Oil, gas, and tar sands companies have been banned from recruiting at Swansea University, following an 18-month campaign by students and staff. As part of a new Ethical Careers Policy implemented by the University, oil, gas, and tar sands companies will be unable to access careers fairs and employer events organised by the university careers service, and the university will no longer advertise roles in those industries to students.
The campaign against fossil fuel recruitment was backed by the Swansea branch of the University Colleges Union (UCU) and the Swansea Students Union, which voted to support the campaign in March last year.
This announcement makes Swansea the seventh UK university to exclude companies involved in the extraction of fossil fuels from careers recruitment. It comes as part of the UK-wide Fossil Free Careers campaign, coordinated by student-led campaigning charity People & Planet. The campaign demands university careers services adopt an Ethical Careers Policy excluding oil, gas and mining industries from recruitment relationships.
To date Fossil Free Careers has seen 7 universities and 15 student unions end recruitment ties with the fossil fuel industry, as well as receiving endorsements from the National Union of Students (NUS) and the University and College Union (UCU).
Today’s announcement at Swansea is a significant step for the University in its commitment to include ethics and sustainability considerations in careers recruitment. While Swansea has now succeeded in cutting recruitment ties with the oil, gas, and tar sands industries, staff and students continue to push for the University to extend this commitment to mining companies, in order for the University to fully cut its recruitment ties with the fossil fuel industry.
Hal Szary, student campaigner at Swansea University, said:
“It’s no secret that fossil fuel companies are the main drivers of human induced climate change. As we witness record temperatures in Europe, wildfires tearing through Greece, Hawai’i and Canada and catastrophic flooding in India, China and Spain, there can be no doubt that we are in the eleventh hour. The Ethical Careers Policy enshrined by Swansea University is nothing short of historic, and whilst there is more to be done, it does send a message to those companies - we will not stand idly by while you burn our planet for profit.”
Anna Piggott, Lecturer in Human Geography at Swansea University, said:
“This is a huge, historic step for Swansea University. We’re so proud that the university has decided to cut ties with industries most responsible for the climate crisis after listening to what its students and staff wanted. This campaign has shown that when staff and students collaborate to push for change, change happens – it’s been a joy to be part of. There is still more work to do but we are excited that Swansea University has demonstrated that it is on a path of transformation, and it is willing to use its significant resources and influence towards progressive social and ecological change; we hope it will inspire other universities to do the same!”
Maddie Bromfield, Climate Justice Campaign Coordinator at People & Planet, said:
“It’s incredible to see what student and staff campaigning has achieved at Swansea. The demand for universities to cut ties with the fossil fuel industry is growing across the UK, with both staff and students sending a clear message that our universities must not be complicit in climate and social injustice. This is a massive step for Swansea, and we look forward to seeing the University continue to cut its ties with the extractive industries. “
Jean-Louis Button, student campaigner at Swansea, said:
“Delighted to be a part of the core team within Swansea University to help shape and deliver this crucial campaign. It’s a real moral boost yet again to see the power that students hold and how real-life change can be manifested when a group of like-minded and dedicated students and staff join forces to help shape the future for the better. This is my second successful campaign, after convincing the Senior Management team at the university to switch all of our student PCs to utilise Ecosia as the default search engine - now helping to plant thousands of trees annually just by searching online as normal. Both campaigns work cohesively and should be taken seriously across all sectors and implemented as a priority to ensure our future stability. We must continue to keep the pressure on and join forces where necessary.”
Notes to editor:
The Ethical Careers Policy put in place by Swansea University can be found in full here: https://www.swansea.ac.uk/sea/our-ethical-careers-policy/
More information on the Fossil Free Careers campaign: https://peopleandplanet.org/fossil-free-careers
The statement from the Swansea SU can be found here: https://www.swansea-union.co.uk/news/article/6112/Fossil-Free-Careers-Motion-passes-at-latest-forum/
The statement from Swansea UCU can be found here: https://swanseaucu.org/2023/02/01/swansea-ucu-backs-fossil-free-careers/
For more on the endorsements from the NUS, UCU, and Student Unions, and the previous campaign victories, see: https://peopleandplanet.org/fossil-free-careers/victories