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Because the world needs: a sustainable future

New ideas and innovative thinking can help make sense of even the most complex issues. The global climate crisis has inspired many of our students to address sustainability through their work, and as a university we’ve placed the need to live more responsibly at the centre of our mission.

  • performance students wearing sustainable designs
    Rebel Tartan: a collaborative project with Shoreditch Youth Dance Company, BA (Hons) Costume for Theatre and Screen, Wimbledon College of Arts
  • performance students wearing sustainable designs
    Rebel Tartan: a collaborative project with Shoreditch Youth Dance Company, BA (Hons) Costume for Theatre and Screen, Wimbledon College of Arts

As part of UAL’s commitment to addressing the climate emergency, we’ve pledged to cut our carbon emissions by 43% between 2013 and 2020. Significant progress came in 2018, when UAL switched all of its electricity consumption to 100% renewable sources and in 2019, UAL was ranked 19th in the People and Planet Green League with a first class result.

We believe in involving our students in the journey towards a more sustainable UAL. In 2019, we recruited our first intake of Sustainability Interns – all of them current students – to work on a variety of exciting, environmentally focused projects. These were co-created with the interns and include encouraging eco-friendly lifestyle choices among students and finding ways to make UAL events more sustainable.

It’s only by empowering our community with knowledge and awareness that we can really make a difference. Going forward, sustainability will become an essential part of the student learning experience, while carbon literacy training is being rolled out to all our academic and technical staff.

performance students wearing sustainable designs
Rebel Tartan: a collaborative project with Shoreditch Youth Dance Company, BA (Hons) Costume for Theatre and Screen, Wimbledon College of Arts

Sustainability in the costume industry

Wimbledon College of Arts recently hosted a panel event bringing together UAL students, alumni and industry practitioners to discuss how we can all be agents of change when it comes to a sustainable future.

“Getting to learn about sustainability within the costume industry from various professionals allowed me to question my personal practice, as well as reflect on what I could potentially do to help out.”

Julia Mercadier, BA (Hons) Costume for Theatre and Screen, Wimbledon College of Arts

purple dress made from VHS cassette tape
Benjamin Benmoyal, BA (Hons) Fashion: Fashion Design with Marketing, Central Saint Martins

Designing in Turbulent Times

This exhibition at Central Saint Martins featured designers seeking to transform our idea of waste, using everything from defunct technologies to industrial by-products. It was a collaboration between Central Saint Martins, LVMH and Maison/0 – an incubator of creative-led sustainable innovation set up as part of the CSM LVMH Partnership.

Work by Benjamin Benmoyal, a Central Saint Martins graduate, featured fabrics woven out of VHS cassette tapes and left-over yarns from textile companies. He commented:

“I don’t see a future without sustainability at the centre of everything we do.”

Pushing boundaries

Two of UAL’s cutting-edge research centres are leading the way in creative sustainability.

Centre for Circular Design

Aiming to accelerate the transition towards a zero-waste future, the Centre for Circular Design investigates textiles and materials that are designed, produced, used and disposed of in radical new ways.

Centre for Sustainable Fashion

Based at London College of Fashion, the Centre for Sustainable Fashion brings together students, researchers and industry experts to explore the role fashion has to play in building a greener world.