A groundbreaking report by DTP has highlighted the significant strides UK universities have made in reducing their carbon footprint. This report details the individual carbon emissions of each university and spotlights those that contribute the most to carbon waste. It proposes actionable solutions to decrease carbon emissions, including waste reduction and an increased focus on renewable energy.
The findings indicate UK universities are firmly committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2030 or, at the latest, by 2050.
- The DTP report reveals the impressive progress UK universities have made in reducing their carbon footprint.
- All DTP universities have committed to achieving net-zero emissions between 2027 and 2050.
- The 133 UK universities studied collectively generate 665 landfills’ worth of carbon annually, equivalent to keeping the engines running on 813,774 cars for an entire year.
- Notable standouts include London Metropolitan University, Cardiff Metropolitan University, and York St. John University, each scoring a perfect 100% for carbon reduction in the People & Planet University League for Carbon Reduction.
The study discovered that universities like London Metropolitan University, Cardiff Metropolitan University, and York St. John University achieved top marks in carbon reduction in the People & Planet University League for Carbon Reduction. University College London and Nottingham Trent University also scored impressively with 100% and 98% respectively for Carbon Management. Bournemouth University, The University of Sterling, and the University of Arts London all achieved perfect scores for Energy Sources in the People & Planet League.
The report underscores the urgent need for universities to lower their carbon emissions and foster sustainability. On average, a single university generates 10,778,986kg of Scope 1 and 2 emissions, wastes 127,644m3 of water, and accumulates 1914 tonnes of waste. The 133 UK universities analysed together generate 665 landfills worth of carbon each year – the equivalent of leaving 813,774 cars running for an entire year. To offset this waste, universities would need to plant millions of trees.
The data offers a comprehensive breakdown of the total scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions and the total number of students in different regions across the United Kingdom. The total carbon footprint of all regions combined is 1,433,605,175 Kg CO2e, with a total student population of 2,315,055, resulting in an average carbon footprint per student of 619 Kg CO2e.
The University of Edinburgh, Imperial College London, University of Cambridge, University of Manchester, and University College London top the list for producing the most waste and carbon emissions, generating 64.5m, 46.4m, 43.1m, 42.5m, and 36.6m kg CO2e respectively.
The report emphasises that reducing carbon emissions and promoting sustainability is within reach. For example, London Metropolitan University achieved an 80% reduction in carbon emissions since 2005-06, hitting their target four years early. Cardiff Metropolitan University also demonstrated significant progress by decreasing its electricity use by 33% and gas use by 39%, while sourcing 100% renewable electricity since 2017. Their commitment to zero waste is evident as they have sent no waste to landfill since 2013/14. Moreover, the university has transitioned its fossil fuel-based car fleet to electric, further showcasing their commitment to sustainability.
The report serves as a vital tool for universities, supplying crucial data about their carbon footprint and identifying those that generate the most waste. The data underscores the urgent call to action to reduce carbon emissions and champion a more sustainable future.