Sustainability at Essex

Impatient for change. Protecting the future.

We are serious about the climate and biodiversity crises. We need you – our students, staff and local community – to be part of the solution, to be guardians of the environment.

The University of Essex has committed to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2035. We declared a Climate and Ecological Emergency on 9 December 2020. And we have already cut our emissions by 28% (from a 2005 baseline).

In October 2019, we switched our electricity contract to a provider which produces 100% certified carbon neutral energy. This covers all three of our campuses and supports our efforts to continually reduce our carbon emissions. We currently generate approximately 2.5% of our electricity from our solar panels, with projects under way to install more.

We do not invest in fossil fuel companies, arms companies, or corporations complicit in the violation of international law. Read our Statement of Investment Principles to find out more. The University has committed a capital budget of £14 million up to 2030 to invest directly in carbon reduction and energy efficiency projects, and we will seek additional funding resources externally for specific projects.

Sustainability is a fundamental part of our future planning and is directly referenced as an objective in the University’s strategy for 2019-25. We consider finding solutions for environmental issues to be a key factor in the educational experience of each student.

2017 saw the official creation of our Sustainability team, committed to improving the University’s environmental performance, and bringing together existing work on carbon reduction, student and staff engagement, travel and transport, and grounds. The team helps the University to deliver its sustainability goals outlined in the Sustainability Sub-Strategy (SSS) (.pdf).

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