UK universities set to miss their carbon targets

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

Research by consultancy Brite Green, predicts the HE sector will achieve just 51% of the 2020 target set by HEFCE as a comment on illustrates.

Looking at the data, there are large differences in how individual HEIs have done with some already achieving significant reductions on the 2005 baseline, whilst others have large increases.  Lancaster and Reading lead the way.

Of greater interest than these data, perhaps, is the question of why there is so much variation, and there has been a lively discussion on the EAUC Members List over the last few days in part about the validity of the data, and the justification of some institution's even being included.  I particularly liked this comment from the Midlands:

"We have managed to reduce our energy consumption per m2 but have increased our Estate by 12% (including 2 swimming pools!) and students by 20% so we came out badly in this table.  Sustainability can't be done at the expense of University's day to day business planning, it must be embedded within strategic decisions and the institution as a whole.  We spend a lot of time and effort educating students about sustainability but get no external recognition for it."

That said (and any institution could plead this), the need to reduce carbon is real, as is the fact that the sector won't make its targets.  Some are complaining about the league table nature of the reporting, but this is a bit rich from a sector where many institutions seem to live by their People & Planet positioning.

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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