People & Planet Is the largest student network in Britain campaigning to end world poverty, defend human rights and protect the environment.

We’re a student-led movement that empowers young people with the skills, confidence and knowledge they need to make change happen, at home and globally.

Over the years, student activists have:

Timeline of important events in People & Planet's history

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Third World First logo

Third World First is born

Third World First (as we were then named) was set up at the end of 1969 by students involved with Oxfam. We raised a lot of money for overseas projects by asking students to sign up to regular standing order donations - something that was groundbreaking at the time - and as these were the days of student grants, many students voluntarily offered 1% of their grant money as a self imposed tax.

don't drink pepsi campaign poster

People & Planet force Pepsi out of Burma/Myanmar

Pepsi's bottling plant in Burma was helping encourage tourism to the military controlled state where political prisinors were often held in dog cages. Aung San Suu Kyi's government in exile had called to help get Pepsi out. After less than 6 just months campaigning by People & Planet (then Third World First), Pepsi pulled out.

People & Planet logo

New democratically chosen name: People & Planet

A democratic process led to a new name, People & Planet.

The new name was announced to an audience of about a thousand students at our national Shared Planet event. As well as moving away from the out-dated concept of a "third world", the new name communicated our holistic and radical analysis: humans are not independenent of the planet we live on. At a time when other organisations tended to focus just on poverty, or just on human rights or just on environmental issues, we led the way in seeing all these issues as interlinked.


Ethics for USS campaign success

Our Ethics for USS campaign persuaded the £20 billion lecturers’ pension fund to adopt a socially responsible investment policy.

Students protest poor country debt

Jubilee 2000 campaign success: Over £20 billion debt cancellation agreed.

After 2 years campaigning as part of the Jubilee 2000 campaign coalition, over £20 billion of debt cancellation was agreed at international summits in response. Students in the People & Planet network delivered petitions with 80,000 signatures to the government - the second-largest total generated by any organisation.

2002 - 2003
Students hold up Stop ESSO speech bubbles

Stop Esso campaign successes

We helped organise and took part in the second Stop Esso day - 4,000 people protested about the influence Exxon/Mobil was exerting to prevent the US from signing up to the Kyoto Protocol.

Esso cancelled their university recruitment tour after two years of P&P campaigning.

Graphic showing people lifting a wind turbine

Green Electricity campaign success: 20 fold increase in use

Our Green Electricity Campaign concluded having resulted in a twenty fold increase in the number of universities buying renewable electricity - saving 275,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide being released every year. The end of this campaign launched a new and wider Going Greener campaign on sustainability in universties.

Poster: Never heard of GATS? That's the way they want it!

Stop GATS campaign success on defending education.

The government and EU conceded to the demands of our Defend Education - Stop GATS campaign by deciding not to include higher education in the profit-driven free trade treaty.

Later we would learn what a huge impact our campaigning actually since there were more submissions on education than any other issue! The government concluded: “in the light of the comments received, the EC’s offer includes no new commitments in educational services.” In other words: they admit we won the argument.

November 2006
People & Planet at the Climate Chaos carnival

People & Planet helped secure the world's first Climate Change Act

After months of campaigning, the Government committed to introducing a Climate Change Bill at the state opening of Parliament.

The announcement comes after months of campaigning for a Climate Bill by Stop Climate Chaos. People & Planet groups around the country, including Edinburgh and Aberystwyth, have lobbied dozens of MPs, massively increasing the pressure on the Government to introduce the Bill. On 4 November, People & Planet’s Carnival of Climate Chaos made a colourful and passionate contribution to the I Count event in Trafalgar Square, where 25,000 people gathered to demand real action on climate change.

29 Aug 2007
The Best Campaign Award

People & Planet won Best Campaign at the British Environment and Media Awards

The award was given for the newly launched People & Planet University League (then called "Green League") - the first ever league table comparing the environmental performance of UK universities. The People & Planet University League attracted attention within the sector and without, with more than 50 websites and news stories worldwide covering the story. It has driven incredible changes in the sector ever since.

21 Jul 2008

Celebrating the achievements of our five year Treat AIDS Now campaign

  • Persuaded the UK government to lead an international commitment to provide treatment for all by 2010 — millions more now receive treatment

  • Supported countries’ rights to access affordable treatment for their people — last year we helped 8,000 more people in Thailand get treatment, and in July 2008 the first steps were taken toward setting up a new international mechanism to bring down the cost of essential medicines.

  • Increased the international funding for HIV/AIDS

Stop our taxes funding climate change

People & Planet took UK Government to court over carbon-intensive investments such as tar sands.

Following the bail out of RBS, the majority of it was owned by the public and we argued that the government should be using its shareholding to invest in a low-carbon future not dirty fossil fuels.

The High Court ruled that the Treasury can ignore climate change and human rights but the fight was not over and we continued to work towards our sustainable vision in our Ditch Dirty Development campaigning that followed.

