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Climate Plan

Our Climate Plan

The climate crisis is the greatest global challenge we face, and as a world-leading university, we must act.  In 2019 we agreed seven principles to address the climate crisis. Now those seven principles have been brought to life with our full, deliverable Climate Plan.

University-wide collaboration between the Sustainability service, professional services, students, and academic colleagues helped shape the ambitious plan. It outlines our single biggest investment of £174 million, and sets out how we, as a University community will play our part in the global effort to address climate change.

It explains how we are:

Delivering net zero by 2030

An investment of more than £150 million will be devoted to achieving our ambitious target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, well ahead of the UK target of 2050. Alongside this we will work to build climate resilience and have a target of zero emissions by 2050.

Read more about our work to deliver net zero emissions.

Achieving sustainable travel

We are supporting the city region in the development of a sustainable transport system for all. To achieve our goals, it’s vital that our staff and students are using sustainable forms of transport, and that can only be achieved by working together with the city. We will increase the use of digital technology, look at our HR policies and research opportunities to reduce the need for business travel, and where travel is necessary, make it as sustainable as possible.

Read more about Achieving Sustainable Travel.

Supporting a net zero city

As one of the founding partners of the Leeds Climate Commission we are working with Leeds City Council and other organisations to support a net zero city for Leeds. This will also be supported by extending our Living Lab Programme.

Shaping institutional decision making

University decisions will take into account our low carbon future and sustainability goals.  This will be achieved through use of a sustainability assessment, just as decisions are now informed by a risk assessment.

Enabling responsible investment

We are committed to investing responsibly, focussing on purposeful companies and those tackling social and environmental concerns, whilst making sure we have a balanced investment portfolio for present and future generations.

Read our socially responsible investment policy.

Reorienting research and teaching

We will utilise our global connections, world-leading research activity, and interconnected Leeds Living Lab approach to co-create climate solutions on a local, national and international scale.

Unless work is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or could contribute to the transition to a low carbon future, we are moving our research and teaching away from the fossil fuel sector. We are of course making sure this is done in a way that won’t harm the quality of our research output and taught curriculum, and are collaborating with colleagues to make this a reality.

Providing a sustainable curriculum

The Leeds Sustainable Curriculum makes sure sustainability is embedded in our teaching at all levels. We are developing this further by extending the Creating Sustainable Futures Discovery theme ensuring students leave Leeds equipped to face current, and future, global challenges. We are also making sure sustainability sits within all of our educational engagement and outreach programmes.

Read more about Providing a Sustainable Curriculum.

A plan with achievable goals

Our ambitious plan, linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is achievable if we all come together to deliver it. By ensuring a just transition – consulting with and considering all groups and members of the University and wider society – we have considered the impacts of climate change and our actions on all of us. Now we must all work together to be part of the global effort to address climate change.

The Climate Principles Programme Board leads on the delivery of our Climate Plan. Chaired by Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Hai-Sui Yu, the board includes representation from across the University including students and Trade Unions.

Read the full Climate Plan and visit the Climate Plan Sharepoint hub (University login required) for latest updates and how you can get involved.

What can I do to support the Climate Plan?

Climate change is a global challenge that can only be tackled in collaboration with others. Whether you’re a student, member of staff, from an external organisation or a member of our wider community, the Climate Plan is relevant to us all and needs everyone’s input.

You can find lots of practical ways that you can contribute by reducing your environmental impact, joining our staff Sustainability Community, becoming a Student or Staff Sustainability Architect, or starting a sustainability Blueprint for your school, faculty or service.

Interested in linking your research to climate change? Funding is available for Living Lab projects that can contribute towards reducing emissions. You can also share your research and learn from others at the annual Student Sustainability Research Conference.  Why not consider becoming a member of the Priestley International Centre for Climate, an interdisciplinary research group involving more than 350 people across the University of Leeds?

If you want to comment on the Climate Plan or have an idea of how we can collaborate, we would love to hear from you:


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United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

We use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to guide our activity. Our climate principles are linked to the following SDGs:

  • Goal 13: Climate action
  • Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals

Find out more about our impact on the SDGs.

United Nation Sustainable Development Goal 13: Climate actionUnited Nation Sustainable Development Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals