Carbon and energy

Our ambition

In partnership with our staff and student community, we are making a step-change in our long-standing mission to secure a more sustainable planet.  

We have set ambitious carbon reduction targets for our UK campuses, informed by the establishment of an evidenced, science based approach: by 2030 to reduce our emissions by 63%, with an aspiration of net zero by 2040 and absolute zero by 2050, in line with the Paris agreement.   

We support Nottingham’s ambition to be the UK’s first zero carbon city by 2028 and are working with partners in China and Malaysia to improve sustainability in their regions. 

Our progress

Gas and electricity consumption on our UK campuses equates to around 40,000 tonnes a year.

Between 2010-2020, the university succeeded in reducing our carbon emissions by nearly 40%.

This means that the targets developed in our 2010-2020 Carbon Management Plan were exceeded by more than 2,000 tonnes.

Read more

Over the next decade, we are building on these reductions to slash our scope 1 (mainly gas and other fuels) and scope 2 (purchased electricity) emissions even further.

Carbon Emission 2010-20 v7 Section1

Our plans

The principals around achieving these science-based targets are based on 4 key themes:

  • Demand reduction – removing or reducing the need for energy in the first place e.g. insulation and changes to behaviour
  • Efficiency gains – upgrading equipment in buildings and labs where appropriate to more energy efficient systems
  • Low/ zero carbon energy generation – e.g. new solar PV arrays and retrofitting renewables into buildings
  • Carbon offsetting – used as a last resort for addressing the emissions that can’t be removed/prevented in any other way

We will continue to run events and campaigns that enable staff and students to contribute to meeting these carbon reduction targets. See how to get involved.

The roadmap for reaching a 63% reduction in scope 1 and scope 2 carbon emissions by 2030 will be published soon.

80% of the university's total carbon footprint relates to emissions that are not in our direct control (scope 3). We will be setting an overall scope 3 reduction target and developing clear action plans for the most significant elements:

  • Construction
  • Paper products
  • Food and catering
  • University travel

Sustainability Team

Estate Office, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD