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Sustainability at York in 2021

Posted on 16 December 2021

We have made significant steps in 2021 with the launch of our ambitious Sustainability Plan, as well as the announcement of our new Environmental Sustainability Academy at York (ESAY).

Our Sustainability Plan comprehensively sets out how we will tackle current and future challenges by promoting a sustainable community here in York, and playing an important part in creating global change. It also details how we aim to achieve carbon net-zero by 2030.

The Academy will form a collaboration among schools, departments, research centres and institutes at York, involving estates and campus services, and bringing together the environmental sustainability community at York.

In August we also implemented our Living Wage Commitment, which along with our University of Sanctuary status achieved in 2020, is a further commitment to being a University for Public Good. 

2022 will bring even greater steps toward achieving our sustainability aims, a journey we hope everyone will join. Why not read more about our Sustainability Plan?

More recently we have seen our ranking within the People and Planet University League drop, which may be disappointing to some. People and Planet creates a league table of UK universities ranked by environmental and ethical performance, based on a snapshot in time. We were assessed prior to implementation of our Living Wage Commitment, publication of our Sustainability Plan and announcement of ESAY. As such this ranking does not fully represent a true picture of the current status and ongoing work on sustainability at the University of York. 

Solutions to sustainability issues in a diverse organisation are complex. So while external rankings can be valuable, the sustainability team does not actively pursue league table rankings, but focuses resources on progressing impactful action and progress towards our goals. 

We invite all staff and students to get involved with our sustainability engagement programmes at the University including Green Impact, Carbon Reduction Challenge and our in-house Carbon Literacy training. We also have our annual One Planet Week from 14-20 February 2022, focusing on Equity and Local Economy Find out more about this and our other sustainability initiatives or sign up to our sustainability newsletter to get information direct to your inbox.