A beekeeper holding up a honeycomb.

Environmental sustainability

Environmental sustainability is one of the five priorities in our Social Responsibility and Civic Engagement plan.

With the world facing extraordinary environmental challenges, it’s crucial that universities like ours play a key role in finding solutions to help protect the future of our planet.

Through our research, teaching, operations, engagement and people, the University is helping to lead the way to a more sustainable world.

We’re at the forefront of tackling key global challenges such as climate change, population growth, rapid urbanisation, overconsumption, food and water security, loss of biodiversity, and pollution.

We want to use our full range of knowledge and influence to support a world that is environmentally sustainable.

In Our Sustainable Future (PDF, 4.7MB), the University’s environmental sustainability strategy (2023–28), we set out our commitment to using the full range of our knowledge and influence – in our local communities and across the world – to lead progress towards a healthier, more sustainable world.  

Sustainability on campus

We embed sustainable practices into all of the systems and process across the University campus. From green spaces, to sustainable construction, we continue to care for and future-proof our home for the generations to come.

Every operation and process undertaken at our University has sustainability front of mind, in line with the commitments made and ambitions outlined in Our Sustainable Future strategy.

Our sustainable commitments

With the world facing extraordinary environmental challenges, it’s crucial that universities like ours play a key role in finding solutions to help protect the future of our planet. We are doing this through:

  • Setting a number of divestment targets, from carbon intensity to energy consumption, to take us to 2027
  • Achieving the prestigious Fairtrade University one star award. 
  • Measuring and implementing a plan to reduce our ‘Scope 3’ indirect footprint.
  • Limiting annual emissions from air travel to 50% of our 2018/19 pre-COVID-19 pandemic level. 

Research and teaching

Our research and teaching reflects our sustainability ambitions.

Research is at the heart of our heritage, our present and our vision for the future. Our discoveries have helped to develop a more sustainable world, from the first stored-program computer to modern economic theory, to understanding the complexity of net zero targets.

We bring the world’s best people together, combining expertise from across disciplines to understand and find new solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems.  Discover more about our research and discovery goals.

Our graduates will have a distinctive education that will prepare them for their futures as leaders and global citizens. We will ensure that our students and graduates represent the widest range of social backgrounds and will develop not only academic and professional skills, but also a sense of environmental, ethical and social responsibility.  Discover more about our teaching and learning goals.

Zero carbon by 2038

We are committing to a zero carbon future. Not net zero, but zero direct carbon emissions by 2038.

How are we going to do it? By engaging our staff, students and the wider University and Manchester communities in a range of environmental initiatives, while embedding sustainable practices into all of our plans, policies and processes.

Our carbon budget was set by climate scientists at The University of Manchester’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. The same team were also asked to set a carbon budget for Manchester, and this led to the adoption of the same target by many organisations across the city. 

Sustainable Futures

Find out how we’re delivering solutions to urgent environmental challenges.

Sustainability challenges

We are delivering on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Environmental sustainability

Find out more about our environmental strategy.