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) Northumbria 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 SMARTtargets 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environmental policy, a strategy only works if people are using it), and we didn't give credit for strategies that were out of date: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
Travel and Transport
We found that Northumbria University is working towards targets in the following areas:
Waste management, Transport, Sustainable Procurement, Water, Construction and Refurbishment, Community involvement and Biodiversity
2) Northumbria University scored 40 / 50% for their sustainability strategy.
55% 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 Northumbria 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.northumbria.ac.uk/about-us/leadership-governance/university-executive/
1) Northumbria University scored 20/20% 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.
Northumbria University has 20415 students,1000 - 2000 staff and 3 sustainability staff
When assessing the number of dedicated sustainability staff at Northumbria University - we looked for the following info:
2) Northumbria University scored 10/55% 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) Northumbria University scored 10/10% 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) Northumbria University scored 15/15% for supporting a staff engagement scheme.
75% Section 3. Environmental Auditing & Management Systems
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) Northumbria 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) Northumbria 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: (N/A)
When looking at our Fossil Free university campaign aims, here's Northumbria University's own Fossil Free outlook:
Fossil Free Scorecard: Northumbria University
Invested in fossil fuels.
Data direct from FoI
(No research funding from fossil fuel industry.)
£2,077,800 Research funding into renewables industry since 2001.
Note: Although their are no current investments in fossil fuel companies, there is no policy in place to prevent future investments.
80% Section 5. Carbon Management
80%How well is Northumbria University managing its carbon emissions?
Want more? The full methodology for this section is here.
1) Northumbria University scored 25/25% 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.
2) Northumbria University scores 20/50% 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 frameworkOR for sustainable food activities
3) Northumbria University scores 10/10% for specifying that contract caterers and suppliers meet the requirements of the university sustainable food policy
4a) Northumbria University scores 0/5% for being certified to the Marine Stewardship Council standards - ensuring traceability of sustainable fish all the way to your plate
4b) Northumbria University scores 5/5% for using local food in university catering or campus to kitchen food projects
How well is Northumbria University engaging its staff and students in sustainability?
Need more? The full methodology for this section is here.
1) Northumbria University scores 55/60% 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:
a carbon management plan, b sustainability policy and strategy, c student induction, d go green or environment themed week, e climate or sustainability or social change campaigns reaching the whole university community and g university has set strategy and targets for student and staff engagement
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