This page is a guide to our compliance with the People & Planet requirements.

People & Planet’s University League is a comprehensive and independent league table of UK universities ranked by environmental and ethical performance. It is compiled annually by the UK’s largest student campaigning network, People & Planet.


Our environmental policy is publicly available. Our Environmental and Energy Sustainability Policy is reviewed annually by the Sustainability Board and signed off by the Vice-Chancellor.


View our Environmental Sustainability Policy


The Management Review as part of our ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management System (EMS) is spread over the quarterly meetings of the Sustainability Board. The latest version of the Environmental and Energy Sustainability Policy was signed March 2021.

Our environmental strategy sets out time-bound targets. The Environmental and Energy Sustainability Policy outlines our commitments to the areas specified. Each area has its own strategy and policy documents that highlight the targets and timescales. The targets are reported and reviewed through the Sustainability Board, via termly reports from each of our eight Implementation Teams. These are publicly reported through the Annual Environmental Report. The Sustainability Board became a Committee reporting to UEA Council as of February 2020, the Minutes and papers are publicly available (Implementation Team Reports show progress against targets).


Strategy, Policy and Compliance

Sustainability is included within the portfolio of responsibilities of three members of our Executive Team (the University’s Senior Management Team). Professor Dylan Edwards, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, chairs the Sustainability Board. Dylan Edwards is retiring at the end of July 2021 and the new Chair will be Professor Christine Bovis-Cnossen who joins UEA in September 2021 in a new role of Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor. Professor Mark Searcey, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty of Science, and Ian Callaghan, Chief Resource Officer, are also Board members.


Strategy, Policy and Compliance


Staff working in dedicated sustainability roles are listed on the university website. Our Sustainability, Utilities and Engineering Department consists of 10 roles, who work closely with dedicated sustainability roles in other departments, namely Travel and Transport, Grounds, Cleaning and BMS.


Meet The Team


Staff are supported with a budget for sustainability and resourcing remains stable. Budget is available annually for Sustainable Performance and Energy Performance, alongside an annual £115,000 Salix Revolving Green Fund.


Financial Year 
(1 August - 31 July) 
Sustainable Performance  Energy Performance 
2019/20 £11,673 £26,841
2020/21 £11,907 £26,529
2021/22 £12,145 £25,472


We have invested around £2 million in energy efficiency measures since July 2018. Phase 1 of these measures has reduced our energy use by 7% and Phase 2 has offset the energy use of the New Science Building.  

The Campus Development Programme is a key part of our NetZero strategy by improving the energy efficiency of the original 1960s-built Lasdun Wall and reducing the footprint of the campus. 

We support a staff engagement scheme to involve staff in improving the environmental performance of the University. A group of student and staff volunteers run the UEA Sustainability Network. It exists to connect students and staff with climate and environment related news at UEA (or in the Norwich area). The network includes an email newsletter, social media, and a blog for longer content.

We use Green Impact as a key tool to enable changemaking champions on campus.


Green Impact Programme


Due to COVID restrictions, we have been unable to run the Green Impact Programme for 2020/21. As a replacement, we devised the SustainableUEA Awards to recognise staff and student initiatives addressing the Sustainable Development Goals over the 2019/20 and 2020/21 academic years.


SustainableUEA Awards

As a university, we have an externally verified environmental management system (EMS), which covers the whole University estate. We passed our ISO 14001:2004 audit in May 2015 and the updated ISO 14001:2015 Standard in May 2018. We also hold the EcoCampus Platinum award.  We were successfully recertified to ISO 14001:2015 in April 2021.

Strategy, Policy and Compliance

We do not currently have an Ethical Investment Policy or Ethical Banking Policy. 

The University divested from fossil fuels in November 2017 and the Vice-Chancellor signed the NUS Divest-Invest Commitment Letter on 18 June 2019. 

The University’s Finance Committee includes a student Council member and the draft ethical investment policy is discussed at the Finance Committee and at the Sustainability Board

The Low Carbon Innovation Fund (LCIF) provides equity finance for small and medium sized enterprises (SME's) in the East of England that are contributing to the low carbon economy. LCIF is a joint venture of the University of East Anglia and Norfolk County Council.

We have a publicly available carbon management plan which meets the Carbon Trust and most current Capital Investment Framework requirements. On 23 November 2015, our Executive Team discussed and approved the 2015-2020 Energy and Carbon Reduction Programme (ECRP).

The ECRP contains two reduction targets, which are monitored by the Energy and Carbon Reduction Implementation Team alongside related targets and reported to the Sustainability Board:
•    EMP60: Reduce energy consumption by 25% against a 2013/14 baseline – target date July 2020.
•    EMP17: Reduce kgCO2e from direct emissions (Scope 1 & 2) by 35% (absolute emissions) over 1990 levels – target date July 2020. 

Note: The target date for EMP17 has been extended to July 2021 (approved at the October 2017 Sustainability Board).


