Our journey to Net Zero | Reviewing 1200+ carbon saving actions

The University is committed to reducing carbon emissions from its operations as quickly as possible and Climate Action Plans (CAPs) are integral to our Net Zero ambitions. The Sustainability Team is pleased to share that as of May 2024, 35 of the University’s 42 Schools and Divisions are actively working on plans, detailing over 1270 carbon-saving actions that are either in the pipeline, in progress or complete. 

Each CAP is designed by members of the School or Division, enabling them to pinpoint areas of highest impact. By empowering teams in this way, the Sustainability Team can provide expert support where it’s needed and monitor progress over time.       

Actions are selected using an online climate action planning tool, under themes including buildings, circular economy, transport and advocacy, as well as newly added themes ‘research’ and ‘teaching & learning’. The planning tool, developed by the Sustainability Team in partnership with Net Positive Futures, then enables users to edit issues and actions, and upload evidence, based on their area of impact and influence. 

The Sustainability Team’s managers for Transport, Energy, Circular Economy and Sustainable Science review CAPs annually, and provide feedback to support implementation and continuous improvement of plans, as well as reporting back to the Strategy Monitoring and Implementation Group.  

The recent review process reveals 90% of Schools and Divisions have now nominated a coordinator, who typically organise a CAP group or committee, consisting of volunteer students and staff. It’s estimated that around 600 staff and students are involved in the initiative across the University. Several Schools have now also recruited sustainability officers to lead the process, including Geographical Sciences, Physics and the Medical School.  

Barra Mac Ruairi, Chief Property Officer and co-chair of the Sustainability Strategy Monitoring and Implementation Group said:  

“I’d like to thank everyone participating in the Climate Action Plans initiative at the University for your time and energy.  

These plans are critical to meeting our Net-Zero ambitions, and are mandated by the University’s Senior Leadership Team. They represent our collective efforts towards reducing our carbon footprint and building a more environmentally conscious community.  

To the handful of Schools and Divisions that are yet to establish a CAP, we eagerly anticipate your submissions and look forward to collaborating with you to achieve full coverage.  

Let’s continue to stay engaged as we implement and build on actions in the year ahead, ensuring we make a positive impact on our campus and beyond.”  

Professor Philip Taylor, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) and co-chair of the Sustainability Strategy Monitoring and Implementation Group said: 

“Climate action encompasses all areas of University activity, from research and learning to our buildings and travel. It’s really encouraging to see the level of engagement and impact across the University. Thanks to those playing a part in helping the University to reduce its environmental impact and work towards a more sustainable future.”

Find out more about the Climate Action Plans initiative.

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