staff and hr

It has been repeatedly demonstrated that without the expertise and championing of professional staff dedicated to environmental sustainability, initiatives in universities are unlikely to be systematic, well-coordinated and resourced, or have significant long-term success.

Scores are awarded with recognition that institutions vary in their size, financial resource and approach to human resource  management. People & Planet appreciate that a broad range of  staff may take on responsibility for sustainability and that for some universities, taking a holistic approach to embedding sustainability is the best cultural fit.


Governance - senior staff

1. Is sustainability included within the portfolio of responsibilities of a member of the university senior management team?

Score - 20%


  • Sustainability may be described by universities in a number of ways (environmental sustainability, sustainable development, environmental and ethical management or social and environmental responsibility are all acceptable definitions).

  • Senior management with responsibilities limited to energy, utilities or carbon management will not be accepted.

  • Senior management is defined as heads of department, or those sitting on the executive board.   

  • We will look for the name and role of the senior manager responsible for sustainability at the university on the university website and will award scores only where it is clear that environmental sustainability is one of their areas of responsibility.


Dedicated and expert staff

Score - maximum of 55%

2. Who is working on environmental sustainability?

Staff working in dedicated sustainability roles are listed on the university website with the following info:

  • job title / role

  • contact information

  • area of sustainability (i.e. what aspects of sustainability is this person responsible for)

Note: We will not award scores unless we can find all of the information listed above on the university website.


Sustainability staff could be working in the following areas:

*Sustainability / environment director/manager/coordinator or similar – overseeing the sustainable development of the university *Sustainable travel *Energy/carbon reduction and management *Environmental management systems *Waste reduction and reuse *Paid internships *Assistants, officers, project officers etc *Behaviour change / sustainability communications

The following roles are not accepted:

Building management, groundskeeping, recycling operatives, departmental eco-champions.

Academic staff in sustainable fields will not be counted unless they can demonstrate a role in promoting sustainability within the university beyond teaching.

            Number of students (teaching FTE)

            No. sustainability staff




            less than 5000























            4 or more




            Between 5-10,000









            2 to 3







            4 to 5







            6 to 7







            8 or more




            Between 10-15,000


            1 to 2







            3 to 5







            6 to 7







            8 to 9







            10 or more




            Over 15,000


            1 to 4







            5 to 6







            7 to 9







            9 to 11







            12 or more




Universities with fewer than 500 staff should receive:

  • Full marks (55%) for showing they have more than 2 or more members of staff dedicated to environmental sustainability (not including energy or Building management).

  • 30% for showing they have at least 1 member of staff dedicated to environmental sustainability (not including energy or Building management).



3. Is the university sustainability strategy supported with a budget?

Score - 10%


  • As with the Carbon Management Plan, a sustainability strategy will be most effective with an allocated budget to cover the implementation of the strategy and to resource staff implementing the strategy.    

  • People & Planet will look for the budget within the current sustainability strategy or as an additional document that is an addendum or appendices to the current sustainability strategy.    

  • The budget will only be awarded a score if it is in date.   

  • It will be hard to score a university on this question if a sustainability strategy or plan does not exist but we will remain open as to alternative ways that universities show a current budget for achieving environmental sustainability objectives and progress.    

All staff

4. The university supports a staff engagement scheme to involve staff in improving the environmental performance of the university eg. departmental eco-champions.

People & Planet will look for recent evidence of this scheme in action, on the university website.

Score - 15%


  • To score, we will need to find evidence that the scheme has taken place in the last 12 months.