(Picture Credit: Dmitry Demidovich/Shutterstock)

The University of the Arts London, the University of Bedfordshire, and Wrexham Glyndwr University have become the latest universities to ban fossil fuel recruiters from recruiting students through career services. 

Citing the industry as a “fundamental barrier to a more just and sustainable world,” the ban was followed by a campaign established by the student-led group People and Planet. 

A spokesperson from the People and Planet said: “All three of these universities should be recognised for their climate leadership.”

They further said that it was vital that the universities took action and did not resort to words only.

Such a boycott signifies that “they are taking the side of climate justice and not of the industries driving us deeper into a climate crisis that is harming the least responsible first and worst.”

The group also said universities have been “propping up the companies most responsible for destroying the planet,” while the climate crisis was “the defining issue of most students’ lifetimes.” 

The campaign was backed by the National Union of Students and the Universities and College Union.

The Wrexham Glyndwr University said that they took responsibility for social and climate justice seriously in an official statement.

The university further declared that its approach was to facilitate collaboration that contributes to the betterment of society and the environment. 

As a result of which, they banned some industries that were acting as fundamental barriers to a more just and sustainable world.

In addition to this, they declared that they will no longer collaborate with companies that work in arms; fossil fuels, mining, tobacco; and, animal cruelty.

As a higher education organisation, the universities need to listen to and act on, the demands of the students.

UN secretary general, António Guterres, urged the students in May 2022, to “not work for climate wreckers.” 

Further, he asked the students to “use their talents to drive us towards a renewable future.”

Birkbeck, University of London, was the first to adopt this in September 2022, making a total of four universities supporting a ban on fossil fuel recruiters.

A formal statement issued by Birkbeck, University of London, said that the university “will not hold relationships with any companies that have not demonstrated a commitment to positive environmental and ethical business models.” 

The statement further mentioned that this step was to “increase sustainability and address the climate crisis.” 

The university expresses willingness to work with companies unless it “does not come into conflict with interests of the College as a whole.”

A spokesperson for the Goldsmiths, University of London told the Raven News: “Universities are playing a leading role in tackling the climate emergency, and we applaud the innovation showcased across our sector.”

Recognising this as a powerful way to support the community, they further stated that although Goldsmiths does not have a formal careers policy relating to climate justice, they would further discuss such a measure as part of our Green New Deal plan.

Talking about the efforts undertaken by Goldsmiths, the spokesperson mentioned that they “removed beef from the campus menus and moved out investments into ethical funds that have divested from fossil fuel.”

The students in the UK have targeted fossil fuel careers events, including at Oxford University, where students blockaded an event by the mining group Glencore.

At the University of Sheffield, a sit-in protest prevented BP and ExxonMobil events.

About 20 per cent of UK universities have already banned some sectors from their career services, including the tobacco, pornography, and gambling industries. 

Almost two-thirds of UK universities have divested their endowment funds from fossil fuels.