Sustainability

Policies, strategies and reports

Two students sitting by a lake on campus

Our commitments

We take environmental and social responsibility seriously at Essex. Here you will find all of our policies, strategies and reports indicating the commitments we have made and our goals for the future. These documents are reviewed annually and will be updated accordingly.

Sustainability Policy and Strategy

Emissions and discharges

We will be developing a new Carbon Management Plan over the coming months as part of our Sustainability Sub-Strategy 2021-26. The principles of our current plan still remain while this work is undertaken.

The existing Carbon Management Plan sets out the steps necessary for the University to achieve its target of reducing CO2 emissions by 43 percent by 2020 from a 2005 baseline. 

Approximately 60 percent of all the University’s Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions are from student accommodation (including external student accommodation).

This report, produced by consultants LCMB, details are scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions baseline, and advised our approach to making a net zero commitment. It identifies opportunities for carbon reduction across our three campuses and indicates investment required to achieve our ambitions.

As we develop our work on Scope 3 emissions, we have undertaken an initial exercise to assess data we currently hold.

  • F Gases

The University's HVAC and refrigeration is maintained to comply with high standards to prevent escape of gases. Any refrigerants removed during the maintenance process are handled by a registered waste carrier.

  • Hazardous products

Our School of Life Sciences carefully manages the disposal of any hazardous wastes, and laboratory staff adhere to a comprehensive Waste Disposal Handbook (.pdf) and keep a record of waste streams (.pdf).

  • Accommodation emissions for 2021
  Scope 1 (tCO2e)  Scope 2 (tCO2e)  Total (tCO2e) 
In-house accommodation  2,585.54  1,444.16 4,029.69
Externally provided accommodation 1036.22  329.21  1365.45 

Water

  • Management

Our Maintenance team have detailed plans of campus that indicate the flow of our drains, which either run into sewers or directly into the water course. Consequently all discharges are carefully managed to avoid pollution incidents. 

Our Grounds team uses a clear water wash pad which uses recycled rain water to wash their vehicles and machinery. The wash pad also captures any oil or fuel leaks within the system, it is then cleaned and reused.

  • Usage

Our water usage for January 2021 - December 2021 was:

Colchester: 101,401m3

Southend: 19,268m3

Loughton: 3,408m3

Total: 124,077m3


Energy

The energy policy outlines the university’s commitment to minimising energy consumption in order to avoid unnecessary expenditure, protect the environment and prolong the useful life of fossil fuels.

Engagement

The Student and Staff Engagement Plan sets out the university’s stance on maximising sustainability engagement throughout each campus. This includes marketing strategies, education and events.

Food

The sustainable food policy outlines Essex Food’s commitment to sustainability. The scope of this policy does not extend to the SU Bar and the SU Kitchen, for which the University does not have responsibility. When the University outsources catering contractors, they must adhere to the standards outlined within the sustainable food policy, as outlined in our tender specification documents.

Finance

The Statement of Investment and Banking Principles sets out the University’s agreed approach to ethical investment and banking. This policy is reviewed by the Investments Sub Committee, with approval given by the University Steering Group.

The University of Essex Portfolio Overview lists all investments made over the recent financial year, as a percentage of the overall fund.

Social responsibility

The gender pay policy outlines the University’s commitment to providing and promoting equal pay.

Our people supporting strategy describes the University’s action plan to establish, monitor and promote parity of pay, equality and diversity and health safety and wellbeing among other things surrounding our employees.

  • Outsourcing staff

The University makes minimal use of outsourced/contract staff and will assess occurrences on a case-by-case basis in conjunction with People and Culture and our Central Procurement Unit. Where outsourced staff are deemed necessary, suppliers will be expected to demonstrate that pay and conditions for their staff working at the University align with the University's own staff contracts, as part of the tender process. 

For example, the below wording has been included in a previous tender question:
The supplier will ensure that staff allocated to this contract are paid as a minimum the current Living Wage. The supplier shall also ensure that if any additional hourly rates are charge for Bank Holiday working, that staff working Bank Holidays receive this additional pay in the normal proportions. The supplier shall also ensure that it complies with the restrictions of the Working Time Directive in relation to working time, rest breaks and holiday entitlement.

  • Student support

The University offers support for living costs for students through a number of different funds. You can find out more information in our student finance section.

  •  Non-Disclosure Agreements

Backed by the Minister for Higher and Further Education, former Equalities Select Committee Chair Maria Miller MP and campaign group #CantBuyMySilence, The University of Essex commits to not using Non-Disclosure Agreements to silence people who come forward to raise complaints of sexual harassment, abuse or misconduct, or other forms of harassment and bullying.

Sustainability Policy and Strategy

The Sustainability Sub-Strategy is our overarching document for all sustainability-related issues. The document itself is a combination of policy and strategy. It begins by outlining our commitments to sustainability and ends with a set of SMART targets to aid us in fulfilling these commitments.

The Sustainability Sub-Strategy is reported on annually to University Steering Group (USG) to update on progress made against our core objectives.

Travel

The Sustainable Travel Plan outlines a package of measures to promote the use of sustainable modes of transport and to encourage a reduced reliance on private cars.

Waste reduction and recycling

This document sets out the procedures relevant to our environmental commitments to waste management.

Minutes taken from meeting with UoE and Waste contractor Veolia (6 September 2018), covering discussion of waste mass statistics and waste auditing at the University.

This table breaks down 2019 waste data for the University by category and proportion recycled.

University of Essex Colchester Campus
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Sustainability Team