green building at university of leicester


We are committed to protecting, creating and enhancing space for a diversity of human and non-human life and to help others do the same through our academic and operational expertise.  

Environmental sustainability is one of the University’s four strategic guiding principles that are used to inform our decision-making. As Citizens of Change, our approach is holistic – from reducing our negative environmental impacts to increasing our positive handprint by engaging with local, national and international policymakers at all levels. 

Explore how we plan to be net zero by 2040

Responsible consumption

Purple circle encased in 4 purple ovalsWe are reducing our resource consumption and re-using resources whenever possible, incorporating circular economy principles. The environmental impact of the University’s supply chain is addressed through our sustainable procurement guidance which ensures we consider all stages of the lifecycle of our resources.

This is important because purchase of goods and services is responsible for half of our carbon footprint.

University actions

We are tackling this by:

  • Regularly reviewing our purchasing catalogue to ensure sustainable products are maximised
  • Including sustainability criteria within tendering processes
  • Focusing on whole life costing and circular economy principles
  • Reducing reliance on spend as a proxy for emissions by working with suppliers to help them identify the environmental impacts of their goods and services
  • We have signed up to the Social Value Portal (SVP), a tool that promotes/secures social value (for Leicester/shire and nationally) through the procurement and subsequent management/monitoring of contracts over £100,000. Bidders can select from 35 social value commitments/measures, which have been aligned with De Montfort University, Loughborough University and Leicester City Council, who also employ SVP.

Policies and guidance

We also work with suppliers to help reduce their negative environmental impact:

Waste management

The first rule of waste management is to reduce it. We monitor all waste generated and follow the waste hierarchy to reduce the amount of waste we send to landfill.

Our actions

  • Prevention – we incorporate circular economy principles and work with suppliers to reduce packaging and other waste at source
  • Re-use – through schemes such as furniture re-use and the community kitchen
  • Recycling – through our waste contract and working with suppliers to return equipment etc. through circular economy principles
  • Recovery – working with waste contractors to recover energy from unavoidable and unrecyclable waste (e.g. clinical waste)
  • Disposal – ensuring that at least 95% of our waste is diverted from landfill.


Informed by research


Yellow sun iconWe recognise that the Earth faces a climate emergency and the best way to limit the damage caused is to reduce our direct greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible through a combination of building design, technology and behaviour change so we move away from using fossil fuels and increase our energy efficiency. 

The University has been working to reduce carbon emissions from energy consumption since before our youngest undergraduates were born. By 2018/19 we reduced our carbon emissions by 46% compared to 2004/5, despite growing in size.

University actions

  • Reducing the size and increasing the efficiency of our Estate
  • Decarbonising our heating systems away from gas and to renewable sources
  • Investing in our building infrastructure, including insulation, controls upgrades, LED lighting and other technologies
  • Working with all colleagues to identify opportunities to reduce energy consumption in day-to-day operations
  • Use 100% renewable electricity by 2040 using a combination of on and offsite generation
    • Integrated self-generation renewable technologies to reduce the dependency on the grid
  • Seeking to remove R410A and set up appropriate monitoring protocols for refrigerant gases in line with F-gas regulations
  • Reduce 50% fossil fuel dependency by 2030 for owned fleet and mobile machinery
  • Energy wastage is monitored by building management system


Informed by research

In 2016, we opened the UK's largest Passivhaus building, the George Davies Centre, to bring together world-leading medical research and medical education.


Digital solutions are important components of increasing our efficiencies and reducing our environmental impact. However, although not featured in any standard environmental reporting, an organisation’s digital footprint is becoming increasingly relevant.

The digital strategy now includes environmental sustainability KPIs.

University actions

  • We will map our entire digital environmental impact (positive and negative)
  • We aim to develop a sector-leading plan to minimise the negative impacts whilst maximising positive technological advances that help to achieve other environmentally positive objectives.

Informed by research


Blue wheel iconSince 2010, we have operated a multiple-campus travel plan (PDF, 5mb) to encourage more sustainable travel choices by our staff, students and visitors.

Our approach to commuting and business travel is to provide infrastructure and procedures that enable staff and students to follow the travel hierarchy.

University actions

  • HR policies and investment in our digital and physical infrastructure to enable remote working
  • Increasing our understanding of international travel requirements and opportunities to reduce this negative impact, whilst maintaining our global reach
  • Investment in electric vehicle infrastructure to facilitate fossil fuel to electric transition for personal vehicles.

Home working

Since embracing a more hybrid model to work and study, the environmental impact of this change is now being discussed widely. Using new guidance, we have calculated that our commuting emissions have reduced by a third since baseline, taking into account the increase in home working emissions.

We provide guidance for staff on how to reduce their energy consumption in the home and will continue to work towards procurement of more energy efficient equipment for use on and off campus.


Informed by research


Green plant iconWe recognise the twin and interconnected challenges of the climate emergency and the ecological crisis and treat them with the same priority.

University actions

Since 2020, the grounds and gardens team have turned some of our grass lawns into ‘tapestry lawns’ to increase biodiversity on the University campus by planting wildflowers. By transforming this lawn and then leaving it virtually untouched, this has both improved the aesthetic of the University estate and its species diversity.

With 20,000 bulbs planted on this lawn alone, there are 60 different plant species present and therefore 25% more invertebrate life than typical grass lawns, with 10 times the number of visits from twice as many pollinators.

Creating richer habitats such as tapestry lawns also encourages wildlife (e.g. hedgehogs) to inhabit these areas, further helping to protect these species. It looks great too.


Informed by research

Health and wellbeing

Three pink lines with a pink circle on topPhysical health

Climate change's threat to human health includes increased rates of heat-related illnesses and infectious diseases and exacerbation of cardiopulmonary conditions.

Mental health

Climate change has been also recognised as posing a significant risk to mental health. Eco-anxiety is attracting increasing attention as public awareness about the climate and bio-diversity crisis grows.

University actions

We are tackling this through our health and wellbeing strategies, focusing on the following measures:

  • Including climate impacts in our staff and student health and wellbeing strategies
  • Review our estate to ensure adequate availability of drinking water and shade
  • Continue to monitor local air quality and put environmental and policy measures in place where necessary.

We are also tackling climate anxiety by:

  • Acknowledging collective anxiety for staff and students
  • Using positive messaging
  • Empowerment through engagement opportunities
  • Building resilience to change
  • Providing eco-therapy opportunities.

Informed by research

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