Professor Topping: 'Higher Education has a critical role to play in catalysing climate action to drive systems change'

UK climate champion appointed Honorary Professor at University of Exeter Business School

The UK’s High-level Climate Champion for COP26, Nigel Topping, has received an Honorary Professorship from the University of Exeter Business School.

Professor Topping was appointed by the UK government last year to play a central role in the run-up to the COP26 climate summit, to be held in Glasgow in November, by encouraging action from businesses, investors, organisations, cities and regions on climate change and coordinating this work with governments.

He is currently leading the Race to Zero, a global campaign to build momentum and commitments for a net zero future and emissions limits for the next decade, alongside fellow climate champion Gonzalo Muñoz from Chile.

Prior to this, he was the CEO of We Mean Business, a coalition of businesses working to accelerate the transition to a zero carbon economy that played a key role in bringing the constructive voice of business in support of the Paris Agreement, and was also Executive Director of the Carbon Disclosure Project.

This built on an 18-year career in the private sector, having worked across the world in emerging markets and manufacturing.

Professor Topping, Honorary Professor in Economics at the University of Exeter Business School, said: “I am proud to become an Honorary Professor at the University of Exeter Business School, which understands that Higher Education has a critical role to play in catalysing climate action to drive systems change.

“Part of this change will come from forging links between academic researchers and international policy makers, business leaders and advisers, and that is something that I hope to be able to facilitate.”

Professor David Allen, Dean of the University of Exeter Business School, said: “Nigel’s work to drive action from businesses on climate change is vital to the goal of reaching Net Zero, which will not be achieved without collaboration from all sections of society, including business and Higher Education.

“Our Business School has this sense of environmental responsibility at its core, which is why we are delighted to make Nigel an Honorary Professor.”

On Monday 14 June, at the closing event of the University of Exeter’s Green Futures conference, Professor Topping will join the Business School’s Professor Gail Whiteman in conversation about his reflections on the G7 summit and how it will support him in his role as High Level Climate Champion for Climate Action at COP26.

They will also be joined by Professor Lisa Roberts, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Exeter, and Kate Kennally, Chief Executive at Cornwall Council, to reflect on the legacy of the G7 for Cornwall, what has been achieved and the action required at COP26.

Register here for the event:

Date: 14 June 2021

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