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 We aim to: 

  • Embed sustainability in the institutional culture: promote sustainable working and living practices and make sustainability core to our structures, governance, decision-making and operational processes.
  • Create and disseminate understanding of sustainability: lead in generating the knowledge to enhance sustainability in society and embed sustainability in the curriculum and professional development provided to the university community. 
  • Achieve widespread recognition for best practice and innovation in sustainability: be recognised as an exemplar of good practice in sustainability.
  • Enhance biodiversity and minimise our environmental footprint: be more effective in our use of resources and make large reductions in use of natural resources, in carbon emissions and waste production.

The Sustainability Strategy Nov 2012 (PDF , 347kb) sets out in more detail the objectives underpinning these aspirations. The Action Plan (Sustainability Tracker (MS Excel , 35kb) sets out more detail of how this should be achieved.

The University Plan has elements of sustainability embedded throughout and refers specifically to the sustainability of the institution in Enabling Objective 1.

Environmental Sustainability Policy

As a prestigious Russell Group University, we have the capability to deliver extensive environmental contributions through our internationally recognised academic teaching, research programmes and campus-based activities.

Our Environmental Sustainability Policy sets out our commitments to:

  • Develop our environmental management systems
  • Protect the environment and minimise pollutions from our activities
  • Comply with environmental rules and regulations
  • Increase sound scientific knowledge of environmental sustainability through our research and educational programmes

Read the policy in full.

Our developments

We have a wide range of initiatives, activities and actions that contribute to the University's position as a sustainable institution. For the full range of our initiatives check out our Sustainable York Video Guide 2019‌.  Here are some of our most recent developments:

  • Carbon management plan
    targets set above HEFCE requirements
  • Waste management
    increasing recycling rates (already achieved zero to landfill from main bins)
  • Sustainable travel incentives
    reduction in car use against an increase in staff and student numbers
  • Green initiatives 
    e.g. York Print Plus reduction in personal printers and introduction of 100% recycled paper
  • Catering contracts
    use of local produce and seasonal foods
  • Staff and student promotions
    including Student Switch Off campaign in Colleges and Green Impact teams within departments and Student groups and societies
  • Sustainable development
    Minimum BREEAM Very Good status for new buildings on campus

International Sustainable Campus Network

The University of York are a signed up member of the ISCN (International Sustainable Campus Network) and as such support the ISCN Sustainable Campus Charter to enhance sustainability.

Key contacts