The Sustainability team here at the University of London work to bring staff and students across the University and federation together to tackle issues surrounding climate change and the environment.
The University manages a wide range of services, including student accommodation and Senate House Library. It is of great importance to us that we continue to improve the environmental performance of our estate and operations while increasing positive action toward a sustainable future among our staff, students and visitors.
We also run Reduce the Juice, an ambitious behaviour change programme for halls of residence, which uses competitions, challenges and webinars to encourage students to save energy, save water and reduce waste.
The University of London Sustainability team is responsible for improving the sustainable performance of the University and to lead on the delivery of the University’s strategic aim to ‘build on cutting edge sustainability practices, working towards our zero operational carbon target.
Through the management of four key sustainable delivery areas: Carbon Emissions; Resources; Nature; and Knowledge/Engagement the team works collaboratively across all levels of the University to promote good awareness of UoL’s sustainability goals and ensure statutory requirements and best practice are incorporated into projects, activities and management decision making.
Bees at Senate House.
Beehives on the roof
Targeting Zero Carbon
Reducing CO2 emissions
Encouraging Sustainable Travel
Cultivating green spaces in our estate
Supporting sustainable food produce
Reducing the waste that we produce
The Sustainability team
Natalie Isaac (Head of Sustainability)
Natalie leads the University’s drive to improve its sustainability performance across all its activities. Along with being responsible for the delivery of our net zero operational target, Natalie enjoys managing a committed and passionate team who work collaboratively across the University and with external stakeholders to ensure statutory requirements and best practice are incorporated into projects, activities and management decision-making.
Maddie Reason (Sustainability Engagement Officer)
Maddie is driving behaviour change and ensuring that our sustainability work reaches as large an audience as possible. Maddie is responsible for the management of our award winning Reduce the Juice programme that drives positive sustainability behaviour here at the university and across our partnered universities. She is also responsible for running the Staff Sustainability Champions Network a group of staff motivated to make the University a more sustainable organisation.
The University is working toward the aspirational target of reaching net zero operational carbon by 2036, the University’s 200th anniversary.
To develop our overall strategy, we hosted over 200 people from higher education, local government, architecture and design at Senate House in 2018.
We heard from London Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy Shirley Rodrigues and a number of leading Universities, architects, engineers and academics about some exemplar zero carbon projects and the challenges that they faced.
Following the event the University created the Zero Carbon Estates Handbook, bringing together all the learning from the day alongside the first draft of our zero carbon strategy. A copy of the handbook can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.
Here at the University of London, we aim to be leaders in the sector when it comes to having positive direct and indirect impacts on Biodiversity.
The roof of our Institute of Advanced Legal Studies building is home to four beehives which pollinate much of central London. Staff have the opportunity to get involved with our annual beekeeper training course, getting hands of with our hives, and having an introduction to the basics of beekeeping.
The University of London owns and manages a large amount of green space in Bloomsbury and the Sustainability team want to ensure these spaces help urban biodiversity thrive.
We’re currently working towards the Hedgehog Friendly Campus Bronze Award and one of the initiatives was to run a small mammal survey in our grounds. This was to see if we already have a hedgehog population and what other wildlife may have made our green spaces home. Unfortunately, no hedgehogs were found but plenty of other small mammals were and we’re working towards making UoL a safer environment for all wildlife.
For further information and resources on hedgehogs please visit the British Hedgehog Preservation Society.
Over the next few years, the University will start its journey to green Bloomsbury, aiming to Improve our green spaces and increase the number of green roofs, walls, gardens and insect hotels in the area. The university is excited to work with a wide variety of local residents and stakeholders on this project.
Reduce the Juice is a sustainability engagement programme which started here at the University of London. Through face-to-face engagements, social media campaigns and live data sharing we encourage residents in student halls to save energy, save water and reduce waste.
Following the success in our own Intercollegiate Halls the project has continued to grow and we now run it in 46 student halls in five Universities across the UK. As well as driving the short term savings the project strives to embed long term behaviour change through the network of Sustainability Ambassadors we train in all of the halls we work in.
If you would like to run Reduce the Juice on your campus or are a student looking to get involved please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Staff from all over the University of London have been contributing to the University’s sustainability progress through our Sustainability Champions network.
Our Sustainability Champions network allows staff to come up with their own sustainability initiatives, help develop the University’s projects, and make their offices sustainable, rewarding places to work.
The Staff champions network returned in 2021. If you are a member of staff who would like to get involved please email email@example.com
The University of London, are responsible for the procurement and provision of catering services for a number of catering outlets, hospitality and halls of residence in the Bloomsbury area and some satellite sites.
Through staff, and student engagement, we have successfully managed to increase the uptake of sustainable food choices and increase awareness regarding the impacts of food and food waste.
We work closely with our suppliers to ensure our food is sourced locally where possible and ensure that seasonal menus are in place.
Our catering has also received the Bronze Food for Life award from the Soil Association. We also ensure we use red tractor meat products, free range eggs and a wide range of fair trade products.
University of London staff have cycled over 5500 miles during 2017, saving over 1300 kg of CO2 emissions. Travel plays a key part in our sustainability strategy and we are placing focus our staff commutes, business travel and commercial and distribution mileage.
We can count on one hand the number of staff that drive into work, largely due to our excellent location, but also the excellent facilities, from secure cycle parking to modern shower facilities, within our estates to enable a larger uptake of cycling.
We are currently working on a Travel Plan for the University, setting clear targets to help reduce the impact the University has on the environment through its transport and travel.
Through a variety of initiatives, including the use of Warp-It, our Staff Champions and Reduce the Juice Project, we have increased our recycling rates from 52% in 2017 to 65% in 2020.
We are now setting the ambitious target of achieving a recycling rate of 80% and are also working with our waste contractors to set targets to reduce our total waste output.
Sustainable procurement is at the heart of the University’s approach to sustainability. Reducing the impact of the products and services used in our estates and facilities will enable us to reach our 2036 aspirational goal of becoming a net zero operational carbon University.
The University of London seeks to make sustainable procurement a leadership priority, effectively managing our supply chains and ensuring ethical considerations.
The Procurement Department highlights importance of sustainability to suppliers at tender stage and aims to arrange agreements that minimise our environmental impact.
Annual Sustainability Report
To celebrate the environmental achievements from right across the University, the Sustainability Team put together our annual sustainability report. The reports also make a great record of the University’s progress on achieving our environmental goals and targets to date.
Take a look back through the University’s historic Sustainability Reports to see the progress we have made:
Zero Carbon Estates Handbook
This document aims to tool up the UK & Ireland’s higher education professionals, to consider how to influence their universities on the drive toward zero carbon. It focuses on considerations for driving down universities’ carbon emissions through the built environment.