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University of Gloucestershire commits to net zero carbon emissions by 2030

The University of Gloucestershire has today announced its plans to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

A pioneer and leader of sustainability in higher education and the region, the University’s previous carbon strategy (2010-2020) achieved a 47% drop in emissions by 2019 that rose to 63% by 2020 – surpassing its target of 40% by 2020. It had already fully divested from fossil fuels in May 2018 and these credentials helped the University to become the UK’s most sustainable university in the People and Planet League 2019.

Ahead of COP26 (31 October – 12 November), where world leaders will discuss attempts to tackle climate change, the University has reaffirmed its commitment to addressing the global emergency by announcing a comprehensive action plan to reduce its carbon footprint to net zero by 2030.

The University’s Net Zero Strategy includes the replacement of gas boilers with electric heating, improved building controls to reduce gas and electricity use, new solar PV capacity and completion of LED lighting installation across the estate.

Staff and students will be supported to choose the lowest carbon mode of travel, create innovative and educational options for lower carbon field trips and study visits, and enhance understanding through curriculum projects and research into carbon reduction solutions and climate change adaptation.

When purchasing goods and services, the University will work with suppliers and contractors to find more carbon-efficient project spend decisions and choose lower carbon products including in the design and construction of the new City Campus in Gloucester.

Benefits of the measures that the University is taking include greener and more energy efficient campuses, savings on energy costs, and improved health from lower carbon travel and better air quality for the wider community.

Stephen Marston, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire, said:

“We start from a strong place thanks to our previous Carbon Strategy achieving a more than 60 per cent drop in emissions, but undoubtedly we now need to go further. This will be even more important as the University looks to grow its student numbers and course offer in the coming years. The climate emergency means there is absolutely no time to stand still and, with the help of our students, staff and partners, we’re determined to contribute meaningfully to tackling this global crisis.”

Director of Sustainability at the University of Gloucestershire, Dr Alex Ryan, added: “Students Organising for Sustainability (SOS UK) have a new Net Zero ranking that will keep track of how universities are doing. We’re proud to have led the way on this agenda in the Higher Education sector, and our new Net Zero Strategy takes us into the top tier of this ranking.

“While others may seek to achieve net zero by carbon offsetting, our plan is aimed at making a real difference in driving down our emissions, and educating and influencing others to do the same. We will continue to be active in local and regional forums to combine and amplify our efforts, including joint initiatives focused on lower carbon transport and innovative carbon projects.

“Our ambitions, however, go far beyond Net Zero. From educating change agents who will be the sustainability leaders of the future to collaborating on research that will inform and influence climate change action and policy, we’re focusing on all elements of the triple bottom line of society, environment and economy. That’s the only way to drive real change.”