Read the full Environmental Sustainability Strategy (PDF, 4.7MB). 

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Our sustainability strategy

Our Sustainable Future, the University's Environmental Sustainability Strategy 2023-28, outlines how we will reduce our carbon footprint, promote sustainability in our teaching and learning, research and innovation, and reduce our negative environmental operational impact. 

We have illustrated practical steps we will take to protect and enhance our environment. We will report on every stage of the process and remain transparent.

Strategy highlights

Our Sustainable Future is organised around the University's three core goals.

Zero carbon ambition   

Climate change is the great threat facing humanity. The 2015 Paris Agreement outlined the need for urgent reductions to global carbon emissions to keep the average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius or lower.  

Our University aims to achieve zero direct carbon emissions by 2038.

Read the full Carbon Action plan (Word Doc, 227KB). 

Read the Race to Zero report (Word Doc, 424KB). 

Our carbon budget* was set by climate scientists at the University’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.  

*A 'carbon budget’ refers to the emissions an individual or organisation can emit into the atmosphere before contributing more than their ‘fair share’ of the total we can emit globally if we are to stay within 1.5 degrees.

Scope 3 emissions  

The 2038 target and carbon budget relate to our "Scope 1" and "Scope 2" emissions, primarily from gas and electricity usage, as defined by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.

Scope 1 and 2 emissions constitute around 10% of our carbon footprint. The remaining 90% comes from indirect emissions, like those from goods purchased and staff and student travel, known as "Scope 3 emissions.“

To address the scale and importance of these emissions, in July 2023, we set a Scope 3 emissions target of net zero by 2050.

Details of this plan can be found in our Scope 3 report (PDF, 1.13MB).

Sustainable Development Goals

As one of the world’s leading research institutions and the UK’s only university to have social responsibility as a core goal, Manchester is playing a leading role in tackling the Sustainable Development Goals in four ways – through our research, learning and students, public engagement activities and responsible campus operations.

Find out how we contribute to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals