action
  5. Campus management

This statement sets a direction of travel and aims to unite the higher education institutions across London towards achieving a vision whereby:

  • Every student engages with the circular economy when they choose to study at an institution in London
  • Applied research at London universities supports London’s businesses' circular ambitions
  • All London’s higher education institutions are circular in their operations
  • Students are empowered to drive forward circular economy activities both on and off campus within the City
  • Higher Education institutions work closely with local and regional government in a variety of ways to support the City’s circular economy ambitions


Downloadable Statement



How did we start?

Setting the scene (2019 November):

The first workshop London and the Circular Economy: The role of higher education in the transition from a linear to a circular economy was held. At the kick-off meeting to discuss the role of higher education in London’s transition to a circular city, attendees from 11 London universities, the LWARB, the Leadership Network, and the Foundation, came together to discuss how the higher education sector can support the transition to a circular economy in London.

See the workshop summary here.

Forming the idea (June 2020):

Following on from a successful first event in November 2019, this second workshop took place as part of London’s Circular City week (1-5 June 2020), bringing together the higher education institutions to network and find ways to work together to support London’s circular ambitions. 49 attendees from a range of organisations, including 12 universities represented by academic staff, sustainability staff or students.

See the workshop summary here.

Register your interest below to sign up to the Direction of Travel Statement for London's higher education institutes.

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