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Sustainability Matters

As an educator and one of the largest employers in the city of Chester, the University of Chester prides itself on its history and values. In an ever changing Higher Education landscape it is vital that the University truly embeds sustainability as part of its educational, scholarly and operational activities. 

Sustainability Matters. Our students and the young people coming into Higher Education are demanding more in terms of climate action and what they want to learn and participate in, to create a sustainable future for ours and future generations. Consistently for the last 10 years more than 80% of students surveyed believe that sustainable development should be actively promoted and incorporated by UK universities, a belief which increases as they progress through their studies. Student attitudes towards skills for sustainable development (2020/21).

Sustainable Development Goals are a collection of 17 ambitious goals set by the UN General Assembly in 2015 to build on the Millennium Development Goals set in 2000. The 17 Goals are an urgent call for action to improve health & education, reduce inequality, spur economic growth - while tackling climate change and working to preserve the oceans and forests. We aim to align our activity within the sustainability strategy to demonstrate how we are contributing to these goals.

Sustainability at University of Chester

Our goal is to embed sustainability throughout our campuses, curriculum, cultures and communities. We are committed to reducing our carbon emissions for Scopes 1 and 2 to Net Zero by 2030.

The Sustainability Unit sits within the Estates and Facilities Department of the University. However, sustainability is not limited to our buildings and infrastructure. Sustainability is a part of every process, decision and action taken at the University and spans our academic Faculties and all aspects of professional services teams. For example, from how we purchase goods and services and the impact this has on our wider supply chain, to how we look after and value our staff.

As a University, the biggest impact we can have is our students and through our Citizen Studen Strategy we are committed to equipping students to be engaged citizens in an increasingly uncertain world. We endeavour to equip them with the knowledge of environmental, social, economic and political challenges and opportunities we will face in the future. We work with academic and professional services to create opportunities in the formal and informal curriculum, to enable students to develop the skills and attributes they will need to tackle these challenges.

Our work covers four core areas - Campus, Communities, Cultures and Curriculum. Since the launch of the University’s first Sustainability Strategy in 2012, we have developed and evolved our understanding and commitment to how we operate sustainably as a University. We review and challenge ourselves to be ambitious in our targets and plans, and be action-focussed.

The University acknowledges that there is a climate crisis and that it is one of the most significant challenges facing humanity. It is now crucial that we act to reduce our emissions to Net Zero, as well as identify ways we can adapt to the impacts that we will encounter as a result of the emissions already locked into the climate system.

We aim to not only minimise our negative impact, but to actively create collaborative partnerships within our local community and industry (Hynet and CREST) to build and develop initiatives that have a positive effect on the people and environment where we work and live.

We are developing a new Sustainability Strategy, and began the process by consulting with current and prospective students as part of the 'My future in 2030' events during the Go Green Festival 2021. Further activities and events will be available to staff and students to share their ideas and suggestions during 2021/22 visit the Events page for more information.

Reporting on Progress

Each term, the Sustainability Unit reports to the University's Health, Safety and Environment Committee. The committee comprises representatives from the Strategic Executive Team, Heads of Department, academic representatives, Professional Services, the Students' Union and Trade Unions. Progress, challenges and targets within each of the four stratgic themes are presented to the committee who have oversight and input to the strategic development of sustainability at the University. At the start of the academic year a summary report is presented to Council and included within the University's Annual Review 2020 (Previous reviews are available here).