Building solid foundations for a sustainable future

We are launching a campaign to share with our community the progress we are making on implementing our Climate Plan – and the perspectives of some of the colleagues involved.

Principal Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost Professor Hai-Sui Yu standing in front of a wood and glass wall

Climate change has the power to change our way of life. We are in a race against time to mitigate the impact of changes which will likely cause more hunger, conflict and drought.

Launched in 2021, the University’s Climate Plan is helping us to plot a path to a fairer and more sustainable future. It is a collaborative effort involving academic staff, professional services staff and students.

Seven climate principles – including reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions, achieving sustainable travel and enabling responsible investment – are included in the plan and are guiding our approach to tackling this major challenge.

This is backed by £174 million of investment – the largest in the University’s history – which is being used to help us achieve our goals.

It goes beyond just reducing our reliance on fossil fuels as an institution – it also fosters a sustainability-focused mindset and seizes the opportunities offered by developments in green technology.

It is only by acting together as a community that we can ensure that our Climate Plan is successfully put into action, enabling us to realise our vision for a greener, healthier and fairer place to live, work and study.

Watch a video setting out the Climate Plan.

Rising to the challenge

The world today is still heavily reliant on fossil fuels. We must ensure that there is a just transition away from oil and gas, adapting our approach in a way which addresses inequality, injustice and poverty.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is central to our Climate Plan, with the target of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

This transition includes reorienting our research and teaching away from the fossil fuel sector and developing a sustainable investment portfolio.

The University’s Climate Principles Programme Board was set up to oversee the implementation of the plan.

Professor Hai-Sui Yu, Principal Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost, who chairs the Board, said: “We have a bold vision to harness our knowledge and world-leading expertise to create and scale up new solutions and develop sustained partnerships within our University community and across our great city, the region and beyond.”

Watch a video of Professor Yu talking about the Climate Plan.

People making a difference

People are also central to the University’s transition to a lower carbon future.

Home to the Priestley International Centre for Climate, Leeds brings together world-leading expertise on climate change and its impact on society and ecosystems.

We are harnessing that knowledge to create and scale-up innovative solutions to climate issues which, through our partnerships, will make a difference at the University, across our city and globally.

Sustainability will be key to our teaching and learning values, ensuring that students graduate with the knowledge and skills to be responsible global citizens – but also equipped to take up some of the hundreds of thousands of new green jobs which will be created in the UK in the years to come.

Visit our Climate Plan hub for more information.

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