Energy and Carbon Reduction Programme


We declared a joint climate and biodiversity emergency on World Environment Day, 5 June 2019The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research calculated UEA’s remaining carbon budget at 147ktCO2 for 2015-2050 using the ‘Town and Gown’ methodology. This is an ‘energy-only’ carbon budget, including emissions from the UEA campus, student and staff housing. It recommends a 13% annual reduction in emissions from 2020 onwards.

Following the Tyndall Centre report, we have started developing our NetZero UEA carbon management plan to replace the ECRP. Between June and November 2020, we held several NetZero participatory expert workshops including a Policy Afternoon with senior staff which has demonstrated commitment and enthusiasm to establish action plans. Following discussion and approval at the February 2021 Executive Team Strategy Day, the VC announced our net zero ambitions on 11 February 2021. 

UEA’s Net Zero ambition is to achieve:

  • Over 80% net zero campus emissions (Scopes 1 & 2) by 2030 against a 2015 baseline
  • To be 100% net zero (Scopes 1, 2 & 3) by 2045 or earlier
  • To pledge not to rely on offsetting for our carbon emission targets

The baseline is 2015, the year of the Paris Agreement the international treaty on climate change. 2014/2015 was also the year we as a University reached our peak carbon emissions.

We will be prioritising avoiding and reducing greenhouse gas emissions on our own estate rather than paying into offset schemes. If a small amount of offsetting was essential and unavoidable then we would prioritise verifiable long-term local projects.

Targets relating to these ambitions are being developed and will be approved by the end of 2021.


Energy Efficiency and Carbon Reduction


Scope 3 emissions are included within our carbon management. Carbon emissions from waste, water, wastewater and imported electricity are reported in each Annual Environmental Sustainability Report and through our annual HESA EMR return.

We currently have one Scope 3 emissions reduction target:

  • EMP78: A 20% reduction on carbon emissions from long-haul and international flights from the 2017/18 baseline – target date July 2023. 

EMP78 is based on a 2017/18 baseline of 2,085 tCO2e (Long-haul: 1,091 tCO2e and International: 813 tCO2e). This target was approved by the Sustainability Board in October 2019 and progress is monitored by the Transport Implementation Team.

Based on EMR methodologies, 25% of our 2018/19 scope 1 and 2 emissions are related to student halls of residence. This does not cover privately rented student accommodation.

UEA is not a Fairtrade University, but both the University and Students’ Union support ethical purchasing. UEA catering and hospitality serves only Fairtrade and/or (where applicable) Rainforest Alliance certified tea, coffee and sugar - see our Sustainable Food Policy.   

We joined the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) in 2014, allowing us to work towards ensuring the factories we procure from are compliant with the WRC code of conduct. Joining also committed us to conducting business in a socially responsible and ethical manner, and to protect and preserve the global environment. The WRC suspended their UK programme in November 2019. We still follow all the principles learnt from that affiliation in our procurement and are actively seeking an alternative monitoring and assessment programme for our apparel procurement.

We belong to the Southern Universities' Purchasing Consortium (SUPC) to enable the university to access more financially beneficial contracts and frameworks, and centrally managed auditing of suppliers and supply chains. SUPC is affiliated to Electronics Watch, but this affiliation does not extend to members. However, SUPC include the Electronics Watch terms and conditions in any relevant contracts, such as Apple.  

Sustainable Procurement

We have a publicly available Sustainable Food Policy which is reviewed annually by the Sustainable Food Implementation Team and approved by the Sustainability Board. The Implementation Team includes representatives from Sports and Commercial Services (which includes all catering outlets on campus), Students’ Union staff and student officers and student societies. 

All catering outlets use the Sustainable Restaurant Association Food Made Good 50 self-assessment framework and have developed an action plan as an EMS objective. Progress towards this EMS objective is demonstrated in the Sustainable Food Implementation Team Report, which is reported termly to the Sustainability Board. The long-term aim is to become certified to an externally assessed sustainable food award, such as the Soil Association’s Food for Life Served Here award, or the Food Made Good Membership by the Sustainable Restaurant Association.  

Several of our student societies support sustainable food, from local organic VegBox schemes to bulk purchase options through the Food Co-op Society. We have a number of growing and plant swapping activities through the UEA Plant Enthusiasts and UEA Sustainability Society.   

Other initiatives include the PhDiggers, a gardening group for postgraduates which launched in May 2019. The group have secured access to five UEA allotments on site so that postgrads can grow a variety of seasonal vegetables, fruits, and other plants. 

In August 2019, the first Silent Space in East Anglia at UEA’s Dutch Garden was officially opened. The space was developed as part of the Courage project – a collaboration between UEA and uea(su) to promote postgraduate researchers’ wellbeing on campus – in partnership with the UEA Estates’ Grounds team. A group of researchers from the Courage project, PhDiggers, joined forces with the Grounds team to clear, tidy and plant the space.


Sustainable Food

We are committed to student and staff engagement for sustainability. We have a Sustainability Communications Strategy and Plan which outlines the areas through which the University engages or proposed to engage staff, students and other interested parties.

