Our work on Goal 13

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

Goal 13: Climate Action

Goal 13: Climate Action

As one of the world’s leading research institutions and the UK’s first university to have social responsibility as a core goal, we’re tackling the SDGs in four inter-related ways: through our research, learning and students, public engagement activity and operations.

Here’s a selection of our work addressing Goal 13.

Research

Community forestry in Nepal

Deforestation is the second leading cause of climate change after fossil fuels, accounting for almost a fifth of planet-warming emissions.

Our researchers led an international and interdisciplinary team of ecologists, economists and political scientists in the largest ever study of community forestry.

Studying 18,000 community-led forest initiatives in Nepal we found that community-forest management led to a 37% relative reduction in deforestation and a 4.3% relative reduction in poverty.

Removing harmful pollutants from industrial wastewater with innovative technology

Researchers in Chemical Engineering and Analytical Sciences have worked with our spin-out company Arvia Technology to develop an electrochemical process that has dramatically reduced wastewater pollution levels and enabled water recycling across numerous industries.

The Arvia process has reduced pollutant levels from pesticides to match UK drinking water standards; removed 90% of pharmaceutical residues and natural hormones from industrial wastewater; and reduced the release of high microbial wastewaters which can cause anti-microbial resistance.

Arvia Technology has now installed treatment systems in 25 companies across 11 countries, including the UK and China.

 

Learning and students

Manchester City of Trees

As part of our partnership with the local NGO, Manchester City of Trees, students can use our Volunteer Hub to sign up for one-off or weekly tree planting sessions or even become a Citizen Forester.

Our student volunteering is supporting their mission of planting one tree for every person across Greater Manchester, creating a healthier and more sustainable city region.

Student campaigning and activism

Our Students’ Union set up Climate Justice Fortnight, an initiative exploring the different ways that climate injustice manifests itself, and how we can tackle it.

There are Teach-Ins throughout the fortnight where students and academic staff collaborate on delivering content on these issues in their current class times.

Students also organise activities and actions through societies such as the People and Planet Society or Extinction Rebellion Youth; get involved in sustainability leadership roles such as the Students’ Union’s Ethical and Environmental Officer; take on  environmental representation roles in halls of residence; and attend events and campaigns such as the youth strikes for climate action.

 

Public engagement

Nature Recovery Network

A renowned engagement expert from our School of Environment, Education and Development is using her Ketso Connect community and stakeholder engagement toolkit to help the government’s Natural England advisers launch their National Recovery Network.

This network aims to restore 75% of protected sites and to create or restore 500,000 hectares of additional wildlife-rich habitat.

The project is piloting public and civic engagement models with local libraries across Manchester.

Species conservation

Our Manchester Museum Vivarium is dedicated to the conservation of reptiles and amphibians.

We recently partnered with Panama Wildlife Charity PWCC on non-invasive research and conservation education involving local communities in the Santa Fe National Park in Panama.

This led to a world first in 2021: one of the world’s rarest toads, the Harlequin Frog, was successfully bred in captivity outside its country of origin, at our museum.

We also curate a world-famous FrogBlog and deliver a digital Learning with Lucy conservation programme for schools.

 

Operations

Tracking low carbon energy use

Each year we track the amount of low carbon energy used across the University. For example in 2021/22 academic year we used 583GJ from low carbon sources. This comprised of energy from wind, solar, nuclear, solar thermal and ground source heat pumps.

Renewable energy pledge

100% of our electricity consumption is backed with REGO (‘Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin’) certification. This means that for every megawatt (or 1,000kWh) of electricity the University consumes, the equivalent volume of electricity is generated from renewable sources.

We encourage our staff, students and our local community to make a similar move to renewable energy suppliers!