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Plans and policies

Find out how we're keeping our commitment to our planet, and how we plan to meet our sustainability goals.

Our policies

Climate response

Lead

Sally McGill, Chief Financial Officer and Deputy Chief Executive and Executive Lead for Sustainability.

Approval

Approved by University Executive Board 6 June 2023 and by the University’s Sustainability and Resources Committee 13 June 2023

UN SDGs

11 Sustainable Cities and Communities, 13 Climate Action

Policy

Staffordshire University is committed to understanding the changes which are taking place within the climate and developing appropriate responses to manage the risks arising from climate change and to respond to any opportunities.  The University recognises, that, as an anchor institution in at least one location, it has obligations to work in a collaborative manner with other agencies and organisations to share experience and expertise.  The University also has to consider the international dimension of climate change.

Policy Aims

The policy is to set out how the University will plan for climate change including responding to and management risks and opportunities as they arise.

Policy Objectives

Staffordshire University undertakes to ensure that the organisation:

  • Has senior leadership that understands climate change will have implications for delivery of critical functions and services.
  • Has senior leadership that understands climate change may present opportunities for agile organisations.
  • Has someone who is officially responsible for identifying potential climate risks and opportunities (the Chief Financial Officer, in associated with the Senior Leadership Team of the University)

The University will recognise climate related risks and responses within the High-Level Register

The University will:

  • Dedicate resources to undertake regular climate change risk and opportunities assessments through the Senior Leadership team.
  • Consider the impact of past extreme weather events (e.g., amount of disruption, cost of damage).
  • Remain aware of the relevant climate change projections for England and the region.
  • Understands how projected changes in climate may positively and negatively influence delivery of critical functions and services.

The University will adopt a plan which:

  • Has a clear understanding of the proactive measures that are needed to address climate change risks and realise opportunities.
  • Has established relationships with other organisations that need to be involved in implementation (e.g., Council, adjacent landowners).
  • Has allocated appropriate resources to finance and implement the measures.
  • Has established a process for monitoring implementation progress and reviewing effectiveness.

Climate related risks are categorised into two groups: physical and transitional. The University will identify, assess, and manage climate-related risks to help stakeholders and others understand how we are impacted by the climate crisis and their own sustainability. When assessing the likelihood of a physical or transitional risk materialising, we will consider factors such as whether the risk or a comparable risk has occurred in the past, and our ability to prevent and manage the risk from happening effectively.

Environmental Sustainability

Lead

Sally McGill, Chief Financial Officer & Deputy Chief Executive and Executive Lead for Sustainability

Approval

Approved by University Executive Board 6 June 2023 and by the University’s Sustainability and Resources Committee 13 June 2023

UN SDGs

7 Affordable and Clean Energy, 13 Climate Action, 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities, 12 Responsible Consumption and Production, 6 Clean Water and Sanitation, 15 Life on Land

Policy

Revised May 2023

The University’s Environmental Sustainability Policy is part of the University’s response to Environmental, Societal and Governance (ESG) issues, and is guided by the principles of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

As a civic anchor institution, the University has a responsibility as a guardian of its own and the wider physical environment.

We recognise the potential environmental impacts of all of our activities including teaching, research and commercial activities, and the implications of developing and operating within our physical locations, including energy consumption and carbon emissions.  We specifically recognise the impact on the environment of our activities beyond energy generation and consumption, that is our Scope 3 emissions, including waste and recycling, water consumption, procurement and transport and travel.

Policy Aims

We are committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030 (scope 1 and 2 emissions), and by 2050 for scope, as well as achieving major change in environmental sustainability through research, innovation and enterprise and student and civic engagement.

Policy Objectives

1.    We will take an environmentally sustainable approach to all University activities and operations, including following our Sustainable Procurement Policy

2.    We will improve the environmental awareness of all students and staff and help them identify and reduce their environmental impact.  Promote good environmental policies and practices to students, staff and other stakeholders in all of the locations in which we operate.  We will follow our Student and Staff Engagement in Sustainability Policy.

3.    We will embed social responsibility in our Academic Strategy, including making a substantial difference to thought leadership and action in environmental sustainability.  We will:

a.    give all students opportunities to engage and reflect on issues of environmental sustainability within their programme.

b.    create research, innovation and enterprise outputs and impacts in the areas of environmental sustainability and climate change including contributing to the development of renewable energy sources.

