National Union of Students Officially Endorses Fossil Free Careers

By: The Fossil Free Careers Team

National Union of Students Officially Endorses Fossil Free Careers

The National Union of Students (NUS) has officially endorsed People & Planet’s Fossil Free Careers campaign. In a statement of endorsement published on its website and circulated to members, NUS called upon the careers services of all education institutions to “end their relationships with oil, gas and mining companies,” and encouraged “students and other members of educational institutions to get involved” in the campaign.

In their statement, NUS explain that they have a “long and rich history of supporting campaigns that use boycotts and divestments as a non-violent strategy to pressure organisations into ending unethical practices,” and that they continue that tradition today in their decolonisation work. But for NUS, “any campaign to decolonise education must target the material complicity of our institutions in colonial and climate violence, and…any student campaign for climate justice must do the same.”

Education institutions today, NUS write, are complicit in violence against human life and the planet in multiple ways. Firstly, these education institutions “uphold the fossil fuel and arms industries through their investment portfolios.” Grassroots, student-led divestment campaigns have successfully challenged this across the sector, and 60% of the UK Higher Education sector is now committed to fully excluding fossil fuel extractor companies from their investment portfolios.

However, NUS continue, “these companies are also bolstered through recruitment pipelines from education into corporations responsible for great injustice and harm.” When careers services continue to platform the extractive industries and the arms industries, “the activities of oil, gas, mining and arms companies are implicitly condoned, and their presence normalised to students when they are platformed at careers fairs and in job listings.”

NUS is the largest democratic body of students in the UK, and has previously supported the student push for Fossil Free divestment. People & Planet, a UK-wide charity, is the UK’s largest network of students campaigning on social and climate justice. In July 2021 they launched the Fossil Free Careers campaign, which demands that university careers services adopt an Ethical Careers Policy which publicly commits them to ending all relationships with the oil, gas, and mining industry.

J Clarke, Acting Director of Campaigns at People & Planet said:

“The backing of the UK’s largest democratic student organisation is of vital importance to any grassroots campaign in UK universities to send the clear message: students don’t want oil, gas and mining recruiters on campus. These extractive industry jobs don’t make sense for students, don’t make sense for universities, and don’t make sense for the planet. It’s time for Fossil Free Careers.”

Sara Khan, Vice President Liberation and Equality at the National Union of Students said:

“NUS has a long and rich history of supporting students to campaign against violence and oppression, and we know that the destruction of our planet is a result of the same systems that are destroying racialised, queer and Disabled lives. We wholeheartedly support the Fossil Free Careers campaign, as we believe that campaigning to end our institutions’ material complicity in colonial and climate violence is necessary to any decolonisation, anti-racist, or anti-oppression work.”

People & Planet and NUS are calling on the public to show support for the demands of the Fossil Free Careers by signing a petition calling on all UK universities to adopt an Ethical Careers Policy which explicitly excludes oil, gas and mining companies from student and graduate recruitment opportunities.

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