Frequently asked questions

Strategy, governance and funding

What is the senior management representation for environment and sustainability at the University of Nottingham?
The Director of Sustainability is responsible for sustainability strategy, embedding sustainability at an institutional level, and operational oversight of grounds, energy, carbon management, waste and transport. 
What is the University of Nottingham’s commitment to sustainability and environmental policy?
The University of Nottingham is committed to environmental sustainability through our research, teaching, campus activity, investments and our work with partners locally and globally. 

Our recently published University Strategy puts sustainability at the heart of the core goals that will guide our work as an institution for the years to come.

Over the last decade and more, our University has been taking action to support the environment and deliver research to secure a more sustainable planet. Over the next decade, in partnership with our staff and student community, we will make a step-change in our efforts to assist the response to the climate emergency and to support environmental sustainability more widely.
What progress has the University of Nottingham made in reducing its carbon footprint?
Carbon emissions have reduced by 31% since 2009/10, whilst the total floor area of buildings has increased. The Carbon Management Plan PDF format sets out performance trends and KPIs towards further reducing the carbon footprint of the University. Visit the Carbon and Energy pages for annual reports on performance.
Does the University of Nottingham have an externally verified Environmental Management System (EMS)?
The University participates in the EcoCampus programme and has been awarded Silver for its Estates & Facilities department. The Monitoring and Reporting page provides more information on our Environmental Management System. 


Getting involved

I have an idea for a sustainability project - where can I get funding and support?

The University of Nottingham Sustainability and Environment Committee has a budget of £100,000 to award to student and staff-led sustainability projects that provide benefit on campus or in the community. More information can be found on the Environment Initiative Fund pages. 

Students as Change Agents is a programme open to all students that focuses on a project to improve the University. 

Recent projects have included the introduction of staff managed bee hives on University Park, and support for a solar power racing car being developed by engineering students.

How can I keep up to date with sustainability news at the University of Nottingham?
The Sustainability team publish a monthly email bulletin covering news and events across the University, you can email to join the mailing list. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and read our Sustainable Nottingham blog. 
What information is provided for new staff on sustainability at the University of Nottingham?

All new staff are invited to a Welcome Event [UoN access only], which includes presentations from senior management and an introduction to sustainability at the University detailing opportunities for staff to get involved. 

Within Estates and Facilities, all new starters are required to complete a mandatory: ‘Introduction to Sustainability’ course. This is in-person and covers the University’s environmental policy and procedures, carbon reduction targets, as well as other key areas and opportunities for staff engagement. So far, over 250 staff have taken part. Following on from the success of this, funding has been secured in 2023 to develop this course into an e-learning module that can be made available to all staff at the university.

New students will receive information on sustainability via their school/departmental induction week. There are opportunities to take part in climate change workshops (e.g. Climate Fresk) and further information sessions and talks are delivered by the sustainability team throughout the year. Follow us on social media or subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date. During 2023/2024, a new eco-induction programme will be piloted in the School of Geography and Nottingham Business School. The intention is it will then be rolled out across the university.

Which University Committees are students represented on?

Student representatives (typically the elected members of the Students' Union Executive) are found on all university committees involving estates, planning, and resource allocation, as well as teaching and learning. The students Union elects an Environment and Social Justice Officer annually to represent the student body on such issues.

Current committees with student representation include:


Is there any student or staff-led auditing/monitoring of environmental sustainability at the university?

LEAF is a standard to improve the sustainability and efficiency of laboratories. Laboratories are awarded either a Bronze, Silver, or Gold level depending on how many sustainability actions they take. Actions are audited internally by staff to achieve an award annually.

UoN is a Silver Award winning Hedgehog Friendly Campus. This initative provides a framework to support us in creating positive change for hedgehogs and other wildlife on their campus and enables staff and students to recognise their own impacts on nature. It is managed by an independent team of staff and students to ensure criteria are being met. Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum levels are available, measured by an end of year audit.

Does the University run a Green Week?

Sustainability Action Week runs every year for a week in term two. The week typically involves a variety of activities, including film screenings, competitions, information stalls. Both the student ESJ network of societies and the university's Sustainability Team deliver events in the week. Find out about what happened at the 2023 event and keep an eye on our webpages and social media for information on the week in 2024.

