Social Responsibility

Our monthly round-up

Wed, 27 Mar 2019 12:53:00 GMT

Protecting our planet and building more inclusive societies are considered the two most pressing issues facing our world, as reflected in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. That’s why two major announcements made by The University of Manchester in the past month are so significant.

First, we announced our successful accreditation with the Living Wage Foundation. Prior to accreditation, we already paid our own staff more than the hourly rate recommended by the foundation, together with a range of additional benefits such as family friendly-policies, generous pensions, occupational sick pay and annual leave allowances. Becoming accredited ensures a living wage will now be paid beyond directly employed staff amd will cover all future third-party contracts. This will set an example to other employers in Greater Manchester and more than three-quarters of universities across the UK who haven’t sought accreditation to date, and builds on practical employment initiative The Works and research at our Work and Equalities Institute.

Secondly, we announced at Mayor Andy Burnham’s Green Summit our ambitious plan to play our part in making Greater Manchester net zero carbon by 2038. It’s estimated we are responsible for 5.9% of the city of Manchester’s carbon emissions. Through our groundbreaking research, our teaching, our network of suppliers, our 12,000 staff and our 40,000 students we have a critical role in driving change and influencing behaviour on climate change and resource use. At the summit we also confirmed our commitment to eliminate all avoidable single use plastic by 2022.

Across our communities, ScienceX returned to the Trafford Centre, where 180 staff and students had 25,000 interactions with shoppers through fun, hands-on science activities. We were delighted to launch a new learning centre to help young people of North Manchester in partnership with the national education charity Into University.We launched a new photographic exhibition to raise awareness of the 200 musculoskeletal conditions that affect 9.6 million adults and 12,000 children in the United Kingdom. And we are encouraging anyone interested in young people’s attainment and aspiration in STEM subjects to join the 50,000 children across the UK who’ve got involved in our Greater Science Share initiative.

On campus we’ve led a number of events as part of International Women’s Day, including a packed event with celebrated scientist Dr Jess Wade. We organised a dozen Fairtrade Fortnight events to raise awareness of global cocoa farmers. Our Furniture 4 Reuse scheme passed the landmark of renovating more than 500 office chairs for staff, contributing overall to 180 tonnes diverted from landfill and £410,000 of savings through this initiative. We’d also like to extend a very warm welcome to new colleagues supporting our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion: Dr Rachel Cowen, who joins Dr Dawn Edge as our lead for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and Professor Alys Young who is leading our work for the Disability Equalities Standard.

Many more opportunities for the public, staff, alumni and students to engage in engage in activities at the University can be found on our Events Pages.

Dr Julian Skyrme

Director of Social Responsibility

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