4.    In relation to consumption, lifestyle and workstyle, we will continue to prioritise approaches which:

a.    reduce the consumption of fossil fuels used for travel through our Sustainable Travel Policy

b.    reduce consumption of other physical resources, including water in line with our Water Management Policy

c.     reduce waste, and recycle that waste, wherever possible, including food waste through our Waste and Recycling Management policy.

d.    use sustainable and renewable resources, where consumption is necessary, in line with our Sustainable Procurement Policy

e.    source catering supplies from ethical suppliers which seek to minimise their own impact on the environment in line with our Sustainable Consumption (Food and Drink) Policy

f.     promote the use of more sustainable modes of transport, where travel is unavoidable, in line with our Sustainable Travel Plan

5.    Within the built environment, we will

a.    reduce energy consumption in line with our Energy Management Policy

b.    increase the proportion of energy from on-site renewable sources as part of our Carbon Reduction Plan for scopes 1 and 2.

c.     minimise the level of embedded carbon (i.e., carbon emissions created in the manufacture of an item) within new buildings on a project-by-project basis with reference to external standards (which are developing and changing over time)

d.    invest in making the estate more energy efficient by improving the fabric of buildings and the equipment within them, as well as looking at the way that we operate them.

e.    increase biodiversity and green spaces both as part of new developments but also on an on-going basis, in line with our Biodiversity Policy

f.     use off-setting to reduce the carbon footprint to net zero, only once all the options have been considered.

6.    As part of our commitment to our local communities, we will:

a.    work with wider groups of people beyond the University to encourage sustainable development, specifically through our research, innovation and enterprise and student and civic engagement.

b.    embed environmental sustainability in our procurement processes and work with our suppliers to achieve more sustainable outcomes through our Sustainable Procurement Policy. 

7.    We will work with sector and other external bodies to understand developments within the multiple strands of Environmental Sustainability to help us to develop good practice and to achieve continuous improvements.

Transport and Travel

Leads

Helen Rutherford, Head of Sustainable Campus Operations 

Approval

Approved by University Executive Board 6 June 2023 and by the University’s Sustainability and Resources Committee 13 June 2023

UN SDGs

11. Sustainable Cities and Communities

Policy

The policy provides an overview to illustrate how the University will meet its aim to actively manage student and staff related travel associated with the University.

It highlights the need for increased awareness of the impact of business travel and commuting to the University and our carbon reduction commitments.  

This policy is to clarify the variety of different aspects and impacts of student and staff travel within the university, how these are both managed and minimised where possible and to reflect the commitments set out in the University's Environmental Sustainability Policy and the University’s Strategic Plan.

Policy Aims

Staffordshire University is a multi-campus and multi-site University, our Stoke on Trent campus is within the 2 miles of the larger towns within the Stoke area and is exposed to significant road traffic, which can impact on the efficiency of car and bus travel in the area. The campus is located less than half a mile of the railway station, but with limited local services, a number of students and staff are not able to utilise this service, limited bus services within the Stoke area, also reduce the ability of students to use public transport to commute to the University.

The policy aims to encourage more active and environmentally friendly decisions when making transport choices. It also seeks to assist the surrounding communities, local authorities and the global impact by reducing traffic congestion and the associated harmful effects on the environment from single car usage and higher carbon emitting modes of travel.

Sustainability within the University

It is widely understood that whilst travel and transport can have a negative impact on the environment, through carbon emissions and reducing air quality in the local area, we need to enable students and staff to travel to our campus for teaching.

By providing adequate information on alternative travel options to encourage behaviour change we can reduce these environmental impacts, without compromising the student experience on campus.

Measuring and monitoring the carbon emissions associated with travel will enable the University to report on carbon emissions and demonstrate reductions in carbon emissions through changes in travel behaviour.

Travel and UN Sustainable Development Goals

While developed countries such as the UK have relatively advanced alternative travel and transport options at a national level, locally this remains a challenge, due a wide range of personal requirements in relation to travel. As a university, we must remain aware of the level of resource consumption and ensure that is managed is a sustainable way, within the scope of our responsibility. This will assist with the delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

University Transport

The University has made a commitment to reduce the impact of our operational travel, and in 2023 created an electrified fleet for maintenance and estates vehicles. This is aligned to the creation of an electric vehicle charging infrastructure on both our Stoke-on-Trent and Stafford campus.

Estates and Commercial Services will move from the use of diesel to petrol vehicles, in preparation for the government legislation of ceasing the production of combustion engine vehicles from 2030.

Accurate and robust reporting of carbon emissions from across the University in relation to business mileage will be created, using data from a variety of sources, including:

  • Mileage claims
  • Fuel car usage
  • Use of external travel booking systems

By effectively managing offsite business travel, encouraging multi-occupancy vehicles and utilising shared vehicles, we can reduce the impacts of these critical business trips.

We will review the operational effectiveness of using hire vehicles for business rated trips and journeys, to reduce environmental impacts and reduce the reliance on a potentially aging grey fleet of vehicles.

