Corporate Social Responsibility

1. The University of London was founded for public benefit, to promote education and knowledge, and to provide an institution open to all, irrespective of race, creed or political belief. It was a pioneering institution in making higher education available to women and those unable to pursue traditional forms of study. The University seeks to replicate this commitment to the academic enterprise, and to wider society, through all of its operations and activities.

2. The University endeavours to conduct its business in accordance with the seven principles identified by the Committee on Standards in Public Life (selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership – also known as the Nolan Principles) and complies with the duty in section 17 of the Charities Act 2011, to have due regard to the public benefit guidance published by the Charity Commission for England and Wales.

3. The University of London’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Policy sets out the guiding principles by which the organisation is run in order to fulfil its core mission. This Policy brings together the ways in which the University ensures, at a corporate level, that its activities are carried out ethically, sustainably and for the public benefit.

4. The CSR Policy is made up of three central pillars:

People and Community

The University as an employer

5. The University of London is committed to being a good employer, and to contributing positively to the local community, the education sector in the UK, and the global community. 

6. As an employer the University is committed to ensuring that all staff are fully supported in their work, have a decent working environment, are fairly rewarded, and maintain a good work-life balance. The University engages with recognised Trade Unions that represent and protect the interests of its staff. The University offers competitive terms and conditions to its directly employed staff and ensures its contractors do the same for their workforce.

7. The University also encourages and supports staff to engage in activities that benefit the wider community and society.

8. In order to achieve this, the University commits to:

  • embedding equality and diversity into all operations
  • paying the London Living Wage
  • encouraging payroll giving, fund raising and other charitable activities
  • allowing staff time for civic and public duties
  • ensuring staff can achieve their full potential through training, mentoring and other staff development activities
  • enabling new ways of working to allow staff to achieve a better work-life balance where practical
  • offering bicycle and public transport loans
  • achieving the highest practical standards of health and safety for our staff, students, contractors and visitors

Local Community

9. The University of London is a major landlord, tenant and employer in the local community with considerable operations in Bloomsbury, Camden and Westminster. It opens up events and facilities to the public and participates in specific community engagement projects.

10. In support of this the University commits to:

  • involving the local community in all major planning applications
  • inviting the community to make use of the estate, services and buildings where appropriate
  • encouraging activities with a community benefit
  • encouraging staff to volunteer in the local community

University Halls of Residence

11. The University aims to provide a secure, supportive and friendly environment in which its residents can live and study. Students are encouraged to participate in the community and learn to be self directed and self-disciplined in behaviour. The Halls of Residence should be an environment for the development of personal, social, academic and cultural interests and skills.


12. The University is the custodian of many historic and heritage buildings. While ensuring the historic importance of the estate is protected, the University is also committed maintaining and enhancing its property to ensure that the environment is fit for the highest academic achievement.

Freedom of Expression

13. As an academic institution the University encourages debate and discussion, and supports the right of peaceful protest where this does not threaten the health and safety of staff, students or visitors, and does not infringe upon others’ rights to freedom of expression and association.

Finance and Economic Activity

14. The University recognises the way in which it conducts its activity financially has a bearing on those with an interest in its work. The University’s Financial Regulations apply the Nolan Principles of Public Life to inform policy, practice and guidance to members of the university to ensure fair and ethical financial practice.

15. The University’s financial activity is undertaken with reference to the following guidance and policies:

  • conflict of interest guidance (Appendix C, section 5 of the Financial Regulations and the University Conflict of Interest Policy)
  • a hospitality register and guidance on expenses (section 8.4 of the Financial Regulations and the University Conflict of Interest Policy)
  • a clear whistle-blowing procedure (Ordinance 23 – Public Interest Disclosure)

16. As part of their conditions of employment all staff are required to follow such policies to ensure the University conducts its activity in appropriate fashion.

17. The University also commits to the following as a good organisational citizen:  

  • providing clear information where required to organisations with whom we engage financially
  • incorporating CSR considerations in tender submission reviews from potential suppliers
  • furthering the use of e-invoicing and using electronic data to reduce paper use

Environmental Sustainability

18. The University of London recognises environmental sustainability as the greatest challenge of the 21st century and commits to ensuring that all of its major strategies and operations consider their environmental and ecological aspects and impacts. The University will:

  • ensure that sustainable development is understood by staff and students and is an integral part of all aspects of major university plans, activities and strategy
  • implement a Carbon Management Plan that aims to achieve carbon savings of 43% (from a 2010 baseline) by 2020 and 80% by 2050 in line with national targets
  • develop a total waste management strategy to reduce waste and increase recycling
  • implement a Sustainable Building Specification to ensure that all future University developments reach high standards for sustainability
  • implement a Fairtrade and Sustainable Food Policy
  • encourage staff to travel using sustainable forms of transport through the promotion of cycling, walking and public transport
  • maintain compliance with all relevant UK and EU legislative requirements and aim to achieve ISO14001 as the minimum standard for environmental management
  • ensure continuous improvement and prevention of pollution on all major environmental aspects and impacts through establishing objectives, targets and policies and procedures to achieve them

19 March 2014

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