Brite Green university carbon progress report published

21-09-2016 Magda Borgarelli

Brite Green’s latest research has shown that universities in England have improved their carbon emissions performance for the 2014/2015 academic year. However, our analysis also highlights that the sector is still off track to meet its 2020 targets.

Brite Green has published its third annual University Carbon Progress Report for the higher education sector, providing an independent and robust review of the carbon emissions performance of universities in England for the academic year 2014/2015.

Our analysis shows that the higher education sector in England has improved its carbon emissions reduction performance compared to last year, but that it is still off track to achieve the 2020 targets. According to our projections, if emissions continue to fall at the current rate, universities in England will achieve a 15% reduction by 2020 from the 2005 baseline. This is still far from the 43% HEFCE target as well as the self-imposed 37% emissions reduction average target for all institutions.

Among other key findings, our report shows:

  • Total absolute emissions in the English higher education sector fell by 10% over 10 years from 2005-2015 to 1,828,394 tCO2e.
  • SOAS University of London has achieved the highest absolute reductions of 895,921 kgCO2e, a 55% reduction since 2005.
  • Only 30% of universities are on track to meet their carbon targets.
  • Universities continue to improve efficiency within their estates, both in relation to income and floor area.
  • An analysis of the 20 Russell Group University in England showed that they account for 50% of sector emissions. Of these, the University of Birmingham is the only one projected to meet its emissions reduction target.
  • Commercial growth, weaning policy and post-Brexit uncertainty are key challenges in carbon performance.

As in previous years, we have produced an individual report for each university to provide personalised benchmarking and performance data. You can order a copy with a valid email address for that institution. The report also includes performance tables for both absolute emissions reductions and intensity metrics, allowing for easy comparison against peers.

Request a copy of the university carbon management good practice guide

Additionally, following feedback from key stakeholders, this year we have also produced the Carbon Management in the Higher Education Sector: A guide to good practice which includes sector case studies and insights from institutions across the UK.


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