Low carbon travel options when booking travel will be encouraged and this will move to a mandatory requirement.

Staff Travel – Commuting

Encouraging the use of alternative commuting methods, reducing single occupancy cars and continuing to allow a flexible hybrid working pattern, carbon associated with staff commuting can be reduced.

Staff can use the electric vehicle charging infrastructure whilst on campus, at a competitive rate, to encourage the use of electric vehicles.

The University offers and publicises discounted public transport options, which will continue.

We will continue to use annual staff surveys to record commuting behaviours and carbon associated within these journeys.

Our parking provision and the approval of parking permits will remain limited to staff located more than two miles from our campuses, to encourage the use of alternative transport methods and encourage more active travel options.

Student Travel – Commuting

Encouraging the use of alternative commuting methods and reducing single occupancy cars for student commuting aims to reduce carbon emissions, however the University is aware of the other demands placed on students who are reliant on their cars and would not look to detriment any student through the restriction of car use.

Students can use the electric vehicle charging infrastructure whilst on campus, at a competitive rate, to encourage the use of electric vehicles.

The University offers and publicises discounted public transport tickets, including local buses and national rail services which will continue.

The University provides free inter-site travel for students between transport hubs and our campus, to reduce the requirement for students and staff to bring cars on to campus, not only reducing the environmental impacts, but the financial burden placed on students in relation to travel.

Our parking provision and the approval of parking permits will remain limited to students located more than two miles from our campuses, to encourage the use of alternative transport methods and encourage more active travel options.

International Travel

In line with the University’s International Policy, carbon associated with international travel, the University will continue to recruit a certain proportion of international students to our taught and research programmes as we believe that they bring diversity to the life and work of our University, to the local communities in which our campuses are located and to the regions to which we contribute.  We will encourage international students to minimise the number of flights they take during the course of their studies.

We will continue to develop international collaborative academic partnerships in key regions, including the possibility of exchange of students for periods of study between the University and the partner (in both directions).  We will minimise the amount of incidental travel associated with management of these relationships and will use digital means of communication where possible.  We do recognise that, to maintain good relationships with partners, a certain amount of travel will be needed.

We will support our students in their aspirations to live, study and work abroad, and will encourage them to minimise the number of flights taken and to prioritise rail travel over air travel within Europe.

We will develop a hybrid approach to the delivery of some of our programmes, including digital and on-line learning, which will allow us to expand our international education offering in a less carbon intensive manner.

We will support our research academics to pursue collaborative research projects with overseas partners and will encourage them to minimise the number of flights taken and to prioritise rail travel over air travel within Europe.  We will work within potential carbon budgets for travel which may be imposed by funders.

In the event of the University being subject to external carbon emission ‘budgets restrictions’, we will analyse the cost/benefit of international academic activities when deciding how much carbon to allocate to these activities.

Financial Implications

By effectively managing and reporting on the environment impacts of business-related travel, we will aim to reduce the financial impacts on the university through these essential journeys.

We will review and interrogate the journeys which are taken, and the travel mode chosen, to encourage the use of public transport and discourage single occupancy journeys. A cost versus carbon analysis of journeys will be undertaken, to demonstrate the comparable savings which can be made through alternative travel options.

Policy Objectives

Staffordshire University is committed to:

  • making sustainable travel the norm for our students and staff, by improving connections whilst travelling within our campus and to and from our campuses.
  • Monitoring carbon emission related to university travel and reducing carbon emissions.
  • minimise parking demands through the delivery of alternative sustainable travel and transport options.
  • reducing the need to travel for university related activities.
  • monitoring and reporting on student and staff commuting and travel behaviour.
  • identifying areas of improvement and aspects of behaviour change
  • challenging travel options and optimising the procurement of low carbon travel options.
  • providing appropriate facilities and information to increase the use of low carbon travel options to students, staff, and visitors.

Sustainable Procurement 

Lead

Nigel Peake, Head of Strategic Sustainable Procurement

Approval

Approved by University Executive Board 6 June 2023 and by the University’s Sustainability and Resources Committee 13 June 2023

UN SDGs

12 Responsible Consumption and Production

Policy

This Sustainable Procurement Policy has been developed to ensure that all staff involved in the procurement of goods and services within the University routinely consider how we can enhance and protect our shared environment, contribute to the health and well-being of society and build a sustainable economy through our procurement decisions.

This policy outlines the following:

  • The six priority issues the Procurement Department will always consider as part of our procurement decisions and which we will promote to devolved departments (and other decision-makers) who have delegated authority to make certain purchases
  • The related statements of action as outlined in our Procurement Strategy
  • The principles Procurement will follow to support the delivery of this policy.

The Policy has been developed alongside, and is aligned to, the University’s objectives and values. 