Photo of creative action - Fruit of the Loom crushing workers

Victory: 1,200 Honduran garment workers got their jobs back

Fruit of the Loom/Russell agree to reopen Honduran factory after ‘biggest student boycott since Apartheid’.

1,200 Honduran garment workers got their jobs back after an historic victory for international student campaigning, part of People & Planet’s Redress Education campaign. It has shown that students can fight back against exploitation and the race to the bottom, and secured income for 1,200 poor families.

Just Pay It.

Nike agrees to pay $1.5M severance pay to Honduran workers

Nike agree to pay $1.5 million legally mandated severance pay to Honduran workers after People & Planet joined the United Students Against Sweatshops campaign calling on Nike to "Just Pay It!".

People & Planet wrote a letter to Nike explaining that our network would decide by Skype call whether to run the campaign that began in the US. Within two weeks the campaign ended in all the workers' demands being met. UK Student campaigner Matt Mcmullen says,

“It was less than a year ago that students from People & Planet and United Students Against Sweatshops came together to campaign across border in solidarity with Honduran Fruit of the Loom garment workers… Students are at the forefront of the anti-sweatshop movement, fighting in solidarity with workers for a world free of exploitation.”

Taking on Tarmaggeddon

8 Student activists took part in Tarsands Youth Solidarity Exchange

We took a group of 8 student activists accompanied by two People & Planet staff and a film crew to Canada for the Tarsands Youth Solidarity Exchange project with the Beaver Lake Cree Nation. Seeing the destruction caused by the tar sands industry firsthand has inspired both Cree and UK students to redouble their efforts to stop further tar sands oil extraction on their traditional lands. The project also resulted in a feature length documentary Taking on Tarmageddon which was screened across the country to educate others about tar sands.

Spring 2012
Students at Wardle High lead recycling campaign

Going Greener campaign successes

  • The largest week of student action on climate change ever held - Go Green Week 2012 engaged over 140 universities, schools & colleges and over 20,000 staff and students.
  • Over 500 students wrote to Universities Minister David Willetts calling for more action on climate change within the education sector from the “greenest government ever”.
  • Thanks to pressure from our activists, the number of universities with ethical procurement policies increased from 26% to over 70% in one year.
Autumn 2012
Photo of student crowd: No More Sorries, Nick

Persuaded Government to abstain on EU Fuel Quality Directive vote

We persuaded the UK government to abstain from a key vote on the EU Fuel Quality Directive that would keep dirty tar sands oil out of Europe. Norman Baker was planning to vote No under intense pressure from Canadian lobbyists but over 16,000 emails & creative actions from students helped to shift the Government’s position. A huge win for people-power.

April 2013
Photo of PT Kizone worker protest

Victory for workers: adidas agree to 'pay up'

Adidas agreed to pay their former workers $1.8 million in legally-owed redundancy pay after a two-year campaign.

Sweatshop Free Sweatshop Free Campaign logo
Show/Hide Details

Sweatshop Free is part of a movement of people across the world, who are coming together to win workers’ rights for sweatshop labourers. Our campaign brings together students and workers in a coalition capable of challenging the root causes of unacceptable working conditions.

Summer 2013
People & Planet students hand in petition to Government

Reversed Government's decision to remove climate change from curriculum

Education Secretary Michael Gove decided to drop climate change from the curriculum. People & Planet supporters joined thousands of people around the country in telling Gove and Energy Secretary Ed Davey not to be stupid on the climate, and managed to reverse their decision.

Further action in schools and colleges resulted in the first 8 signatories to People & Planet's Green Education Declaration for schools and colleges - a public commitment to get serious about the environment.

October 2013
Photo of Fossil Free campaign launch at Shared Planet 2013

Fossil Free Campaign launched

People & Planet launched the Fossil Free campaign to divest UK universities’ £5.2 billion investments in fossil fuels and sever their ties to an industry fuelling the climate crisis. In October 2013, we organised a high-profile tour of the UK with co-founder Bill McKibben which catapulted the issue of divestment onto media front pages and mobilised a whole new generation of student climate activists.

'No more suicides in our uni's supply chains'

Launched Electronics Watch

As part of our Sweatshop Free campaign we launched a new democratically selected campaign called Electronics Watch to bring transparency and reform to public sector electronics supply chains across Europe. As part of this People & Planet assembled a coalition of 66 organisations across the world and successfully created a new organisation Electronics Watch, which aims to use cross-European public

Student protest demanding adidas pay redundancy.

adidas campaign success: $1.8m paid to 2,700 Indonesian workers

Students and workers have finally forced German sportswear giant adidas to compensate 2,700 former Indonesian garment workers who produced sports apparel at PT Kizone, an adidas supplier factory that closed down over two years previously. Adidas have agreed to pay their former workers $1.8 million in legally-owed redundancy pay as a result of worker and student solidarity campaign.

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