University publishes new Carbon Management Plan

Published: 4 November 2022

Our new Carbon Management Plan outlines steps to reaching net zero by 2030

The University of Glasgow has published a Carbon Management Plan, outlining plans to reach net zero for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030.

The Carbon Management Plan lays out steps on how the Univesrity will achieve net zero and deliver on Glasgow Green, published in 2020, which is our response to the declaration of a Climate Emergency.

It will put us in a position to build on our strong international reputation in this area. This year the University placed 2nd in the UK and 13th globally in the QS Sustainability Rankings and 19th in the world in the THE Impact Rankings.

The University has committed to reducing its carbon footprint to 27,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents by 2030/31. This represents over a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions from 60,000 tonnes in 2020/21.

Specific targets for reducing carbon emissions include improving the energy efficiency of our buildings, establishing alternative renewable energy sources for our estate, enhancing infrastructure to encourage active travel and reducing business travel.

While the primary focus will be on emissions reduction, the University will gradually phase in the use of carbon offsetting, including one return flight a year for every student from outside Europe.

We will also learn from changes brought about through the pandemic, such as increased remote working and a reduction in business travel in favour of attending meetings and events virtually where possible.

David Duncan, Chief Operating Officer and University Secretary, said: “In becoming the first university in the UK to declare a climate emergency, in 2019, and in the publication of our response, Glasgow Green, the University showed its firm commitment to engage with the very real challenges around carbon management and sustainability.

“The Carbon Management Plan is the next step in this journey to net zero and sets a clear strategic direction for the University. I look forward to working together with colleagues and students to help us achieve our targets.”

Stewart Miller, Estates Sustainability Manager at the University, said: “These ambitious plans to significantly reduce our emissions over the coming decade are a good first step, however, it is imperative that the University now leads by example and delivers on its climate commitments in the longer term.”

Ian Campbell, Executive Director of Estates at the University of Glasgow, said: “Our commitment to sustainability is a critical part of both our University and Estates 2025 strategies. We are forging ahead by establishing rigorous plans, initiatives and measures to meet our targets. In publishing the Carbon Management Plan we hope not only to share our plans but also empower colleagues across the university to develop their local plans to get us closer to a more sustainable future.” 

The Glasgow University Environmental Sustainability Team (GUEST) said: “It is great to see that the University plans to include students’ input and engagement in the Carbon Management Plan. We look forward to seeing how it is implemented, and we wish for that to happen in a timely manner.”

The University is already taking steps to reduce its carbon footprint, including significant improvements to our existing estate to enhance energy performance as well as better building management practices and space utilisation across our campuses. We are also supporting our community to manage their own carbon footprint by offering training and education for colleagues and students, supporting hybrid working patterns and implementing sustainable laboratory training.

In 2020 we established the Centre for Sustainable Solutions which works to connect services and research disciplines across the University and create a single point of contact for strategy, policy, research, teaching, estates and other services.

The University also supports Glasgow University Environmental Sustainability Team (GUEST) comprised of highly motivated and professional students employed by the University to work on improving the environmental practices.


First published: 4 November 2022