Policy Objectives

Sustainable procurement to Staffordshire University means routinely considering the environmental, social (including equality) and economic opportunities and impacts of purchasing decisions, whilst at the same time considering a long-term view.

Given the range and scale of sustainability issues which are potentially relevant to Staffordshire University, the Sustainable Procurement Policy has identified six priority issues which will be considered in all procurement decisions and which Procurement will promote to devolved departments (and other decision-makers) who have delegated authority to make certain purchases.

The issues have been prioritised because they make a significant contribution environmentally, socially and economically to the University, our key stakeholders, our suppliers and the local community.

As well as the consideration of these priorities in our procurement processes, we will ensure that a risk-based approach is used to identify and to manage any significant environmental, social and economic considerations which are unique to any individual product or service procured by the University.

Key to success in implementing this policy and delivering progress against the six priority issues will be to work in collaboration with the University’s suppliers.  The University has already the NetPositives tool which provides a focus for collaboration with suppliers.

The six priority issues are:

  1. Minimise the use of non-renewable and limited natural resources in our procurement choices and throughout our supply chain.
  2. Effectively reduce and manage waste in the supply chain.
  3. Effectively manage the delivery of goods and services to the University
  4. Support the management of our carbon impact.
  5. Work with our suppliers and with university colleagues to raise awareness of sustainability and building a more sustainable economy.
  6. Ensure that ethical considerations such as Fairtrade, Modern Slavery and a living wage are considered in our procurement practices.
Priorities in detail

For each of the priorities we have identified why it is a priority for the University and detailed some specific considerations.

Minimise the use of non-renewable and limited natural resources in our procurement choices and throughout our supply chain

People and communities are reliant on a readily available supply of limited natural resources to sustain life itself – water being a perfect example. There is pressure on many of these resources caused by increased consumption, resource-hungry manufacturing processes and inefficient use. A commitment to optimising the use of these vital resources is a pre-requisite for any socially responsible institution.

We will:

    • Encourage our suppliers to reduce any reliance on non-renewable or limited resources within their production processes.
    • Systematically reduce the use of unsustainable materials e.g., unsustainable timber
    • Systematically reduce the use of virgin materials

Where appropriate we will purchase from suppliers who subscribe to scheme and standards that demonstrate these principles, e.g., Soil Association

Effectively reduce and manage waste in the supply chain

It is widely recognised that the cost of waste management and disposal will continue to rise.  It is also recognised by the University that any sort of waste, whether or not it can be recycled, is in itself contrary to the principles of sustainability.  By effectively managing the production and flows of waste within our supply chain we can save money and reduce the negative environmental and social issues associated with waste.

We will:

    • Manage and reduce the amount of packaging related to the products we purchase (including promotion of recycled packaging)
    • Promote the procurement of recycled products.
    • Promote product options which generate less waste (either through their production or use)
    • Promote the recycling of products internally, for example reusing furniture and fixtures and fittings.
    • Promote the purchase of items which can be more easily recycled at the end of their useful life.

Effectively manage the delivery of goods and services to the University

The University is a major employer.  In the place where we live it is important that we consider the environmental and health related issues, such as air quality, associated with transporting our goods and services. 

We will:

    • Manage the scheduling of deliveries to reduce the impact on the local environment. 
    • Reduce the overall volume of deliveries to the University through our procurement practices.
    • Engage with local stakeholders to promote our commitment to reducing traffic congestion within the local area.

Support the management of our carbon impact.

The integration of the consideration of carbon into our procurement processes is essential if we are to meet our stated carbon targets, and we will work with our colleagues to achieve this.  

We will:

    • Embed energy efficiency criteria in university-wide contracts as these are re-let.
    • Promote the procurement of energy efficient equipment (particularly within laboratories)
    • Promote the use of suppliers that have accredited environmental management systems such as ISO14001.

Work with our suppliers and with University colleagues to raise awareness of sustainability in building a more sustainable economy

As a large local employer with a wide-ranging supply chain, we can have a significant positive impact environmentally, socially and economically.  Whilst value for money is a key part of our Procurement Strategy, we also understand that a sustainable supply chain will help us deliver excellence for the University and support the local economy.

We will:

    • Support our suppliers’ understanding of sustainability and sustainable procurement.
    • Explore opportunities to increase the number of local businesses, including SMEs and larger organisations, within our supply chain.
    • Encourage our suppliers to implement mechanisms to monitor and communicate their sustainability performance and that of their wider supply chains.

Ensure that ethical considerations such as Fairtrade, Modern Slavery and anti-bribery are fundamental to our procurement practices.

Social and ethical considerations are an important part of our social responsibility as a high-profile employer and purchaser. Working with our supply chain, we make decisions for the benefit of individuals and communities locally and globally.

