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University secures landmark finance deal as City Campus plans blaze a trail for ESG

University of Gloucestershire is one of the first universities in the UK to secure funding linked to its commitment to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals.

The University has secured £29million in ESG linked loans from Barclays that will contribute to supporting its ambitious City Campus development and ESG goals: to recruit a higher proportion of UK-domiciled young BAME students; widen access, engagement and participation for students from deprived areas; and to reduce gas and electricity CO2 emissions as part of its commitment to Net Zero by 2030.

The ESG monitoring metrics agreed by the University and Barclays will be annually assessed to ensure the University is making progress in fulfilling its ambitious targets.

The development of the former Debenhams building into an inclusive, diverse and modern University teaching and learning environment, City Campus, is part of significant plans to regenerate and revitalise Gloucester city centre.

City Campus nighttime CGI

As well as training the region’s future nurses and teachers, it is estimated that over its lifetime, City Campus will add over £300million of direct and indirect value to the county’s economy, as well as more than 4,000 jobs.

Camille Stallard, Chief Financial Officer at the University, said: “As a market leader in sustainability within the Higher Education, we’re always very happy to talk about our sustainability credentials and how we’re driving forward our ambition to reach Net Zero by 2030.

“In being prepared to sign up to the ESG linked financing, we’ve shown that as an organisation, we’re willing to put our money where our mouth is and that we will deliver on our commitments to decarbonisation.

“It is also a demonstration of our push to recruit a higher proportion of UK-domiciled young BAME students as well as widening access, engagement and participation for students from deprived areas, so they’re able to enjoy the benefits of attending university.”

Richard Robinson, Head of Education at Barclays Corporate Banking, said: “We are pleased to be supporting the university with their future growth plans through the provision of this sector-leading ESG-linked loan facility.

“This deal will allow us to play our part in helping the regeneration of Gloucester city centre and the future creation of jobs, as well as further underlining our ongoing commitment to the wider ESG agenda.”

As part of its decarbonisation drive, the University has also secured funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as part of its Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, delivered by Salix.

The scheme aims to put the public sector at the forefront of decarbonising buildings in the UK.

City Campus CGI daytime

The University announced in March that it had secured a funding award of £3.3million from the scheme that will allow for significant heat decarbonisation measures at City Campus.

In May 2021, the University was also awarded a £1.24million grant from the scheme towards a £1.35million project to decarbonise the heating systems and reduce gas and electricity consumption across two of its other campuses.

Salix Finance Programme Coordinator, Elise Sharpe, said: “We are delighted to see such incredible progress being made at the University and how this work is decarbonising the heating systems, reducing energy consumption across the campuses.

“It is part of the University’s bigger picture and will make a major contribution in meeting its net zero goals.”

In October 2021, the role that the new City Campus will play in regenerating the city was recognised when the Government announced Gloucester’s £20 million Levelling Up Fund Bid had been approved, with £11million earmarked for the University’s project.