Press releases

Legal & General & Birkbeck, University of London launch partnership for inclusive, sustainable change

The three-year partnership will co-create an inclusive environmental and sustainability educational offering, developing the next generation of leaders.

17 Oct 2023

Full press release

Legal & General and Birkbeck, University of London announce the launch of a three-year partnership combining financial support and corporate-sector expertise with renowned academic research capabilities to:

  • Support the expansion and development of Birkbeck’s undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in environment and sustainability, equipping thousands of students with valuable practical skills and knowledge to help build a more sustainable future. Birkbeck’s longer-term intention is to embed sustainability into other areas of their curriculum across different schools
  • Devise and launch a first-of-its-kind accreditation programme that will help to embed benchmarking standards in environmental and sustainability higher education
  • Provide vital financial support to allow students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds to access an education at Birkbeck, an institution that has placed social inclusion at the heart of its mission since 1823

The partnership will create opportunities for Legal & General employees to share their knowledge with both the academics developing the new sustainability content, and with Birkbeck students – present and future. This could include providing counsel on the potential business application of the academic theory and content, or guest lecturing.

Behind the partnership is a shared recognition that building a more sustainable future is as much a people challenge as it is a scientific, technical, or economic one. The partnership aims to develop a cohort of leaders who have the skills and capability to mobilise human capital in order to build the sustainable future that the planet needs.

Legal & General has a long history of working with higher education institutions to create social and economic opportunities, including over £5 billion currently committed to science and technology development projects at Oxford and Manchester universities. As of June 2023, Legal & General had invested £1.4bn in clean energy and £8.7bn in social infrastructure.

Nilufer von Bismarck OBE, Legal & General Non-Executive Director: “At Birkbeck and Legal & General we have a shared belief in people’s power to solve problems and seize opportunities. The work of building a more sustainable future will require the mobilisation of significant amounts of capital; but ultimate success will depend on the expertise and commitment of more and more people. Access to high-quality education is one of the great enablers of change and I look forward to the impact we can achieve together.”
Professor David Latchman CBE, Vice-Chancellor of Birkbeck: “Birkbeck holds a unique space in higher education. Since our founding in 1823, we have served a diverse and ambitious community by providing a place to thrive and transform lives through education. It is imperative that we equip students of all backgrounds and ages with the skills and knowledge to find innovative solutions to local and global challenges. Our multi-year partnership with Legal & General ensures that our programmes can focus on long-term outcomes for students, our local communities, and the planet. We are delighted that Legal & General is partnering with us to build a more sustainable and inclusive future.”
Jack Roper, Group Head of Sustainability, Legal & General: “At Legal & General, we have a deep-rooted commitment to promoting long-term financial wellbeing, both through the products we offer, which have an inherent social value; and by the partnerships we build with institutions like Birkbeck. The College’s legacy of social-mobility focused inclusion is a perfect fit for the partnership which is in part focused on widening participation in higher education as well as creating the next generation of sustainable leaders. We’re excited about seeing what we can achieve together.”

This philanthropic and purpose-led partnership will build upon Birkbeck’s expertise as an institution that meets the needs of a highly diverse student body and an environment which fosters world-leading research. 40% of Birkbeck students have a household income of less than £25,000 and 60% of Birkbeck’s full-time, young undergraduates are the first in their family to go to university. As an institution that provides research-led education, Birkbeck is proud that 83% of its research was confirmed as world-leading and internationally excellent in the 2021 UK Research Excellence Framework.

Further information


Lauren Kemp

Group Head of Corporate Media & Issues

Group Communications

T: 07946 514 627

Email Lauren Kemp

Notes to editors

Established in 1836, Legal & General is one of the UK's leading financial services groups and a major global investor, with £1.2 trillion in total assets under management1 of which 40% is international. We have a unique and highly synergistic business model, which continues to drive strong returns. Legal & General provides powerful asset origination and management capabilities directly to clients, which also underpin our leading retirement and protection solutions. We are a leading international player in Pension Risk Transfer, in UK and US life insurance, and in UK workplace pensions and retirement income. Our purpose is to improve the lives of our customers and create value for our shareholders. Through inclusive capitalism, we are investing in long-term assets, such as real estate and infrastructure, that can help build a better society for the future.

1Data as at 31 December 2023.