We will:

    • Promote health and safety practices both on our site and throughout our supply chain.
    • Work with suppliers to promote relevant and recognised certification which support workers in the supply chain, such as Fairtrade.
    • Work with our suppliers to understand their supply chains in order to avoid unethical practices including modern slavery.
Statement of Action in our Procurement Strategy

We have identified the following statements of action which are relevant to this Sustainable Procurement Policy. It is through delivering these statements of action that we will ensure the effective delivery of our Sustainable Procurement Policy.

We will:

  • engage with colleagues to ensure sustainability considerations (environmental, social and economic) are considered.
  • prioritise our supplier management activity on those suppliers willing and able to partner and innovate to deliver sustainable value and, in turn, promote growth with those suppliers. 
  • by working with colleagues, raise the awareness of sustainable procurement and influence the development of specifications to ensure they contribute to the delivery of sustainable objectives.
  • deliver training and guidance to equip staff with the right skills, knowledge and tools to effectively identify risk in the University’s supply chains. 
  • analyse relevant indices and supplier data to ensure our risk identification and management is informed by sound data and information. 
  • 6.revise our supplier management processes to increase emphasis on the identification and effective management of risk in our supply chains (considering what is feasible, affordable and manageable).
  • work with key suppliers to ensure that embedding sustainability considerations becomes ‘business as usual’, through supplier education, contract terms and supplier management activities.
  • promote those preferred suppliers who have the best sustainability credentials, and where practical, establish agreements that offer environmentally preferable products.
  • adopt and promote codes of conduct where these assist in the management of identified risk.
How we will deliver this policy

There are three key guiding principles which will support the effective delivery of the Sustainable Procurement Policy.  We will ensure these principles are embedded into Procurement thinking and action.

  • Principle 1: Communicating and Learning: We will share good practice and communicate sustainable procurement initiatives. We will seek ideas from others to continually improve our performance.
  • Principle 2: Partnering and Engaging: We will partner with internal and external stakeholders to effectively deliver our sustainable procurement objectives. It is by working with colleagues that we shall maximise the impacts of the Sustainable Procurement Policy.
  • Principle 3: Measuring and Reporting: We will ensure we regularly monitor and report on our progress against this policy.  We will continue to use the Flexible Framework and NetPositive Futures toolkits to benchmark our performance with colleagues within the sector and beyond.

Sustainable Consumption - Food and Drink 

Lead

Helen Rutherford, Head of Sustainable Campus Operations

Approval

Approved by University Executive Board 6 June 2023 and by the University’s Sustainability and Resources Committee 13 June 2023

UN SDGs

12 Responsible Consumption and Production

Policy

In developing this Sustainable Consumption Policy, the University is aiming to support its catering outlets by providing customers with a more sustainable and ethical experience.

This policy applies to all University catering outlets on all sites including Stoke, Centre for Health Innovation at Stafford and Staffordshire University London.

Policy Objectives
Accreditations
  • The University will work towards accreditation as a ‘Fairtrade’ organisation, ensuring that products are traded fairly throughout the supply chain.
  • Ensure that we provide fish from sustainable sources, purchasing products which are accredited by the Marine Conservation Society
  • Ensure that animal welfare standards are adhered to, purchasing Red Tractor Assured products as a minimum.
  • Purchase products which are accredited by the Soil Association.
More sustainable approach
  • Promote the consumption of more plant-based foods by ensuring that plant-based foods are always available.
  • Reduce food wastage through the management of the food purchased and prepared for sale in each outlet each day.
  • Ensure that excess food, wherever possible, is handled correctly to allow it to be distributed or sold locally.
  • Source food and other products locally where possible, to reduce ‘food miles.
Choice of packaging
  • Do not sell any single use plastic bottles of water.  Reduce the use of plastic bottles for other drinks.
  • Provide ‘plumbed in’ drinking sources in all University food outlets and buildings.
  • Offer reasonably priced reusable containers for water and hot and cold drinks.
  • Use plant-based packaging for takeaway food, along with plant-based cutlery.
Engagement with customers
  • Communicate our commitment to sustainable food and drink to our customers, staff and suppliers.
  • Engage with customers, staff and suppliers to bring in new innovations to make the catering outlets more sustainable.

Waste Management

Lead

Helen Rutherford, Head of Sustainable Campus Operations

Approval

Approved by University Executive Board 6 June 2023 and by the University’s Sustainability and Resources Committee 13 June 2023

UN SDGs

12 Responsible Consumption and Production

Policy

Revised May 2023

The policy provides an overview to illustrate how the University will meet its aim to actively manage waste produced on site, through the reduction of waste produced and a focus on increasing re-use and recycling on site.

It highlights the need for increased awareness of waste management across the University and creates focus actions areas.

Policy Aims

This policy is to clarify the variety of different aspects and requirements of waste management that takes place at the University and to reflect the commitments set out in the University's Environmental Sustainability Policy and the University’s Strategic Plan.

Policy Objectives

Staffordshire University generated 563 tonnes of waste per year in 2022 (not including construction related waste), equivalent to 0.05 tonnes per FTE staff and student. The environmental impact of waste and waste management is well documented, and the University has a duty and responsibility to correct manage and minimise waste it generates.

Sustainability within the University

It is widely understood that waste and recycling is a key concern of students and staff at the university, as this an aspect of their personal environmental impact which they can directly affect. By providing adequate recycling and waste provisions across the University’s sites, to encourage behaviour change and increase recycling rates on campus, we can directly tackle environmental issues and demonstrate the University’s commitment to being more environmentally friendly.

Waste and UN Sustainable Development Goals

While developed countries such as the UK have relatively good waste management practices, recent events have exposed the interconnected nature of global waste markets, and the reliance on developing countries as a destination for recyclable waste. Meanwhile unsustainable levels of resource consumption and disposal threaten the ability of the world to manage its resources in a way which is both in keeping with the delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and which prevents far-reaching and lasting effects on global ecosystems, in particular the oceans.

Financial Implications

By managing waste effectively on our campuses, we can reduce the financial burden on the university presented by disposing of waste. There are wider financial implications associated with transportation and storage of waste, as well as purchasing consumables and other resources. A move to a more sustainable model of resource management would look to increase efficiency and hope to drive innovation.

Legal Obligations

The University has a legal responsibility to ensure that any waste removed from the University premises is stored, transported and disposed of without harming the environment.

This is called the 'Duty of Care'. Part of the Duty of Care is a commitment to the principles of the ‘waste hierarchy’. Managing waste in accordance with best practice ensures a reduction in the likelihood of enforcement-related costs or fines to the University, as well as associated reputational damage.

Policy Objectives and Principles

Staffordshire University is committed to:

  • ensuring compliance with all relevant legislation and regulations associated with our activities, and where possible, to exceed requirements.

  • establishing waste related objectives and targets and report on progress annually

  • applying the Waste Hierarchy when making decisions.

    • to firstly consider prevention, then
    • reuse or preparing for reuse,
    • then recycling (which includes anaerobic digestion),
    • followed by other methods of recovery such as energy recovery, before disposal (landfill)
    • remain zero to landfill for scheduled, non-hazardous waste.
    • reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill, in particular waste that can be reused, recycled or recovered by improving recycling facilities and communication.
    • reviewing materials used and sold at the University, including packaging, and seeking to ensure products can be reused or recycled (preferably closed loop) wherever possible, in order to contribute to a circular economy.
    • raising awareness amongst staff, students and visitors through improved communication and involvement, talks, seminars, campaigns and initiatives
    • Eliminate avoidable single use plastics on campus. 

Energy Management

Lead

Helen Rutherford, Head of Sustainable Campus Operations 

Approval

Approved by University Executive Board 6 June 2023 and by the University’s Sustainability and Resources Committee 13 June 2023

UN SDGs

7 Affordable and Clean Energy

Policy

Staffordshire University is committed to proactive energy management measures which, in addition to meeting all legal requirements and approved codes of practice, aim to aim to minimise energy wastage and optimise the use of low carbon and renewable energy sources.

Policy Aims

This policy aims to direct how energy is managed and monitored at the University, how wastage is kept to a minimum and how the use of low carbon and renewable technologies can be optimised at the University.

This policy reflects the commitments set out in the University's Environmental Policy.

Policy Objectives

Staffordshire University is committed to:

  • Comply with all relevant legal and legislative requirements relating to energy use, consumption and efficiency.

  • Monitor and report on energy consumption and carbon emissions.

  • Identify areas of significant energy use at the University in order to set appropriate objectives, targets and action plans designed to reduce energy waste.

  • Support the purchase of energy efficient products and services as outlined in the Sustainable Purchasing Policy.

  • Develop a programme of preventative maintenance to maintain and optimise the energy efficiency of installed building services.

  • Optimise the procurement and generation of energy from low carbon and renewable sources.

  • Minimise the energy used in conditioning the internal building environment, whilst maintaining workplace temperatures at a reasonable level.

  • When carrying out refurbishment programmes to properties, improve the fabric of the building, as well as introducing other energy savings mechanisms.

  • Take a ‘fabric first’ approach to all new builds and look at other technical solutions to create low carbon buildings, in line with the Sustainable Construction policy.