Events are increasingly also run in term one to tie in with annual COP conferences. In 2022, the university held a series of Climate Crisis talks, competitions, cycling and conservation events. 

What sustainability campaigns does the University run that reach all students and staff?

The Sustainability team run a number of campaigns that reach out to the whole university community. More information on projects can be found in the Get Involved section. Current projects include:

An events and activities implementation plan for engagement with staff and students can be found here.

Is there a staff engagement scheme to involve staff in improving the environmental performance of the university?

The university has a network of staff Environmental Champions who represent areas and departments from across the university. They help improve the environmental performance of the university by raising awareness of environmental issues and running schemes and initiatives.

All staff (and students) are invited to use the Green Rewards platform to improve both their own environmental impact and that of the university.

LEAF is also available for staff in labs (see question above).


Teaching and learning

How is the University of Nottingham committed to Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)?

The Education and Student Experience Strategic Delivery Plan (ESE SDP) has been developed to support the University of Nottingham Strategy. Within it, the ESE SDP highlights Environmental Sustainability asone of its seven strategic goals. It commits to contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, developing professional competencies and learning for sustainability, and relevant programmes and modules across all disciplines.

The ESE SDP is owned by Education and Student Experience Committee (ESEC), with the corresponding action plan owned by ESEC’s sub-committees. Members of each lead strands on activity within the action plan, reporting against agreed milestones/KPIs to ESEC. THE ESEC is chaired by Prof Michael Randall.

The Environmental Sustainability Strategic Delivery Plan also identifies education as a key priority with four supporting actions:

  • Commission and organise university-wide education on Environmental Sustainability as core content
  • Develop guidance and training to support staff to deliver sustainability education across the entire breadth of the curriculum
  • Promote and support environmental sustainability modules in specific courses
  • Develop policy on education delivery in an environmentally sustainable fashion including increased on-line resource and delivery and reduction / abolition of printed material and paper usage
What support and training is available to teaching staff to further embed sustainability themes in the curriculum?
You can contact Robert Dowling, the Operations and Policy director of the Transforming Teaching programme. The programme includes five project areas.
Are there any opportunities to link sustainability on campus to my studies?

The University offers research opportunities in the field of sustainability. Our research portfolio includes projects ranging from carbon capture and storage to corporate social responsibility and utilises Living Lab collaborations. Extracurricular opportunities include Climate Fresk Workshops, NAA modules and Sustainability Challenge. More information can be found here.


How does the university support and provide equal access to higher education?

The University offers a range of scholarships and bursaries to provide equal access to higher education. Full details can be found here but include:

  • Scholarships to support students who are seeking or have been granted asylum in the UK.
  • Scholarships to encourage potential in students from lower-income backgrounds or who have faced significant difficulties.
  • The Witty Entrepreneurial Scholarship is for students from lower-income backgrounds who are interested in entrepreneurship.


Energy and carbon

My office is too hot or too cold - who can I report this to?
Faulty heating or cooling should be reported to the Estates Helpdesk. 

Does the university have a Carbon Management Plan?

We had an initial carbon baseline for 2005/6 and more recently for 2018/19 for our scope 1 and 2 emissions.

The 2030 Carbon Management Plan (CMP) includes a science based reduction in scope 1 and 2 emissions from our 2018/19 baseline by 63% by 2030, net zero for 2040 and absolute zero by 2050. The CMP includes indicative budget cost for various elements of the carbon reduction work/ interventions.

We have a carbon reduction manager who is responsible for the CMP and a reporting mechanism based on metered energy consumption for monitoring proposes.


What is the university doing about Scope 3 (indirect) emissions?

Scope 3 emissions data is reported to HESA as required.

We have a 2018/19 scope 3 baseline and aim to have a scope 3 emissions target by the end of 2024 covering the following areas:

  • Construction and refurbishment
  • Business travel
  • Food and Catering
  • Waste
  • Staff and student commuting

For further details see the Carbon Management Plan.

How does the University of Nottingham incorporate sustainability into its buildings?
The University has set an ambitious target of achieving BREEAM Excellent on all new buildings. Many buildings incorporate resource saving features including rainwater harvesting, straw bale construction and ground source heat pumps. More information on sustainable buildings can be found on the Sustainability pages.


