Published on 30 October 2018


Thousands of students from prestigious universities refuse to work at polluting corporations

It is a manifesto for an ecological awakening. More than 18,000 students from top Paris-based universities such as École Polytechnique, École normale supérieure and HEC, have signed off on profound change, and this includes choosing their future employer. Diving head first in a polluting corporation is no longer an option.

18,000 students say they are starting to think about choosing their future employer based on ecological criteria.

After the Giec alert comes an ecological awakening from students at some of the most prestigious universities in Paris. In a Manifesto, published in early October, several students from Polytechnic, HEC, ENS and AgroParisTech called on themselves to "question [their] comfort zone so that society changes profoundly". And this includes choosing their future employer.

The goal is not to boycott companies

"What good is riding a bike, when you work for a company whose main activity contributes to accelerating climate change or depleting resources?” students questioned, preferring to "work for employers we feel will meet our demands".

The goal is not necessarily to "boycott companies or create a blacklist," says Corentin Bisot to Novethic, a third-year student at Polytechnique and author of the Manifesto. "We do not have the means to measure the carbon impact of companies and it would be too reductive anyway. We only want to push students into rethinking their relationship with companies. To begin a reflection on the subject.

More than 18,000 signatures

Reflection seems to be off to a good start. As of 22 October, more than 18,000 students had already signed this call to action. While companies that may feel targeted, such as Total or Bayer, have not yet responded, those more consistent with the values ​​of this manifesto, have not hesitated to show interest. "We have received, among others, a call from Enercoop," says Bisot.

In April, Sciences Po students called on their university to end their partnership with Total. "Supporting the fossil industry appears to be in clear contradiction with the school’s mission. Sciences Po no longer accepts partnerships with the arms and tobacco industries, so why legitimise industrial choices and the destructive political influence of Total by accepting a strategic partnership", denounced the Science Po Zero Fossil association.

Marina Fabre @fabre_marina

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