Durham University People & Planet University League 2017 Scorecard

Award class badge: 3rd

Section Score
1. Environmental Sustainability; Policy and Strategy 50
2. Human Resources for Sustainability 35
3. Environmental Auditing & Management Systems 10
4. Ethical Investment 0
5. Carbon Management 30
6. Workers Rights 65
7. Sustainable Food 20
8. Staff and Student Engagement 35
9. Education for Sustainable Development 0
10. Energy Sources 62.5
11. Waste and Recycling 37.5
12. Carbon Reduction 12.5
13. Water Reduction 11

Section 1. Environmental Sustainability; Policy and Strategy


The full methodology for this section can be found here.

We looked at Durham University's publicly available environmental policy - you can read it here if we found one:


We wanted to see that the policy wasn't just sitting in a dusty desktop year after year and we needed to know that the policy meant something to staff, students and decision makers at the university. So to score 50% here, the policy needed to have been published within the last 5 years and demonstrate that it was reviewed regularly by someone sitting in a senior position at the university (because if the university is failing to uphold their policy, then someone should know about it ..... and be able to do something about it).

1) Durham University scored: 50 / 50% for their environmental policy

Next we looked at whether the policy was accompanied with a plan for action or Sustainability Strategy, you can read it here if we one found one:


The university could only score 50% if they had set SMART targets in all 8 of key areas below, and if we could see that the strategy had been reviewed in the last 5 years, (much like the environmental policy, a strategy only works if people are using it), and we didn't give credit for strategies that were out of date:

  • Construction & Refurbishment
  • Emissions & Discharges
  • Community involvement
  • Biodiversity
  • Waste management
  • Travel and Transport
  • Sustainable procurement
  • Water

We found that Durham University is working towards targets in the following areas:

Transport, Sustainable Procurement and Construction and Refurbishment


2) Durham University scored 0 / 50% for their sustainability strategy.

35% Section 2. Human Resources for Sustainability


The full methodology for how we score this section here.

Having a policy on environment and ethics is a good start - working out how to meet the policy with a strategy is a great start - next we wanted to see how well Durham University resource their policy and strategy. You can't meet your targets without dedicated staff to do all the hard work!

We looked to see whether environmental sustainability if someone in the university senior management team has responsibility for sustainability. It really helps when climate and social justice issues are the responsibility of someone who can make decisions about how the action can be resourced. If we found that someone, you can read about them here: www.dur.ac.uk/about/governance/leadership/

1) Durham University scored 0/20% for senior responsibility for sustainability

We also wanted to see how many staff were currently employed to work on sustainability issues, and whether students and staff could find them easily online and contact them. We thought the number of sustainability staff should also be shown in relation to the number of staff and students at the university.

Durham University has 15050 students,1000 - 2000 staff and 5 sustainability staff

When assessing the number of dedicated sustainability staff at Durham University - we looked for the following info:

  • job title / role
  • contact info
  • specific area of sustainability

If we found that information, here's the link: www.dur.ac.uk/greenspace/staff/

2) Durham University scored 20/55% for numbers of sustainability staff

Once a university has employed staff, it can be hard for them to do their job without money available. People & Planet looked for evidence that the sustainability strategy was resourced with a budget and that costs were included as part of the commitment.

3) Durham University scored 0/10% for evidence of a budget to fund the sustainability strategy.

It isn't just the job of sustainability staff ... the whole university community is key to the culture of sustainable development, and when properly supported, they can make all the difference!
We looked at whether the university supported a staff engagement scheme (like Eco-Champions or inter-departmental green team competitions) to engage all staff across the university in environmental and ethical practice through training, workshops and projects.

4) Durham University scored 15/15% for supporting a staff engagement scheme.

10% Section 3. Environmental Auditing & Management Systems


The full methodology for this section is here.

We looked at how well Durham University manages and audit their environmental performance and progress. If you can't measure it, you can't improve it!

Durham University is not accredited to an externally verified environmental management system (EMS) so we scored it according to it's own management systems as described on their website (or not). We looked for regular auditing in 8 key areas. The audits needed to have established a baseline (i.e. measured where progress was at in that moment in time), and to have been undertaken or updated in the last 5 years.

