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What we're doing to be more sustainable

Find out what we are doing right now to operate in a more sustainable manner.

We're working with staff, students and the community to embed sustainable thinking across all areas of the University.

Don't forget to check out how you can be more sustainable, and read our blog!

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Sustainability at York

Reducing our energy and carbon footprint

We can have a significant impact on our environment by monitoring and managing our energy use. 

  • Our Estates Services Environmental Management System has achieved certification to the ISO14001 standard
  • Our Carbon Management Plan aims to reduce emissions equivalent to travelling 38 million miles in an average car
  • Our pool bike, One Planet Week, Green Impact, Student Switch off and our lower energy wastage on campus schemes are lowering carbon footprints and promoting sustainable habits

Climate action

Consuming and procuring goods more responsibly

The way we procure goods and services and how we invest our funds can have a significant impact.

  • None of our main waste goes to landfill, and we recycle more types of waste than local kerbside collections allow.
  • Most of our fruit and veg is seasonal and from regional sources.
  • In just three years the YORCUP scheme saved over 1 million single-use cups from going to landfill.
  • We used the Latte Levy funds to place 25 giant single-use coffee cup recycling bins across campus, since the start of this initiative we have recycled over 43,000 cups.

Responsible consumption and production

Keeping sustainability at the forefront of our research

Environmental sustainability and resilience is one of our seven research themes which to aim align our academic strengths to best meet the scientific, social and environmental challenges of our time.

  • Our research addresses the unprecedented global challenges of ensuring food security, the increasing demand for energy and water, and preventing environmental degradation - all in the face of climate change. By collaborating widely and working across disciplines, our researchers are helping to shape a more sustainable future for us all.

Environmental sustainability and resilience research

Working alongside our local community and environment

We recognise that we have a significant impact on the local community and environment. We're working with the community to make sure those impacts are positive ones.

  • Our work with York Cares helps to  bring businesses, employees and communities together by matching their skills and expertise to community projects that will have the most impact
  • The University has maintained a Green Flag status since 2013, the national standard for public parks and green spaces
  • Our ecological management plan makes sure we provide spaces for biodiversity and wildlife to flourish on campus

Wildlife, biodiversity and community engagement

Embedding sustainability in our education

Education is key to solving sustainability challenges worldwide. We want to make sure students leave university with the knowledge they need, while promoting inclusive and equitable education for all.

  • Environmental and sustainability themes are embedded in a wide variety of our undergraduate and masters programmes, enabling our students to graduate with the sustainability skills required to prosper in their future careers
  • As a University, we're committed to providing inclusive access to learning and education, for students from all backgrounds

Promoting health and wellbeing

Engagement with the natural world can lead to better mental and physical health. Interactions with our environment are also key to fostering a sense of responsibility towards it. We want to ensure our staff, students and the wider community are living well and can contribute to a sustainable future that they can be happy and healthy in.

  • We're encouraging people to explore our campus through initiatives such as the Active Trail, Biodiversity Walk and Campus Tree Trail
  • We enable people to eat well by serving food that is good for our climate, nature and health 
  • The University has a wide array of health and wellbeing initiatives and support available to students and staff

Good health and wellbeing

Making changes within IT Services

IT Services can play a significant role in helping to build a more sustainable university. We’re making changes across the organisation to help minimise our carbon footprint and promote environmental responsibility.

  • We’ve reduced the number of multi-function printers on campus by 40%. 
  • Together with our IT hardware provider we’ve recycled or refurbished more than 4,500 unwanted laptops and PCs, saving 44.1 metric tonnes of IT waste from landfill.  
  • We’ve moved our high-performance compute facility to a data centre which runs on 100% renewable energy.

Sustainable IT 

Current policies and strategies

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Sustainability at York