The University of Bristol has in excess of 5,000 staff, 17,000 students and occupies just over 300 buildings. Our operations naturally have a significant local, national and global environmental impact. The primary role of Sustainability is to reduce this impact through implementing environmental improvements. This will help conserve energy and water, save money, make finite resources last longer and help reduce pollution and our contribution to climate change.

Our current sustainability management programme include actions to:

Green Impact

The Green Impact Awards are a way for staff and students from across the University to get involved in reducing the environmental impact of their office, labs and residences. Please see the Green Impact pages for more information and links to the different workbooks.

The University of Bristol achieves ISO14001 and ISO14064

The University-wide accreditations — ISO 14001, an environmental management system standard and ISO 14064 (CEMARS), a carbon and emissions management and reduction standard — mark a major step forward in the University’s efforts in managing its sustainability.

Both accreditations have been awarded to the University for its wide-ranging green initiatives, led by the Sustainability Team, which have demonstrated year-on-year improvements and investment in energy-saving measures, sustainable transport projects, and a reduction in its carbon emissions.

Bristol is one of the first Russell Group universities to achieve ISO 14001, an international standard that provides a framework for organisations to manage and improve their environmental performance. The accreditation, which encompasses the University’s 300 buildings and 23,000 students and staff, was obtained through the introduction of an environmental management system [EMS] and implementation of an externally-audited environmental performance evaluation standard [BS 8555] that enabled the University to identify all its environmental impacts and put into effect strategies to reduce them.

These include, achieving an office waste-recycling rate of 49 per cent, the introduction of a food waste composting facility for its catering centre and halls of residences, a plastic recycling facility for all students and staff, a new student bus service to help reduce car use, sustainable refurbishment of buildings, and an internal green awards scheme involving 40 departments.

In addition, the University has also achieved accreditation to ISO 14064, a carbon management standard, which demonstrates the University has implemented rigorous management and reduction of carbon emissions with robust plans for further reduction over the coming year.

Future plans include, 8 million worth of energy-saving projects over the next three years, the development of a sustainable procurement strategy, three more BREEAM excellent buildings, and participation in the Higher Education Academy ‘Green Academy’ programme to develop sustainability options within the teaching curriculum.

Over the last 18 months the University has invested around 2 million in implementing a range of energy-saving measures, which include loft insulation in halls of residence, installation of high-efficiency boilers, draught proofing and replacing lighting with LED (Light Emitting Diode) lights.

Martin Wiles, Head of Sustainability at the University, said: “Achieving both these accreditations represents a significant milestone for us. With substantial investment for energy saving and environmental improvement going forward, we have ambitious plans for reducing carbon dioxide emissions and waste to landfill. We are aware of the challenges and where we have to go, but I am very pleased about what we have been able to achieve to date, and the plans we have for the future.”

Teaching and Research

The University of Bristol not only aims to operate in a sustainable way, but looks to teach and research sustainability. In 2010 a new research institute called the Cabot Institute was set up to pull together interdisciplinary research in sustainability. In 2011 the University will be involved in a project with the Higher Education Academy (HEA) on Education in Sustainable Development called Green Academy. The University includes sustainability in a number of subject areas and currently runs an open unit is sustainable development.

Green Gown Awards

in 2013 we were not only Green Gown Award winners in the Continuous Improvement Institutional Change Category our entry was also entered in the International Finalist Award. Here are some comments from the judges

University of Bristol - Greening the product not just the Machine

"Judges thought this an excellent example of a very well-led, rounded, holistic approach, with a host of initiatives spanning the whole sustainability agenda not only operationally but also institution-wide. For a research intensive institution like this, that is highly commendable and an example to others. The partnerships created are extremely impressive and Green Impact stood out as an exemplar model with huge impact on behaviour change, going even beyond the sector"