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Hughes Hall’s climate journey

Strengthening the bridge between academic research and climate action

The recent Green Week at Hughes Hall provided an opportunity for the Centre for Climate Engagement (CCE) and the Climate Governance Initiative (CGI) to spring into action around the College with events, leaflets and posters.

Both teams are growing fast, and you can now find them in their new office space on the second floor of the Margaret Wileman Building. The combined teams now comprise 24 people, including representatives from 9 different countries, who have lived in a total of over 60 countries. They all share a passion for spreading the word about climate action and turning ideas into tangible solutions to accelerate the race to net zero.

Research into action: Hughes Hall’s Centre for Climate Engagement and Climate Governance Initiative are accelerating the race to net zero on a global basis.

So, who are the CCE and CGI and what do they do?

The CCE is one of four Bridge Centres at Hughes Hall, which were set up to serve as hubs for the advancement and practical application of specialised research activities and projects. The CCE connects academic experts with policymakers, industry leaders, and practitioners to turn ideas into tangible solutions for climate action in the drive towards net zero. Students, staff, Fellows and alumni are welcome to attend many of the events, including lively debates, workshops, and conferences in Cambridge, London and worldwide.

The team was formed in 2018 and has now grown to 14 people. It is led by Centre Director Emily Farnworth, who has over 25 years of experience working with businesses, governments and non-profit organisations to support the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Emily said: “Climate change is one of the most important challenges for society today. We’ve never been in more urgent need of information about the best actions to take for the climate. By connecting academic researchers and practitioners with leaders and decision-makers in law, policy and business, we hope to accelerate the race to net zero.”

The CGI works with company boards to accelerate the transition to net zero and build climate resilience. It operates a global network that supports chairs, non-executive and independent directors on every continent to take climate action by enhancing their knowledge and skills in climate governance. It’s a rapidly growing network, with Chapters in over 70 countries worldwide, reaching more than 100,000 board members. Its work is underpinned by the World Economic Forum’s Principles for Effective Climate Governance.

It recently published its first Annual Report 2023. The UK chapter of CGI – Chapter Zero – is also part of the Hughes Hall family. It was set up by Julie Baddeley, co-Founder of the CCE and now Chair of Chapter Zero in 2018 and now has almost 3,000 members.

Alexandra Bolton is the Director of the Climate Governance Initiative. She has worked in industry, the City, the University of Cambridge and as an independent consultant. She has held a number of senior positions including as the founding Executive Director of the Centre of Digital Built Britain, and most recently as the founder of an independent consultancy providing strategic advice on digital transformation, digital twins, and organisational strategy.

Alexandra said: “The Climate Governance Initiative has ambitious goals that will make a real difference to the impact that boards can make to the climate crisis. Our network can create the stewardship mindset that is vital if we are to make the impactful changes required to mitigate and adapt to climate change.”

How to get involved

Excited to be a part of our mission? We believe that everyone has a part to play in the transition to net zero. Sign up to our mailing list to find out about news and upcoming events: https://climatehughes.org/contact/

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Look out for upcoming news about our summer internships programme, open to undergraduate and postgraduate students (up to one-year post-completion of undergraduate degree). The programme will include internship positions with a focus on conducting desk research in climate governance and law and climate change.