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 (2015) environmental management certification.

Our annual sustainability reports provide our progress against KPIs and key projects. The 2019-2020 report highlights that we have been able to cut our Scope 1 emissions (direct including energy and our transport) by 46% since 2009/10 and have reduced waste generation 26% since 2009.  It provides details of improvements, actions and recommendations for students and staff to help take action to maximise our University's sustainable potential. In-depth analysis of our carbon footprint can be found here.

Everyone is responsible and has a part to play in achieving our target of reaching Net Zero by 2030. Have an ambitious Net Zero Carbon Plan illustrating the actions and investments we will take to eliminate the burning of fossil fuels in our operations and reducing our business travel emissions by 50%.  Our new Estates Strategy illustrates how we integrate sustainability into our buildings and  our Green Travel Plan illustrates how we are 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. Our corporate Sustainability Strategy is currently in development and is expected to launch in 2022/23.

Our Corporate Strategy 2030 states on page 20 that 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.”  In June the university also committed our teaching staff to include sustainability in their programmes. This is included in the Curriculum Framework. 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.

Sustainability Management Committee (SMC)

The governance of sustainability starts at the top. Our Sustainability Management Board (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 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 System (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.

Policies, Plans and Reports

Find how our core principles become reality.