University reinforces commitment to action on climate

Thursday, 21 October 2021

The University of Nottingham has reinforced its dedication to tackling climate change ahead of COP26 with commitments to reduce emissions, improve environmental sustainability and support Nottingham’s aims to be a net zero carbon city.

Ahead of COP26 the University of Nottingham has joined 140 universities across the UK to back a new set of commitments on climate action drawn up by Universities UK, including emissions reduction targets and a pledge to champion the UN Sustainable Development Goals Accord. The commitments are outlined in a new UUK report Confronting the climate emergency: a commitment from UK universities.

Andy Nolan, Development and Sustainability Director at the University of Nottingham contributed to the report, he said: “Our university strategy puts sustainability at the heart of our core goals that will guide our work for the years to come. We will make an outstanding contribution to supporting the UN SDGs with special emphasis on environmental sustainability, supporting the City of Nottingham’s desire to be a net zero carbon city by 2028.

“To achieve these ambitious aims we must develop tomorrow’s leaders, the agents of change who can rise to the challenges we face. We must produce research that leads to innovation to solve global sustainability challenges. Nottingham’s research includes expertise on developing Net Zero Aviation, food and agriculture, green chemicals, sustainable energy, and the social impacts of climate change. Finally, universities must play a key role as place makers in the towns and cities in which they are located. The Universities for Nottingham initiative is an example of collaboration across multiple partners to achieve longer term strategic planning.”

Professor Dame Jessica Corner, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange.

Professor Dame Jessica Corner, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange, will lead the university’s delegation at COP26 in Glasgow. Dame Jessica states:

“COP26 is a rallying call to us all.

“At no time in history has humankind been at a crossroads and knowingly faced a choice with such profound consequences for the lives of generations to come.

“But thanks to science, and unparalleled abilities to assemble and interpret data and share this knowledge, we have never been better equipped to agree a way forward.”

The University of Nottingham has a long-standing commitment to tackling climate change and will use COP26 to highlight that climate change requires determined and coordinated action on many fronts, which is supported by research at the university:


GSK Centre for Sustainable Chemistry

Some of this research will be highlighted at a ‘Green Light in the City’ pop-up exhibition event in November.

The University is also aiming to reduce the amount of energy from fossil fuels it uses (especially gas) and prepare campuses and supply chains to be more resilient to future climate change.

To achieve our climate goals as a University we have some challenges to overcome, operationally our biggest challenge is to decarbonise how we heat buildings and water given our reliance on natural gas. We are taking a long-term view with how we plan our investments to reduce our demand for heat. We are integrating this investment in a 20+ year campus planning process. Some of these plans include; greater emphasis on refurbishment of existing buildings, the introduction a new catering strategy with a greater emphasis on sustainability, consultations with staff on reducing carbon emissions from business travel.
Andy Nolan, Development and Sustainability Director at the University of Nottingham

Throughout COP26, researchers will be sharing commentary, podcasts and insights into their discoveries and its impact on climate change. Find these on the University of Nottingha’s COP26 web pages, or follow the campaign on social media, including Twitter @UoNresearch and @UoN_Institute).

Did you know:

  • In 2019, the University published its Strategy which stated: We will place a special emphasis on environmental sustainability, supporting the City of Nottingham's desire to be a net zero carbon city by 2028 and working with partners in China and Malaysia to improve sustainability within their regions.
  • Around 80% of our total annual carbon emissions are indirect emissions associated with goods and services that we buy – things like food, paper products, business travel and construction material.
  • The University’s gas and electricity consumption on its campuses in the UK equates to around 40,000t/year, but the other emissions associated with our supply chain are around 160,000t/year.
  • We actively promote biodiversity on our campuses – we’re now recognised as a Hedgehog Friendly Campus.
  • Higher up, we have more than 10 green roofs across several of our buildings on both University Park and Jubilee Campus. These help reduce rainwater runoff and flooding as well as create great environments for butterflies, bees, bats and birds to thrive.
  • We have seven species of bat living in different habitats across our campuses. You can discover the amazing wildlife in urban green spaces around the University of Nottingham with Wild Campus - the first photo book to capture the remarkable range of wildlife seen around University Park campusand adjoining Highfields Park.

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More information is available from Andy Nolan on

Jane Icke - Media Relations Manager Science
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Notes to editors:

The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. Ranked 103rd out of more than 1,000 institutions globally and 18th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings 2022, the University’s state-of-the-art facilities and inclusive and disability sport provision is reflected in its crowning as The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021 Sports University of the Year. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally. Alongside Nottingham Trent University, we lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, a pioneering collaboration which brings together the combined strength and civic missions of Nottingham’s two world-class universities and is working with local communities and partners to aid recovery and renewal following the COVID-19 pandemic.

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