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Climate Action

Northumbria has ambitious carbon reduction targets which require a wide range of interventions and changes to behaviour. We have a dedicated budget for our sustainability projects, including carbon. Outside of our campus operations, our researchers tackle global climate challenges, such as over-exploitation of natural resources and glacial impacts of rapid climate warming.

In the Spotlight: Carbon Management at Northumbria

In 2010 the University produced a Carbon Management Plan, with an ambitious target to reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 32% by 2020 against a 2005/06 baseline. A Carbon Management Plan Update was developed in 2015 to incorporate targets for a wider range of emissions including scope 3 (waste, travel and water) - the baseline for which is in our Annual Carbon Emissions Report. We have exceeded this target, instead achieving a 50% reduction in carbon emissions. We are now looking ahead and our new Carbon Management Strategy sets out our commitments for 2030 and our route to NetZero by 2040 at the latest.

At a Glance: From Our Research to Our Operations

  • Our Environmental Sustainability Policy considers the impact our activities have on the wider environment and aims to minimise this impact.
  • We have a comprehensive Environmental Management System in place to manage our environmental performance and deliver continuous improvement. This has achieved ISO 14001 certification.
  • 100% of our electricity comes from certified green sources and we are home to one of the oldest commercial PV systems in the UK which is still fully functional, even after 21 years.
  • Together, the photovoltaic arrays on our campuses save over 80 tonnes of CO2 each year.
  • We continue to make our buildings more carbon efficient through installing LED lighting, new boilers, energy retrofitting and improvements to our Building Management System. View the energy use of our buildings.
  • Our research-led teaching provides Quality Education that encourages students to gain an understanding of global sustainability challenges and develop skills to address them.
  • We participate in the ONE Planet Doctoral Training Partnership to provide a world-leading training environment tackling global issues in climate and environmental science.
  • We offer Continued Professional Development courses to help professionals gain an understanding of environmental management systems and carbon management, such as NEBOSH Certificate in Environmental Management, Carbon Champion: Carbon Foot-printing, Management and Reporting or IEMA Foundation Certificate in Environmental Management.
  • The Extreme Environments research theme seeks to answer questions around the impact of climate change on the planet’s natural systems. The team of earth and atmospheric scientists are exploring how regions such as Antarctica, Greenland and the Himalayas are responding to rapid climate warming to inform adaptation to water shortages in mountain regions and flooding in coastal zones. Our researchers are also involved in a £4 million international study investigating the affect of climate change on the Antarctic ice sheets.
  • Our Environmental and Global Justice researchers focus on tackling environmental degradation brought about by unsustainable practices and over-exploitation of natural resources.
  • Dr Paul Mann from our Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences leads on the international €800,000 CACOON (Changing Arctic Carbon Cycle in the Coastal Ocean Nearshore) project which investigates the impact of thawing permafrost and the subsequent release of frozen carbon on coastlines in the Siberian Arctic.
  • We have an Ethical Investment Policy and our Ethical Investment Declaration pledges that we do not and will not invest in fossil fuel companies.

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