Going Net Zero
We are working to be carbon Net Zero by 2030.
What is Net Zero?
Net Zero carbon is about a balance between the carbon we emit and the carbon we take out of the atmosphere. It means we drive down our emissions as much as possible – leaving the minimum remainder to offset.
Absolute zero emissions is technically and financially out of reach for most organisations, so Net Zero is the next best thing.
Net Zero ranking
Students Organising for Sustainability (SOS UK) have a new Net Zero ranking that keeps track of how universities are driving down emissions. As a leader and pioneer of sustainability in Higher Education, our University is in the top tier of their Carbon Targets assessment.
View the full Carbon Net Zero Strategy, and 2023 addendum to this policy, and find out more about the many ways in which the University is playing its part in tackling the global climate emergency on our sustainability website.
Why are we going Net Zero?
We need to drive action to minimise the most dangerous levels of climate change, in line with scientific advice.
The Paris Agreement aims to limit global warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels or ideally 1.5°C. The UK committed to cut at least 55% in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.
Where are we starting from?
Our previous Carbon Strategy (2010-2020) achieved a fantastic 47% drop in emissions by 2019, overshooting our target of 40% by 2020 (against the 2005 baseline for scope 1 and 2 emissions).
We start from a strong place but we need to make deeper, harder cuts now – tackling the full scope of our emissions.
What’s the plan?
We will fund projects to achieve % cuts (on our 2018/19 baseline) across the 3 ‘scopes’ of our emissions up to 2030.
We know that our University could grow over the next 10 years, which would increase our emissions – so our plan has factored this in:
Scope 1 – 33% cut
Scope 1 emissions are direct emissions mainly from onsite combustion of oil and gas for heat and hot water, but scope 1 also includes fuel for UoG owned vehicles. To achieve percentage cuts in this area, we will:
- Replace 80% of gas boilers with electric heating
- Install electric heating at our new City Campus
- Improve building controls to minimise gas use
Scope 2 – 32% cut
Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions mainly from offsite combustion through the purchase of grid electricity. To achieve percentage cuts in this area, we will:
- Improve building controls to cut electricity use
- Convert the final 25% of our estate to LED lights
- Install new solar PV capacity at existing campuses
- Deliver energy efficiency projects in our IT services
Scope 3 – 3% cut (travel), 34% cut (procurement)
Scope 3 emissions are all other indirect emissions including staff and student travel, waste, water consumption and supply chain emissions through purchasing. To achieve percentage cuts in this area, we will:
- Support lower carbon travel for staff and students
- Support less travel through blended work and study
- Make more carbon-efficient project spend decisions
- Choose lower carbon products and services with suppliers
What are the benefits of the plan?
- Cleaner, greener, more energy efficient campuses to be proud of
- Confidence that we have played our part in tackling climate change
- Savings on rising energy costs and future offsetting costs or carbon taxes
- Improved health from lower carbon travel and better local air quality