The University of Plymouth is continuing to play a world-leading role in sustainability research, education and practices.
Its biennial Sustainability Report features details of national and regional award successes as well as efforts taken on its campus to reduce emissions and promote energy-saving initiatives.
It also includes ways in which the University has contributed to national and international thinking and policy on sustainability issues, along with details of new partnerships and collaborations established since the last report in 2016.
The report, prepared in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards, provides a review of sustainability performance from August 2016 to July 2018 and outlines how the University is meeting the commitments made in its Sustainability Plan.
Among the successes highlighted in the report are:
- Influencing Government policy in the UK and abroad, for example, through the work of the International Marine Litter Research Unit on microplastics;
- Achieving a 42% reduction in CO2 emissions from gas and electricity since the base year (1990), and being on track to achieve an interim target of a 43% reduction by 2020;
- Winning a third Guardian University Award in six years for NursusTOOLKIT, with the Plymouth Law Clinic winning the 'Best Contribution by a Law School' category at the annual LawWorks and Attorney General Student Pro Bono Awards;
- Embedding an aspect of sustainability content or pedagogical approach within over 65% of academic programmes, and signing up to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Accord;
- Reducing our reliance on single-use plastics, with a reduction in use of over 10,000 disposable cups between February and September 2018, and becoming part of regional and national programmes such as the Plymouth Plan for Plastics;
- Maintaining its three-star rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association;
- Gaining recognition from UNESCO, with Professor Iain Stewart MBE being awarded a UNESCO Chair in Geoscience and Society.
Writing in the report Professor Judith Petts CBE, Vice-Chancellor of the University, said:
“Sustainability is at the heart of the University’s refreshed strategy. And we continue to be recognised as leaders and innovators in higher education for our approach to this, across teaching and learning, research, and our operations. This was again demonstrated when we received the Guardian University Award for Sustainability in 2018 for NurSusTOOLKIT, and that we are now making this teaching resource freely available to educators across Europe is testament to the way we seek to inspire others to become beacons for change.”
Dr Samantha Davies, Environmental and Sustainability Manager, added:
“This report demonstrates the positive changes we have made on our campus, reducing our current and future impacts on the environment. But it also shows how our innovation and research is having positive effects in the local community and globally. That will always form a major part of our objectives, as will encouraging our students and staff to include sustainable practices in both their professional and personal lives.”