Climate Career Pledge

Climate Issue 

Ordinary citizens often feel disempowered to fight climate change through their personal actions, even though those actions collectively are critical in "tipping the scales" toward bold climate action. In particular, individuals' career choices remain an area where more climate-conscious decision-making could help accelerate toward sustainability.

Solution 

To empower climate-conscious individuals to more effectively advocate for climate action, we've started a Climate Career Pledge at MIT. By signing, individuals will commit to prioritize climate change and sustainability factors when making career choices (e.g., seeking new employment) and to advocate for sustainability within their institutions. Optionally, signers can also indicate their refusal "to interview with or pursue employment with companies whose primary business currently constitutes the extraction of fossil fuels until they publicly release a business plan compatible with the 2 °C warming limit."

Story 

Thanks to MIT's close ties with industry and the career focus of many students, we recognized that careers offered an opportunity to galvanize students to channel their passion for mitigating climate change and advancing sustainability in a way they might not have considered previously. We see the Climate Career Pledge as a way to mobilize people and, hopefully, provide an avenue toward changing the systemic dynamics behind climate change mitigation. Toward that end, we have three main Pledge goals:

(1) Leverage MIT’s relationships with industry to encourage bolder action on climate and sustainability.

  • Clearly communicate the MIT community’s values related to climate and sustainability to potential employers, aimed at influencing their behavior and employee recruitment strategies.

(2) Vocalize public support of MIT community members’ advocacy of climate and sustainability efforts within industry.

  • Utilize MIT’s reputation to endorse strong climate action.

(3) Allow individuals to make personal commitments to become climate champions, improving the leadership potential of future graduates and current alumni.

  • Empower the MIT community to better influence industry “from the inside” toward climate and sustainability goals.
  • Inspire members of the MIT community to rethink what they can do personally to help advocate for climate action in general.

The idea behind the Climate Career Pledge rose from discussions (begun during the #ScientistsSitIn at MIT in spring 2016) about the leverage that MIT students and alumni, in particular, might have with employers, many of whom could be more supportive of climate action (to say the least). Recognizing that MIT talent is greatly sought after around the world, we realized that more prominent advocacy of climate action through career-related channels could change conversations about climate action.

The Climate Career Pledge is a project of Fossil Free MIT.