IOM3 letter contributes to university updating careers policy
Earlier this year IOM3 wrote to Professor David S Latchman CBE, the Vice-Chancellor of Birkbeck, University of London, to ask him to reconsider the stance to ‘not hold relationships of any kind with oil, gas or mining companies’ expressed in its new careers policy.
On 28 September 2022 Birkbeck announced it would end fossil fuel and mining industry recruitment on campus. At the time of announcement, this change would apply to all 14,000 students with the intention of reinforcing Birkbeck’s ‘…commitment to increased sustainability and addressing the climate crisis’.
IOM3 CEO Dr Colin Church’s letter highlighted why the ‘proposed course of action is more likely to be harmful than helpful’ to Birkbeck’s stated aim. This has resulted in an update to Birkbeck's Ethical Careers Policy.
The letter explained that the part of the policy that is at issue, is the intention to not have relationships of any kind with any mining companies whilst addressing the climate crisis. Dr Church also referenced several key pieces of evidence which reinforce that mining metals and minerals is essential if we are to tackle the climate crisis.
In response to the letter, Birkbeck has updated its Ethical Careers Policy to remove any reference of oil, gas or mining companies. Instead it takes a more holistic view, stating ‘Birkbeck Careers will not hold relationships with any companies that have not demonstrated a commitment to positive environmental and ethical business models. This is part of our commitment to increased sustainability and addressing the climate crisis’.
Dr Church said ‘I am delighted that Birkbeck has recognised that its original statement was deeply unhelpful and that is has amended it accordingly. Materials, minerals, and mining are fundamental to the transition to a low-carbon, resilient and resource-efficient society. To play their parts successfully, these sectors will need to recruit talented people who care about sustainability and tackling climate change, like those who study at Birkbeck’.