Sustain Staffs-Web _Banner-2000x400px-Waste_Recycling

Environmental Sustainability Annual Review

Success is measured by the targets set in the Environmental Sustainability Strategic Framework which sets out a vision for 2030. 

Progress to date has been RAG rated RED, AMBER and GREEN by managers responsible for those areas. 

Of the 17 areas reported:

  • 10 are assessed as green, meaning that significant progress has been made towards the 2030 vision
  • 5 are amber, meaning that some progress has been made, but not as much as would be needed to achieve the 2030 vision
  • 2 are red, meaning actions need to be taken

Notable successes

Carbon emissions (scope 1 and 2) 

Emissions from gas and electricity consumption of the Stoke-on-Trent, Stafford and London campuses have decreased from 6033 tCO2e in 2017-18 to 4031 tCO2e in 2022-23.  The University is also forecasting to achieve the milestone KPI for 2023/24 of 3263 tCO2e set within the Strategy published in 2022.  There is an emerging potential to join the Stoke-on- Trent District Heat Network. 

Carbon literacy training 

The University has been accredited as a Bronze Carbon Literate Organisation (CLO) (achieved 2022)

Waste management and recycling

Operational waste (excluding construction waste) has reduced from 70kg per staff/student FTE in 2018/19 to 36.6kg per staff/student FTE in 2022/23.  100% of waste continues to be diverted from landfill.  The percentage of waste recycled has increased from 12% in 2018/19 to 33% in 2021/22.

Energy management

Overall energy consumption reduced from 22 MWh in 2017/18 to 18.7 MWh in 2022/23 

caring-environment
recyclingicon

Sustainable construction  

Targets are set by project, based on prevailing external benchmarks.  This approach was adopted for the design and build for the new Woodlands Nursery and Forest School which opened in 2023.  This approach resulted in a carbon neutral building.  The building has won two construction awards for its innovative approach to sustainability and contributing to a low carbon economy.  Benchmarks have been set for both the refurbishment and new-build elements of the new Student Village and Hub, which is currently out to procurement, with contract negotiations expected to be concluded in 2024. 

Biodiversity 

The principle of creating a Net Biodiversity Gain has been established and will be realised within the new Student Village and Hub project which will be completed in 2027.  Within other areas of the Stoke campus, the University has already created Net Biodiversity Gain since the baseline of 2018-19 by planting trees, hedging and wildflowers, and also through a project to re-wild a stretch of river on campus.  

Areas of concern

The red areas are Transport and Travel and Water Management.  Transport and Travel is because University staff and students remain heavily dependent upon cars for travel to and from University sites, with no obvious major improvements on the horizon. Water management is because of the historical issues with monitoring water consumption, which has been very poor, but which should improve from 2023-24 onwards. Without being able to monitor consumption accurately, it is not possible to propose or manage interventions.

2022/23 progress

Carbon emissions Scope 1 and 2

Measuring success

Reduction of Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions to net-zero by 2030

This is a Strategic Priority for the University within the Strategic Plan 2022-27 published in 2022

Progress to date

GREEN

Scope 1 and 2 emissions from gas and electricity consumption of Stoke-on-Trent, Stafford and London campuses have decreased from 6033 tCO2e in 2017-18 to 4031 tCO2e in 2022-23.

The University is also forecasting to achieve the milestone KPI for 2023/24 of 3623 tCO2e set within the Strategy published in 2022)

UN SDGs
E-WEB-Goal-07
E-WEB-Goal-13
E-WEB-Goal-11

Carbon literacy

Measuring success

To achieve the Platinum Award as a Carbon Literate Organisation (CLO) as part of the national Carbon Literacy Project by 2027.  This would require 80% of the University’s staff to be certified ‘carbon literate’.

Progress to date

GREEN

The University has been accredited as a Bronze Carbon Literate Organisation (CLO), (achieved 2022)

UN SDGs
E-WEB-Goal-13

Academic strategy: Teaching and learning

Measuring success

UN Sustainable Developments Goals (UN SDGs) embedded in all courses

Progress to date

AMBER

Embedding of the UN SDGs in all courses has started

UN SDGs

All UN SDGs, but specifically 13 Climate Action

E-WEB-Goal-13

Academic strategy: Research

Measuring success

Achieving a high ranking within the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings by 2030 – place TBC confirmed after 2023 submission and results.

Progress to date

GREEN

The University made its first submission to the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings in 2022. The overall rank was 601-800 (out of 1591 institutions)

UN SDGs
E-WEB-Goal-03
E-WEB-Goal-04
E-WEB-Goal-16
E-WEB-Goal-07
E-WEB-Goal-12

Enterprise

Measuring success

All enterprise projects, including student start-ups, monitor their carbon and contribute to the transition to a low carbon economy by 2030

Progress to date

AMBER

The Enterprise team has embedded net zero into bids and evaluation reports for all projects from 2023

UN SDGs

E-WEB-Goal-07
E-WEB-Goal-11

Transport and Travel

Measuring success

Reducing the carbon footprint of staff and student travel by 50% by 2030

Progress to date

RED

The baseline carbon emissions for student and staff travel within the UK (commuting to and from the campuses) have been quantified in 2022 as:

  • Staff commuting 1,500 t CO2e
  • Student commuting 4,800 tCO2e

In 2021/22, business travel per head was £191/per staff FTE for UK travel and £88/per staff FTE international travel.  This was higher than 2020/21 (which was particularly affected by the pandemic), but still lower than the pre-pandemic levels.

