Sustainability with University of Plymouth

We have three big goals:

  • To have a sustainable campus.
  • To enable learning about sustainability and to research solutions to the world’s most pressing sustainability challenges.
  • To motivate the next generation of students to go out and tackle the sustainability challenges they'll find in their workplace.

We have a strong strategy for sustainability, incorporating social economic and environmental principles that have been in place for nearly two decades. This includes short, medium and long term objectives measured against baseline data. We seek to deliver continuous improvement against our own performance.

Disclosing our approach to implementing sustainability at Plymouth is important to us. Since 2007 we have participated in the People & Planet Green League, coming first twice and second no less than four times. In 2016 we decided to move to a disclosure framework that would be internationally recognised and so implemented the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) framework for a new challenge. GRI is an international independent organisation, providing a globally recognised framework for sustainability.

This enables us to report on the impacts related to our economic, social and environmental performance against aspects that are material to us and align with our sustainability targets. From 2016, this is the framework that we will be using to publicly disclose our performance.

We are externally accredited to ISO 14001 for our Environmental Management System, for the activities on our main campus site, including Cookworthy building. We use the guidance detailed in the International Standards Organisation as a framework for how we manage our environmental impacts, our social responsibility and our utility consumption. The ISO standards offer independent, non-governmental status that is internationally accepted.

University of Plymouth Sustainability Report 2018

2018 Sustainability Report released. Read to find out more about how we are doing against our sustainability commitments.

Download the full report in PDF format

Ditch the disposables

Use your reusable cup at our campus cafes

Our goal is to reduce the number of disposables cups used and then disposed of on campus. It’s estimated that 2.5 billion paper coffee cups are being thrown away in the UK every year, with our campus contributing over 300,000 of those. That’s almost 5,000 a minute, or 7 million per day.

Use a reusable cup at our campus cafes and get a 20p discount.

Cut waste, cut carbon, save money.

Help us reduce plastic waste and refill your water bottle on campus

We're an award-winning university for sustainability, don't just take our word for it.

2018 – Guardian University Award winner in the Sustainability category, University signs up to three national plastic campaigns, University awarded TEF Silver, Plymouth Law earns national Pro Bono Award.

2017 – The University signs up to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Accord, Drake’s Place Gardens and Reservoir receive Green Flag award for third year running, University of Plymouth Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry is an Athena SWAN Silver award winner.

2016 – Achieved Sustainability Reporting (Public Sector) category at the Building Public Trust in Corporate Reporting Awards, fifth Green Gown Award for Sustainability Reporting category, University of the Year at the Food Made Food Awards.

2015 – 1st in People and Planet, Drake’s Place Gardens and Reservoir wins Green Flag, The House and Drake’s Place win two Abercrombie Awards, reaccredited with Food for Life Bronze and Silver, Sustainable Restaurant Association Three Stars, Guardian Award 2015 winner for Social and Community Impact

2014 – UPSU gained Excellent in Green Impact Scheme, gained Sustainable Restaurant Association 3 Star status, won three Green Gown awards

2013 – Ranked 2nd in People and Planet, UPSU Gold in Green Impact Scheme, Silver LiFE accreditation, shortlisted in Times Higher Education Awards, 7th in International Green Metric, won Good Egg Award

2012 – 5th in International Green Metric, first University to be awarded Social Enterprise Mark, ranked 2nd People and Planet, Food for Life Bronze certification

2011 – Green Gown Award Continuous Improvement, Green Tourism Gold Award, ranked 4th People and Planet

2010 – Ranked 1st People and Planet

2009 – Gained Fairtrade status, achieved ISO 14001 accreditation, Corporate Responsibility Index award from Business in the Community, ranked 6th People and Planet

Leading the charge against plastic pollution

The University is at the forefront of international research into the causes and impacts of marine litter and is now taking action to reduce the plastic waste generated on its campuses

Read more about our Plan for Plastics