Sustainability sits at the heart of the University of Leeds. We take our responsibility to have a positive impact on society and the environment very seriously and believe that we all have a part to play in this.
We know that our students are passionate about sustainability issues and we aim to support you in finding out more and getting involved, both in your studies and more broadly throughout your time in Leeds.
As a student you will find out more about the University's approach to sustainability through your inductions. We have also gathered a range of sustainability training resources and information on this webpage as a resource for you to explore in your own time. If you have ideas or suggestions for resources that we should include on this page, please let us know by emailing us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sustainability Service
The Sustainability Service is a team of dedicated staff responsible for helping the University become more sustainable and delivering its sustainability commitments.
The team helps to address a wide range of sustainability challenges, including environmental compliance, delivering net zero emissions, biodiversity, how we deliver sustainability in the curriculum, engagement programmes with staff and students, travel, and the wider social impact that we have as a University in and on our local communities.
The best way to stay up to date with sustainability at the University is to sign up to our newsletter or follow us on social media. You'll also see us at events throughout the year on campus, so do come and say hi!
University Sustainability Commitments
Sustainability is embedded in both our academic strategy Universal Values, Global Change, and in the Enabling Strategy which underpins this. Find out more about our strategic approach to sustainability.
Some of the University’s key strategic commitments in relation to sustainability include:
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
The University has signed the SDG Accord, a commitment to embed the Sustainable Development Goals into everything we do. Find out more about some of the ways we contribute towards each of the SDGs here.
The University of Leeds Climate Plan
In November 2021, the University Council unanimously approved the University Climate Plan and the dedicated pathway to net zero that underpins it. It is made up of seven climate principles which guide us in moving towards a sustainable, low carbon future. As well as how we will address our own University carbon footprint, the Climate Plan covers how we will create opportunities for our students to learn and develop their sustainability skills through the Sustainable Curriculum programme.
The University is committed to removing and reducing single-use plastic through our Plastics programme.
We have held Fairtrade University status since 2005, and achieved a two star Fairtrade award for 2021-22.
Training and learning opportunities
Explore our Introduction to Sustainability module which takes less than one hour to complete and will introduce you to the concept of sustainability and explores the most significant challenge the world faces: the climate crisis. It also examines what the University is doing to tackle this crisis and what you can do to get involved and is a great introduction to the topic.
Find out about the UN Sustainable Development Goals. These interconnected 17 goals each address global challenges such as poverty, climate change, equalities, peace and justice and provide a framework for understanding and acting on sustainability.
The University has contributed numerous Future Learn courses on the themes aligned to the UN SDGs. A number of these courses are available to staff to access free of charge.
LinkedIn Learning also hosts courses on sustainability and UN SDG themes.
There are lots of ways that you can get involved in sustainability whilst at the University of Leeds.
- Study sustainability in your degree, through the course or modules that you choose. Many students can access our Creating Sustainable Futures Discovery module which is a great place to start, or you can explore how we are creating more opportunities for students through the Sustainable Curriculum programme.
- Get involved in some of our events and activities, which include growing food in the Sustainable Garden, learning about bike maintenance in the Bike Hub, biodiversity monitoring across campus, swap shops and more.
- Volunteer your time on a sustainability initiative or community project, such as litter picking or creating green spaces in a local school.
- Join a sustainability society or group - there's lots of them to choose from at LUU.
- Apply to become a student sustainability architect - paid part time roles to lead a sustainability initiative or project
- Explore some of the groups and organisations in the wider city, including Climate Action Leeds, Rainbow Junktion, Hyde Park Source, Bedford Fields Community Garden, and Meanwood Valley Urban Farm.
Reduce your environmental impact
There's lots of ways that you can reduce your own environmental impact, here are just a few:
- Use active travel such as walking, running, scooting and cycling where you can. Leeds is a compact city with good public transport networks which is why most students don't have or need a car.
- If you do need a car for occasional use, check out the Enterprise car club locations in Leeds. Check out Get Out Get Active for regular group trips out of the city and get yourself a railcard for longer train trips.
- Try to reduce the amount of single use packaging you use by carrying a water bottle and bringing a reusable coffee cup with you - you can save money doing this too! Buying in refill stores such as LUU's Green Action Coop is a great way to reduce waste both through packaging and by buying only what you need.
- Choose plant based, seasonal food where you can, and try to avoid food waste - there's lots of delicious plant based options on campus, and you can save money by picking up food that would otherwise go to waste through Too Good to Go.
- Even if you're not the one paying your gas and electric bills, be mindful of how much you're using - it all has an impact.
- Make sure you're using your recycling and waste bins correctly - check the Leeds City Council website or download the 'Leeds Bins' app so you've always got the info to hand.
- Only buy what you need - and don't forget that the more you own, the more you have to shift when you move house! See if you can share, swap and trade with friends, and check out Buy Nowt LS6 who loan out all kinds of things, from camping equipment and garden tools to fancy dress costumes!
- When you do buy, support local businesses and reduce the number of packages getting delivered.
If you have any questions or need help then please get in touch with us at email@example.com
Got an idea?
If you've got an idea for a project or initiative related to sustainability, there are a number of ways in which the University can support you, including:
- LUU's Better Forums provide an opportunity to propose initiatives that could become policy
- LUU also runs a Sustainability Forum and recruits Sustainability Ambassadors to lead on sustainability projects
- You could apply for a Sustainability Grant from LUU to fund your own project or initiative
- The University's annual Student Ideas Fund provides funding for a range of project types, including those that support the University's sustainability commitments
- The Living Lab programme could provide you with support and funding to use our campus to research sustainability during your studies
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
We use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to guide our activity. Building staff knowledge and capacity links to the following SDGs:
- Goal 4: Quality Education
- Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities
- Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production
- Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions
- Goal 17: Partnerships
Find out more about our impact on the SDGs.