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.

1990

  • First combined heat and power plant replacedcoal fired boilers

2001

  • Shortlisted for the Environment Agency Water Efficiency Awards for halving water consumption

2003

  • The second UK University to achieve Fairtrade Status

2005

  • High voltage network upgraded allowing capacity for more connections to the district heating scheme
  • £625K Revolving Green Fund available for energy improvements

2007

  • The first UK University to buy electric vehicles
  • 17 electric vehicles of a fleet of 102 (15% of all vehicles)
  • Zero waste to landfill (all residual waste goes to energy from incineration)

2008

  • The Guild achieve Green Impact for the first year
  • Paper recycling – moved to mixed recycling (piloted in the library and then rolled out)

2010

  • Bicycle maintenance classes provided via Centro
  • First Hydrogen Microcab van – used for the postal service
  • 650 virtualised computers (corporate machines)

2011

  • Good Egg award achieved
  • Lift share scheme launched
  • Student-facing GREG mascot launched in 2011 – 85% of students report recognising GREG
  • 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)
  • Contract with ‘Key Travel’ monitors Scope 3 emissions from business travel £4M
  • Steam bridge opened and shortlisted for Green Gown Award
  • Phase 1 habitat surveys of Selly Oak campus completed

2013

  • Green Impact scoping report to Prof Jeff Bale on sustainability in curricula at Birmingham
  • Bottle amnesty implemented to collect bottles from residences - 4,000 bottles collected from just one residence
  • College and significant corporate services departments produce carbon plans
  • Expansion of CHP to the South Campus
  • Good practice guide produced on using PCs to encourage shut down
  • 'Sustainable Fleet' (Green Fleet Awards)
  • 'Highly Commended' (Fleet Management Awards)
  • 'Fleet Hero Award' (Innovation in Fleet Management)

2014

  • £3million loans from Salix for replacement CHP
  • Reached Flexible Framework Level 1
  • Food waste taken from catering waste to anaerobic digestion – 3.5 tonnes p.a.

2015

  • First audit of content of the clinical waste
  • All IT vehicles are now electric
  • Green Travel District established with partners from the NHS, Birmingham City Council and Transport West Midlands
  • First annual 'Meet the Buyer' event organised
  • Stationary deliveries reduced to two days a week to limit travel emissions
  • The Guild of Students redirects £150k of funding for the first solar panels on student accommodation, which led to the establishment of the Green Community

2016

  • Establishment of the Green Community
  • First hydrogen fuel cell vehicle (Lex Auto) delivered to campus
  • Travel survey shows 7% of staff cycle to work and 41% drive (below the national average of 57%)
  • Sustainable Transport Development Officer appointed
  • 13,000 trees across the whole UoB estate
  • 20% reduction in carbon emissions achieved
  • Flexible Framework Level 4 achieved for procurement
  • Green Apple awards for carbon reduction and transport projects

2017

  • Green World award presented in Dubai
  • Introduction of coffee ground recycling with Bio-bean to produce logs for wood burners
  • UniGreen Scheme and University of Birmingham win Green Gown award for reuse and sale of surplus equipment
  • Launch and promotion of the University of Birmingham coffee cup made from rice husks to reduce the 800,000 disposable cups used on campus
  • Sustainable Laboratory Officer appointed

2018

  • A third of fleet vehicles are electric or hybrid
  • Agreement with Warp-it established for reuse/recycling of furniture and other equipment
  • Over a third of the campus now has high efficiency LED lights
  • Sustainability Policy Approved
  • High efficiency, water cooled Data Centre handed over
  • Green Flag Award retained for the quality of our parkland and green spaces
  • The Guild of Students obtains "Excellent" Green Impact rating
  • Flexible Framework Level 5 achieved for procurement

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