  • Where the University occupies property managed by third parties, ensure that the supplier is aware of university policies.

  • Work with the operators of those properties to achieve the same standards as would be expected if the property were managed by the University.

Water Management

Lead

Helen Rutherford, Head of Sustainable Campus Operations 

Approval

Approved by University Executive Board 6 June 2023 and by the University’s Sustainability and Resources Committee 13 June 2023

UN SDGs

6 Clean Water and Sanitation

Policy Objectives

The University’s objectives for water management are to:

  • Ensure that the University’s water supply is managed appropriately.

  • Ensure that wastewater is handled appropriately.

  • Reduce water consumption within health and safety guidelines.

This policy applies to all University sites including the Centre for Health Innovation, Stafford and Staffordshire University London.  Where the water supply is provided through a management arrangement with a third party, the University will work with the third party to achieve the same outcomes.

Legal requirements

Water supply and waste will be managed in line with the University’s statutory obligations which include the University’s compliance with the provision of a healthy water supply including regular testing and reporting.  This area of compliance is overseen by the University’s Health and Safety Committee and reported to the Board of Governors via Sustainability and Resources Committee.

Management of water supply

The University will work with the water supplier to ensure that all water supplies are metered and monitored accurately.

There will be a process for identifying, communicating, managing and repairing leaks as soon as they occur.

Plumbed in drinking water supplies will be provided within all University buildings,

Reduction of consumption

The University will introduce mechanical and digital methods to reduce water usage.

Reducing and managing water consumption and waste will be considered as part of all refurbishments and new build projects.

The University will work with students, staff and visitors to reduce consumption through awareness of water usage.

Water within the public realm

In order to reduce health and safety risks, and the threat of damage to property, we will ensure that rainwater is managed appropriately through groundworks and water management systems including swales and water features.

Sustainable Construction

Lead

Ian Quayle, Assistant Director of Estates and Commercial Services

Approval

Approved by University Executive Board 6 June 2023 and by the University’s Sustainability and Resources Committee 13 June 2023

UN SDGs

7 Affordable and Clean Energy

Policy

The policy is to clarify that sustainable construction guidelines will be adhered to during the development of new buildings and major refurbishment works.

Policy Objectives

Each project will be considered individually, in the context of factors such as site-specific characteristics and building function, as well as emerging technologies, construction methods and materials. However, all new projects will target industry-leading energy performance standards and implement recommended methodology to increase accuracy of predicted performance in design and minimise performance gap in operation.

Staffordshire University is committed to:

Take a fabric first approach, focussing on the use of high-quality materials and construction methods to reduce energy consumption.

For New Buildings - any new construction project or campus development:

  • Set targets for carbon emissions during demolition and construction including the recycling and disposal of waste and excess materials.
  • Set specific targets for carbon emissions in operation, to be agreed with the main contractor and included in contract documentation.
  • To set those targets on a project-by-project basis, with reference to the latest external professional sources of guidance
  • Energy Performance Certificate of A or better
  • Implement an individual Building Management System
  • Set clear expectations on the way that new buildings and facilities will be used including identifying activities which would not be allowed in order to manage energy demand.
  • Set standard for the energy efficiency levels of any equipment to be installed within a new building or facility.
  • Commit to a long settling in period, monitoring consumption and making changes in operations to achieve the most efficient patterns of consumption.

For Major building refurbishments:

  • At least one full grade improvement to Display Energy Certificate.
  • Set standard for the energy efficiency levels of any equipment to be installed within the refurbished building or facility.
  • Incorporate zonal power controls where possible.

Biodiversity

Lead

Ian Quayle, Assistant Director of Estates and Commercial Services

Approval

Approved by University Executive Board 6 June 2023 and by the University’s Sustainability and Resources Committee 13 June 2023

UN SDGs

15 Life on Land, 13 Climate Action

Policy

Biological diversity is the variety of life on Earth (plants and animals) at the ecosystem, species and genetic levels. Biodiversity is essential for healthy ecosystem functioning and is directly valuable to human society for economic and cultural reasons.

Biodiversity is declining worldwide and must be conserved and enhanced to provide a sound basis for human survival and progress.

Given our commitment to teaching and learning and research in the environmental sciences, our commitment to the communities who live and work near our campuses and with campuses containing significant biodiversity resources, Staffordshire University will take a lead in promoting biodiversity conservation and improvement on its own estate, and more widely, wherever possible.

Policy Aims

The policy aims to protect and where possible enhance local biodiversity within the management of the existing estate, as well as a new development.

Policy Objectives

Staffordshire University is committed to:

  • Ensure compliance with statutory biodiversity obligations and alignment with other University policies.

  • Protect and enhance biodiversity on the University estate by the application of environmentally friendly management techniques.

