Auditing

We undertake regular environmental audits of our operations and processes. Examples of these are highlighted below.

Waste management

Representatives from the School of Biological Sciences have led an approach to auditing their plastic usage with a view to eliminating avoidable single-use plastics in line with our commitment.

Leading a team of 30 technicians and students they have developed:

  • The 6R approach to plastic reduction (Refine, Reduce, Reuse, Refill, Replace, Recycle);
  • A savings quantification template;
  • Logos and a communication strategy for staff and students; and
  • A Standard Operating Procedure (6R SOP) for laboratory practical classes.

After applying the 6R SOP to 10 laboratory practical classes they have made a saving of over 37,000 plastic items per year. The team also surveyed the students who experienced the revised practical classes and 97% of the students supported the initiative.

We are currently developing the approach to apply to additional settings including research laboratories, the wider University campus and homes.

Travel and transport

Every two years a student and staff travel survey is carried out. The most recent survey was undertaken in June 2022 and we are awaiting the results of this.

Sustainable procurement

Over 1,000 of our suppliers have been audited through our supplier engagement tool. We also audit commodity areas and individual commodity strategies are currently being written.

Energy

Energy audits were carried out across campus in 2021.

Construction and refurbishment

Our Environmental Sustainability Advisors (ESAs) are responsible for conducting site audits at intervals during the construction phases of a project to ensure that the targets set during design stage are on track. We also assess our new construction and major refurbishments under the BREEAM certification scheme and BREEAM assessors are responsible for auditing performance in design and after construction.

Our contractors report their progress against key performance indicators to the University on a quarterly basis; these are monitored at progress meetings throughout the year. Contractors on University frameworks also provide information on innovations on site and good practice initiatives for knowledge sharing.

Waste data for all construction and refurbishment projects is collated on a quarterly basis and inputted into Greenstone carbon software.

Biodiversity

Biodiversity audits across the campus are being carried out in July 2022 and will be published here when completed.