Governance, policies and standards

Sustainability is embedded within the core values of the University of Leeds, and this is supported by high level commitment.

To help us deliver the commitments in our Sustainability Strategy and Action Plan  we have a set of plans, standards, policies and processes in place. These are all clear, actionable and are in keeping with the strategy.

Governance and policies

Overall responsibility for Sustainability remains with the Vice-Chancellor, who along with the University Executive Group, reports to University Council. University Council receive the annual sustainability report and sign off the overarching Sustainability Strategy.

The Director of Sustainability leads the development and implementation of the sustainability strategy, leads the sustainability team and delivers the annual sustainability report to the executive group for review and discussion.

The Sustainability Steering Group reports directly into the University Executive Group. Members and invitees of this group include a variety of academic and non-academic staff, with representatives from across the institution, Trade Union representatives, as well as student executives from our Leeds University Union. This means that all staff and students have an opportunity to be involved in sustainability strategy and policy development, monitoring and decision making at the highest level.

Students also have the opportunity to feed into estates, planning, finance and strategic decision making via the quarterly Facilities Directorate and Leeds University Union Committee Meeting.

Environmental Policy

Our Environmental Policy sets out more details on how we will manage our responsibilities to protect the environment and prevent pollution. This is supported by our Environmental Management System, as well as policies from other areas such as Health and Safety Services and Human Resources.

Environmental Management System

In order to help deliver on our commitments, we have developed a consistent set of standards and procedures in all areas that impact on the University’s sustainability objectives. These are embedded within our Environmental Management System (EMS). This is a framework for identifying and managing our environmental impacts, ensuring we are compliant with the wide range of UK and European environmental legislation, capturing data in order to track and continually improve our performance and sharing best practice across the institution. Our EMS is externally accredited to ISO 14001: 2015.


At the University of Leeds, we have been supporting and selling Fairtrade products since 2003.

In 2005 the University of Leeds obtained Fairtrade status and our continued support has helped Yorkshire to be named the first Fairtrade region in the country.

Our Fairtrade Policy sets out our commitments to supporting Fairtrade.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

We use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to guide our activity. Our policies and standards are linked to all of the SDGs.

Find out more about our impact on the SDGs.