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.


Community forestry

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

Student campaign 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.

Study programmes

Our students are taking on the challenge of climate change across hundreds of undergraduate and postgraduate modules in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and engineering.

In addition, every undergraduate student has the opportunity to take Climate Change and Society, a unit offered by our University College for Interdisciplinary Learning, which explores the politics of climate change action and analyses the challenge from the perspective of multiple stakeholders and different nations.


Public engagement

The carbon footprint of the music industry

Climate scientists at our Tyndall Centre are partnering with Bristol-based band Massive Attack to jointly examine the carbon footprint of the music industry.

Utilising data from the Massive Attack touring schedule will provide information and guidance to the wider music industry to reduce negative environmental impacts.

GrowGreen project

Our academics are involved in GrowGreen, a five year, EU-wide project that promotes nature-based solutions to climate change.

The project involves a range of citizens, business and public-private partnerships in neighbourhoods and across cities to promote learning, sharing and replicating nature-based solutions and strategies to urban sustainability challenges.



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!

Fossil fuels

We’re ending investments in fossil fuel reserve and extraction companies by 2022, and ‘decarbonising’ all other investments by 2038.

This policy was developed in consultation with the University’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and our Students’ Union.