Durham University scored /40% for auditing in the following areas:

Waste management and Travel and transport


0% Section 4. Ethical Investment


Want more? The full methodology for this section is here.

Investments in the fossil fuel industry or arms trade can be contradictory to an institutions broader sustainability aims and goals. A strong ethical investment policy ensures an institution’s investments and banking practices are conducted transparently and in an economically-viable, socially-responsible manner.

1a) Durham University scored 0/10% for having a publicly available ethical investment policy. The policy is here if we found one: (N/A)

1b) and  0/60% for including specifics within the policy, including: (N/A)

2) Durham University scored 0/10% for reviewing and making progress on the policy's objectives - which is here is we found it: (N/A)

3) 0/20% for making a public announcement that it won't invest in fossil fuels and or arms, and if they have, you'll find it here: The Commission on Divestment from Fossil Fuels (the Commission) has been established by UEC in September 2016 to evaluate the proposal from Durham Students’ Union that the University withdraw its investments in companies involved in fossil fuel extraction. The Commission includes staff and student members and also welcomes engagement from the university's wider community. www.dur.ac.uk/divestment/

When looking at our Fossil Free university campaign aims, here's Durham University's own Fossil Free outlook:

Divestment Commitment full
Divested from all fossil fuels

Fossil Free Scorecard: Durham University


Invested in fossil fuels. Including:
  • £4,374,181 Shell
  • £2,887,608 Rio Tinto
  • £1,586,920 BP
That’s 45.0% of total endowment fund of £39,200,000
Data direct from FoI

Research funding

£5,069,867 Research funding from fossil fuel industry, including: Shell, Total, BP, Statoil, Exxon Mobil

£913,129 Public-funded research into fossil fuel industry.

£2,831,339 Research funding into renewables industry since 2001.

Fossil Fuel Industry Links

received in donations from fossil fuel industry 2009-2014 including Danish Oil and Natural Gas, BP, Carillion Energy Services.
Honorary degrees awarded to: No honorary degrees awarded.
Board positions given to Fossil Fuel industry: No positions on boards/committees awarded to fossil fuel company executives.


Barclays £17.0m in bank
Yorkshire Bank £7.0m in bank
Handelsbanken £15.0m in bank
Close Brothers £15.0m in bank

30% Section 5. Carbon Management

30%How well is Durham University managing its carbon emissions?

Want more? The full methodology for this section is here.

As it's a funding requirement, there aren't many universities that don't have a plan for managing and reducing carbon emissions, here's what we found: www.dur.ac.uk/resources/environment/carbon/DurhamUniversityCMPV222.pdf

1) Durham University scored 0/25% for having a publicly available carbon management plan that meets set standards

Jargon buster: the following are examples of greenhouse gas emissions called 'scope 3' emissions: business travel, student and staff commute travel, student end of term travel home, supply chain (stuff the university buys) and waste (i.e. rubbish).

2a) 5/5% for including scope 3 emissions within the university Carbon Management Plan.

2b) 5/5% for reporting the university's scope 3 emissions to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). 

In the most recent year, Durham University reported emissions from: waste and business travel to HESA.

It's important that universities aren't forgetting their halls of residences or other student and staff accommodation when thinking about carbon emissions. If we found info on this, it will be here: (N/A)

2c) Durham University scored 0/5% for publishing carbon emission data related to both in-house and externally provided student accommodation.

3) Durham University scored 10/30% for including baseline figures for scope 3 carbon emissions  in the following: Waste and Water .

Durham University  scored 10/30% for including targets to reduce scope 3 carbon emissions including Waste and Water .

65% Section 6. Workers Rights

65%Is Durham University behaving responsibly to those it employs and those who work in its supply chains?

Want more? The full methodology for this section is here.

1) Durham University scores 0/25% for being a Living Wage accredited employer.

2) Durham University scores 15/15% for being a Fairtrade status University

3) Durham University scores 30/40% for improving workers rights in the university's ITC supply chain by working with Electronics Watch

4) Durham University scores 20/20% for improving workers rights in an area of the university supply chain other than electronics

20% Section 7. Sustainable Food

20%How sustainable is the food and catering at Durham University?

Want more? The full methodology for this section is here.

