The Royal College of Art (RCA) and the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) have become the latest UK universities to exclude oil, gas and mining companies from recruiting on campus. Both universities will now exclude fossil fuel companies from sponsoring recruitment events, attending careers fairs or advertising recruitment opportunities to students.
Quoting the industries that they see as “fundamental barriers to supporting the needs of a sustainable world,” the UCA Careers and Professional Practice Team will now refuse to hold relationships with “any companies that have not demonstrated a commitment to positive environmental and ethical business models which include, but are not limited to…Fossil Fuel companies…Mining companies…Tobacco companies and those that produce tobacco-based products.”
The RCA policy similarly excludes oil, gas, and mining companies from accessing “recruitment opportunities facilitated by the Careers Service, including events organised by the Careers Service, and digital and physical advertising managed by the Careers Service.”
These two policies are the latest victories for the Fossil Free Careers campaign, a UK-wide campaign coordinated by student-led charity People & Planet that calls on all universities to end oil, gas, and mining industry recruitment on campus. Since the launch of the campaign in 2021, 6 UK universities and 15 Student Unions have ended their recruitment relationships with the fossil fuel industry.
The campaign has been officially backed by the National Union of Students (NUS) and the University and College Union (UCU). Student campaigners are now turning to the University of Reading to end fossil fuel recruitment through its careers service. With a growing campaign on campus, students at Reading are urging the university to end its recruitment ties with the oil, gas and mining industries.
The shift also comes as leading arts organisations continue to move away from partnerships with fossil fuel companies. 15 major cultural institutions in the UK - including the Royal Opera House, Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre - have ended ties to the oil firms BP and Shell since 2016.
Fergus Green, Climate Justice Manager at People & Planet, said:
“It’s incredible to see another two universities end fossil fuel recruitment for good on their campuses. These victories are a testament to the growing power of the Fossil Free Careers movement, and the increasingly toxic reputation of the fossil fuel industry. The pressure is ramping up for the rest of the sector, and we look forward to seeing the University of Reading cut ties next.”
Sarah Waldron, Co-director of the campaigns and research organisation Culture Unstained, said:
”We welcome these strong statements from the RCA and the UCA which recognise that fossil fuel companies and their destructive business models are fundamentally at odds with sustainability and a liveable future.
They join the growing ranks of arts and educational organisations who have decided to step away from fossil fuel funding and partnerships, and provide an example to those laggards in the cultural sector, such as the Science Museum, who are yet to cut their ties.
Organisations that are still providing the respectability that climate-wrecking companies need in order to continue profiting from polluting must urgently change course and choose to be on the right side of history.”
Royal College of Art Ethical Careers Policy:
University for the Creative Arts Ethical Careers Policy: https://uca.assetbank-server.com/assetbank-uca/assetfile/61749.pdf
More information on the Fossil Free Careers campaign: https://peopleandplanet.org/fossil-free-careers
For more on the endorsements from the NUS, UCU, and Student Unions, see: https://peopleandplanet.org/fossil-free-careers/victories
Universities committed to divest from fossil fuels: https://peopleandplanet.org/fossil-free-victories
For more on cultural organisations that have cut ties with the fossil fuel industry, see: https://cultureunstained.org/successes-for-the-movement/