The Engagement and Communications Implementation Team, which includes representatives from UEA operations, student officers and student societies, monitors our EMS objectives:

  • Maintain Sustainable Ways website as a live resource for staff, students, and interested stakeholders.
  • Increase @SustainableUEA social media engagement by 25% per academic year (against a 2015 baseline).
  • Maintain an active and progressive Sustainability Network, with a cross-section of staff and students represented.
  • Increase in number of participating Green Impact teams from the previous year. (Green Impact is taking a break in 2020/21)
  • Use the Living Lab programme as an opportunity for enhancement of UEA and EMS development.

Progress against these targets is reported termly to the Sustainability Board.

A group of student and staff volunteers run the UEA Sustainability Network. It exists to connect students and staff with climate and environment related news at UEA (or in the Norwich area). The network includes an email newsletter, social media, and a blog for longer content.

Green Impact Programme

Due to COVID restrictions, we have been unable to run the Green Impact Programme for 2020/21. As a replacement, we devised the SustainableUEA Awards to recognise staff and student initiatives addressing the Sustainable Development Goals over the 2019/20 and 2020/21 academic years.

SustainableUEA Awards

Students and staff have oversight and involvement in the development and ongoing monitoring of our Energy and Carbon Reduction Programme, and Environmental Policy and strategies via membership of the Implementation Teams and Sustainability Board. There are student officers and/or student society representatives on every Implementation Team as well as two representatives on the Sustainability Board for overall oversight of the EMS and sustainability policy/ plan/ strategy. Our EMS Management Structure document shows current membership and terms of reference and can be found in the Sustainability Board Reports

Engagement opportunities for sustainability are a component of student induction processes. The Sustainability, Utilities and Engineering Department work with the Sustainability Society and Enactus UEA to deliver stalls throughout Welcome Week, as well as hosting events for specific networks. In 2020, Welcome Week was held virtually and the Students’ Union and School of International Development produced a ‘Meet UEA’s Sustainability Initiatives video’ for new students.

Members of the Department also deliver talks to a number of academic programmes (such as a campus energy seminar for the School of Environmental Sciences). Students in their first year live in campus accommodation. All students receive information on waste management and sustainable travel, and on wider sustainability projects within their Accommodation Handbook.

The University and Students’ Union support an annual Go Green Week. The 2021 Go Green Week was held 3-9 May and, due to COVID restrictions, much of the activities had to be held online.  

We have student representation in the strategic planning, finance and resource allocation stages at the Finance Committee and other statutory Committees, and the governing body levels at Senate and Council.

ESD is core component of the UEA 2030 Vision, cutting across many of the Success themes.  Sustainability Success will be a new theme for the next 5-year corporate plan (UEA Plan 2020-25), the publication of which has been delayed due to COVID.  This will include the development of a framework or strategy for ESD. 

We are in the process of mapping current ESD activity and publicising this via a dedicated section on our website. The Business Intelligence Unit report the progress of integration of ESD into the curriculum as part of our annual SDG Accord reporting and Times Higher Education Impact Ranking submission. The reporting structure involves the Sustainability Board and from there to Executive Team and Council – see Sustainability Board reports.

We are a co-founder of the Aurora Network. Network members are committed to working together to find solutions to globally relevant problems, in areas such as sustainability, climate and energy, digital technology and human life and health. Members are actively developing new models for ESD, including through use of the UN Sustainable Development Goals to help structure and report progress. 

UEA is a member of the Aurora Alliance, which has been selected by the European Commission as one of the now 41 European University initiatives supported through the Erasmus+ programme to lead the way to a European Higher Education and Research sector that contributes to a Europe of prosperity and well-being. Its vision is to equip students with the skills and mindset needed to contribute to addressing societal challenges as social entrepreneurs and innovators. UEA contributes to each of the three integral work packages:

  • 03 Aurora Learning for Societal Impact
  • 04 Aurora Engaging Communities
  • 05 Aurora Sustainability Pioneers

Our Living Laboratory for Sustainability enables student sustainability projects on campus. Examples of coursework or PhD investigations linked to sustainability projects within the University/ Estates include investigations into sustainable travel options; changing messaging to enhance water-saving; social governance for sustainability in the built environment; biodiversity audits and habitat surveys.

Living Lab projects in 2020/21:

  • We were one of only three universities to participate in the British Academy and SOS-UK SHAPE Sustainability Impact Project. The SHAPE Sustainability Impact Project uses a "living laboratory" model to demonstrate the importance of arts, humanities and social sciences in tackling sustainability challenges. Twenty-three students (13 from the School of International Development and 10 from Norwich Business School) participated in three projects, one of which related to embedding ESD into the UEA curriculum.
  • The School of Biological Sciences started a two-year campus biodiversity audit in May 2021 which will form a new management plan to replace the 2016-20 Biodiversity and Landscape Management Plan. The project will provide students with real-world learning and research as well as paid employment in ecological consultancy.

As a Signatory to the SDG Accord, we support and highlight School, Faculty or Research team projects for Sustainable Development. Notable examples, include:

UEA was awarded University of Sanctuary status in January 2018 in recognition of our offer to sanctuary seekers. We promote a culture of inclusivity, respect and sanctuary through a broad range of schemes and activities, including scholarship programmes, education activities and events, and collaborations with local organisations and groups.