Environmental sustainability strategy and policy

The Environmental Sustainability Team's priorities have been agreed for the 2021/22 academic year.

Environmental sustainability strategy

We report on our progress against our Environmental Sustainability Strategy to the Policy and Resources Committee each year (last reported 9 November 2021).

For food related strategy, please visit the food page.

Our Future

Our Future, the University's vision and strategic plan, states that "we will be recognised globally for the excellence of our people, research, learning and innovation, and for the benefits we bring to society and the environment."

To gauge our progress towards our vision, we have identified eight measures of success. One of the eight measures of success is "carbon reduction: we will align to the city's decarbonisation pathway and 2038 target for zero carbon."

Social Responsibility: A five-year plan

Environmental sustainability is a central part of our Social Responsibility Plan which outlines the following commitments:

  • Sustainability platform. We will create a new platform to bring together, advance impact and share knowledge about the University's most significant research on environmental sustainability and climate change (2021-2025).
  • Zero carbon. We will develop a zero carbon pathway to support our transition towards a zero carbon campus, and will develop measures to ensure our campus is resilient to the changing climate.
  • Single-use plastics. We will develop an action plan to support delivery of our commitment to eliminate avoidable single-use plastics across catering, stationery and labs (by 2022).
  • ClimateCare. We will develop and agree strategic partnerships to engage staff, students, alumni and other communities in responsible schemes to support proven natural solutions to capture carbon, restore the natural world and enhance environmental sustainability. Local, national and international partners will be identified and targets agreed (by 2021).

Environmental sustainability policies

Environmental sustainability plans


We have ended our investments in coal, oil and gas and reduced the carbon intensity of our investments by 37%. Our 2021 Responsible Investment Report confirms that we have ended investment in fossil fuel companies and has exceeded our target of reducing the carbon intensity of our other holdings.

In 2020 we set out our new Policy for Socially Responsible Investment in which we promised to divest from fossil fuel companies and go further – by gradually decarbonising our entire investment portfolio.

The 2021 update confirms this divestment and that we have exceeded our 30% carbon intensity reduction target, achieving a 37% reduction. The ambition is to reduce this to net zero by 2038 at the latest, in alignment with the University’s and city’s overall zero carbon commitments. Our targets to 2027 (baseline year 2019) are:

• 50% reduction in the weighted average carbon intensity of the public equity allocation by 2027
• 40% reduction in the weighted average carbon intensity of the fixed income allocation by 2027
• 10% reduction in energy consumption and 100% renewable energy use in the property allocation by 2027.

The report also confirms that we have no holdings in companies producing tobacco, controversial weapons and those with the lowest environmental, social and governance rating.