Waste and recycling

Where can I find information about recycling specific items?
Our Waste and Recycling pages are the best place to start - to find out how specific items should be recycled see our Waste A-Z.
How can I recycle batteries?
Batteries should be placed in the lime green battery collection points. For a list of buildings with collection points, please see Batteries on our Waste A-Z.
How can I recycle printer cartridges?
Please see Printer cartridges on our Waste A-Z.
How can I recycle my old office furniture?
WARPit is a new online portal that makes it easy for University staff to share surplus items such as furniture and office consumables with other University staff. More information on using WARPit is available on the Sustainability pages.
I’m having an end of term clear out: where can I donate clothes and other small items?
British Heart Foundation donation banks are located in key areas on campus – take a look at our maps of recycling points. Towards the end of the summer term, donation banks are also provided in key areas in Lenton and Dunkirk. We've put together lots of information for those living off-campus on our Moving out page.
How does the University of Nottingham manage its food waste? 
Food waste bins are available throughout the University in catering outlets, communal areas and Halls of Residence. The collected material is then converted into compost through anaerobic digestion. 


Sustainable transport

I’m new to Nottingham. Where can I find out about my travel options to the University?
The Sustainable Transport pages set out information for staff, students and visitors to the University, including information on long term bike hire, public transport options, inter-campus hopper bus services and car sharing. You can also request a personalised travel plan (PTP) for your journey and receive tailored advice on your travel options.
Where can I find out about the University’s hopper bus services?
The University Hopper Bus service page provides information on the free hopper bus services that run from University Park to Jubilee, Sutton Bonington, King's Meadow, and Royal Derby Hospital, including current timetables and bus stops.  
Where can I find out more about hiring a bike?
Enactus Nottingham run the Ucycle bike hire scheme, which offers staff and students the opportunity to rent a bike for the term or year at a low cost. Short term bike hire is available through the Citycard Cycles scheme run by Nottingham City Council. 
Where can I lock up my bike on campus?
The Sustainability team maintain an online map of cycle facilities for each University campus, including information on covered and secure parking for your bicycle. 
How can I hear more about Dr. Bike sessions?
The Sustainability team organise monthly free Dr. Bike maintenance sessions to keep staff and students of the University on two wheels. In these 20 minute appointments, the bike mechanic is able to conduct minor repairs, including punctures, brake block adjustment and issues with gears. You can sign up to the Sustainable Nottingham monthly newsletter to get the dates straight to your inbox.


Sustainable procurement and investment

What green purchasing practices exist at the University of Nottingham?
The University has successfully implemented a number of sustainable purchasing procedures, including: office furniture suppliers certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC); a computer supply contract emphasising low power demand equipment; and mains-fed water coolers, reducing the demand for bottled water and associated transport. See Sustainable Procurement for details of further initiatives. 
What efforts does the University of Nottingham make towards purchasing sustainable food?
The Sustainable Food Policy PDF format outlines a number of actions completed in recent years towards more sustainable catering. The University has also been recognised by several awards for sustainable food, including: Soil Association’s Food for Life Bronze Catering Mark, Good Egg award, and Fairtrade University status.  
What is the University of Nottingham’s stance on divestment?

The University divested from fossil fuels in 2018. Since then the University has further committed through its Investment Policy   to making ethical investments by committing to screening out:

  1. All fossil fuel companies; oil and gas producers, the extraction of thermal coal and tar sands or oil shale
  2. Companies partaking in explicit environmental damage
  3. All arms companies; manufacture and sale to military regimes
  4. Institutional violations of human rights, including modern slavery and the exploitation of the work force
  5. Discrimination against the individual
  6. Manufacture and sale of tobacco products

Has the university invested in renewable/low carbon energy or other ethical initiatives?

In 2020, the University appointed Cazenove Capital as investment managers, with an explicit dual objective for strong long term financial returns alongside positive impact on people and planet. The underlying investments are social as well as climate-focused and directly support the UN SDG’s. Alongside green bonds and renewable energy infrastructure are investments such as the Refugee Better Outcomes Partnerships.

The university has also reinvested in Cheesecake Energy, which is developing ‘the world’s greenest energy storage technology’ right here on campus.

Find out more about investments here or read the full investment impact report.



Sustainability Team

Estate Office, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD