In 2015 the United Nations established 17 Sustainable Development Goals to transform our world. The University of Suffolk, with over 3430 students and 433 staff based across its campuses, is committed to working closely with key local and national partners to play its role in the realisation of these goals.
The University of Suffolk takes a strategic approach to sustainable development across all of its operations and activities. Meeting our sustainable development objectives is crucial to both students, staff, and the wider local community. Within this community, we share a vital academic and economic position across the region; coupled with an accountability to ensure the protection of the condition of our immediate and global environment through the pursuit of excellence in social and corporate responsibility.
We have a committed vision to educate current and future decision-makers and apply academic study to help solve many of the sustainability issues society faces; whilst improving the health and well being of the community we serve.
We are committed to sustainability throughout all of our activities, from the operation and management of our campuses, through to teaching and learning, research and knowledge exchange. Further realised through the external leadership work we conduct through the University’s, Suffolk Sustainability Institute, in collaboration with our partnership organisations.
Implementing sustainability management programmes within our facilities and estate allows us to operate our campuses efficiently and innovatively; whilst minimising negative impacts on the wider environment and working towards environmental net benefit gains. In recent years the University of Suffolk has made significant progress in improving its own sustainability performance and is gaining national recognition, for it’s leadership in developing and facilitating agenda setting conferences and events on emerging transformative practice.
The University of Suffolk is committed to the continual improvement of its sustainable responsibilities and it will manage this commitment through engagement of its senior leadership teams and annual planning rounds.
As such the University requires its activities to meet or exceed the conformance requirements of applicable environmental standards, regulations, and guidelines. Rising to this challenge it will:
- Ensure compliance with all relevant legislation and regulations.
- Ensure sustainability is fully understood by staff, students and stakeholders and is embedded within all aspects of University strategy, planning and activities.
- Create partnerships at all levels within the University’s sphere of influence that further the practice of sustainability, including prioritising working with partners and organisations that can help us achieve more sustainable outcomes.
- Reduce carbon and greenhouse gas emissions through the reduction of energy usage in line with the University of Suffolk Carbon Management Plan and ensure the minimisation of waste and the recycling of materials wherever practicable.
- Provide educational and research opportunities and carry out operational activities that seek to minimise negative impacts and promote sound sustainability practice.
- Ensure that sustainability and biodiversity opportunities are identified and implemented when considering land use, development, and construction practices.
- Regularly review our activities and operations and their impact, and where relevant put in place actions to address issues identified.
The University of Suffolk will seek to stimulate the transition towards sustainable organisational growth by positioning social wellbeing and environmental impact reduction at the heart of its strategic direction.
The University of Suffolk and all members of the University community will move towards supporting actions, decisions, and leadership that will:
- Transit towards ensuring that social and environmental concerns are incorporated as a significant priority in decision-making
- Identify the essential areas in which we should seek to strengthen our corporate and social responsibility and develop clear and focused plans of action.
This Policy Statement is fully supported by the Vice Chancellor’s Executive Team, and all staff, students, and external stakeholders as well as visitors and contractors share this responsibility. This policy will be reviewed annually by the Vice Chancellor and the Executive in order to continue our progress toward significant and lasting organisational change.
Professor Helen Langton
Vice-Chancellor and CEO
University of Suffolk 2020
Additional supporting Policies of interest:
- The University of Suffolk Travel Plan
- The University of Suffolk Biodiversity Plan
- Headline Metrics Report 2019
Sustainability is defined as meeting our needs today without compromising the ability of others to meet their needs, now and in future. This definition applies to the three pillars of sustainability: social, economic and environmental.
The strategy has three sustainability themes: Academic, Enterprise and Operational.
This theme covers the sustainability aspects of learning, teaching, assessment, research, recruitment and employability.
The University of Suffolk will include Education for Sustainable Development in curriculum development and will bid for sustainability related research funding. Each year, we will seek to improve our position in the Green League and Green Gown Awards in order to enhance our attractiveness to potential students and improve employability for existing students.
This theme spans the sustainability aspects of stakeholder engagement, business development and brand enhancement.
The University of Suffolk will engage on the sustainability agenda with students, the University of Suffolk Union, staff, Higher Education institutions, Further Education institutions, schools and other relevant organisations. We will work with government, business and the New Anglia LEP to promote the growth of a sustainable economy in our region and we will support start-up businesses in the sustainability sector directly and/or via the University of Suffolk business incubator.
We will maintain an environmental management system (EMS) so that we can manage the environmental impacts of our operations. These include carbon emissions and consumption of energy, water and materials, as well as procurement, travel, transport and waste. To ensure that our EMS implements best practice and to maximise reputational benefits, we will maintain third party certification to ISO14001.
Implementation and delivery
Implementation of this strategy will be managed by the Sustainability Officer on behalf of the Sustainability Committee. The strategy will be delivered collaboratively via our Faculties and Departments, with support from the Sustainability Officer.
It is recommended that the terms of reference for each committee should state how it will support implementation and delivery of this sustainability strategy.