The University of Plymouth has been verified carbon neutral in further recognition of its pioneering efforts in net zero innovation, research and teaching.
The awarding of PAS 2060 verification, an independent and internationally recognised standard for carbon neutrality, acknowledges the University’s ongoing work to reduce the carbon impact of its campuses and operations.
It becomes only the second UK university to achieve the status and Professor Judith Petts CBE, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Plymouth, said: “This achievement is an important step on our path to net zero. It is something of which everyone connected to the university can be proud as they have all played their part in helping push us towards our targets. It is further evidence that we are not just talking the talk when it comes to sustainability, but are committed to working with communities, industry, policy makers and individuals to bring about the seismic shifts and cultural changes our planet needs to survive.”
Since declaring a climate emergency in 2019, the University has held the ambition of delivering net zero emissions from scope 1 and 2 – which covers gas, electricity and a number of other fuels – by 2025.
Its latest Sustainability Report shows it has achieved that target three years ahead of schedule through reducing those emissions by 78% since 2005.
While carbon reduction remains its priority, the University has chosen to invest in carbon offsets for the remainder of the emissions while continuing to work on reducing them.
It has also more than halved its carbon footprint since 1990 and significantly reduced selected scope 3 emissions including water, waste and business travel.
That offsetting investment in a series of international clean energy programmes – in addition to the ongoing carbon reduction efforts – has enabled to it be independently verified by the NQA as carbon neutral.
Dr Samantha Davies, Head of Sustainability at the University, added: “Carbon reduction remains our ultimate priority, but due to current technologies some offsetting is unavoidable at this time. Where we have offset, we have taken steps to ensure any investment is being directed into projects where it will make a difference to communities while having the least possible environmental impact. That echoes our own ethos, one we are committed to driving forward now and in the future.”
The PAS 2060 verification is the latest accolade the University has achieved in relation to sustainability commitments.
To build on them, it has committed to reducing its mains grid electricity use by at least 20%, and mains gas by 25%, by 2030 with the added intention of supporting further reductions through wider energy generation projects.
In recent years, it has made major investments in renewable energy installations across its campuses while ensuring its power is generated from clean energy sources.
Two new buildings on campus – the Babbage Building, which will transform the University’s engineering and design research and teaching; and InterCity Place, a brand new space to train and develop the next generation of nurses, midwives and allied health professionals – will open later this year, and are being constructed using state of the art low energy technologies.
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