Sustainability & Social Responsibility

For our community at the University of Birmingham, Sustainability is about using our available resources and living in a way today that provides the needs for us all to live a happy and healthy life, without preventing future generations' ability to do the same.

We recognise that the world as it functions today is not achieving this, and international efforts are being made to create a society that is more sustainable, aiming to achieve the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the process.

It is vital we use our position as a global civic university, with world-leading research, and an institution proud to educate the workforce of the future, to combat the climate crisis. This is why we have declared a climate emergency.

We have created a clear strategy for how to create a more sustainable university and world, and have demonstrated this commitment throughout our 2030 Strategic Framework, including having 'Sustainability' as one of the six pillars.

Our contributions to sustainability as a civic and global University so far include:

  • Signing a Civic University Agreement with Birmingham City Council and the West Midlands Combined Authority, demonstrating our commitment to the region.
  • Providing important wellbeing services including our programme with Pause, delivered in partnership with Forward Thinking Birmingham.
  • Commiting to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion charters including Race Equality, The Diversity Forum, and Athena Swan.
  • Reducing our operations' carbon emissions by 20% since 2005/6 baseline, with a Net Zero Carbon Commitment of 2045.
  • We are signatories to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment. We have reduced our investment in fossil fuels to just 0.22% of the University’s Investment Assets as of November 2022 compared to 10% in 2018, and fully expect this to reduce further with investment fund changes in the coming months.

  • We are planning a programme of events in Birmingham and Dubai as part of COP28 (Dubai 2023)

Whilst we celebrate this brilliant work, we acknowledge there is still far to go and we continue to develop as an institution whose work continues to be impactful and creates a world that is healthy for all. One of our biggest tasks in this space right now is our commitment to Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2035 (Scope 1 and 2) and 2045 (Scope 3), against a 20/21 baseline. We are working hard on a Roadmap to Net Zero that we believe can achieve this ambitious target.

This page signposts the University's sustainability work, from our operations to our curriculum and our research. Use the categories below to explore.


Taking responsibility

We have set clear targets for what we need to do as a global civic instituion to tackle the climate crisis. It is important, however, for external bodies to assess our targets and our effectiveness at achieving them to make sure we are committed to our promises. There are many different types of audits Higher Education can undergo to assess this, of which a more detailed list can be found in our auditing report that also descibes why there are some league tables and audits we do not opt-in to.

Meet the team leading Sustainability programmes and strategy at the University of Birmingham.

Some key League Tables the University of Birmingham features in:

  • QS World University Rankings on SDGs
  • People and Planet
  • Athena Swan

Get in touch

Have you visited our Sustainable Operations page? This includes information on the work we are doing on campus and beyond. If you still have any questions or would like to get in touch, please email us at Alternatively, Staff and Students can use our internal communications guide.

There are opportunities to get involved in sustainability initiatives at the University of Birmingham whether you are a student, member of staff, or a member of the public. Visit our Get Involved page for information on joining these initiatives and networks.


Sustainability news

University of Birmingham appoints Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor of Sustainability.

Photo of Professor David Hannah
The University of Birmingham has appointed David Hannah as Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor of Sustainability.
04 October 2023

New sustainable Molecular Sciences building will foster cutting-edge scientific research

Photo of the new Molecular Sciences Building on the University of Birmingham campus.
The new collaborative base for over 500 researchers in chemical, environmental and biomolecular sciences has opened at the University of Birmingham.
04 October 2023

No leg to stand on – Why the United States must reconsider its stance on climate reparations

Climate protesters walking through the streets holding up handmade placards.
The US has said it will not pay climate reparations to countries affected by climate change disasters "under any circumstances".
21 July 2023

Policymakers must act now on rules for emerging food technologies

Food such as chicken and tomatoes on a plate with someone holding a fork.
University of Birmingham expert calls on the UK Government to take action to fill the legislative gaps around food produced with new and novel technologies.
10 July 2023
  1. Previous
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. Next

Also in 'Our University'