Reducing our carbon emissions is a key aspect of our work to lower the University’s impact on the environment. Our scope 3 emissions include all indirect carbon emissions that occur in our value and supply chain – for example people commuting, business travel, purchased goods and services, treatment of waste and recycling and our investments.
Tracking and analysing our scope 3 emissions is critical as they represent the greatest proportion of our overall carbon footprint and offer a significant opportunity for our community to contribute to their reduction through their actions. We will embark on an ambitious approach to defining and recording our scope 3 emissions, set a date when we aim to reach net zero, and start delivering measures that will achieve progress.
Through the Sustainability Sub-Strategy consultation you made some helpful suggestions for ways to reduce our scope 3 emissions. We have been taking on board your feedback and wanted to update you with information on what’s available and what we have planned.
You said: You wanted staff and students to be mindful of ‘the cloud’ and storage of emails and zoom recordings.
We offer: As well as online file storage through Box, Zoom/Teams meetings have been hugely important for many people during the pandemic to keep our University operating. However we know that their impact is often hidden. We receive initial data via Procurement on the impacts of our ICT and will share more information with you as we build this picture. As a starting point, when appropriate, we suggest switching off your camera on video calls to save energy.
We’re working on: Gaining a clearer understanding of our digital emissions footprint. Once we have detailed information we can see where to focus our efforts. We will also produce ongoing information to help our community understand the impacts of their digital footprint on the environment, and the steps to take to reduce it.
You said: Work with suppliers who do better on sustainability, with fewer deliveries being made to campus.
We offer: Essex Food already assess whether suppliers meet our sustainability aims and principles, for example local sourcing, fair trade, animal welfare and environmental sustainability. They aim to work with as many local suppliers from the Colchester area as possible.
We’re working on: Procurement are exploring options that would lower the impacts of our deliveries, for example whether suppliers would come to campus on specific days, therefore grouping orders together more.
Measuring and reporting on scope 3 emissions is important to help us reach our net zero goal and reducing our impact on the environment. We are on a journey of improvement and development; there are many challenges ahead, but also a lot of exciting opportunities. To learn more about our ambitions and progress, visit the sustainability webpages. We will be providing updates on our response to your feedback to the consultation in a series of blogs – please check back regularly to learn more.
We have a dedicated team, in a broad range of roles, contributing to sustainable development across our campuses. We are committed to the promotion of sustainability to a variety of stakeholders, to conserve the local environment for our students, staff, the wider community and our resident wildlife.