  • Avoid or limit the use of environmentally damaging substances, materials and processes, e.g., by minimising the use of pesticides.

  • Plant native herbs, shrubs and trees wherever possible and provide habitat and corridors for animals, e.g., nesting sites, ‘bug hotels’, pollinator plants etc.

  • Take into account biodiversity needs, including pollution prevention, in investments, procurement, planning and design, new-build and construction, servicing of equipment and maintenance of buildings and outdoor spaces.

  • Create new greenspace where possible and ensure ecological connectivity both on campus and by linking to the external green space network to our spaces.

  • Use biodiversity to promote healthy living and well-being through enhancement and use of species-rich outdoor amenity areas.

  • Minimise the impacts of university functioning and developments on biodiversity, by consideration of alternatives, applying mitigation measures and compensating for modifying effects.

  • Raise awareness of biodiversity conservation internally among staff and students in order to mainstream biodiversity thinking in decision-making at all levels.

  • Integrate education on our relationship to biodiversity (or more broadly our place within nature/sustainable actions) within the curriculum

  • Understand the relationship between the University’s Climate Changes Response and Risk Management Policy and biodiversity

  • Communicate the University’s work in this area to external audiences so as to raise and enhance the University’s profile, with benefits for public image, professional esteem and student recruitment, as well as providing a positive inspiring example of acting on the moral imperative.

  • Partnerships:

    • Use the deep pool of staff, student and community expertise (specifically our civic fellows and our many other strong community connections including local schools and college expertise) to assist with biodiversity assessment and conservation action.
    • Take into account community needs when making decisions on biodiversity actions/interventions that could affect public spaces
    • Access external funding for biodiversity and natural resources management, and partner with relevant external bodies including volunteer groups to deliver biodiversity enhancements.

Responsible investment

Lead

Sally McGill, Chief Financial Officer and Deputy Chief Executive and Executive Lead for Sustainability.

Approval

Approved by University Executive Board 6 June 2023 and by the University’s Sustainability and Resources Committee 13 June 2023

UN SDGs

7 Affordable and Clean Energy, 13 Climate Action

Policy

This policy is part of the University’s wider approach to ESG.  Staffordshire University is committed to creating change through its investment policy, recognising that it is only through the appropriate use of global capital that solutions to the climate crisis, environmental sustainability and societal issues will be found.

Investment decisions are approved by Sustainability and Resources Committee, which includes student representation.

Policy Aims

The policy sets out how the University will make decision around investments and banking.  The policy will take a wide definition of investment and banking including:

  1. Investment portfolios (endowments) – managed through an external investment manager and with governance coming from Sustainability and Resources Committee who would appoint that investment manager and have oversight of their performance.

    Staffordshire University does not currently have an endowment fund

  2. Short term cash deposits – with banks and other ‘money market’ organisations – managed by the University’s treasury manager, and overseen by Sustainability and Resources Committee

  3. Pension fund assets held on behalf of employees.  For Staffordshire University this includes LGPS – a multi-employer defined benefit scheme, and the Aviva Master Trust – a multi-employer Defined Contribution fund, managed through Mercers, the University’s actuaries.

  4. Banking and other transactional services.  The University’s current bankers are Lloyds

Policy Objectives

The objectives of this policy are to not only screen out unethical investments, but to also increase the proportion of funds invested in low carbon investments.  The University will use its influence, through its investment power, to assist a just transition to a low carbon economy.  The University recognises that the emphasis should be on supporting funds which are actively pursuing a decarbonisation strategy, rather than a ‘mass disinvestment’ strategy.

  • All investment decisions must be based on good business principles, balancing risk and reward, and understanding the balance between the two.
  • The University will understand the risk profile of any potential funds, and will remain within limits considered to be reasonable.  For short-term deposits, these are set out in the University’s treasury policy.
  • The University will not invest directly in the following areas, and will ask fund managers to screen out these types of investments:
      1. Fossil fuel companies
      2. Arms companies
      3. Border industry companies
      4. Companies in violation of international law
  • The University will pursue active investment strategies and set expectations for investment managers, even where the assets are not within the direct control of the University (eg pension funds).  The approach will be to ask the investment managers to report regularly on their compliance with the following investment strategies:
      1. Decarbonisation – tracking the carbon intensity of the portfolio and seeing it reducing over time
      2. Investing in net zero – seeking out positive opportunities
      3. Activism – engaging with investee companies and influencing to bring about change, and divesting if change is not happening as promised
  • Engage with the main banking provider to understand their investment strategies and position on ESG
  • Engage with the Students Union, the student body and the staff to explain the policy, especially one which favours decarbonisation over mass disinvestment
in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021