Our sustainability plan

Becoming a sustainable university

To achieve our big goal to be a sustainable university, we have a three-point plan covering: 

  • campus operations 
  • teaching and learning 
  • research.

We have a big responsibility to reduce our impact on the planet, ensuring that our students are educated for sustainable development, and to research the solutions to the world's most pressing sustainability problems. 

Our sustainability strategy is led by the Sustainable Advisory Group who meet on a quarterly basis and are a subcommittee of the University Executive Group. The chair of this board is the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering who is joined by other senior colleagues across our departments including, but not limited to, Estates and Facilities. Students can get involved via their elected UPSU President. This group reviews all sustainability policies.

In the first semester of 2021 we will be introducing a sustainability champions network for students and staff, enabling the University community to feedback, improve and engage others on all things green. Our sustainability champions will learn how they can be greener as well as their faculty through individual and team activities and events with chances to win prizes along the way.

A sustainable campus

To become a sustainable campus, we want to:

  • reduce carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050
  • reduce water consumption to below 3.3m3 per student by 2020
  • recycle 70 per cent of waste by 2020 and reduce waste to 20kg or less per student
  • deliver a sustainable campus infrastructure, with all construction projects achieving our sustainability standards and all refurbishment projects achieving SKA Gold
  • reduce average business travel to below 0.28gCO2e per mile by 2020
  • monitor student and staff commuting emissions compared to a 2016-17 baseline of 641 KgCO2e per staff member, and 202 KgCO2e per student
  • maximise biodiversity on campus compared to 2011 levels and find opportunities to create green environments
  • create a sustainable food culture, providing Fairtrade products where possible and working with local food partners to increase the demand and supply of seasonal, local and organic food
  • embed sustainable procurement by ensuring the University purchases from socially, ethically and environmentally responsible businesses
  • deliver a sustainable campus infrastructure – including all construction and refurbishment projects
  • support the community and local, regional and social enterprise through business community partnerships.

Education for sustainable development 

To become a sustainable education provider we will:

  • provide education for sustainable development
  • develop the education potential for sustainable development by enriching learning across the formal and non-formal curriculum 
  • promote and advance education for sustainable development research in relation to enhancing the student and staff experience and building a more sustainable university
  • advance and articulate the central role of education and learning in furthering the University's cross-institutional sustainability agenda - and in relation to our sustainability leadership and profile in the HE sector.

Sustainability research 

To deliver sustainability research solutions, we will:

  • undertake substantial sustainability research to deliver solutions to the world's most pressing sustainability problems
  • facilitate internal communications and enhance internal research interaction for sustainability
  • promote sustainability research, making the Sustainable Earth Institute the single point of contact for organisations wanting to engage with the University on sustainability. We also want to increase the impact of sustainability research
  • support understanding of multi-disciplinary funding. Identify and communicate funding opportunities and support teams and their project ideas for sustainability research.

Plans and policies

Please see our Policies page for our action plan, policies and sustainability reports.