Sustainability Strategy

Information on strategy, policy, the Sustainability Management Board, and our Environmental Management System.

Here at the University of Greenwich we are always looking at ways to better our impact on the planet. We're were recently ranked as one of the world's top 75 universities for climate action so it's a topic we are passionate about. Pledging to be Net Zero by 2030 further affirms our commitment to move in the right direction and take action to ensure the planet is well looked after

Prof Jane Harrington, Vice-Chancellor

We strive to make significant improvements in all areas where we have an impact or influence, driven by our Sustainability Policy. We have a policy consultation every two years, with an annual sign off by our Vice-Chancellor and is audited as part of our ISO 104001 environmental management certification.  Our annual sustainability reports provide our progress against KPIs and key projects.

The overarching Corporate Strategy; This is Our Time reflects our responsibility from the Vice-Chancellor in delivering sustainability across teaching, research and operations. The Curriculum Framework, launched in 2020, pushes for this teaching, embedding sustainability across all disciplines so our students know how their skills can solve the global challenges of today, and tomorrow.

The university will create a green and sustainable university and actively encourage and support sustainable development and principles of sustainable learning and teaching practice in curriculum development and delivery.

This is Our Time Corporate Strategy, Page 20

In recognising our own impacts as a University, our ambitious Net Zero by 2030 strategic plan commits us in bringing down our carbon footprint by eliminating the burning of fossil fuels in our operations in addition to reducing our business travel emissions by 50%. An in-depth analysis of our carbon footprint can be found here.

Our Estates Strategy builds from the concept of net zero in how we integrate sustainability into our buildings with our Green Travel Plan helping our staff and students make greener and healthier travel choices.  Visit our dedicated blog's page to see how our consultation processes take place, with the Corporate Sustainability Strategy currently in development and is expected to launch in 2023/24.

This document highlights examples of some of the key strategy areas we deliver against and includes KPI’s we seek to achieve.   You will find our sustainable policies, plans and annual reports at the bottom of this page.

We know that sustainability cannot be delivered unless we create effective partnerships with stakeholders from within the university to a global level. We work closely with the Partnership Hub and this work illustrates how the university has played an active role engaging and motivating local partners and university staff to create more sustainable communities.

Sustainability Management Committee (SMC)

The governance of sustainability starts at the top. Our Sustainability Management Committee (SMC) is chaired by Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Andrew Westby, who has written a signatory of intent.  The group has representatives across our Faculties and Directorates at a senior level for a collaborative approach to sustainable development. One of the elected Students' Union Officers will be present to ensure everyone has an equal voice in making strategic decisions regarding sustainability at Greenwich. The Terms of Reference provides how the group operates.  The group will review KPIs and ensure policies are met.  Sub-committees for specific areas are established, and overall it provides opportunities for information, innovations, ideas and proposals from all areas to the Senior Management Team.

The university provides funding for the staffing and delivery of projects within the Sustainability Team, including ecosystems services, circular economy, carbon efficiency and engagement.  In recognition of our increasing focus on sustainability an additional, and significant capital plan strategic fund* with a multi-year time frame, awarding £500K per year, has been created. In 2020-21 this has been used to fund the Net Zero Carbon Action Plan plus an almost £500K investment in intelligent energy saving heaters in our Avery Hill Halls. *Note this strategic investment pot will be reviewed at point of award against the operational and financial environment at that time.

Environmental Management Systems (EMS)

Our Estates & Facilities Directorate (EFD) is proud to operate to international ISO14001:2015 (Environmental Management) standards.  IS14001 is a voluntary international standard set through environmental management systems (EMS) to reduce impact and risk.

An EMS is a set of processes and practices that enable organisations to reduce environmental impacts, increase operating efficiency and integrate sustainability thinking into operations.  It requires senior leadership in addition to operational innovation and collaborations to allow developments without overusing limited resources.  This includes waste, energy and utilities, transport, construction, training, legal requirements, emergency plans and natural grounds management.

Our EMS allows us to increase cost savings and efficiency, reduce environmental risks and ensure collaboration occurs between staff. Where issues occur, ‘non-conformances’ are raised that require corrective action to route cause, ensuring the issues do not arise again in the future.  We have a team of staff and students (contact us if you want to join) who conduct internal audits to our processes to an annual programme.  Externally, surveillance audits occur annually, with a full re-accreditation compliance audit every three years done against strict criteria.  We have been accredited since 2012.

Useful Sustainability Links

  • Our Ethical & Long-term Investment Policy (All investments must be made on bases that are consistent with the mission and values of the University, and the current strategic plan.  The policy details how the University will not invest directly in a number of companies whose business relates to a number of industries, including fossil fuels).
  • Our Treasury Management Policy (Treasury management encompasses the management of the institution’s cash flow, banking, and capital market transactions, the effective control of risk associated with these activities, and the pursuit of optimum performance consistent with that risk).
  • Our Press Release on the Divestment from Fossil Fuels
  • Green travel to and from our campuses, with the Green Travel Plan 2022-27 setting our sights on improving fleet vehicles, business travel and commuting to set us on a path towards net zero carbon by 2030.
  • Medway Sustainable Development Goals

Policies and Reports

Find how our core principles become reality.

Policies & Action Plans