1) Durham University scores 0/10% for having a publicly available sustainable food policy meeting set standards

If we found one, it should be here: (N/A)

2) Durham University scores 15/50% for continual improvement in sustainable food across the university catering outlets and conference services through a sustainable food framework and for the level reached on that framework OR for sustainable food activities

3) Durham University scores 0/10% for specifying that contract caterers and suppliers meet the requirements of the university sustainable food policy

4a) Durham University scores 5/5% for being certified to the Marine Stewardship Council standards - ensuring traceability of sustainable fish all the way to your plate

4b) Durham University scores 0/5% for using local food in university catering or campus to kitchen food projects

4c) Durham University scores 0/5% for providing free access to drinking water across the university and for highlighting where this can be found on the university website (here if we found it): (N/A)

5) Durham University scores 0/15% for providing space or other resources for university community food projects

If they are, you can find out more here: (N/A)

35% Section 8. Staff and Student Engagement


How well is Durham University engaging its staff and students in sustainability?

Need more? The full methodology for this section is here.

1) Durham University scores 15/60% for having a strategy in place for student and staff engagement that includes a framework to track progress against smart targets and for including the following engagement actions:

b sustainability policy and strategy, c student induction, d go green or environment themed week and e climate or sustainability or social change campaigns reaching the whole university community

  • Oversight and involvement of students and staff in the development and ongoing monitoring of the university Carbon Management Plan.
  • Oversight and involvement of students and staff in the development and ongoing monitoring of the university environment or sustainability policy / plan / strategy.
  • Engagement opportunities for sustainability are a component of student induction processes.
  • University actively supports an annual Go Green Week or environment / sustainability week.
  • The university runs environmental sustainability campaigns that reach all students and staff.
  • Availability of university funds and / or resources /support for student or staff-led practical sustainability projects

2) Durham University scores 10/10% for evidence that the university sustainability policy is included in staff inductions, and if it is, you can see more here: www.dur.ac.uk/resources/hr/staff.induction/InductionChecklistforNewEmployeesV2.docx

3) Durham University scores 0/10% for Trades Union representation on the membership of sustainability strategy committees

4) Durham University scores 10/10% for student representation on university committees concerned with estates, planning, finance and strategic decision making. 

5) Durham University scores 0/10% for students' union progress towards environmental sustainability.

0% Section 9. Education for Sustainable Development


How well is Durham University including sustainability in its education?

Need more? The full methodology for this section is here.

1) Durham University scores 0/20% for its public commit to education for sustainable development (ESD)

2a) Durham University scores0/50% for having a framework or strategy for ESD


3) Durham University scores 0/10% for providing suitable support and training for ESD

4) Durham University scores 0/10% for evidence of student coursework linked to sustainability projects to improve the environmental manegement of the university (often called the Living Lab)

5) 0/10% for supporting or highlighting School, Faculty or Research team projects for Sustainability, including the pedgagogy of sustainability

62.5% Section 10. Energy Sources

62.5%Where does Durham University get its energy from?

Need more? The full methodology for this section is here.

1) Durham University scores 45/45% for using combined heat and power (CHP) energy.

2) Durham University scores 17.5/35% for generating some its own electricity (the more it generates the higher the score).

3) Durham University scores 0.0/20% for buying some or all of its electricity from renewable sources. 

37.5% Section 11. Waste and Recycling


How does Durham University perform on waste, as compared to other universities?

Need more? The full methodology for this section is here.

1) Durham University scores 25.0/50% for recycling 52.59% of its waste.

2) Durham University scores 12.5/50% for the amount of waste per head (staff and students) compared to the rest of the sector.

12.5% Section 12. Carbon Reduction


How well is Durham University reducing its carbon emissions?

Need more? The full methodology for this section is here.

1) 0.0/50% for carbon intensity change over the last 12 months (since the last University League).

2) 12.5/50% for achieving a 11.38% reduction in its carbon emissions since a 2005 baseline.

11% Section 13. Water Reduction

11%How responsibly is Durham University using water?

Need more? The full methodology for this section is here.

1) 0.0/67% for its use of water per head (staff and students) compared to other universities

2) 11.0/33% for use of grey water (like rain water harvesting)


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