University of Exeter aims to be net zero by 2030
The University of Exeter has announced they have moved their target to be carbon net zero from 2050 to 2030.
In May 2019, alongside a number of other UK universities, local councils, and the UK Parliament, the University of Exeter declared an environment and climate emergency , and pledged to reduce carbon emissions to 50% of 2005 and 2006 levels by 2026, and reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
By November 2021, only 38 percent of the statements and objectives in the University’s 2019 Environment and Climate Policy have been delivered, and a significant percentage of emissions reductions have been due to a fall in travel in the Covid-19 Pandemic.
“We want to lead the higher education sector in the drive to net zero.”Janice Kay, co-chair of the University of Exeter Enviroment and Climate Emergency Board
The University of Exeter’s new 2030 target has been set as part of the University’s 2030 strategy – a ten year plan to use research and education to facilitate sustainability. Exeter joins a number of other UK institutions in its ambition such as Glasgow and Keele.
The new targets cover direct emissions (known as Scope 1 & 2 in emissions accounting terminology) and indirect emissions that account for 72 percent of the University’s total emissions, including purchased goods and services, employee commuting, waste disposal, and investments (Scope 3).
Exeter has laid out concrete plans to reach net zero, including reducing unnecessary resources and travel, choosing low emission options, and developing an ethical investment policy. Where these options are not possible, natural carbon offsetting will be used, an alternative to the controversial financial offsetting that involves improving natural assets and capital by restoring green areas.
Janice Kay, co-chair of the University’s Environment and Climate Emergency Board, said: “There has been significant pressure from students and staff to accelerate our carbon targets, to tackle the climate crisis.
“We have listened to those voices, and have created a plan to reach this challenging goal.”
Editor: Orla Mackinnon