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Environmental Sustainability Policy

Environmental Sustainability Policy

Durham University enjoys a high quality environment at its two sites, one within the setting of an historical city and the other a modern development with its own distinctive character. It is committed to maintaining, and wherever possible, improving the quality of this environment, both for the people who live and work in the University (over 3,000 staff / 17,000 students) and for the wider community. This commitment is reflected in policies which seek to make the most effective and efficient use of all our resources, minimise pollution, comply with relevant legislation and encourage all members of the University community to develop a sustainable approach to their work and lifestyle.


Our mission is to make Durham University recognised as one of the most environmentally sustainable universities in the UK. To achieve this goal will require the active commitment of every member of the University community.


  • To analyse the University’s environmental footprint and initiate changes necessary to improve the University’s environmental performance.
  • To make all members of the University community aware of their environmental impacts and to encourage them to develop a sustainable approach to their work and lifestyle.
  • To co-operate, where possible, with the wider community, in order to implement environmental action plans from the local community through to the global level.


Durham University seeks to create the future through internationally recognised research, scholarship and learning within a distinctive collegiate environment. Within this context, we will advance environmental sustainability through research, teaching, personal behaviour and experience gained over time. To that end, Durham University is committed to:

  • Demonstrating institutional practices that promote environmental sustainability;
  • Addressing environmental sustainability in every major strategic plan;
  • Establishing indicators and targets for sustainability that will enable monitoring, reporting and continuous improvement;
  • Promoting environmental awareness within the University community;
  • Reducing our carbon emissions through the implementation of our Carbon Management Plan;
  • Minimising our waste production whilst increasing recycling and reuse within the University;
  • Conserving water and managing our discharges;
  • Achieving the targets set out in our Green Travel Plans (one for each campus);
  • Maintaining, and where possible, improving our environmental purchasing through our Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility policy for Procurement;
  • Ensuring that environmental sustainability is considered in research and teaching;
  • Enhancing the health of ecosystems and maintaining, or increasing, the diversity and abundance of native species across the university;
  • Achieving the highest practical environmental standards for all new builds and significant refurbishments;
  • Working with our local communities and other partners to help the region become more sustainable.


Professor T P Burt - Dean for Environmental Sustainability

Approved by UEC: January 2015

Due for review: January 2016