Sustainable consumption (procurement)

Measuring success

Increasing value of impactable spend (as %) with SMEs to 55% in 2023/24.

Increasing value of impactable spend (as %) with organisations with ST postcodes to 13% by 2023/24 and 20% by 2026/27 (this is a University strategic KPI).

Reducing the emissions associated with influenceable activity (including estates and facilities, information technology’ laboratories and professional services).

Progress to date

AMBER

The value of impactable spend (as %) with SMEs was 56% in 2022/3, a 15% improvement over 2020/21.

The value of impactable spend (as %) with organisations with ST postcodes was 27% compared to a target of 12% for 2022-23. 

UN SDGs
E-WEB-Goal-12

Sustainable consumption (food and drink)

Measuring success

The University is aiming to become ‘Fairtrade’ accredited by 2024

Progress to date

GREEN

Achieving ‘Fairtrade’ accreditation is on track for 2024

UN SDGs
E-WEB-Goal-12

Waste management and recycling

Measuring success

The target is to reduce Operational waste (excluding construction waste) to 30kg per staff/student FTE in 2025/26.

100% of waste will continue to be diverted from landfill.

The percentage of waste recycled will increase to 60% by 2025/26

Progress to date

GREEN

Operational waste (excluding construction waste) has reduced from 70kg per staff/student FTE in 2018/19 to 36.6kg per staff/student FTE in 2022/23.

100% of waste continues to be diverted from landfill.

The percentage of waste recycled has increased from 12% in 2018/19 to 38% in 2022/23

UN SDGs
E-WEB-Goal-12
E-WEB-Goal-13

Energy management

Measuring success

Increase in the % of energy taken from renewable sources to 100% by 2030.

33% reduction of annual building energy consumption per square metre of gross internal area (GIA) by 2030.

Reduction of energy consumption per full-time equivalent student/staff by 2030 in relation to a baseline year of 2018/19.

Reduction of Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions to net-zero by 2030.

Progress to date

GREEN

Scope 1 and 2 emissions from gas and electricity consumption of Stoke-on-Trent, Stafford and London campuses have decreased from 6033 tCO2e in 2017-18 to 4031 tCO2e in 2022-23.

The University is also forecasting to achieve the milestone KPI for 2023/24 of 3623 tCO2e set within the Strategy published in 2022).

Water management

Measuring success

Reducing water consumption in both residential and non-residential buildings

Progress to date

RED

A baseline will be established in 2023-24. There has been a problem with the accuracy of water metering

UN SDGs
E-WEB-Goal-06

Sustainable construction

Measuring success

Targets are set by project, based on prevailing external benchmarks

Progress to date

GREEN

This approach was adopted for the design and build for the new Woodlands Nursery and Forest School which opened in 2023. This approach resulted in a carbon neutral building. The building has won two construction awards for its innovative approach to sustainability and contributing to a low carbon economy.

Benchmarks have been set for both the refurbishment and new-build elements of the new Student Village and Hub, which is currently out to procurement, with contract negotiations expected to be concluded in 2024.

Phase 1 of the new Student Village and the Hub are expected to open in 2026.

UN SDGs
E-WEB-Goal-07
E-WEB-Goal-11

Biodiversity

Measuring success

Measuring and ensuring Net Biodiversity Gain (NBG) with each new development

Progress to date

GREEN

The principle of creating a Net Biodiversity Gain has been established and will be realised within the new Student Village and Hub project which will be completed in 2027.

Within other areas of the Stoke campus, the University has already created Net Biodiversity Gain since the baseline of 2018-19 by planting trees, hedging and wildflowers, and also through a project to re-wild a stretch of river on campus.

UN SDGs
E-WEB-Goal-15
E-WEB-Goal-13

Staff and student engagement

Measuring success

The University will run at least one major sustainability campaign each semester, for example, Sustainability week.

Progress to date

GREEN

There have been initiatives involving staff and students in each of 2021 (opportunity to pitch for funding for Sustainability Projects) and 2022 (Welcome Week challenges), and 2023.

Communities

Measuring success

To be known in the communities with which we work for being leaders in sustainability and carbon reduction and to create real impact.

Progress to date

AMBER

The Woodlands Forest School opened in 2022 and has and starting to provide environmental and biodiversity awareness training and nature experiences for primary school children. The University is taking part in a Department for Education pilot around biodiversity education for school children.

The University is working with Stoke City Council on the possibility of joining the District Heat Network in the future

UN SDGs
E-WEB-Goal-07
E-WEB-Goal-11
E-WEB-Goal-13

Collaborative Academic Partnerships

Progress to date

GREEN

The University runs a quarterly meeting with Sustainability Managers from UK collaborative academic partners to share updates and best practice.

UN SDGs
E-WEB-Goal-13

Responsible investment

Measuring success

Reduce the carbon intensity of funds in which University money is invested, either directly or indirectly.

Progress to date

AMBER

The University has started to engage with organisations who handle and invest on behalf of the University, either directly or indirectly

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