What We're Doing

The University is committed to becoming more sustainable and environmentally-friendly. The links below to show what initiatives we have in place and our achievements so far.

Energy & Carbon Management

Carbon Management Plan

The University of York has implemented a Carbon Management Plan to reduce our emissions, which currently stand at about 24,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. One of the projects implemented has already saved us from emitting an extra 5,000 tonnes of CO2 per year into the atmosphere: that’s equivalent to the carbon emissions emitted by over 1000 UK citizens in one year!

Behavioural change: That’s where you come in! By changing to good habits and participating in Student Switch Off, Green Impact, ‘Green Societies’, etc you can help the University become more sustainable and cut your own carbon footprint.

Every little bit helps: Even though the University has grown over the past few years, with many new buildings and colleges built, and more students and staff working here than ever before, our overall carbon emissions have remained stable, which shows that by working together we can be successful.

Visit the Energy & carbon management page for more information on University policy.


The University developed an Environmental Management System and achieve ISO14001 certification for the University Estates' Services in 2016 – we are now extending it to cover other parts of the University showing that we recognise our impact on the environment and are putting in place systems to reduce it, helping us to become a more sustainable University.



The University operates a co-mingled recycling system, glass recycling, and food waste segregation – that is, you can recycle pretty much anything – which has massively reduced the amount of waste we send to landfill. In 2016/2017 our waste-to-landfill rate was 0 per cent, moreover we now recycle and compost around 55 per cent of our waste, compared to 30 per cent in 2011.

To find out more about how you can recycle, check out the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle pages.


Sustainable and local food

The University of York aims to provide sustainable and ethical choices in all catering outlets:

  1. All coffee is either Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance certified, and so is most tea.
  2. Local suppliers are preferred, either from Yorkshire or from national chains.
  3. Tap water is available in most places on campus so all you have to do to is to bring your own reusable water bottle to enjoy water sustainably!
  4. All fresh eggs are free-range.
  5. All restaurants and cafés on campus source as much produce as possible from local producers when in season. This means fewer food miles (from producer to consumer). It also supports the local economy, which is important for achieving social and economic sustainability.



Did you know…?
A 24 hectare site on Heslington East was chosen by the Woodland Trust to be one of just 60 Diamond Woods in the UK to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee in 2012, and 28,000 trees have been planted there!

A key characteristic of the University of York is our lakeside campuses, home to an abundance of wildlife. The evolving landscape is designed, not only to provide a beautiful and tranquil environment for work and study, but a habitat capable of supporting an increasingly diverse range of animals and plants. The development of Campus East has created a number of new habitats, including areas of wetland, species-rich grassland and native woodland, with the boundary of the site including important retained hedgerows. A survey of flora and wildlife including birds, bats and water voles is periodically undertaken to monitor developments. Campus West is located on over 200 acres of parkland centred around Europe’s largest plastic-bottomed lake. The University is famous for its abundance of wildfowl, but also hosts a diverse range of other wildlife. A bird sanctuary has been established at the southern end of the lake. Find out more here.

Green Flag Award Green Flag Award

The University of York was awarded a Green Flag award by the Keep Britain Tidy charity for the first time in 2013, and has been awarded it every year ever since. You should be able to see the flag flying on Campus West! Green Flag status recognises the quality of the campus against a series of strict criteria including cleanliness, sustainability and community involvement, and horticultural standards.