Sustainability Strategy Consultation Winter 2019/20

The new Sustainability Council is asking all staff and students to comment on its proposed new Sustainability Strategy. You have until 28th February to comment on the whole strategy or specific sections within it.


The University has had a Sustainability Strategy/Policy since the early 1990s. The current iteration was agreed in 2017. The strategy outlines the key areas for focus for sustainability and sets out the key objectives and targets. 

Why review the policy now

The sustainability agenda is moving very fast at the moment, since this time last year the University, City of Bristol and UK Government have all declared a climate emergency, many other organisations have followed suit. The 'Blue Planet effect' has put issues like ocean plastic high in the public's consciousness and upwards of 350,000 people in the UK are taking part in Veganuary. The University is also changing, building new campuses, changing how and where its staff work and where the University sits within the civic landscape. Finally, there is of course the challenges that will come with Brexit. 

The current Sustainability Policy and Strategy needs to take these factors into account.

The structure of the new Sustainability Strategy

The new strategy is made up of four areas: EducationResearchCommunity and Operations. These areas reflect what the University’s primary functions are, Education and Research and how it does this, interacting with a range of communities and managing facilities and processes – how it operates. 

Within these areas are several themes which have been identified via the University’s Environmental Management System (ISO14001), this is a systems approach that looks at what the University does and what impacts arise from this. It then assesses the risk and impact of these activities focusing on the major impact areas. 

The Strategy is a high-level document noting key aims and objectives for the period 2020 to 2025. Each theme area will have a delivery plan setting out in more detail how each theme will be addressed and what actions will be taken. These delivery plans should be written by May 2020. 

The delivery of the strategy and plans will be monitored by the University Executive Board on a regular basis via a RAG dashboard and in an annual report. Day to day facilitation of its delivery is via a Sustainability Council chaired by the PVC for Global Engagement and with representatives from the four key areas, Education, Research, Community and Operations.

Many of the actions from the People’s Assembly will be included within the delivery plans. The Climate Action Plans being written and delivered by Schools and Divisions will also aid delivery of four areas of the strategy. 

Consultation with staff and students - your views

The Sustainability Team and Council have been working on the themed areas with key stakeholders over the last 6 months of 2019. 

The Sustainability Council now wants to have views on the proposed strategy from all staff and students. The Council is particularly interested in where we can go further and achieve more, what areas might be missing and any changes what should be considered. 

Please send your proposed additions, changes and thoughts to Martin Wiles, Head of Sustainability ( by 28th February 2020. 

Read the full Sustainability Strategy 2020-2025 (PDF, 9,793kB)‌ here, or scroll down to read about each of the key strategy areas. 

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