Plans & policies

We believe in making the world more sustainable, and the Univeristy of Birmingham a better place to learn, develop, teach, conduct research and work and live productively. 

To do this, we need to conduct research and teaching with real impact and by enabling our staff and students to address the challenges that matter to us all. This is a journey. A summary of activities is given below; We hope you will join us.


Key Sustainability Achievements

 1990 First combined heat and power plant replaced
coal fired boilers
 2001 Shortlisted for the Environment Agency Water Efficiency Awards for halving water consumption
 2003 The 2nd UK University  to achieve Fairtrade Status
 2005 High voltage network upgraded allowing capacity for more connections to the district heating scheme
 2005 £625K Revolving Green Fund available for energy improvements
 2007 The 1st UK University to buy electric vehicles
 2007 17 electric vehicles of a fleet of 102 (15% of all vehicles)
 2007 Zero waste to landfill (all residual waste goes to energy from incineration)
 2008 The Guild achieve Green Impact for the first year
 2008 Paper recycling – moved to mixed recycling (piloted in the library and then rolled out)
 2010 Bicycle maintenance classes provided via Centro
 2010 First Hydrogen Microcab van – used for the postal service
 2010 650 virtualised computers (corporate machines)
 2011 Good Egg award achieved
 2011 Lift share scheme launched
 2011 Student-facing GREG mascot launched in 2011 – 85% of students report recognising GREG
 2011 Partnership with 'Junkbusters' uses a waste milk float. Bags distributed across residences – £100k raised for the British Heart Foundation. Awarded Chartered Institute of Waste Management (CIWM) "Best Recycling Project" (Nov 2015). 
 2012 Biodiversity Working Group established (chaired by Professor Jon Sadler)
 2012 Contract with ‘Key Travel’ monitors Scope 3 emissions from business travel £4M
 2012 Steam bridge opened and shortlisted for Green Gown Award
 2012 Phase 1 habitat surveys of Selly Oak campus completed
 2013 Green Impact scoping report to Prof Jeff Bale on sustainability in curricula at Birmingham
 2013 Bottle amnesty implemented to collect bottles from residences - 4,000 bottles collected from just one residence
 2013 College and significant corporate services departments produce carbon plans
 2013 Expansion of CHP to the South Campus
 2013 Good practice guide produced on using PCs to encourage shut down
 2013 'Sustainable Fleet' (Green Fleet Awards)
 2013 'Highly Commended' (Fleet Management Awards)
 2013  'Fleet Hero Award'  (Innovation in Fleet Management)
 2014 £3million loans from Salix for replacement CHP
 2014 Reached Flexible Framework Level 1
 2014 Food waste taken from catering waste to anaerobic digestion – 3.5 tonnes p.a.
 2015 First audit of content of the clinical waste
 2015 All IT vehicles are now electric
2015 Green Travel District established with partners from the NHS, Birmingham City Council and Transport West Midlands.
2015 First annual 'Meet the Buyer' event organised.
2015 Stationary deliveries reduced to two days a week to limit travel emissions.
2015 The Guild of Students redirects £150k of funding for the first solar panels on student accommodation, which led to...
2016 ...the establishment of the Green Community.
2016 First hydrogen fuel cell vehicle (Lex Auto) delivered to campus.
2016 Travel survey shows 7% of staff cycle to work and 41% drive (below the national average of 57%).
2016 Sustainable Transport Development Officer appointed.
2016 13,000 trees across the whole UoB estate.
2016 20% reduction in carbon emissions achieved.
2016 Flexible Framework Level 4 achieved for procurement.
2016 Green Apple awards for carbon reduction and transport projects.
2017 Green World award presented in Dubai.
2017 Introduction of coffee ground recycling with Bio-bean to produce logs for wood burners.
2017 UniGreen Scheme and University of Birmingham win Green Gown award for reuse and sale of surplus equipment.
2017 Launch and promotion of the University of Birmingham coffee cup made from rice husks to reduce the 800,000 disposable cups used on campus.
2017 Sustainable Laboratory Officer appointed.
2018 A third of fleet vehicles are electric or hybrid.
2018 Agreement with Warp-it established for reuse/recycling of furniture and other equipment.
2018 Over a third of the campus now has high efficiency LED lights.
2018 Sustainability Policy Approved.
2018 High efficiency, water cooled Data Centre handed over.
2018 Green Flag Award retained for the quality of our parkland and green spaces.
2018 The Guild of Students obtains "Excellent" Green Impact rating.
2018 Flexible Framework Level 5 achieved for procurement.

You can see our commitments given in the policies and plans set out below: