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Report published: Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies (PSRBs) and the Climate Emergency

Hannah Fitzpatrick
May 30, 2024

A new report has been published following a consultation event at St George’s House in February 2024, where representatives from Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies (PSRBs), young people, education organisations and employers came together to explore ways to mobilise greater sustainability education uptake. The report presents a common, achievable sustainability ambition, alongside guidance for actions that organisations across different sectors can take now. These actions will support the transition to sustainable practices across the education sector and society.

The education sector has a critical role in contributing to our national and international sustainability goals, not just in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects but across all disciplines and professions. The need for enhancing education for sustainable development (ESD)competencies through the education sector is high and widely recognised. This work also supports the UK government commitment of achieving net zero by 2050 and of achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Consultation event at St George's House, February 2024

Young people’s experiences and voices formed the heart of the consultation process, and students had a critical role in the co-creation of the recommendations. Josh Tregale, a mechanical engineering student studying at Imperial College, reflected that, “PSRBs play such an important role in both university education and in the standards of professionals. I would love to see more consultation of students in the guidance and accreditation given to universities, so that students both as the customer and the product can have input into the changes they would like to see.”

The report includes key recommendations and calls to action. These fall into three broad action areas: internal organisational change within PSRBs, including using the review cycle of benchmark standards as a critical opportunity to embed sustainability; enabling student leadership and prioritising the voices of young people within PSRBs; and advocating for big system change.

As the initial group of organisations involved in the consultation, we call on others in the research and innovation sector to join us in implementing the proposals. SOS-UK are delighted to have presented this report at the QAA’s PSRB Forum on 30th May 2024, with the hope of encouraging more PSRBs to engage in the recommendations. Paul Bailey, CEO of the Engineering Council and speaking alongside SOS-UK at the PSRB Forum, commented that, “the St George’s House report sets out some clear action areas that the Engineering Council and other PSRBs need to work together in to ensure professionals are enabling society to live sustainably”.

The report can be read on the St George’s House website.

The work undertaken to date has been funded by The Open University, The University of Edinburgh and The University of Southampton, and delivered by Students Organising for Sustainability UK (SOS-UK) and The Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC).