University of Birmingham signs up to global UN agreement

light-bulb-720
Energy is just on part of the sustainability picture

The University of Birmingham has signed up to the United Nations Global Compact – the world's largest corporate responsibility initiative – as part of reducing its environmental footprint and maximising the impact of its research.

By signing up to the Compact, the University commits to making the agreement’s principles an integral part of decision-making, day-to-day operations and campus culture, as well as reporting on sustainability progress every two years.

With nearly 12,000 business and non-business participants in 160 countries, signing up to the Compact sees the University aligning strategy and operations with universal principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.

The agreement also sees Birmingham pledging to support the Compact and the case for responsible organisational practices by reaching out to peers, students and alumni, corporate and community partners, and the public at large.

Professor Sir David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Birmingham, commented: “The University of Birmingham is proud to sign up to the UN Global Compact, as we continue our efforts to create a sustainable campus that will become net zero carbon by 2050 at the latest.

“This is about more than making our day-to-day operations more sustainable; we are a global Civic university - conducting world-class research into the world’s most pressing challenges, expressed by UN Sustainable Development Goals, such as pollution, healthcare and inequalities.

“By integrating the Compact’s principles into every aspect of university life, we will train and educate future generations of medics, engineers, scientists and policy makers who will engage fully with the global challenges outlined by the UN.”

The University of Birmingham is also a signatory to UN Academic Impact and the UN Principles for Responsible Management Education, as well as hosting the Lloyds Banking Group Centre for Responsible Business.

The University also recently launched the Forum for Global Challenges - a new multi-disciplinary online community to help resolve critical global challenges and make the world a fairer, more sustainable place.

Birmingham is also a participant in the COP26 Universities Network and will have a presence at the COP26 conference, in Glasgow, in November.

The University has already made significant progress in making its operations more sustainable, including:

  • Achieving its 2020 target of reducing carbon emissions by 20% – constantly looking to improve the environmental performance of its buildings;
  • Maintaining a high recycling rate, consistently above 50% (national average of 45.2%) - recycling everything from coffee grounds to feminine hygiene waste.
  • Making sustainable procurement central to our operations - minimising negative impacts of goods and services and enhancing our contribution to society.

Notes to editors:

  • For more information, please contact Tony Moran, International Communications Manager, University of Birmingham on +44 (0) 121 414 8254 or +44 (0)782 783 2312. For out-of-hours enquiries, please call +44 (0) 7789 921 165.
  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, and its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 6,500 international students from nearly 150 countries.