Carbon reduction has been a driver across the higher education sector since 2007/08 when the higher education carbon management programme was launched to reduce carbon and develop carbon management plans to help universities meet target reductions.

We have had an absolute carbon reduction target of 40% reduction by 2020 (based on a 2007/08 baseline) since 2009. This target was agreed by senior management and the University Board of Governors. We have reduced carbon emissions by 37% (2018/19 figures) from baseline.

This target has been superseded by our commitment to Manchester's climate change target for zero carbon by 2038:-


The University of Manchester believes that Manchester should stay within a science-based carbon budget that is aligned with the Paris Agreement and set 2038 as the target date to become a zero carbon city.

The University of Manchester believes that all organisations and residents in Manchester need to be part of a collective effort to meet our targets and commits to contribute by:

  • Acting now, including accelerating our existing decarbonisation activities, wherever possible.
  • Taking responsibility for the CO2 emissions from our business activities and working to reduce them to zero by 2038.
  • Supporting and influencing others to take action.
  • Defining the support we need and proactively asking for it, including asking politicians for policy changes wherever relevant.

Work to progress the University towards our zero carbon target is currently underway, with the following principles agreed:-

  1. We will make urgent reductions in the first five years, reducing carbon emissions from a 2018 baseline of 54,000 tCO2 to at least 21,000 tCO2 by 2025.
  2. All members of the University of Manchester community will understand the problem of climate change in order to make better decisions in their working lives.
  3. The carbon impact of University activities is part of all strategic decision-making.

The Carbon Action Group is currently developing a series of initiatives and interventions, and will report into The Environmental Sustainability Committee.

We are perfectly placed to support the UK in reducing carbon emissions, from the operations of our research, our teaching, our people and our estate.

We are at the forefront of the search for solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems, including carbon reduction and climate change, and we are pioneering the energy systems of the future so that we can continue to heat our homes, light our buildings and travel.

We are delighted to announce a significant step-change in our move towards sustainable forms of energy at the University. Working in partnership with our energy brokers we have been able to switch our commitment towards 100% renewable energy.


Did you know?

The University of Manchester is the first university in the world to have been recognised as a carbon literate organisation.